Our Impact Plan

Helios Education Foundation’s Five-Year Impact Plan brings vision, rigor, and commitment to tackling educational inequities in Arizona and Florida.

We will back the most-promising solutions to the systemic problems that perpetuate achievement gaps, while we build a strategic and equitable response for all children in both states.

We have a purposeful focus on results.

The Five-Year Impact Plan focuses on three key drivers essential to getting students on track for college attainment:

  • Ensure that students are reading by the third grade
  • Increase college enrollments
  • Increase attainment of two- and four-year college degrees 

Across our work, we:

Lead and convene with data. We use accurate and credible data to illuminate the path to change, drive strategy, and inform decision-making.

Champion equity; defy complacency. We build on the public commitments to education in Arizona and Florida to leverage momentum for change.

Invest, partner, and measure progress. Our investments include collaborative planning, strategic advice, brokering partnerships, and communications, policy, and research support.

Provide exceptional and integrated organizational support. Every person on our team is committed to service and to impact.

The Next Five Years:
Our Focus for Improving Education Outcomes in Arizona and Florida

 

Helios Education Foundation was founded on four fundamental beliefs—community, equity, investment, partnership—and with one purpose: to create opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. For nearly 20 years, our commitment has been to educational excellence for all students and to closing achievement gaps. We believe that we are at a point where what we do in the next five years will impact student outcomes for the next 25 years and that achieving the greatest impact we can in that time requires a precise focus.

This is why, for the next five years, Helios Education Foundation will specifically concentrate on improving outcomes for low-income and Latino students in Arizona and low-income and Black students in Florida.

Why these students and why now?

In Arizona
The Latino population is the
fastest-growing in the state.

Overall Latino Population

32% PERCENT OF AZ POPULATION IN 2021
35% PROJECTED TO REACH BY 2026

Latino Student Population

45% PERCENT OF AZ STUDENTS IN 2021
50% OR MORE LATINO STUDENTS BY 2026

Third-Grade Reading

23% OF LATINO THIRD GRADERS ARE READING ON GRADE LEVEL COMPARED TO 50% OF WHITE THIRD GRADERS

College Participation

20% OF LATINO HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES ENROLL AT A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE AFTER GRADUATION COMPARED TO 37% OF WHITE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES

College Attainment

21% OF LATINOS AGES 25–64 HAVE A DEGREE FROM A TWO- OR FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE COMPARED TO 39% OF THE TOTAL POPULATION

In Florida
Black students represent a significant segment of the state’s population and one that has been chronically underserved.

Overall Black Student Population

22% BLACK STUDENTS MAKE UP MORE THAN ONE-FIFTH OF THE STUDENT POPULATION IN FLORIDA. THEY ALSO REPRESENT ONE OF THE LARGEST SEGMENTS OF THE POPULATION THAT IS IN NEED OF TARGETED SUPPORT.

Third-Grade Reading

37% OF BLACK THIRD GRADERS ARE READING ON GRADE LEVEL COMPARED TO 67% OF WHITE THIRD GRADERS

College Participation

49% OF BLACK HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES ENROLL AT A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE AFTER GRADUATION COMPARED TO 58% OF WHITE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES

College Attainment

29% OF BLACK STUDENTS AGES 25–64 HAVE A DEGREE FROM A TWO- OR FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE COMPARED TO 40% OF THE TOTAL POPULATION

  • Across the K-12 spectrum, significant achievement gaps separate low-income students and their peers.
  • Low-income third graders read on grade level at rates that are 16 and 9 percentage points respectively lower than rates for all students.
  • Similarly, low-income students are less likely to enroll in and graduate from college.
  • The pandemic has amplified pre-existing disparities and widened achievement gaps for low-income students.
In Both Arizona and Florida: