A•L•A 2013:
An Educator and Employer Perspective

“I want to thank whoever came up with A•L•A program…I went from college and then straight to the classroom; and I never got hands-on experience,” said Aimee Lafevers, McAllen ISD teacher, during the closing luncheon of the 2013 Academic Leadership Alliance (A•L•A) Summer Educator Externship.Aimee could not have better described the purpose of the A•L•A Program. A•L•A gives educators first-hand experience in the “real world” of work. Using their newly gained knowledge, educators like Aimee get to incorporate their experience into their classroom lessons, impacting hundreds of students. 

Ambiotec Environmental Consultants, Inc. is one of many ALA employer partners. Clint Roberts, Senior Environmental Scientist, says being able to participate in ALA allows us to show our educators the skills, work ethic, logic and reasoning that it takes to succeed in our field of work. I know our educator extern (Griselda Bochas, Brownsville ISD Chemistry Teacher) will take back what she learned and help develop those skills with her students. During her externship at Ambiotec, Griselda received hands-on experience doing soil sampling, working with hydrogen carbon vapors, and assisting in installing and removing water wells. I teach chemistry and my time with Ambiotec was a perfect match! I truly loved this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will be incorporating more problem-solving work into my lessons and challenge my students more to develop them into the workforce that our community needs, said Griselda.

The A•L•A collaborative began in 2003 with an agreement signed by the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, Region One Education Service Center, and RGV LEAD. In Summer 2013, the partnership also include the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, Brownsville Economic Development Council, Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce, Harlingen Economic Development Corporation, Mission Chamber of Commerce, Mission Economic Development Corporation, Brownsville ISD, Edinburg CISD, Harlingen CISD, La Joya ISD, La Villa ISD, McAllen ISD, Mission CISD, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, and Sharyland ISD. According to Dr. Gloria J. Crum, A•L•A Regional Coordinator, A•L•A is a web of connections . . . educators and employers working together to make a difference for our students and future workforce. A total of 39 employers and 48 teachers and counselors celebrated the conclusion of another successful experience in summer 2013. One educator will work with over a hundred students in the school year following the experience; so A•L•A’s impact is exponential. All A•L•A partners have committed to working together to improve the skills of the Rio Grande Valley’s workforce.

RGV LEAD - Linking Economic & Academic Development © 2013