November 5, 2020
A Note from CEO Kim Jowell
As we enter November and the season of giving, I am so thankful for the community support we’ve received during this difficult year. While “unprecedented” has no doubt been the word of 2020, at HEF ours has been “adaptive.” HEF continues to work hard to create equity, respond to the needs of our most vulnerable students and support our teachers during this pandemic.

In the past month, we’ve been able to build on the long-term success of our mentoring program and expand it, partnering with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to impact even more at-risk students. We’ve also created a new team to broaden our Digital Divide work to connect more families to critical online learning platforms. Increasing our funding and staffing shows our commitment to strengthening public education.

As this year draws to a close and needs are greater than ever, we ask you to consider supporting HEF with an end-of-the-year contribution, on Giving Tuesday on December 1st or any day, because investing in education is an investment in children, their potential and a prosperous, thriving community.
The Power of Promoting Students' Positive Behavior
A bag of chips. That’s all it took to ignite a love of reading in Miles Elementary School 4th Grader, Abdel. The cost? 25 cents for some Takis to encourage him to read 20 books!

As part of Miles’ Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, students like Abdel can earn small rewards as an incentive for following the school’s Guidelines: Motivation, Integrity, Leadership, Excellence = Success. Students can cash in their “Miles Mustang Money” at the school store, classroom treasure chest or pool resources and opt for a class movie or dance party.

Miles Counselor Debra Mora says since the school started the program more than a decade ago, it’s proven to be effective: students have better attitudes toward school, better behavior and there are fewer discipline referrals and suspensions. Staff model and reinforce the expectations, which Mora says is the foundation for the program’s success. Last year, the school's PBIS program was recognized by the state as a Bronze Model Status School.

Dozens of schools in the district have similar PBIS programs to help improve student attendance and increase student engagement. When kids aren’t in class—they’re not learning. When they are in class, but behavior interferes with learning—they aren’t making academic gains. Mora says the program is helping to close the achievement gap for students who have fallen behind and creating a better overall school environment for everyone.

Click here to learn more about PBIS—a program of the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities at USF in Tampa.
Welcoming New Students to our Mentoring Program
We recently welcomed 51 new 9th graders into our Take Stock in Children program—one of the largest mentoring programs in Tampa!


During our virtual orientation, students pledged to stay in school, maintain good grades and make positive life choices throughout the remainder of their high school years. In return, we pair them with a mentor and college success coach and make a commitment of at least a 2-year Florida Prepaid college scholarship upon successful completion of the program!

As our program grows, so does our need for mentors! Help us make a difference in the lives of more deserving students, and sign up to be a mentor today.

HEF Teams Up with Tampa Bay Bucs
for a New Youth Leadership Program
HEF is proud to expand our mentoring program and partner with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Hillsborough Schools to launch a new Youth Leadership Program.

As part of the team’s Social Justice Initiative, the program provides mentoring for 25 students at Young Middle Magnet. Players will host group workshops and staff will hold one-on-one sessions to establish meaningful relationships and empower mentees to become leaders in their school and community. Since the program started in October, we are already seeing positive changes from the interactions.
HEF's new Program Success Coach talks with a Young Middle Magnet mentee.
HEF's new full-time Program Success Coach, Allen Sampson, is monitoring the students' attendance, academics, behavior and extra-curricular involvement while providing communication support between the mentors, students and parents. Each mentee will receive a variety of resources to support their academic needs.
“We are grateful for the Buccaneers’ partnership to help build equity in education by providing guidance and support to at-risk students in our community. This leadership program will give mentees the tools and resources they need to succeed in school and in life,” said HEF CEO Kim Jowell.
Connecting Families to eLearning with Tech Connect
Closing the Digital Divide for our highest needs students has been a top priority for HEF, since inequities surfaced during the pandemic. As we continue our work to create equitable access to resources and opportunities for all students in Hillsborough Schools, we are launching a new initiative called Tech Connect.
The program, funded by a grant from The Children's Board, will support nearly 300 families of elementary school students who are participating in eLearning.

We've added 4 full-time staff: a Program Coordinator and 3 eLearning Coaches, and a part-time Program Assistant to equip families with necessary technology devices and internet, educate them on how to use the equipment and how to use eLearning resources for students’ academic success.
Daniel, a 1st Grader at Schwarzkopf Elementary, received a laptop and help connecting to his eLearning platforms.
Families are referred to our free program by a student's school social worker, instructional staff or administrators. Based on need, families may receive a computer, one year of internet access and/or guidance in using eLearning programs, as well as ongoing support and training.
Business Leaders Pair Up with Elementary Schools
for CEOs in Schools
Tampa Bay area senior executives with a passion for supporting tomorrow’s leaders are invited to volunteer to spend a day with a Hillsborough County public elementary school as part of the innovative, educational program – CEOs in Schools.

On Friday, February 19, 2021, nearly 170 CEOs will see, hear, and do the things that our public school educators and students experience―either in person or virtually. The Hillsborough Education Foundation and Vistra Communications initiative, in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools provides a fresh perspective for CEOs on the vital role our schools play in preparing students for success. While CEOs can offer insight to principals and serve as a role model to students.
CEOs or top-level senior executives interested in participating may sign up here under the “Get Involved” tab.

Our work doesn't happen without the generosity of our donors. That's why we are dedicating a section in our monthly newsletter to showcase the individuals and companies making our mission possible.

For this month’s feature, we are celebrating Sagicor Life Insurance Company! 
Sagicor’s vision is to enhance the lives of the people in the communities in which they operate with a focus on education, health, community and youth development and sports initiatives. Every year for more than a decade, the Tampa, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona-based company has supported HEF, and the students and teachers we serve. Staff members have generously donated their time, resources and money to help strengthen public education in Hillsborough County.
When COVID-19 hit our area, Sagicor responded immediately by providing funds to help students struggling to connect to their eLearning platforms. As families’ needs grew, the company’s contributions continued to support HEF’s mission and bridge the Digital Divide for the most vulnerable students in the district, who didn’t have adequate internet access that was critical for their at-home learning.
The pandemic didn’t stop the company’s annual Employee Supply Drive for HEF. Even though they were working remotely, the team came together to collect dozens of boxes full of school supplies to ensure students had the tools they needed to succeed for the start of the school year.

Watch video from Sagicor’s School Supply Drive for HEF ➡️
For many years, Sagicor staff has volunteered in our Teaching Tools Resource Center to help get basic school supplies into the hands of teachers and students at our highest-needs schools. Recently, volunteers once again rolled up their sleeves in the store to organize and sort the supplies for distribution.

Sagicor’s President and COO, Bart Catmull says improving our communities isn’t just the company’s vision ― it’s who they are.
“Serving our family, friends and neighbors, while also ensuring the health and safety of our employees has always been our top priority,” said Mr. Catmull. “This year has certainly been challenging for all of us, and our communities needed us the most. We had to get creative by raising funds, hosting drop-off drives, and volunteering when it was safe to do so. By partnering with HEF, we’ve been fortunate to see how the work we’re doing together positively impacts the teachers and children in our community.” 

We are proud to shine a spotlight on Sagicor Life Insurance Company and are grateful for their support to help ensure equity in education for all students and a prosperous future for our community.