Preschool Years


AmGradIcon-ResourcesBuilding a foundation for school success starts with the earliest days of life. Early childhood education is a major focus of PBS so we have lots of resources to share. KLRU also has deep connections with the Central Texas early childhood educational community.

If you are looking for quality early childhood programs for your child, or to help you raise your child or someone else’s, we suggest you call United Way’s 211 telephone number. They receive current information on open slots in high-quality child care programs, home visiting programs, and parent/family workshops.  They can also provide information on how to get support for more basic life needs, such as:

  • hunger
  • curious georgehomelessness
  • medical care
  • mental health care
  • vision/hearing

This tool provides ideas for building children’s readiness for Kindergarten:

E3 School Readiness Parent Guide 

Are you a parent, teacher, or educator looking for fun, safe, high-quality educational media for kids?  KLRU Kids has games, videos and much, much more. 

For more fun and learning with young children, we suggest the following free/low-cost options:

smart screen time

Watch videos about work being done locally in early childhood education.

Ways Adults Can Help


Take the next step, get involved!  Adults make a world of difference to a child’s educational achievement. Having adults who are both caring and consistent can help keep youth on the path to graduation. Be a mentor!

Programs that have a mentoring component:

enrollmentPaid Opportunities
Americorps– engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. (MS/HS)
Breakthrough-provides out-of-school learning and academic case management for middle school-college students
CARY– (Council on At Risk Youth)- partners with school districts, youth service agencies, universities and juvenile justice agencies toward achievement of the objectives of prevention of youth violence, drug abuse and delinquency. (MS/HS)
College Forward-builds trust, bolster motivation, and deliver personalized strategies that help each student get into and complete college. For 11th grade-college students.

alexander-christouVolunteer Opportunities
ACE (Architecture. Construction. Engineering)-Students in the ACE program typically work closely with their mentors on projects that provide hands-on experience in solving the types of design, engineering and construction challenges industry professionals confront every day. (HS)
Austin Partners in Education– APIE mentors work one-on-one and help students improve their social and study skills, strengthen their communication skills, and build self-confidence (any grade within Austin ISD). 
Big Brother, Big Sister– nurture children and strengthen communities through an array of programs such as the Community Based Program, Juvenile Justice Initiative, School-to-Community Program, Military Mentoring and Program Building Our Future – The Bennett-Rathgeber Mentoring Center. (all ages) 
Court Appointed Special Advocates CASA– volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. (all ages)
E4 Youth– helps bridge the gap between underserved youth and creative commercial arts careers; Identify, nurture, and promote talent through training, mentoring and internships. (MS/HS)
Explore Austin– combines the benefits of mentoring and outdoor adventure in a six-year program for underserved youth (6th-12th grade).
ICUSP– to promote academic achievement and child well-being in central Texas by bringing together resources from the local community, the University of Texas, and local schools.  (MS/HS)
OutYouth– promotes the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well being of sexual and gender minority youth so that they can openly and safely explore and affirm their identities. (MS/HS)
Project Males– (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success) This project connects undergraduate students from the University of Texas at Austin with Austin-area high school males. (HS)
Southwest Key Programs– connects adults with youth who are involved or at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system. (10-17 yrs).
VICTORY– (Volunteers In Communities Tutoring Our Responsible Youth) Offers free tutoring to students at designated branches of the Austin Public Library. Students are matched on a 1:1 basis with volunteers from the greater Austin community (1st-12th grade).  
YES (Youth Empowerment & Success) Mentoring-Partnerships for Children– aimed at improving youth’s self-esteem and enhancing their ability to make responsible decisions through training, mentoring and financial support. (MS/HS) 
Youth Advocacy– a service-minded group of people focused on intervention services and substance abuse prevention with a primary focus on children and their families in urban and low-income areas (10-14 yrs of age and reside in or go to school in 78744).

Programs with a particular focus on either boys or girls: 

COBRA- (Community of Brothers in Revolutionary Alliance) is a mentoring program for high school boys (9th -12th grade).
Communities In Schools: XY-ZONE Program
– supports and guides adolescent males as they journey into manhood.  It is a leadership development and peer support program that develops productive life skills in high school-age, at-risk males.
Project MALES– (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success) This project connects undergraduate students from the University of Texas at Austin with Austin-area high school males.
100 Black Men of Austin –  to improve the quality of life and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans. (all ages) 

Girls:Explorer DC 6
Ann Richards School– an all-girls public school for the Austin Independent School District (6th-12th grade). 
Con Mi Madre-Young Latinas and their mothers enroll and are offered an array of services including: mother-daughter conferences, college visits, campus meetings, community service activities, counseling, and mentoring throughout the year (6th- 12th grade).
GENAustin to support and guide girls to make wise choices as they navigate the unique pressures of girlhood (3rd-12th grade).
Girl Start– Provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs (K-12 girls).
Latinitas– empower Latina youth through media and technology (12-17 yrs).
VOICES-(Verbally Outspoken Individuals Creating Empowered Sisters) is an academic leadership program for high school girls (9th-12th grade).

Watch videos about the difference adult participation can make.

For more information about mentoring programs in Central Texas, search the Youth Services Mapping database.



Pathways to Success

The road to success is paved differently for everyone but thankfully, Central Texas offers many different pathways and supports toward high school graduation and beyond.

Local programs that work directly with educators, families and youth to support youth, strengthen families, and improve schools: 

  • busAfrican American Youth Harvest Foundation offers programs and scholarships for African American youth and support for their families (K-12)
  • AchieveTexas – from the Texas Education Agency, guidance for 16 different career pathways (HS)
  • Austin Justice Coalition offers Saturday Schools for HS-age African-American Youth
  • Austin Voices for Education & Youth building community, family and youth leaders in schools, providing families additional supports to keep kids in school and healthy (MS/HS)
  • AVANCE – Austin  training and support for Spanish-speaking families with young child (ages 2-4)
  • AVID prepares students for college starting in their MS/HS courses
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas connects youth with adult mentors and supports the pairs in their experiences (ES/MS/HS)
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area offers affordable/free after-school and summer programs that focus on academic success, physical health, developing community, and providing service to others (ES/MS/HS)
  • Breakthrough Austin finds youth in 6th grade and supports them through entrance into college (MS/HS)
  • CARY helping youth who have problems with discipline/attendance get back on track (MS/HS)
  • Changing Expectations supports schools, parents, and youth with programs and information about Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs (K-12)
  • Claim Your Destiny  – workshop series for youth to develop their leadership skills and college readiness (HS)
  • College Forward pairs HS students with young adults who can support them through one year of college-ready study
  • Communities in Schools of Central Texas supporting youth and their families in low-income communities and schools (PreK-12)
  • Con Mi Madre uses the power of the Latina mother-daughter bond to help see girls through HS and college graduation (6th grade – college)
  • Creative Action supporting academic learning through arts, creativity and socioemotional programs in schools, in after-school programs, and in community events (PreK-12)
  • E3 Alliance RAISEup Texas – Helping middle schools in Central Texas advance student learning for all, but especially for students who struggle to learn key skills. (MS)
  • Financial Aid Saturdays offered by the Austin Chamber of Commerce help HS seniors and their families complete the necessary paperwork for financial assistance from the government and/or the colleges they hope to attend.
  • Foundation Communities affordable housing communities with afterschool programs and additional supports (PreK-12)
  • ICUSP (Institute for Community, University and School Partnerships) offers mentoring programs for youth of color (MS/HS)
  • Latinitas helps Latina girls and teens to develop their voices in journalism, media production, and life through after-school and summer programs (ages 11 and up)
  • MindPop helping schools use creative teaching and learning as a way to build student success (PreK-12)
  • Muslim Youth of North America – Austin Chapter Young Muslim adults supporting Muslim teens as they navigate school and society (HS) 
  • No Place for Hate curriculum and support for schools to improve student harmony and decrease prejudice and bullying (PreK-HS)
  • 100 Black Men of Austin mentors African-American young men and offers workshops and additional resources for the whole family (MS/HS)
  • Project Males of the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is a mentoring program for Latino males and males of color that uses its research to improve graduation rates for males of color for both high school and college (PK-college)
  • Skillpoint Alliance – STEM Innovation Camps for youth ages 3-14, and Velocity Prep Summer Programs that offer HS youth the chance to solve community problems using cutting-edge technology and smart strategies. (PreK-12)
  • University Leadership Initiative is led by undocumented students at local colleges and universities. They share current information with undocumented high school students about their post-graduation options and how to prepare for college life. (HS)
  • Upward Bound at Texas State University works with local HS students from low-income and first generation HS families to develop their skills and confidence to succeed in college
  • YMCA offers free and low-cost programs for kids and families ages 2 and up, including preschool readiness, after-school care through 5th grade, and programs for teens. Contact your local YMCA to see what programs they offer (ages 2-adult).

Alternative pathways to a high school diploma:ExcelCenterGrad



Programs with a focus on health and well-being for youth and their families:

  • BRAIN DRAIN for webCaritas fights poverty, hunger, and homelessness
  • Foundation Communities offers affordable housing and additional family services
  • Life Works assists families and individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, abuse, and family conflict
  • The Settlement Home provides housing and support to youth removed from their families
  • Urban Roots uses food and farming to help youth inspire, engage, and nourish their communities
  • Ventanilla de Salud offers health education, free health screenings, and referrals to community health services in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin.

Other National Programs and Resources

Boys & Girls Club East

  • Better Make Room a text-message based program that helps HS youth get ready for college
  • Big Future college preparation for undocumented students (HS)
  • Jack Kent Cooke Foundation college connections and funding for highly gifted HS youth
  • No Place for Hate curriculum and support for schools to improve harmony and decrease prejudice (PreK-12)
  • Phoenix House individualized, holistic drug and alcohol addiction treatment

Watch videos about students on the path to success.

For more information about programs for youth in Central Texas, search the Youth Services Mapping database.

August 2016 Family Choice: Watch with the Whole Family!

KLRU chooses programs each month for your family to enjoy and view together.
For August 2016, we have the following lined up:

Tuesday, August 2 at 8:00 pm: The Boys of ’36: American Experience
In 1936, nine working-class boys from the University of Washington took the rowing world and the nation by storm, when their eight-oar crew team captured the gold medal at the Olympics in Berlin. These sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers overcame tremendous hardships — psychological, physical, economic — to beat not only the Ivy League teams of the East Coast, but Adolf Hitler’s elite German rowers.

Wednesday, August 3 at 7:00 pm: Koko—The Gorilla That Talks
This film tells the story of Koko, the only “talking” gorilla in the world, and her lifelong relationship with Penny Patterson. The experiment started as a PhD project to teach sign language to a baby gorilla, but as Koko began to communicate, an intense bond developed between her and Patterson. The film explores what we can really learn from this extraordinary science experiment turned love affair. Does it tell us more about animals’ emotions or our own?

Monday, August 22 at 8:00 pm: Mister Rogers & Me 
While at his Nantucket home after his retirement from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers had a chance meeting with Benjamin Wagner, his next-door neighbor and an up-and-coming producer for MTV. The encounter, especially Rogers’ advice to spread the message that “deep and simple is far more essential than complex,” stuck with Wagner. After Rogers’ death in 2003, Wagner and his brother traveled around the country to discover more about the television icon and what he meant by “deep and simple.”

July 2016 Family Choice: Programs to Watch with the Whole Family!

KLRU chooses programs each month for your family to enjoy and view together.
For July 2016, we have the following lined up:

Monday, July 4, at 7:00 pm & 8:30 pm: A Capitol Fourth
Join the festivities for America’s national Independence Day. The celebration of our country’s 240th birthday airs live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol before an audience of hundreds of thousands and millions at home.

PBS NewsHour Convention Coverage
Veteran journalists Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff anchor complete live coverage of the Republican and Democratic national political conventions, from the opening gavel to its official close. Between speeches and events on the convention floor, Ifill and Woodruff interview political newsmakers and solicit analysis and perspective from NEWSHOUR regulars Shields and Brooks, presidential historians and others.

  • Republican– Monday, July 18 – Thursday, July 21, 7:00-10:00 pm
    (overrun always possible)
  • Democratic– Monday, July 25 – Thursday, July 28, 7:00-10:00 pm
    (overrun always possible)

Explore the Outdoors Green Carnival

KLRU and Mary Jane Sims Early College School worked together this spring to hold their first Green Spring Carnival held on April 16th. The school was recommended to KLRU by Keep Austin Beautiful and has been the recipient of :

  • KAB Clean Creek Campus 2015-2016
  • National Wildlife Foundation Eco-Schools USA 2015-2016
  • KAB Zero Waste Champs 2014-2015
  • KAB Generation Zero Campus 2014-2015.

Fourth grade bilingual teacher, Mr. Scott Mann and his class have been working and educating, class by class, on recycling/composting/reuse in each classroom in their school wing. They plan to increase their work grade by grade in the upcoming school year.

The Green Spring carnival highlighted the work of Mr. Mann’s class along with educating the school community on recycling, composting, and reuse with ecology-mined hands-on activities, a digital scavenger hunt, and resources from community partners: Austin ISD Sustainability Dept., Keep Austin Beautiful, Sustainable Food Center, Austin Resource and Recovery, Austin Parks and Recreation, Girls Scouts, and Boys & Girls Club as well as volunteers from McCallum High School Key Club. KLRU was on hand to help with resources and showcase PBS Kids science apps for parents and kids. Families enjoyed planting perennials in the school’s courtyard made possible by the non-profit group Envision, Design, Create.

Families visited each area: Technology, Gardening, Reduce/ReUse/Recycle to receive a free tomato, pepper or okra plant as well as carrots and turnips to take home. The Sesame Street Food For Thought kit about eating healthy on a budget was given to each family.

KLRU also worked with Lee Lewis Campbell Elementary’s 2nd annual Green Spring Carnival where they had gardening activities, Sesame Street’s Food for Thought kits and veggie giveaways along with showcasing the PBS Kids science apps and FREE app codes.

If your school is interested in having their own Green Spring Carnival, go to Austin ISD’s Sustainability webpage to get started!


June 2016 Family Choice: Programs to Watch with the Whole Family!

KLRU chooses programs each month for your family to enjoy and view together.
For June 2016, we have the following lined up:

Wednesday, June 8 at 7pm: Skeletons of the Sahara
This film tells the story of scientist Paul Sereno’s amazing discovery of a prehistoric human burial ground in the middle of one of the world’s most forbidding desert. Like many great scientific discoveries, this one happens by accident. Sereno, one of the world’s leading experts in finding fossils of dinosaurs and ancient crocodiles, is on an expedition to Niger, in Saharan Africa.

Wednesday, June 22 at 7:00 pm: Great Polar Bear Feast
Investigate the problems facing a unique population of polar bears due to climate change. At the heart is an extraordinary event – the annual gathering of up to 80 polar bears on Barter Island in the Arctic Ocean each September.

Wednesdays at 8:00 pm (June 29-July 13): 9 Months That Made You
Discover the story of how you were made, from the moment of conception to the moment of birth 280 days later. Follow the gestation process, the most exquisite biological choreography found in nature.

May 2016 Family Choice: Programs to Watch with the Whole Family!

KLRU chooses programs each month for your family to enjoy and view together. For May 2016, we have the following lined up:

Wednesday, May 4 at 7 pm: NATURE “The Last Orangutan Eden”
Ecologist Chris Morgan travels to the jungles of Northern Sumatra to document the work being done to save its population of wild orangutans, which is quickly dwindling due to deforestation. Morgan travels to a peat swamp forest known as Suaq Balimbing.

Tuesday, May 17 at 8:00 pm: Secrets of the Dead “Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb”
Learn about the legendary queen Cleopatra who ruled the Egyptian empire.

Sunday, May 29 at 4:30 pm: National Geographic Bee
The annual National Geographic Bee returns for the 28th year, with award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien serving as host and moderator. State Geographic Bee Winners from across the country compete in the National Geographic Bee.

April 2016 Family Choice: Programs to watch with the whole family!

KLRU chooses three to four programs each month for your family to enjoy and view together. For April 2016, we have the following lined up:

Monday & Tuesday, April 11 & April 12 at 8:00 pm: Jackie Robinson
(both episodes repeat back-to-back on Sunday, April 17 starting at 1 pm)
It’s the premiere of Ken Burns’ JACKIE ROBINSON. By changing the racial equation of our national pastime, Jackie Robinson set out to prove that black Americans could compete as equals. He was greeted with ugly abuse, with shouts and bean balls, and hate mail that threatened his life. But in the end, he would do more to help black Americans stake their claim to justice and equal rights “than Congress itself,” according to one writer of the era. This film looks at not just Robinson’s life in baseball, but at its complex whole.

Wednesday, April 20 at 8:00 pm: NOVA “Wild Ways”
Top predators in ecosystems from North America to Africa share a natural trait: the instinct to roam. But at every turn there are human-made barriers: roads, fences, farms and cities. Species such as lions, elk, grizzly bears, antelope, tigers and elephants, are penned up for their own protection in parks and preserves. “Connectivity conservation,” as it’s called, offers a hopeful new approach to preserving keystone species by linking refuges with tunnels, bridges and protected land corridors.

File your FAFSA or TASFA before March 31st

Still haven’t submitted your Financial Aid?

The due date for Financial Aid is three days away and we are here to help!

What is Financial Aid?

Financial Aid are grants, scholarships and loans that are given to students to help with college expenses. There is more than $185 billion in aid available by federal government, state government, college/universities, and private organizations. This money can help you go to college. To apply for aid start at:

Need in-person help?

Following websites and doing Financial Aid on your own does get tricky and sometimes having an extra set of eyes does give some assurance. Join The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce at Financial Aid Saturdays.They offer FREE help to students. Register at: