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AT&T Vital Link students explore engineering possibilities at Hargrove 

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Source: Press Register
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Dropout prevention is not only a school district problem; it's a COMMUNITY problem that requires the response of the WHOLE community.
August 2014


Welcome to the Mobile Area Education Foundation's August 2014 enewsletter. The beginning of the 2014-15 school year is days away, and at MAEF we are gearing up for an exciting and innovative year! We couldn't do any of our work without the assistance of our dedicated volunteers. Read on to see what programs we will be offering this fall and how you can get involved. At MAEF we bring the public into our public schools.


RAMP UP Extended Learning Experience to Expand to Mobile County Training School  

RAMP UP After seeing the success of the RAMP to Graduation Initiative at Pillans Middle School the program will expand to Mobile County Training School, beginning this Fall with the implementation of the Extended Learning Experience (ELE). The ELE helps students improve their academic performance by partnering with parents to create a roadmap to graduation. 

ELE is designed to support student achievement using individualized, intensive instruction supported by Compass Learning, including electronic diagnostic assessments for the delivery of a personalized learning experience.


There will be an Open House on Tuesday, September 9, beginning at 6 p.m., for any parents interested learning more or signing up their middle schoolers to be a part of the ELE program. 


The program will begin on Tuesday, September 23 at Mobile County Training School. ELE will continue to be offered at Pillans Middle School, and it is set to begin on Tuesday, September 30. 


Community volunteers will be needed throughout the first semester at both Mobile County Training and Pillans. If you are interested in being a career speaker, or would like to learn more about how to get involved with RAMP UP contact Hilder Wilson, at 476-0002 or


Reading Buddy Program in need of Volunteers beginning in September

The Reading Buddy program is preparing for another school year. Forty-nine of the 53 MCPSS elementary schools have expressed that there is a need for the Reading Buddy Program, and want MAEF trained volunteers this Fall. 


The Reading Buddy program is designed to help students improve their literacy skills by giving them the opportunity to read aloud to a buddy. MAEF pairs elementary school students with volunteers who provide weekly one-on-one reading opportunities. This past school year, MAEF Reading Buddies were in 26 of our public schools actively helping students get on track. 


Reading Buddies dedicate one hour a week of their time for at least four months to assisting a student in need. Buddies are trained by MAEF staff prior to being paired at a school that is convenient to them. 

Are you interested in becoming a Reading Buddy for the upcoming school year? Find out more information visit our website or contact Ilka Porter by email or at 476-0002. 


EYE Made a Splash At Summer Camps

This summer Engaging Youth through Engineering Elementary School Camps attracted over 150 rising fifth and sixth grade students, for camp "Water, Water Everywhere: EYE Gets Wet!" The week long engineering camps were held at Council Traditional School, Collins-Rhodes Elementary, Dodge Elementary, and Breitling Elementary in June and July. 


Students spent the week participating in lessons on land and water measurement, building using cubic centimeters, and experimenting with soil activity. They also learned about water filtration and built and tested their own water filters. Campers toured the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System and spent a day at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. 


Each week culminated with a camp celebration at the University of South Alabama College of Engineering, Shelby Hall, where they went through rounds of activities with current engineering students and staff before campers showed off their own work for parents, teachers, and special guests. 


In addition to MAEF and MCPSS, the camp was sponsored by Comcast Cable and the College of Engineering at the University of South Alabama. 

Another Successful Vital Link Summer Program 

AT&T Vital Link  

During the week of June 9, 70 rising ninth grade students from seven different middle schools interned in seven local area businesses.


The students interned in groups of 10, and were accompanied by a supervising teacher. Teachers were asked to make connections between their curriculum and skills used on the job, so that they may help the students understand the relevance of traditional classes such as language arts, math and science. A portion of their day was spent as a group, with discussion and journal writing to help the students make the link between curriculum and the workplace. As they enter high school this coming year, the students will use their hands-on experiences to help them select elective classes and make decisions regarding possible future careers.


The following schools were paired with the following businesses:


Burns Middle School                 Mobile Police Department

Clark-Shaw Magnet School        Hargrove Engineers

Hankins Middle School              Alabama Power

Lott Middle School                    Outokumpu Stainless USA

Mobile County Training School   AT&T

Phillips Preparatory School        City of Mobile

Pillans Middle School                Mobile Airport Authority


Some highlights of the week included Mobile County Training students riding in the AT&T bucket trucks; Burns Middle learned about ballistics and taking DNA samples at the Alabama Department of Forensics Mobile Laboratory; Pillans Middle worked with TSA at the Mobile Airport while Phillips Preparatory spent time learning the inner workings of our city with the Mayor's Office.


"One of the best Vital Link weeks I've experienced. Can't wait until next year!" Supervising Teacher


"We look forward to it every year!" Business Coordinator


Visit our website to learn more about Vital Link or contact Ilka Porter at

What to do?
Progress is being made, but there is much work to be done and we need YOU! The Mobile Area Education Foundation provides various volunteer opportunities to fit any schedule.


CLICK HERE or call today to make a difference in a child's academic journey.


Mobile Area Education Foundation

Office: 251.476.0002  |

The Mobile Area Education Foundation is a non-profit, local education foundation dedicated to creating higher expectations for our public schools and our community.