Employers for Education Excellence
The Employers for Education Excellence (EEE) award was established in 2007 by the Texas Legislature. Its purpose is to recognize Texas employers that encourage and support employees who actively participate in school activities and promote volunteerism in the public schools.
The State Board of Education (SBOE) will select employers that meet the criteria for bronze, silver, or gold levels of recognition. The employer selected for an award will receive a certificate that includes their level of recognition. Certificates will be mailed to each awardee and the recognition is valid for three years.
Any Texas employer is eligible to win the award, including private companies, nonprofit organizations, and state, local, federal, and educational entities.
Three Levels of Recognition
Employers are eligible to receive one of three levels: Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award. Eligibility for recognition is based upon the business meeting the following criteria for any of the three levels:
Bronze-level award recognizes an employer that implements a policy to encourage and support employees who attend parent-teacher conferences during regular work hours.
- Has a policy or procedure that allows employees to attend parent-teacher conferences during regular work hours.
- Maintains records that show evidence that employees attended parent-teacher conferences, or provides a signed letter from the human resources director or president/chief executive officer confirming that employees may attend parent-teacher conferences during business hours.
Silver-level award recognizes an employer that meets the requirements of bronze, and implements a policy to encourage and support employees who volunteer in school activities.
- Has a policy or procedure which tracks employees' volunteer hours. Maintains records that show evidence that employees attended parent-teacher conferences or took part in school volunteer activities, or provides a signed letter from a supervisor confirming this participation.
- At least 1% of the employer's workforce with school-age children attends parent-teacher conferences or takes part in volunteer activities on an annual basis.
Gold-level award recognizes an employer that meets the requirements of silver, and implements a policy to encourage and support employees who participate in student mentoring programs in schools.
- Has a policy or procedure that allows employees with school-age children to attend parent-teacher conferences, take part in school activities, or participate in student mentoring activities during regular work hours.
- Establishes a mentoring program in partnership with a local school or district for employees to meet and mentor students with the goal of promoting academic success and social interaction. Structured mentoring activities may include traditional one-to-one, group, team, or online mentoring and should be built around regular, frequent contact.
- Has a designated employee who oversees internal coordination of the mentoring program. Has a policy or some procedure which tracks employees' volunteer hours and mentoring activities.
- Maintains records that show evidence that employees attended parent-teacher conferences, took part in school volunteer activities , or participated in student mentoring activities, or provide a signed letter from a supervisor confirming the participation.
- At least 1% of the employer's workforce participates in mentoring activities for a minimum of one year (or school year) commitment.
Nominations are accepted each year. The commissioner of education or his designee reviews the nominations and makes recommendations for the award recipients. The recommendations are reviewed by the chair of the State Board of Education.
To nominate an employer, completely fill out the Employers for Education Excellence application form. Include the level of recognition (bronze, silver, or gold) that best fits the employer's qualifications based on the criteria mentioned above.
Application for this award is on-going until January 10, 2020 at 5 p.m. (Central). To submit, please use the link for the application form above. Recipients of this award are notified as the information becomes available. They are being recognized with a plaque and a resolution during a State Board of Education meeting in Austin, TX in January or in April. Winners need not be present to receive the award but are encouraged to come. If unable to attend, the plaque and resolution are mailed directly to the employers or to their partner school or district.
2018 Gold Award goes to BLGY Architecture
From left to right: Cathy Jones, Exec. Director, Austin ISD Partners in Education; Sita Lakshminarayan, Vice-Pres., BLGY Architecture; Benny Hawkins, President, CEO, BLGY Architecture; and his wife, Beatrice Hawkins; Cindy Hagler, Controller, BLGY Architecture; Mark Brown, Vice-Pres., BLGY Architecture; and Caroline Newman-Phillips, Coordinator, Austin Education Fund
The State Board of Education presented the Employers for Education Excellence Award to BLGY Architecture of Austin for its extensive support of Round Rock and Austin schools and teachers.
BLGY actively encourages employees to attend parent-teacher conferences, participate in school activities, and mentor students. On average, 30 percent of the firm’s employees mentor students or volunteer in the schools.
“BLGY Architecture is a great business partner for Central Texas schools. Its leaders look for opportunities to bring mentors and business training into schools and then work to sustain the programs and partnerships. The State Board of Education is pleased to award this outstanding company with the 2018 gold-level Employers for Education Excellence Award,” said Donna Bahorich, board chair.
Benny L. Hawkins, BLGY’s president and chief executive officer, sets the tone for this volunteer effort. He regularly volunteers his time to mentor elementary, middle, and high school students.
While BLGY employees volunteer with several school districts, the firm has a long-standing mentoring partnership with the Round Rock Independent School District. The firm works with Westwood High School to provide on-campus and off-campus mentoring activities. It hosts a workshop called “Soft Skills for College and Career Readiness” at the Ambassador Academy at Westwood High. The workshop teaches students about critical thinking and collaboration, listening, punctuality and respect.
The company annually allows two to three Westwood High students to shadow employees, so they learn about topics such as architectural design, construction documents, market dynamics, contracts, and client expectations.
At Lanier High School in the Austin Independent School District, BLGY and one of its Vice-Presidents, Sita Lakshminarayan, together with industry partners are working on a ground-breaking pilot program called LEED Prep: Green Building Lessons for a Sustainable Future. The course is going to teach students about green building principles and requirements of the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program.
BLGY each year hosts about two dozen high school students as its guests at the “Building Tomorrow’s Leaders” luncheon presented by Austin Community College’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies (CPPPS). During the luncheon and a related reception, the students have the opportunity to network with local professionals. The company also hosts about 70 students each year at CPPPS’s Constitution Debate Day where students debate the meaning and merit of a constitutional issue.
BLGY’s mentoring work extends beyond students. It provides teacher externships in which teachers get hands-on experience about architecture and engineering, including considerable applications of mathematics, that can be incorporated into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
Past EEE Winners
The following links will take you to archived press releases announcing EEE winners: