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President's Message

Author: Paul J. Luna, Helios Education Foundation

November 20, 2020

As 2020 is coming to a close and we are about to enter the holiday season, I am reflecting on both the extraordinary challenges we have faced this year as well as the extraordinary resilience we have seen on the part of our communities.

Although there is no question that many have faced significant challenges in 2020, there is also much to be grateful for and to celebrate.  Education was impacted significantly during the ongoing global pandemic.  And, it looks like there is no end in sight.  However, we have seen educators, students, families, and communities navigate the uncertainty in an extraordinary way.  Through this experience, we have seen tremendous innovation and a commitment to learning how to do things in new and different ways.  All in the pursuit of student success.  It has been and continues to be inspiring to me.

In addition, Arizona voters recently passed a proposition that will provide much-needed resources to our K-12 teachers and classrooms.  We are grateful that voters prioritized K-12 education through this election.  However, we must continue to focus on ensuring both early learning and postsecondary education also receive the funding they need to create greater opportunities for students.  Helios will continue to raise our voices in support of continued investment as we work toward a long-term, sustainable, funding solution for our entire education system.

In Florida, there are some new school board members in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Miami-Dade counties.  These school board members will oversee policy decisions and manage budgets for some of the largest school districts in the nation.  In addition, voters in Pinellas County approved a tax referendum that is the highest ever for that county.  At the state level, we are anticipating some focused activity from the state legislature and the Department of Education on workforce development – a timely topic given the economic impact of the pandemic.  

Now that the presidential election has been decided, we expect some changes at the federal level and will monitor how the new administration’s policies will impact our students both in Arizona and Florida.

Thank you all for your partnership and your commitment to student success.  We look forward to continuing to develop strategic partnerships and community collaborations in the coming year.  I believe that what we have experienced in 2020 has made us stronger and more resilient and ultimately even more committed to student success.  

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