Helios Education Foundation Regional Scaling Pilot: A Summary of Progress

Thanks to a generous grant from the Helios Education Foundation, Take Stock in Children is powering-up central Florida by expanding its successful data-driven approach to improve college readiness and completion.

Project Purpose

The Helios Regional Scaling Project is an important opportunity that is impacting not only the Osceola and Orange County affiliates who are directly participating from the grant, but also the entire TSIC network. The innovations being developed through this project are focused on using predictive data science to better serve students with differentiated supports.

The work has the potential to transform the way TSIC is able to understand where students are coming from and the risk factors that impact their development. It will also enable Take Stock in Children affiliates to use this information to determine which programmatic supports and scholarship types are best suited for specific student needs.

Developing an Algorithm

To accomplish this work, Take Stock in Children is partnering with Dr. Dennis Kramer, of the University of Florida Institute for Higher Education, to conduct an independent assessment of current and historical student data, resulting in a unique algorithm that can be used to better understand student outcomes.  This algorithm will serve as the foundation upon which Take Stock in Children will build an advanced system that uses data to revolutionize how student service needs are determined and provided. Specifically, affiliates will be able to better identify the types and levels of services students will need based on their academic performance, social and emotional development, and family support network. This will enable the targeted use of resources to ensure every TSIC student succeeds.


During Year 1 of this unique opportunity, Dr. Kramer, empirically and systematically connected student risk factors and Take Stock in Children program elements to high school completion, college readiness, and postsecondary outcomes.


Take Stock in Children is currently progressing through the second year of the project and has successfully completed Phase 2 of the data analysis work.


Dr. Kramer’s recently developed algorithm estimates how likely it is that students will successfully complete the program, graduate, enter and complete college.


Dr. Kramer’s study clearly indicates that Take Stock in Children programming and especially mentoring is having a substantial positive impact on low-income youth across Florida. It also indicates that in order to receive greater benefit, students should be enrolled in the program and participate in mentoring for at least three years. Finally, it confirms that students of all ethnicities benefit from services, but students of color, including African American and Hispanic students, experience the greatest level of impact. As the report states, “participating in Take Stock in Children appears to eliminate the enrollment gap between underrepresented and minority students.”


He has also offered a number of important specific findings regarding the effectiveness of the Take Stock in Children model:


  • Diverse Students- Hispanic and African American students benefited the most from additional mentoring sessions, with each mentoring session increasing the likelihood of college enrollment by 7% and 5% respectively.


  • Risk Factors — The intervention is showing an impact in mitigating multiple student risk factors. The dynamic program provides support for students with higher numbers of risk factors so that they may mitigate the impact of these challenges.


  • Foster Care Students — The model appears to have an outsized impact on students in the foster care system, particularly in high school graduation and college enrollment. This is especially encouraging since these students typically have multiple risk factors and have been shown in other studies to be a population requiring intense efforts to show improvement.


  • Student Achievement — Overall, the model shows a dramatic increase in high school graduation and college entry, far above what national data would suggest. These outcomes are particularly high for African American and Hispanic students.


Advancing Practice and System Building

Take Stock in Children will use the findings from Dr. Kramer’s report and the resulting algorithm to develop a prototype for SteP, a student success planning tool, that will automatically compute, for each submitted student applicant, the probability estimates for:


  1. Receiving a program warning or being removed from the program;


  2. The likelihood that the applicant will graduate high school; and


  3. The likelihood that an applicant will enroll in college.


This resource is a prototype for the development of an advanced data system that will reach across the entire statewide network. The system will provide Take Stock in Children affiliates with timely information on the projected future outcomes for applicants based on their risk factors and serve as an additional data point in evaluating student applications. Take Stock in Children is committed to serving students with diverse needs and risk factors. This new, state-of-the-art approach to using data will preserve that diversity and help programs make data informed choices about appropriate levels of support for every student. As part of the Helios project, affiliates will also have access to an intervention database that will tie the student information gleaned through SteP to actionable, right-sized student supports.


Get on the Path to Success

Become a Mentor

Empower a Student

Get Started

Make a Donation

Make a Difference Today

Get Started