As Graduation Rates Rise, Experts Fear Diplomas Come Up Short


When districts were challenged to reduce drop out rates, they did. Many simply passed and graduated everyone. Therefore FMA changed our message from reducing drop outs to graduating students career and college ready. Because this objective is very difficult for students and districts to accomplish, expect schools to drop the testing that demonstrates that students are not prepared.

RLFM is designed to help prepare student for real life. At least FMA is offering a course that will make a difference.

As Graduation Rates Rise, Experts Fear Diplomas Come Up Short

Summer Internship Interview Tips


Alexandra RinconBy Alexandra Rincon, interview coordinator for FMA Logistics Coordinator, ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program

I am on a mission to find the best candidate for the Logistics Coordinator Internship, which is sponsored by ExxonMobil.  This assignment has allowed me to gather helpful tips for those who will be interviewing for summer positions in the future.


Be sure you have thoroughly researched the company with whom you are interviewing. Most places have websites where you can find their mission statement, background story, projects they have accomplished, and much more. Getting familiar with this information will give you a deeper understanding of what the company is about, helping you decide whether you will be a good fit.


Think about how feasible the job is for your goals and talents.  For instance, if the job requires travel make sure you have adequate transportation. If the internship is out of town make a list of housing options. Interviewers want to know if you are prepared for what the job entails.


Asking question shows you are an enthusiastic candidate while validating you have done your research. It is also a great opportunity to confirm this is the right position for you.  You can ask questions like, “What skills would make an ideal applicant?” “How does this company measure success?” and “What is the next step in this process?”


All FMA Internships request applicants to send a resume and cover letter addressing specific issues.  If an application is received without the required data, we and other employers assume 1) You can’t read or 2) You don’t pay attention to details.  Either assumption is bad for you!

If you want more interview tips, view the video from the Game of Real Life (the program you will be coordinating!). Interviewing skills are learned and taught to FMA teens in the Real Life and Connect the Dots curriculums.

Following are the summer internship positions at FMA. If you or anyone you may know is interested in being an intern with FMA this summer, click here for job descriptions and application requirements.

  • Logistics Coordinator
  • Enrichment Coaches
  • Summer Connect the Dots Instructors

Good luck to all those looking for summer internships!

Sources of Our Inspiration


Financial Mentors of America (FMA) is a collection of volunteers, partners and collaborators who work together to help students achieve amazing results. The task is daunting and difficult, but the mission, goal, and vision are worthy and critical to the economic health, not only of the students, but also the community.

How do those involved in FMA find nurture and support? First, we share similar values and, second, we reach out to others whose lives and works provide guidance and inspiration.

The following are some of the books we read and videos we watch. We encourage you to sample the following and give us your feedback through email, Facebook, and Twitter (@gameofreallife).

My personal favorite is Illusions by Richard Bach. I read Illusions at least once a year. It is short, but very thought provoking. Find your favorite, and let us hear from you.

What we like to read

Illusions, by Richard Bach

Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell

Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

What we enjoy watching

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Address

RSA – Changing Education Paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson

Sugata Mitra – Hole in the Wall

Key to Success – Grit, Angela Duckworth, Phd

In future editions of FMA’s ENVISION Newsletter, I will list other books and videos that help us and the students, focus on the magnificent rewards of all the FMA programs such as The Game of Real Life and Connect the Dots.

In the meantime, remember that FMA is having a positive impact on each generation of students, year after year. This also plays a big part in the economic growth of our city, county, region and state.

Until next time,

Ken Decker

The 2012 Houston Education Survey


This report presents some of the most important findings from the Houston Education Survey, the second of three focused surveys that are together called the “SHEA” studies (“Surveys of Health, Education, and the Arts”). Supported by a grant from Houston Endowment Inc., this research project was designed to assess the experiences, beliefs, and attitudes of Harris County residents with regard to these three critical areas of life in the Houston area.

Click here to read or download the report.