News Release: A+ and University Federal Credit Unions Join Forces to Transform Middle Schools in Central Texas

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release                                                                                                               
Contact: Khotan Shahbazi-Harmon,
Director of Communications, E3 Alliance
Tel: (512) 223-7244, Mobile: (512) 968-3023
kharmon@e3alliance.org

Austin, Texas (August 5, 2015) – In Central Texas only 6 of 10 students graduate high school ready for college and careers. According to ACT, middle school is the critical time in a student’s education for building the critical thinking skills to be college ready, and far too often middle schools are not meeting that challenge. An unprecedented major investment by two leading financial institutions in Central Texas is poised to make a significant change in the lives of students by transforming teaching and learning in middle schools.  A+ Federal Credit Union (A+FCU), and University Federal Credit Union (UFCU) have teamed up through a generous investment of half a million dollars to RAISEup Texas, a program of E3 Alliance, as it scales up its nationally recognized model in Central Texas.

Kerry Parker, CEO of A+ Federal Credit Union, remarked, “A+FCU is honored to support an education model that helps children of all abilities to learn more effectively and achieve academically. The improved performance of students that use the RAISEup Texas program can create a tremendously positive, long term effect on our community and aligns with the values of A+FCU and UFCU’s commitment to the future and success of our kids.”

We at UFCU are proud to partner with A+, E3 Alliance and our school districts to transform teaching and learning in our middle schools,” said Tony Budet, president/CEO of University Federal Credit Union (UFCU).  “We are investing in RAISEup Texas because it has a proven track-record of success with a great team leading it, and it is the right idea at the right time for the success of our kids and our schools.

RAISEup Texas is a targeted, whole-school approach to improving student achievement in middle school.  Every teacher in every subject uses research-validated tools to help all students “learn how to learn” and think critically to meet the high standards for college- and career-readiness.  Six Central Texas middle schools have already implemented the model with great success: In every grade over multiple years, struggling learners in  RAISEup Texas schools gained more than 10 times as many points on pre- versus post-tests than their nationally-normed peers.  Sixteen Central Texas middle schools are now joining the expansion project to take these compelling results to scale.

Matt Pope, former principal of an award-winning RAISEup Texas middle school in Hays CISD, and the current senior program director for the expansion project in Central Texas, thinks the partnership with A+ and UFCU sends the right message to the community.

We are thrilled by the generosity of A+ and UFCU’s investment in RAISEup Texas and the future of our children in Central Texas. The trust they have placed in us and our work is incredibly powerful for the community to see – that businesses care.  They care about our schools, our kids and their future,” said Pope.

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz has a deep appreciation for the work and impact of RAISEup Texas.

“Middle school can be one of the most challenging periods in a student’s personal and educational development. With AISD’s tightly constrained budget realities, we can only afford to invest in programs with proven success,” said Cruz. “We are investing in RAISEup Texas for our target middle schools because we know it works—for students and for schools.”

AISD is one of six districts in the first expansion cohort that are matching their own district funds with those of private investors.

Data from the project’s external evaluator, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, and the Texas Education Agency’s Closing Performance Gaps accountability indicator, support that students who attend RAISEup Texas schools are benefiting.

Twenty-eight thousand middle school students will be directly impacted by the expansion project.        E3 Alliance continues to solicit the generous support of individual donors and private and community investment to help transform middle school teaching and learning across the region and state.

For more information or to invest in RAISEup Texas visit: http://raiseuptexas.org/.

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A+ Federal Credit Union was founded in 1949 by 50 Austin-area teachers. Over 65 years later, A+FCU has 120,000 members that include not only educators, students, and their families, but other members of the community as well, over $1 billion in assets and nearly 20 branches. A+FCU continues to have close relationships with local schools and provides free financial education curricula for educators, engaging financial education presentations for students, real-life money management simulations for youth, high school branch locations and unique financial products designed for teachers. Learn more at aplusfcu.org.

University Federal Credit Union (UFCU), serving members for nearly 80 years, was chartered in 1936 and has grown into the largest credit union in Central Texas, serving more than 200 universities, associations and employers . UFCU has total assets of $1.8 billion and 200,000 members in the Austin area and in Galveston.

Austin Independent School District educates approximately 85,000 students and embraces 129 diverse school communities in one of the fastest-growing, ever-changing metroplexes in the country. In partnership with parents and our community, AISD’s mission is to provide a comprehensive educational experience that is high quality, challenging and inspires all students to make a positive contribution to society. We partner with world-class universities, innovative businesses and nonprofit organizations and engaged community leaders to prepare our students for college, career and life.

Education Equals Economics (E3 Alliance)is a regional, data-driven, education collaborative based in Austin, Texas. We are leading the effort to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country to drive economic prosperity for Central Texas. We do this by using objective data and focused community collaboration to align our education systems so that all students can succeed. Together with the Central Texas community, we have created The Blueprint for Educational Change, our region’s strategic plan to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country.