ERCOT recognized as Top Community Partner to Taylor schools
TAYLOR, TEXAS, Aug. 28, 2012 -- The Taylor Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees at its Aug. 27 meeting recognized the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) as a Top Community Partner, one of three such awards given by the Texas Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE).
During the 2011-2012 school year, ERCOT employees volunteered more than 600 hours in three programs: MAPS (Mentor a Pasemann Student, which provides volunteers to help second-graders at Pasemann Elementary School with reading, spelling and vocabulary), MUNCH (a program that provides mentors for third- through 12th-graders during lunch hours), and BLADE (Beginners Learning Alternative Designs for Energy, an ERCOT employee initiative that encourages interest in electric and alternative energy professions). Four employees also volunteer directly with Duck University ACE, Taylor’s official after-school program.
"I am honored to accept the Top Community Partner award on behalf of ERCOT employees," said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett, who received the award from Taylor ISD Superintendent Jerry Vaughn. "These employees have made a real commitment to the Taylor community, and I am truly proud of their efforts to encourage a love of learning among these students."
The newest program, BLADE, garnered top honors this summer at the 38th annual IEEE solar day competition for high school students in Austin. During BLADE’s first year, ERCOT employees donated a van and helped students solicit sponsorships for supplies to convert it to a solar-powered mobile entertainment center. The award will help fund the group’s next project this upcoming school year. Taylor neighbors celebrated BLADE’s success at a community movie night this summer, with the feature presentation powered entirely by the team’s solar-powered entertainment system.
BLADE began this effort through Taylor ISD’s Duck University after-school program, which also received a Golden ACE award as one of the seven PRIME programs in the state that fulfilled grant requirements to ensure a high-quality, accessible program that encourages student commitment and success.
"ERCOT employees have supported our students and programs in numerous ways that make a difference," said JoAnn Barcak, project director for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC), which administers Taylor ISD’s Duck University ACE program. "Through BLADE, in particular, students have had hands-on learning opportunities and exposure to new ideas that we could never have provided to them without this support."
Barcak, who nominated ERCOT for the award, said that ERCOT volunteer hours represent about $20,000 in value for Taylor ISD.
ACE is administered by the Texas Education Agency and funded by the Texas 21st CCLC Program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.