Nov. 21, 2008
14 Texas businesses, organizations honored for encouraging employees to volunteer in public schools
AUSTIN – The State Board of Education Friday honored 14 Texas businesses, organizations and governmental entities for encouraging employees to volunteer in the state’s 8,000-plus public schools.
This is the first year for the Employers for Education Excellence (EEE) Award, which was created by the Legislature in the 2007 session. Designed to promote more community involvement in the public schools, the award recognizes employers who implement policies that encourage employee involvement in school activities.
"This award is just one way of saying thank you to companies and organizations who have demonstrated – in a very tangible way -- a strong commitment to public education," said Don McLeroy, chair of the State Board of Education. "Educating the next generation of leaders is an enormous undertaking, and we all share some responsibility for contributing to this important effort. These leaders have stepped up to the challenge and I am proud that the board is honoring them for their support."
The award is open to any employer in the state, including private businesses or corporations, nonprofit organizations, state and government agencies, and educational entities that have at least one employee.
The EEE Awards are given in three categories – Gold, Silver and Bronze. Winners in the Gold Award category have implemented policies that encourage and support employees who attend parent-teacher conferences, who implement policies to encourage employees to volunteer in school activities, and who support employees who participate in student mentoring programs.
The 2008 Gold Awardcompanies are:
Capital Group Companies/American Funds, San Antonio. A total of 1,600 employees have volunteered more than 40,000 hours over 11 years at Sul Ross Middle School in the Northside Independent School District. Employees have mentored students, participated in intramural sports and worked with a scholars program and Junior Achievement.
City of Austin. Working with Austin ISD, employees are allowed up to two hours of administrative leave per week to mentor and tutor students. About 3 percent of the city’s more than 14,000 employees participated in the program in 2007-2008.
CompassLearning, Austin. The company provides time off to employees for volunteer and parent involvement in schools and day care centers. Employees also mentor students, participate in job shadowing and support Communities in Schools, a dropout prevention program.
English + Associates Architects, Inc., Houston. The company has a written policy allowing employees paid time off to attend parent-teacher conferences, volunteer in school activities and participate in student mentoring. A total of 27 percent of employees have participated in the effort.
ExxonMobil, Houston. The company is a major supporter of Junior Achievement, an organization that encourages students to stay in school and teaches them about business and economics. More than 2 percent of the company’s 13,000 employees participate in Junior Achievement or one of the other ExxonMobil-sponsored educational support programs.
Federal Reserve Bank, Houston. For almost 20 years, the bank has been a business/school partner with Sherman Elementary School in Houston ISD. Forty-four percent of the bank staff volunteered as tutors, pen pals and story tellers during the 2007-2008 school year.
IBM, Austin. The company encourages employees to be active in schools their children attend and to serve as volunteers. IBM sponsors MentorPlace, a specially-designed website where employees can mentor high school students online.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Houston. More than 20 percent of employees participate in Junior Achievement. Staff members invite students from a Houston high school to the office for a day of mentoring and other employees participate in community service projects that benefit youth and education.
Renaissance Worthington Hotel, Fort Worth. At the hotel, students work alongside employees on the job. Professionals also participate in a pen pal email program and other educational support activities. A total of 17 percent of the hotel’s employees participate in various school activities.
Sprint, Fort Worth. Company policy allows flextime for employees to attend parent-teacher conferences and volunteer activities. A volunteer paid time off pilot project is under way. Employees give time to Big Brother Big Sisters and work to ensure that students get family support in their studies.
Tara Wilson Events, Fort Worth. Company employees sponsor round table discussions with students about career paths and the importance of staying in school. Students are also taken on tours of companies and organizations that offer professional opportunities.
Winners in the Silver category have implemented policies that support employees who attend parent-teacher conferences and who want to volunteer in school activities.
The 2008 Silver Award organizations are:
National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Irving. NSHMBA supports activities that encourage students to enroll in college. The organization sponsors an annual College Summit, which brings together students and parents and provides information about a college education.
Resources for Learning, Austin. The company encourages employees to volunteer in educational efforts, including the Partners in Literature Program, a pilot program that promotes reading proficiency. More than a third of the company’s staff has volunteered with the program.
Winners in the Bronze category have policies that enable employees to attend parent-teacher conferences.
The 2008 Bronze Award winner is:
Childress Regional Medical Center, Childress. At the medical center, supervisors adjust work schedules to accommodate school activities and employees are not required to use vacation time. Employees also donate time to a reading improvement program at Childress Elementary School.
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