August 2013 Update

August 2013

For the past five years, the Helios Education Foundation and the Council for Educational Change have partnered on projects that developed the instructional leadership skills of hundreds of educators, from novice teachers to principals.

The Helios Education Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to enriching lives by creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. The Foundation works to improve student success across the education continuum in the areas of: Early Childhood Education; the Transition Years (Grades 5 - 12); and Postsecondary Success.  The Foundation’s goals are: Improve Academic Rigor and Relevance with an Emphasis on STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math); Create and Sustain Highly Skilled Teachers and Effective Leaders; and Embed a College-Going Culture Supported by Actively Engaged Families and Communities.  From the Foundation: “We believe education changes lives and strengthens communities. Our vision is for every individual in Arizona and Florida to have the opportunity to attend and be prepared to succeed in postsecondary education. Our roots are in education and in helping individuals gain access to postsecondary education opportunities.”

The first Council program sponsored by the Foundation was the STEM Teachers Initiative, begun in 2010. This two year program was designed to develop and retain new and beginning teachers with a special focus on supporting science and math teachers, including those new to the subject fields, at the secondary level.  It served teachers in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk Counties.  The second partnership currently in operation is the STEM: Strong and Steady project begun in 2012. It serves teams of Principals, AP’s, and Math and Science Department heads in 17 Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), with the close cooperation of the district.  This project, now in its second year, works on developing the STEM instructional leadership of participating schools; helping participating schools forge strong, collaborative STEM programs at their schools; and creating integrative STEM model lessons for district wide use.  In year three, the identified gold standard best practices will be spread to all HCPS middle schools.

Peter Bucholtz leads the Helios projects on behalf of the Council and Larry Plank, the HCPS Director of K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education, is the district lead agent.  Dr. Stacy Carlson, the Helios Education Foundation Vice President and Program Director – Florida, is the project liaison.

Council Receives Donations

  • Publix Super Markets Charities has continued its support of Council programs with a donation of $90.000. Funds will be used as part of the funding for PASS© statewide, as well as other projects including the Commissioner’s Leadership Academy – year 2.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines has also provided $50,000 to support Council programs.


Community Conversation
Funded by JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and in collaboration with the Florida Department of Education, the Council hosted a two day session about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Jacksonville on July 15-16. The first day, 60 principals from Duval County participated in sessions relating to the theme of “Leadership for the Implementation of the CCSS.”

On day two, these same principals brought a parent and a business partner to one of two half day sessions, where they learned about the standards and then had the opportunity to experience them first hand. Before leaving, the school teams had a plan of how to share what they had learned in their school communities.  Former Leonard Miller Principal Award Winner Enid Valdez, along with PASS Coordinator Sherry Clarke and two Commissioner’s Leadership Academy graduates, Kyle Dresback (St. Johns County) and Brent Brummet (Escambia County), conducted the sessions. The model is intended to bring awareness of the upcoming shift in Florida to evaluating students using the CCSS. The state will implement the more rigorous CCSS during the 2014-15 school year.

State Board of Education Vote
The State Board of Education voted to provide a safety net to schools. This means that regardless of student performance, a school will only drop one letter grade. Many schools lost significant numbers of points in the grading formula with the state’s move to raise the proficiency level in writing from 3.0 to 3.5. Writing is assessed in grades 4, 8, and 10. It is reported that this vote saves 150 schools receiving “F” grades statewide. In 2012, only 40 schools received “F” grades.

Piper High School’s Great News

  • Florida International University signed a partnership with the school offering Dual Enrollment classes for students
  • There was a 3% increase in the Advanced Placement scores
  • Several grants were received to provide mentorship activities for students after school hours

Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award
Each year, the Council presents the Leonard Miller Principal Leadership Award to a principal who demonstrated outstanding leadership, involved the parents and community, and raised the academic performance of the students. Raising the academic performance is not necessarily related to the school grade. It can be measured by such things as an increase in the graduation rate, the percentage of students in a grade level or subject area showing improvement, or in learning gains. Applications are now being taken for this prestigious award from all principals who have ever participated in a Council program. The application can be found here on the Council’s website. The winner receives $10,000, and each of the two runners up will each receive $5,000. The award is presented to the principal for personal use.


A printable version of the Update is available for download below.

Council for Educational Change Board....Florida's Educational Think Tank
Gene E. Marshall, Chair • Charles B. Blumenkamp, Chair-Elect • Dr. Elaine Liftin, President and Executive Director
Founder, Leonard Miller
Andrew L. Ansin* • Philip F. Blumberg • Hugh M. Brown* • Columba Bush* • Charles E. Cobb Jr.* • Irv Cohen • Scott A. Curtis* • Edward W. Easton*
T. Willard Fair* • Maribel Ferrer • Edward T. Foote, II* • Karen Fryd • Dr. Robert W. Graham, III • Bill Habermeyer* • Steven T. Halverson*
Elsie Sterling Howard • Cyrus M. Jollivette • David S. Kenin Esq* • Jonathan I. Kislak* • Daniel W. Mahurin*
Richard Manners • Beth G. Martinez* • Jeffrey Miller • Sue Miller • Robert A. Morris Jr.* • Robert Moss • Anabel I. Nemrow • Beau Parrillo
Fred Pezeshkan • Andrew S. Rosen • Peter S. Rummell* • Steven J. Saiontz • Michael Scheck* • Roger Slade • Elliott Stern* • Steven J. Uhlfelder
Keith T. Ward • Steven Wasserman • Joe G. Weaver • Lynne Wines • Dr. Paul Zimmerman • Robert A. Zinn     *Life Trustees
3265 Meridian Parkway Suite 130 Weston, FL 33331 phone: 954.727.9909 fax: 954.727.0990
AUG 2013 Update.pdf301.4 KB