Archive for October, 2010

East Austin College Prep Academy is enrolling students again!

With a strong start to the 2010-2011 school year that included a new superintendent and a $2.5 million investment by the Department of Education, the Academy is once again accepting enrollment applications for 6th and 7th grade students.

The East Austin College Prep Academy does not charge tuition and is open to any Austin 6th or 7th grader who is interested in receiving an exceptional education and being prepared to attend college. Some of the unique benefits to students include:

  • Teachers on call for students and parents until 9pm at night and on weekends.
  • Students will graduate more academically advanced and prepared for high school and college.
  • Free afterschool programs on campus each night.
  • Small student-to-teacher ratio with individualized student and parent attention.
  • Bilingual program for Spanish-speaking students.
  • Immediate and personalized intervention for struggling students.
  • Brand new school facilities with state-of-the-art classrooms, including fully equipped technology lab.
  • A variety of clubs, arts programs, sports and extracurricular activities, including our own Boys & Girls Club on campus.
  • An award-winning curriculum based on the YES Academy Prep model.
  • A recent $2.5 million Department of Education grant that will bring additional academic support to students and extended afterschool opportunities.

To learn more, please contact the East Austin College Prep Academy at 512-287-5000.

To fill out an application, please visit

October 31, 2010 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

Investing in a “Community Renaissance”

JPMorgan Chase executives, representing various practices from their Austin offices, visited the Southwest Key Programs to tour El Centro de Familia and to present a $100,000 check in support of the Children’s Promise initiative. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation, recognizing the potential impact of the Children’s Promise, made a gift to invest in a community renaissance in the Govalle/Johnston Terrace neighborhood in East Austin.

Among the visitors were Cindy Matula, President of the Austin Region; Ki Allen, Division Manager of the Government, Not for Profit and Healthcare practice; Steve Wacker, Market Manager for Retail business in Central Texas; John Minter the Manager and Managing Director for JPMorgan Private Wealth Management; David Saling, Sr. Banker with Community Development Real Estate lending; Chris Hughes, Managing Director of JPMorgan Private Wealth Management; Carol Olson, Vice President with JPMorgan Private Banking; and Yobany Mayen, Assistant Vice President, Commercial Banking.

“We have worked with JPMorgan Chase for many, many years; and their support is very important to us – it is a relationship” Dr. Juan Sanchez commented. “This money helps to fund our school, the College Prep Academy, and contributes to our social enterprise programs. This helps us create and develop jobs for people in East Austin.”

The Children’s Promise initiative includes programming for youth and adult education, family and community engagement opportunities, job training and social enterprise. One piece of the Children’s Promise is The East Austin College Prep Academy, an innovative tuition-free charter school in East Austin, the first middle school in the Govalle/Johnston Terrace neighborhood in 20 years.

– Narissa Johnson
Ext. Comm Manager, Southwest Key

October 28, 2010 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Fore! Looking Ahead for the Kids of East Austin

On Thursday, October 14, the 6th Annual Southwest Key Fore the Kids Golf Classic hosted almost 90 golfers in a shotgun start tournament at Grey Rock Golf Club in South Austin. There was a spectacular display of sport as large corporations and small business owners gathered in support of the Southwest Key Programs mission of opening doors to opportunity so young people can achieve their dreams.  The event raised $40,000 to support the East Austin College Preparatory Academy, part of the East Austin Children’s Promise Initiative.

After a casual lunch and warm up for the players, the afternoon started with a parade of golf carts heading off to their starting positions. A spirited competition took place, both for pride and prize. The winner of the Longest Drive competition on hole 7 was Kevin Ortiz of East Seventh Street’s Nuevo Leon Mexican Restaurant, and Liberty Mutual’s Mykael Martinez took home the prize for landing his tee shot closest to the pin on hole 13. The Chevron team won the first place prize with a score of 56 on a par 72 course.  Arthur J. Gallagher Team 2 placed second with a combined score of 57 and the team from Oce North America took third place with a combined score of 58.

As the golf tournament ended, the dinner and live auction began.  To kick off the dinner, Jimmy Arispe, the East Austin College Prep Academy’s new superintendent, gave a speech thanking everyone for their support of the Golf Classic and Southwest Key and then handed the mic over to Victoria Gutierrez, the evening’s auctioneer. This year’s big sellers in the auction were a San Antonio road trip package, with 6 tickets to see the Spurs face off against the Houston Rockets, and the Grey Rock Experience Package which included a round of golf and lunch for four at Grey Rock Golf Club.

The Fore the Kids Golf Classic accomplished many great things this year, including fostering community relations and raising nearly $40,000 to support the East Austin Children’s Promise Initiative and the East Austin College Preparatory Academy.  A special thanks goes out to all who volunteered and participated in making this a successful event and to our wonderful sponsors. Check out all the photos of Fore to Kids 2010.

Signature Sponsors
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Valedictorian Sponsors
Austin Evergreen Realty
Insurance One

Salutatorian Sponsor
Satellite Tracking of People LLC

Honor Roll Sponsors
Capital One Bank
Humana  Insurance
Gillesby Marks Leasing
Juan Sanchez
The Law Offices of Yvonnilda Muniz
Bobby Castle Construction
Cornell, Smith, and Mierl, Attorneys at Law
Journeyman Construction Co.
Oce North America
Padgett Stratemann & Co. LLP
Philadelphia Insurance
Nuevo Leon Mexican Restaurant
Piper Jaffray & Co.

– Narissa Johnson
Ext. Comm Manager, Southwest Key

October 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

East Austin College Prep Academy Welcomes a New Superintendent!

This month, the East Austin College Prep Academy (Academy), started its second school year with the arrival of a new superintendent, Jimmy Arispe.  The Academy, the first middle school in the Govalle/Johnston Terrace neighborhood in over 20 years, is an innovative, tuition-free charter school open to all 6th and 7th graders in East Austin.

Mr. Arispe joins the school amid rapid growth for the Academy including almost 200 students; a large financial investment made by a Department of Education grant of $2.5 million; and acknowledgement from the Promise Neighborhood Initiative as one of the top programs with a score of 90 out of 100 – the only Austin initiative to receive a score above 80.

“I look forward to leading the Academy and working with these parents, teachers and staff who are all dedicated to the future of our children,” stated Mr. Arispe. “I believe all of our children deserve to be educated in environments that cultivate a culture with the expectation of them attending and succeeding in college; they deserve to be surrounded by adults who expect nothing less than a college education for them.”

As part of the Children’s Promise, made to the community in 2007, the Academy provides a quality education to its students and prepares them for college. This model includes an extended school day, summer programming, teachers on-call to answer students’ questions until 9 pm, a parent academy, structured community service learning, and 90-minute math and English language arts classes.

Jimmy Arispe has more than 16 years experience in education as an elementary school teacher, middle school assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent. Most recently, for the last five years, Mr. Arispe served as the President of the National Coalition for Exemplary Schools working with students, teachers, and administrators across the country.

“We are lucky to have him here, I look forward to the energy and vision Mr. Arispe brings to the school. His experience will help the students here have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams,” commented Dr. Juan Sanchez, CEO of Southwest Key Programs.

– Narissa Johnson
Ext. Communications Manager, Southwest Key

October 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm 1 comment

$2.5M Grant To Fulfill Promise to East Austin

The Department of Education has made a $2.5M investment in the work being done to fulfill the Children’s Promise in East Austin.

The East Austin College Prep Academy (Academy), a charter school in the Govalle/Johnston Terrace neighborhood serving East Austin families, was awarded a $2.5 million DREAM-Link (Dedicating Resources for an Enrichment and Academic Mission) Initiative grant. The Department of Education funding will provide $500,000 per year, during the course of the next five years, with the Academy committing to contribute more than $400,000 in funds to the DREAM-Link Initiative project.

“We are very excited about being a part of the DREAM-Link Initiative! The East Austin College Prep Academy, we believe, will be the model middle school that prepares students for success, not only in their high school and college education, but in their contributions to our community as well,” stated Marisol Rocha, the principal. “This funding is definitely a vote of confidence…”

More of the press release.

– Narissa Johnson
Ext. Communications Manager, Southwest Key

October 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

Children Living in Poverty Need Community-based Solutions

Last week we learned the poverty rates of Austin residents, and it’s not pretty. According to the census’ American Community Survey, 18.4% of all Austinites were living in poverty last year, an increase in more than a full percentage point from 2008. Of this population, 27% of our children under the age of 18 and 31.5% of children younger than 5 lived in poverty in 2009 – this is unacceptable!

Continue Reading October 4, 2010 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

Open Letter to the Community: Our Promise

While we are disappointed to not receive Promise Neighborhoods program funding, the East Austin Children’s Promise is by no means a new initiative for us. We are all committed to working together to transform this community and will continue our work.

Continue Reading October 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

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