Helios Education Foundation and NALEO Educational Fund to Help Policymakers Focus on Latino Student Success

Author: Helios Education Foundation

Posted on: December 15, 2016

In an effort to help raise the educational achievement of Arizona Latino students, Helios Education Foundation and NALEO Educational Fund are partnering to establish a public policy academy for Arizona elected officials at the state, county, city, town and school district levels.  This academy will provide policymakers with the content knowledge and governance skills needed to promote innovative and successful policies toward improving educational outcomes for Arizona students.

As the fastest growing population group in the state, Latino children will shape the future of Arizona.  However, currently, Latino students trail their Caucasian peers in educational achievement and postsecondary degree attainment.  While there are many local programs and initiatives working to close these gaps, there also needs to be intentional leadership at the state level to institute systemic and equitable policies that will help ensure all Arizona students have access to a high-quality education.  The ultimate goal is to create opportunities for Arizona’s students to be college-ready, matriculate from high school and enroll and complete postsecondary education.

“Our elected leaders play a critical role in shaping policy that can help close the Latino student achievement and degree attainment gaps,” said Paul J. Luna, Helios Education Foundation President and CEO.  “NALEO Educational Fund has a long history of facilitating the participation of Latinos in the American political process and in our commitment to closing the Latino student achievement gap, ensuring Arizona’s future economic vitality. We are proud to partner with them on this innovative project.”

To achieve these ambitious and long-term goals, NALEO Educational Fund will hire staff, conduct an extensive analysis of education issues, interview NALEO members and key stakeholders as well as leverage its existing membership in the state to engage policymakers with training and curriculum that is Arizona specific and relevant to addressing the opportunity gaps affecting Latino students.

This in-depth training model for all policymakers is an unprecedented opportunity to make significant systemic improvements in Arizona’s education system.  Arizona will serve as a national model for this pilot program to help elevate Latino Student Success issues and mobilize policymakers to focus specifically on closing the achievement gaps between Latino and Caucasian students.

“NALEO Educational Fund believes that policy changes at the school district and statewide level will significantly improve the rates of students who are academically prepared and will also contribute to an increase in college completion rates,” said Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director.  “We are working to enhance the skillsets of education policymakers as well as help facilitate an increased understanding of educational issues so that they can be catalysts for education equity and transformation.”

Helios Education Foundation has made an initial investment of $130,000 to fund a planning year that will precede the five-year strategic effort.  During this phase, Helios and NALEO Educational Fund will also partner with Arizona State University to provide content and policy expertise as well as collaboration on the professional development curriculum.

Click here to learn more about Helios' focus on Latino Student Success. 

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