Impact Stories

Impact Story: Generous Donation Aims to Prevent “Summer Slide” for Midland Kids

    

It only takes one summer without classes and homework for kids to fall behind in their coursework. Now with the help of a donation from a local oil and gas company, Educate Midland and Midland ISD are hoping to prevent the so-called “Summer Slide” for more than 900 Midland students.

“Summer slide is real,” said Educate Midland Program Director Mike Mills. “If our kids take a break completely it may take them up to half a semester just to get back on track to where they were when summer ended.”

Why does it matter? Mills said without summer learning, your child will fall behind.

“If we can have more students coming back to school on track, it gives teachers the opportunity to take them down the education highway faster,” Mills said. “They will be able to continue what they did in the classroom while tracking their progress online.

A generous donation from XTO Energy will help. The oil and gas company is donating 49 laptops for students to use in summer programs. Many of these students do not have access to learning technology at home.

“The message is that we are interested in children’s success,” said XTO Energy Public and Government Affairs Manager Jerrod Jones. “Coming alongside educators and students is a priority for XTO’s community investment.”

The laptops will be equipped with the same reading and general curriculum software that allows teachers and students to track their progress in school. It means kids will be able to prevent “Summer Slide” in a meaningful way.

“The scholastic success of these kids can be improved by just giving them the tools during the summertime to not let their academics slide behind,” Jones said. “It feels good to be able to give back in the community of Midland.”

Six summer programs will receive laptops for students through the initiative–including the Midland YMCA, Midland Fair Havens, Casa de Amigos, Greater Ideal Church and Kaleidoscope Ministries.

The partnership between Midland ISD, Educate Midland and a local oil company continues to show what can be done when community partners share a common goal.

“Preventing Summer Slide doesn’t require hours, just 40-45 minutes of learning can make all the difference in the world,” Mills said. “Everyone is working together which is unprecedented, never been done before. We have an oil and gas company that understands the importance of providing this bridge of technology for kids.”

Impact Story: Fun Clubs

When Ben and Trisha Wall of Unlock Ministries became aware of and involved with the work of Educate Midland, they got to thinking; What more could they do to impact the students at MISD, specifically in the area of early literacy, an area in which they have both found a passion? With years of experience in child and young adult mentorship through Unlock Ministry’s Opp Camps, Ben and Trisha wanted to take their passion for mentorship and student development into the schools, and saw an opportunity to create a unique and purposeful program. They approached the school district with the idea for a pilot program.

With the support of MISD and community volunteers, they sought to develop a mentorship program within Midland’s elementary schools to aid in students’ continued growth outside of the classroom. This idea developed into Fun Clubs, a weekly lunch time program aimed at increasing literary fluency by reading to students as they eat. The results were almost instantly recognizable. Not only did students increase their fluency in reading, but they began to look forward to time spent eating, learning, and building relationships with their mentors.

From 17 volunteers serving 111 kids on 2 campuses, the program has grown to 50 volunteers serving 283 kids on 8 campuses every week of the school year! However, there is still work to be done and children to be served. With a program limited only by its number of volunteers, there is always an opportunity to get involved.

Please consider becoming a mentor with Fun Clubs. There are no prerequisites, only a desire to pour into our students and see them grow. Half an hour a week is all it takes to make a real and lasting investment!

To learn more about becoming a Fun Club Mentor for the coming school year, visit opcamp.com or contact:

Trisha Wall
Program Director
432-770-0321
trisha@opcamp.com

Impact Story: A Culture of Ownership

The Collective Impact process is all about a community of partners working together to achieve a goal no one of them could accomplish on their own. Our mission at Educate Midland is to help facilitate these interactions and serve as the backbone for progress as the community seeks to address deeply entrenched social issues. What follows is an example of what can be achieved through effective use of the Collective Impact Model.

Over the past few years, Midland Memorial Hospital has adopted a “culture-of-ownership” program as a new way of doing business. Developed by leadership consultant, Joe Tye of Values Coach, the program is part of staff development and helps align staff members’ personal values with those of the hospital. This approach has resulted in positive cultural changes and higher nurse retention rates.

When Joe Tye and staff from Midland Memorial Hospital presented to the Educate Midland Leadership Team about the success of the culture-of-ownership program at the hospital, participants got a glimpse of what a collective impact strategy might look like. What if a results-based strategy for cultural change and staff retention at the hospital could be leveraged to support the desired cultural change and teacher retention in the school district?

A need was evident. A proven idea had presented itself, and existing assets were available. This collaborative idea had come up before, but perhaps now that a wider spectrum of the entire community was connecting and focusing on education improvement, the time seemed right for community leaders to revisit this opportunity and to make this concept a reality. What might have started out as a conversation or idea between a small group of citizens resulted in community members, a school district, a hospital, a foundation, and a consulting agency, coming together so that school personnel could be trained on a proven strategy with the potential to shift the school culture. The Warren Charitable Foundation made it possible for diverse members of the community to be trained by Joe Tye and to introduce a culture-of-ownership program to Midland ISD personnel throughout the district. The outcome of this partnership continues to unfold.

This is an example of the collective impact process… an empowered community, makes connections, shares an agenda, aligns resources, leverages community assets, and monitors progress so that continuous improvement is more likely to occur over time.

Impact Story: Early Literacy

The ability to read and write is a foundational component to a child’s educational development and success over time. Educate Midland believes in highlighting and broadening the community efforts toward early literacy. This is why Educate Midland joined its community sponsors in encouraging greater participation in summer reading programs to prevent “summer slide” among school-aged children. Educate Midland joined forces with the United Way of Midland for a summer book drive that resulted in over 5,000 books collected for reading program partners and for distribution at Little Free Libraries around town.

The Midland County Library, Midland ISD, and the Texas Center for the Book also partnered up with Educate Midland to engage the community’s participation in the Letters About Literature contest, a state and national reading and writing contest by the Library of Congress for 4th-12th grade students.

Additionally, Midland Health and Educate Midland brought together a collective of medical and literacy education experts for the development of a local reading initiative for newborns and their families.

Aiding projects like these is a quick and impactful way to get you and the community around you invested in the betterment of our educational system. We are all stakeholders in our community’s future and it’s the children in our schools right now who will carry the torch of Midland’s growth and prosperity. In promoting literacy from an early age,  we are able to set a standard of learning for children to take with them throughout the rest of their lives.

Visit our Events page to join us in all of our initiatives!

Impact Story: Tutoring and Mentoring

ONE-TO-ONE

When one concerned mom wanted to do something to help struggling students achieve greater academic success, she turned to the community around her and to Educate Midland for help.  Immediately, she perceived a need for consistent, subject-specific tutoring and mentorship beyond the classroom. She realized her greatest resource was her church congregation, a group with open hearts and sharp minds. With volunteers on-board,  students in need began to be matched with tutors for after-school tutoring at the church right across the street from the school.

This concept has grown into the “One-to-One” Tutoring program, an after-school program involving the partnership between churches, neighboring school campuses, and community volunteers. After seeing the success of the program, Educate Midland is partnering to help leverage this initiative across the community to help ensure more students and volunteers are linked. Currently, four large churches are partnering with four large campuses in the coordination of volunteer, after-school tutoring in Midland, and with growing interest from churches, schools, businesses, and community-based organizations, many other partnerships are poised to be launched.

 

FUN CLUBS

Another Educate Midland partnering organization wanted to do something to assist elementary students at-risk of falling below grade level in reading, so they designed the “Fun Club.”

Through this initiative community, volunteers dedicate 30-minutes per week to read to and play a game with a small group of assigned students during their lunch period; A seemingly simple interaction with astounding results. The Fun Club program began with 17 volunteers serving 111 kids on 2 campuses. So far in 2017, the program has grown to 50 volunteers serving 283 kids on 8 campuses every week of the school year! Not only has regularly scheduled reading and fun helped increase the students’ academic performance, but a transformation has taken place between volunteer and student, from tutoring to mentoring, from reading to a relationship.

For more information about these and other Educate Midland Partnered Programs, and to get involved yourself, give us a call or fill out our contact form.

Impact Story: Education Impact Series

How do we facilitate conversation between education stakeholders around a common goal? What are some of the world’s best practices in education? Which education leaders will help build community awareness and motivation for educational excellence? These are some of the questions that led Educate Midland to present the Education Impact Series.

Sponsored by the Abell-Hanger Foundation, the series was created to bring in some of the world’s most prominent thought leaders in education and learning and serves as a catalyst to motivate and challenge our entire community to reach for excellence in education.

The first featured guest presenter was Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized expert on creativity and innovation. He is an acclaimed Ted Conference veteran and his Ted Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” has been viewed online nearly 50 million times!  Throughout the evening, Sir Ken used his wit, intelligence, experience and authoritative speaking style to weave an inspiring portrait of the importance of allowing children to find and thrive in their element.

Sir Ken’s lecture was preceded by several performances featuring area Students and an Education Resource Fair during which the community was invited to come and interact with a variety of local organizations representing the education system and supporting sectors. Hundreds of parents, students, educators, business leaders and community members attended and reported highly on the impact of the evening.

We hope to continue to facilitate events like this in order to empower students and educators and connect them with people and resources to help the education system in Midland achieve its full potential.

Visit our events page to see what other great programs are on the horizon.

Impact Story: 1 To 1 Focused Learning

Daniel could have become a statistic. Because he could not pass the standardized test required for graduation, he was on the verge of dropping out of school. He was a senior in high school, but could not get over that final hurdle.

For students like Daniel, tutoring was not an affordable option, and he had failed to meet the testing requirements for graduation on his own. Statistics show that 90% of all jobs nationwide demand a high school education.

One day, while sitting in a PTA meeting, Laurie Boldrick came to the realization that the parents present in that meeting did not have kids who needed extra support. What could be done to help those students whose parents were not involved and who were “falling through the cracks” so to speak?

Thus, 1 TO 1 Focused Learning was born. In the spring of 2014, the free tutoring program was launched to connect a group of volunteer tutors with students on a school campus.

She first approached her own church, First Presbyterian Church, which is across the street from Midland High School and has had an ongoing relationship with students and teachers at MHS. They jumped on board.

Mike Mills, program director of Educate Midland, points out that 1 TO 1 “puts our community in our school campuses. What begins as academic tutoring may well lead to a mentorship program.”

1 TO 1 Focused Learning is a volunteer-led initiative which currently serves students at Midland High School, Lee High School, Abell Junior High School, San Jacinto Middle School, and Greenwood Middle School. Each of these campuses is sponsored by a neighboring church.

Reed Townsend, a volunteer tutor from Stonegate Fellowship, put it best saying that “some kids come simply because they need a place where someone is interested in them. This may be the push they need to be successful in school.”

Because of an idea hatched in a meeting, Daniel did not become a drop out statistic. He came to 1 TO 1 and received free tutoring. Not only did his tutor work with him at the designated time, she met him other times to prepare him for the test. “When test results came in, we all anxiously awaited the news. Daniel returned to the tutoring center to share the news with his tutor before telling anyone else. That was amazing. Of all the people he could have shared the news with, he came back to tell his tutor, ‘I passed, I passed’,” Boldrick reported. “It was evident to me at that moment the new program could absolutely change this community.”

As 1 TO 1 continues to expand, the program is asking businesses and churches to consider adopting a campus.

“Imagine if every school was adopted by a church or corporate partnership,” Mike Mills pointed out. “Every student in need could be seen, and be heard. This is about the community being involved in education. It’s what collective impact is all about.”

Laurie is passionate about 1 TO 1. “It goes back to loving your neighbor. Most schools have a church nearby, and there are kids at every school who need love and support that is given freely.” Laurie’s vision is to see each local campus partnered with faith-based and/or corporate sponsors.

Daniel is only one of the many success stories that have come from 1 TO 1 Focused Learning. If your church or group would like to partner with a school through 1 TO 1 Focused Learning, please contact Laurie Boldrick at laurieboldrick@att.net.