Helios Education Foundation works to enrich the lives of individuals in Arizona and Florida by creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education. A year ago, Helios awarded New Teacher Center matching support for a three-year $12.8M Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant to provide pre-service teachers and alternative certification teachers with clinical experiences and job-embedded instructional coaching support for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS).
The link between a quality teacher pipeline and sustained student academic achievement is clear. Helios understands the challenges of Florida’s large urban districts to find, support, and retain effective teachers to meet the needs of every student. From day one, Helios has made significant investments to improve student success and access to opportunity. The foundation’s Florida Metropolitan Education Initiative focuses on leading more first-generation students, BIPOC students, and students experiencing poverty to attain postsecondary degrees.
“Helios believes that every student, regardless of zip code, should have access to a high-quality postsecondary education and to be prepared to succeed in that space,” said Kirsten Schmitz, Director of Helios’s Florida Student Success Initiatives.
“We know that the PreK-12 experience is fundamental for getting them there, and that requires disrupting the systemic inequities impacting students.”
NTC first partnered with M-DCPS in 2016, providing professional learning opportunities and support to novice teachers and school leaders. The SEED project is a natural next step, creating a longer on-ramp for teachers to deepen understanding and integrate instructional practice with equity-focused social-emotional learning. The project will enable the support of approximately 3,000 teachers who will impact over 216,000 students.
A significant driver for Helios’s decision to partner with NTC is the data-based evidence of our coaching model and its many pathways for scalability and sustainability. Furthermore, Helios is committed to equity as an anchor for all of its investments. Sharing this North star with NTC ensured the partnership aligned both vision and values, a critical combination for systems-level change work.
Schmitz maintains disrupting systemic inequities means investing in the brightest parts of that system and growing them. Teacher professional development doesn’t move the needle for one classroom at a time — it strengthens the entirety of the ecosystem to be rigorous and inclusive, academically challenging and empathy-led.
Helios Education Foundation’s support is crucial to building out undeniable proof points that can be replicated and implemented throughout Florida and the US. “Having the resources and support system to help students fulfill their full potential starts with teachers,” said Schmitz. “Partnering with NTC to support systemically underserved students and strengthen teachers will help Floridians, and others, access an equitable education continuum full of opportunity.”
NTC is grateful for our partnership with the Helios Education Foundation and is excited to build thriving school districts that anchor our local communities.
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