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iEducate

07 Nov

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iEducate Celebrates its 3rd Anniversary

November 7, 2016 | By |

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iEducate celebrated its 3rd anniversary on November 4th at the Asia Society with over 100 guests that included our team members, educators, public officials and industry partners. Special guests included Congressman Al Green, City Controller Chris Brown, the Consular Corps from Costa Rica and India, Retired HISD Superintendent Dr. Billy Reagan, State Education Policy Advisor Ben Bhatti, ProUnitas CEO Adeep Barqawi, and Houston Director of Education Juliet Stipeche. Schlumberger VP of Industry & Gov’t Affairs Dan Domeracki was the keynote speaker, and renewed Schlumberger’s commitment to iEducate to provide support in expanding beyond Houston.

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-1-18-34-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-20-at-1-04-53-pmCongressman Al Green congratulated iEducate on its commitment to improving the quality of life for youth through mentorship and STEM educational programs. He spent time addressing the students on how valuable their contribution was and thanked them for the difference they are making. Finally, he presented a certificate of special congressional recognition to iEducate in honor of the service to the community.

Dr. Roopa Gir introduced the team members and partners and talked about the iEducate vision. The highlight of the evening was what followed: heartfelt remarks by iEducate tutors who shared their life-changing experiences in the elementary school classrooms. A huge thanks to Jameel Jordan, Kayla Montejo, Donald Bici, Sarah Stockman and HISD Student Congress Speaker Jessica DeBoe for captivating us all by sharing their experiences.

Thank you to Anne Chao and Asheet Yagnik (who sponsored the event at the Asia Society), and the many sponsors including Schlumberger, Infodat, IACF, Just Energy, Munshi CPA and individual contributors Sanjay Rao and Dr. Dominic Sreshta.

14 Jul

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Summer Camp Volunteer Jeevan Kaur Recounts Her Experience

July 14, 2015 | By |

My experience as a volunteer at the iEducateUSA Bridge Camp was what one could call eventful. Interacting with elementary students kept me alert, their intricate needs were something to look out for.

On June 8th, I began my 3-week volunteer journey at Crockett Elementary. I was placed with the rising third graders, alongside 6 other volunteers. That day I alongside the volunteers became acquainted with the classroom procedures and the students we would be assisting for the next three weeks.

After that day I officially began my work as a volunteer. I spent the hours of 8 am -11am making sure the rising third graders were completing their classwork and also seeing if they understood the subject taught each morning (which would be math or science depending on the day). This also included giving students one-on-one assistance when requested.

The mornings were hectic, yet weren’t comparable to the afternoon. After lunch, the full-bellied volunteers and I would trudge back to the school, get into our classes, and wait for the oncoming storm of energetic children who marked the second part of the day. It was a workout making sure the students didn’t stray from their work and didn’t lure the volunteers into small-talk with them (something the kids are very good at!).

Although it was tiring at times, I would never trade the experience. The lives I helped, the understanding I received, and the respect for teachers I gained was invaluable. Students are harder to teach when there are so many of them in one class. A sole teacher cannot meet the needs of every student in his or her classroom when there are over 25 students in one classroom! The teacher usually needs to assist the ones who need the most help, and this at times causes others to have lower understanding of a subject. Alongside this, there are students who need a different types of explanations to gain knowledge of things.

iEducateUSA provided teachers the help they need by allowing us, the volunteers, to give them an extra hand in the classroom. Not only that, iEducateUSA gave volunteers like me a better understanding of patience and skills that will not be forgotten, skills such as listening, thinking of problems in more than one way, team work, and many others. Apart from these skills they learned the value of life and impacted the lives of the children they worked with, giving the students aspirations, role models, and determination, which is needed in a child’s life as they grow up.
In the end, I found my time at iEducateUSA to be meaningful, and when asked if I would volunteer next year, I happily said yes. Now all is left is to wait till I get to see the students again.

– Jeevandeep Kaur

05 May

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Students at Crockett Share their Thoughts

May 5, 2015 | By |

Carmen Johnson teaches fifth grade math at Crockett Elementary School, and has worked alongside iEducateUSA Fellows since the program’s inception. She recently asked her students to write anonymous letters to students at a prospective school, letters that she says “open our eyes to the childrens’ perspective of how great the iEDU program truly is”. These letters are displayed below.

The iEducateUSA Fellows take good students and make them into great students. Students at the beginning of the year who had little faith in their math abilities are now convinced that they can be successful, because the Fellows encourage them to think and reason. Every student has grown academically from their relationships with the Fellows, a relationship of trust where the students look up to these college undergraduates as role models. They recognize that it takes hard work to learn so they study harder and persevere.

I wish that this program could be replicated for every elementary campus.

-Carmen Johnson,
Math Teacher, Crockett Elementary School

28 Apr

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Paid Tutors & Summer Volunteers, We’re Looking for You!

April 28, 2015 | By |

We are looking for paid tutors for the iEducateUSA program beginning this fall. If you are interested in becoming a tutor, click here to learn more about the requirements. We’re also looking for high school & college volunteers for our annual summer programs:

  • Explore! Science Workshop: June 1-3, 8AM – 12PM
  • Bridge Summer Camp: June 8-25, 8AM – 3PM

Click below for details about the programs and to apply to volunteer.

Science Workshop VolunteersSummer Camp Volunteers

 

Download the Application

25 Apr

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Expansion Plans & Partnerships in Higher Education Spark Addition of Future Fellows

April 25, 2015 | By |

iEducateUSA’s greatest asset is its team of dedicated tutors (known as ‘Fellows’ here at iEDU) who work tirelessly alongside elementary school teachers to instill a love of math and science in students at HISD schools. These college undergraduates serve as role models and mentors for the students, encouraging them in their study of STEM subjects and in many cases developing long-term relationships that have a huge impact on the students’ academic careers. As part of our expansion to Braeburn Elementary this past fall, we have added an additional 12 Fellows to our team.

Recruiting the young people to work as Fellows with iEducateUSA can be a challenge when competing against academic calendars, extracurricular activities, and all that the great city of Houston has to offer. Therefore over the past two years, we have developed strong relationships with some of the best Houston-area colleges to ensure that we have a strong group of Fellows working with us – both now and in the future. It is thanks to the efforts of some of our partners in higher education that we manage to secure some of the brightest Fellows around. A very special thanks to our Recruitment Partners:

  • Poonam Gulati – Associate Professor of Biology and Honors Program Coordinator at UHD
  • Rupa Iyer – Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at UH
  • Christine Ehlig-Economides – UH’s William C. Miller Endowed Chair Professor ofPetroleum Engineering.

Today, most our tutors come from University of Houston Downtown, University of Houston, and Houston Community College. We are also excited to start actively recruiting from Rice University and Texas Christian University for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year. Here’s to the start of new partnerships and the addition of great future Fellows! Read more about our current iEDU Fellows here.

20 Apr

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Braeburn Joins iEducateUSA as Newest School for 2014-2015 Academic Year

April 20, 2015 | By |

Braeburn Elementary School joined iEducateUSA as the second HISD school in its pilot program in September 2014. Braeburn educates more than 900 students in Southwest Houston with a “shared mission to do ‘whatever it takes’ to meet the needs of all their students.” The school currently has 99.6% economically disadvantaged students.

For several years before iEducateUSA’s involvement, Braeburn worked with Teach for America to place high-achieving college graduates in its classrooms as teachers. Despite their best efforts, however, they struggled to produce positive results on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests – a key exam whose results are used to measure students’ progress in key areas. In 2014, only 24% of Braeburn’s 4th graders and only 15% of its 5th graders received passing grades in Math; only 19% of 5th graders passed Science.

The school’s commitment to improving its students’ education and futures made Braeburn the perfect candidate for iEducateUSA’s program. Our goal of improving math and science education is perfectly aligned with the school’s self-assessed need to improve STEM performance, and we hoped that our tutors (known as ‘Fellows’) would be the catalyst that Braeburn was looking for.

Since the program began, iEducateUSA has successfully placed Fellows in six 4th and 5th grade math and science classes at Braeburn, reaching more than 200 students in total. By supporting the teachers and providing math and science tutoring within the classroom environment, iEDU has effectively lowered the student-teacher ratio to 11:1, and we expect many resulting improvements.

After promising snapshot tests showed science passing rates up to as much as 80%, iEDU hopes to see significant improvements in Math and Science results at Braeburn over the 2014-2015 school year. STAAR testing is currently underway, with results being announced before the summer. Join us in our support of the teachers, administrators and Fellows who are working tirelessly to improve the quality of STEM education at Braeburn Elementary School – iEducateUSA’s most recent success story!

17 Apr

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Crockett Jumps from 28th to 76th Percentile Among Texas Elementary Schools

April 17, 2015 | By |

Crockett STAAR GraphiEducateUSA launched its pilot at Crockett Elementary School in Fall 2013, serving only the 5th grade with four tutors (Fellows). In the following spring, four more Fellows were added to 4th grade science & math classes. Additionally, iEDU began hosting its summer workshops on topics such as life sciences, energy and space. In 2012, Crockett was ranked in the 28th percentile among all Texas elementary schools. Furthermore, both the 4th grade and 5th grade STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) passing rates in math were at 65%.

“iEducateUSA has not only been a pillar to support the math & science curriculum at Crockett, but also a bridge to extend and increase the students’ learning.”

-Claudia Chavez, Principal, Crockett Elementary School

Under the iEducateUSA program, Crockett has soared from the 28th to 76th percentile among Texas elementary schools, beating the state average in science and math scores by almost 10%. The 4th & 5th grade STAAR passing rates have increased by 10% in science and by almost 30% in math, with a third of the 5th grade students performing at an advanced level (grade A and above). Additionally, Crockett admitted the highest number of kids (8) from a single HISD school were to the Baylor STEM Middle School. These accomplishments are notable given that Crockett has always been a fine arts-focused school, and that it has outperformed peer schools (with similar demographics) that it was once trailing ever since adopting the iEDU program.

02 Apr

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iEducateUSA Hosts Annual Career Day at HISD Schools

April 2, 2015 | By |

iEducateUSA just hosted its 2nd annual Career Day at Braeburn and Crockett Elementary Schools. With over 30 professionals volunteering to speak to the classes, we were able to reach over 300 children. Our volunteers ranged from doctors, engineers and astronauts to dancers, artists and career advisors. Students from third to fifth grade were able to ask questions and were given small takeaways to savor the experience.

In addition to in-class tutoring, summer workshops and professional development, one of the four core pillars of the iEDU program is mentoring; without role models in their lives, children may have limited aspirations for their futures. This is increasingly a reality at HISD schools, where more than 80% of students are economically disadvantaged. Specifically, over 85% of students at Crockett and over 99% of students at Braeburn are economically disadvantaged. Both schools have seen phenomenal success with the iEducateUSA program, in which iEDU Fellows (tutors) are working alongside teachers in grades 3-5.

For the 2015 Career Day, the Crockett Elementary student orchestra greeted our volunteers with a phenomenal 15-minute performance. Known for being an arts-focused school, Crockett has shown extraordinary progress in science & math since adopting the iEDU program, rising from 28th to 76th percentile in the state of Texas. Crockett Elementary is currently applying for designation as a magnet school.

We are very excited about our next events this summer, beginning in June with the 3-day science workshop and 3-week enrichment camp to bridge the curriculum gap between grade levels.

28 Mar

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2015 Summer Events Calendar

March 28, 2015 | By |

May 2 – Club24 Fundraising Event

May 14 – Crockett Elementary School International Festival

June 1-3 – Explore! Science Workshop

June 8-25 – Bridge Summer Camp

22 Mar

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An Interview with Consuelo & Emmanuel Morales

March 22, 2015 | By |

Consuelo Morales is both a mother and teacher at Crockett Elementary School, the first school to adopt the iEducateUSA program. She has seen the program’s growth and impact since its start, when her 5th grade class served as the pilot for iEducateUSA.

Maelle Flichy recently sat down with Mrs. Morales & her son Emmanuel to discuss their experiences and get their feedback. Mrs. Morales expresses how beneficial the program has been and how much she has seen the students grow throughout the school year; students that were once lagging were able to show tremendous progress.


Maelle: Mrs. Morales, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us – tell us about your first semester with iEducateUSA.

Mrs. Morales: My 5th grade class was the pilot class with iEducateUSA and so I was able to see the change in the students from the beginning of the school year. When the first tutors got there, they started working with the students that had trouble in the class, forming small groups that helped the students improve tremendously. Part of the pilot was that we made an end of the year report that followed specific students to show their improvement.

Maelle: A large issue is the curriculum gap between elementary and middle school, as those students who are struggling in 5th grade end up falling much further behind after the jump to 6th grade. How did the iEDU tutors help tackle this problem?

Mrs. Morales: Yes, there is a big gap. I was also a 6th grade math teacher so I saw the significant difference in schoolwork; I knew the kind of curriculum and struggle that the students would face. So I told the tutors to help focus on certain parts of the curriculum and objectives that I knew they would have problems with in the 6th grade. The tutors would have specific activities I would give them, and were able to work well together with the students, helping the students prepare for the standardized tests and bridge the gap. By the end of the school year, they were ready for 6th grade.

Maelle: You are not only the first teacher to go through this program; you’re also a parent to students in the program. As a parent what kind of benefits do you see from the program?

Mrs. Morales: My son was in the second year program – not the pilot year, which was only a semester – so the tutors were there all year long. The students had the small group instructions by the teacher and tutor and I think that is the key for the success in their education. They need to be able to cover the weaknesses. My son had some trouble in some objectives; he would go to the tutor to clarify, and then go back to the whole group classroom and he was fine.

Maelle: Often a teacher doesn’t have the time to have a one-on-one lesson with a student, to make sure that all students are learning at the same pace. So many students have to get the help outside of class. What would be the benefit as a parent to having the help inside the classroom instead of after school?

Mrs. Morales: Of course the biggest advantage is not having to spend extra time outside my regular schedule to drive him after school. It was wonderful; he came home with all his homework done or it was easy for him to do the homework by himself without me having to help clarify anything.

Maelle: So before the program parents really had to dedicate a lot of their time, which isn’t always easy with work schedules to accommodate after-school tutoring. Would you say that the in-class model benefits parents as importantly as it does students?

Mrs. Morales: Yes, because I do not have to sacrifice my family time when he has trouble with homework, because he receives all this help inside the classroom. And I see the difference now that he is in middle school without iEducateUSA, and I have to sit with him after dinner and check the homework because he doesn’t have that kind of help over there.

Maelle: In general, would you say that elementary school is where a program like this should start?

Mrs. Morales: Yes, I think it’s great to bridge all of the gaps, because this is where the big jumps happen in the curriculum. And teachers don’t have the time to sit with each student. So to close the gap, it’s necessary to be in a small group, especially for young students in elementary school.

Maelle: What do you think makes the iEducateUSA program’s results so effective?

Mrs. Morales: In the classroom where you have a mix of students who struggle with all different types of subjects, the tutors can spend individual time with the students to help them master all the subjects especially the ones they struggle with. It’s the key – having extra hands helping with instruction.

Maelle: Well thank you very much for sitting down with me to give us your feedback on the program!

Mrs. Morales: No really I am so thankful for iEducateUSA, as a teacher and as a parent, to have that help in the classroom is so valuable. It’s a great program!


Maelle also sat down with Consuelo’s son, Emmanuel Cabrera Morales, who is currently in the 6th grade. He was a student at Crockett Elementary, and was part of the iEDU program in 5th grade.

Maelle: What things did you need extra help on and you were glad that the tutors were there to help you? Did they ever do any fun activities to help you learn?

Emmanuel: Multiplication and division with fractions was really difficult for me. We did workshops and they would give us kits we could take home.

Maelle: What was the main thing that got you to really open up and get the help you needed from the tutors that you don’t have now?

Emmanuel: I really liked that the tutors in the program were teenagers; they’re closer to my age. And they really helped me a lot to bring my grades up. They know technology and they are in my generation.

Maelle: What about the iEducateUSA program did you like the most?

Emmanuel: I liked the science part a lot. We got to do a lot of science experiments with the tutors and activities around science.

Maelle: So science is something you’re interested in. Are you thinking about your future in science maybe one day as a career?

Emmanuel: I like robotics a lot. Having the tutors around kind of helped me decide what I wanted to do. In 1st grade through 4th grade I wanted to do marine biology. When the tutors came we did an activity with robotics and it made me change it to robotic engineering.

Maelle: Well thank you for talking with me about your experience. I think it’s really great that you already know what you want to do in life!