February 3, 2018
Catalyst to College Vietnamese College Readiness Workshop
Catalyst to College successfully hosted its first Vietnamese college readiness workshop for Vietnamese-speaking parents and their children. The workshop, organized in collaboration with the Vietnamese-American Community Center at its facility in San José, provided its attendees an overview of the college application process, with a special focus on the various financial aid options. The Catalyst to College staff also led a discussion on how parents could effectively support their children from junior to senior years. Feedback on the event was overwhelmingly positive, with most parents feeling more confident about college preparation. A similar event was held on February 17 for Spanish-speaking parents and their children in collaboration with the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley at their Family College Success Center in San José.
Catalyst to College also hosted a Career Panel Workshop at Yerba Buena High School on February 13 featuring Yerba Buena High School alumni sharing their college-going journey and career choices with students. During the workshop, students were divided into smaller groups and took turns to speak with each of the panelists. The event was well-received by students and speakers alike. Students, in particular, found the sharing inspirational and useful as they began to make decisions on what to study in college. A similar event was held on February 16 at Independence High School for Catalyst to College students at that campus.
January 29, 2018
ALearn and Silicon Valley Education Foundation to Merge
Two of the largest non-profit organizations in the Bay Area who help students from underserved communities prepare for and be on track for college have agreed to merge. The merger of ALearn and Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) will be completed in February, 2018.
Both organizations have flagship summer programs that increase their students’ math skills, along with social-emotional learning and college readiness training. They hire teachers from the local schools and teaching assistants from colleges and provide professional development training for both. ALearn’s middle school program is MAP (Math Acceleration Program) and their high school program is Catalyst to High School, whereas SVEF’ program at both the middle school and high school level is called Elevate (Math). These programs will operate in parallel in 2018, but will merge into a single program in 2019.
In addition, ALearn’s Catalyst to College college-access program in East San Jose will continue. SVEF oversees the STEM Leadership Institute in the Santa Clara Unified School District and funded by the San Francisco 49ers; an innovation program called iHub which connects EdTech innovators with educators and an Advocacy outreach program, epitomized by the East Side Alliance, which seeks to rally the education community around a set of principles and tools to better address the learning needs of low-income underserved students. These programs will continue under the merged organization.
Both Boards of Directors voted unanimously to merge the two organizations, citing the importance of scale among non-profits. With the merger, the new organization will serve well over 5,000 students annually, making the combination the largest of its kind in the Bay Area. Both have experienced above average growth in students served in the past 3 years and look forward to making an even larger impact in the future.
This is a merger of equals, with both ALearn and SVEF managers having leadership positions in the new organization. Moreover, all current employees will have jobs in the merged organization. The Boards of Directors of both organizations will also merge.
Kathryn Hanson, Founder and CEO of ALearn said: “We’re thrilled to be able to create a new, third entity which takes the best of both agencies and serves students from low-income, underserved communities with an even more depth, quality and impact.”
With ALearn’s co-founder and CEO, Kathryn Hanson, planning on retiring this year and Muhammed Chaudry, CEO of SVEF stepping down several months ago, a search for a new CEO for the combined organization will be opened shortly. Until the merger is closed in February, Kathryn Hanson will continue to lead ALearn and Manny Barbara will continue as interim CEO of SVEF. Following the merger and until the new CEO is appointed, Manny Barbara will serve as Interim CEO of the combined organization.
Manny Barbara, Interim CEO of SVEF noted: “We are excited at the opportunity to impact more students through this merger of ALearn and SVEF. Together we can serve more students in a more efficient and effective manner. We are all looking forward to being part of this new dynamic organization combining the best of both programs.”
A branding company will be engaged to advise the board on naming and branding of the merged organization. Until then, the organization will utilize the combined name of “ALearn Silicon Valley Education Foundation.”