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HELN (Hillsborough Early Learning Network) Evaluation Study

In collaboration with the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning, the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) proposes to evaluate outcomes related to the Hillsborough Early Learning Network (HELN) professional development program. Since 2018, HELN has provided research-based professional learning opportunities to early learning educators in the Hillsborough County area with the goal of enhancing: 1) their knowledge acquisition, 2) their teaching or leadership practices, and 3) the language and literacy development of the children they serve. Participants were recruited in cohorts and pathways. Educators also selected pathways that best aligned with their context, professional needs, and/or professional goals. Offered pathways included Leadership, Infant & Toddler English, Infant & Toddler Spanish, Preschool English, and Preschool Spanish. In 2023, Lastinger Center developed an Emergent Literacy Micro-Credential, which includes four components (instructor-led online courses, self-directed modules, and practicum), which was offered to HELN educators. To a lesser degree, coaching has been provided to programs, including coaching for educators at “innovation programs” in 2023-2024. To provide equity in access to high-quality professional learning, most HELN opportunities have been offered in English and Spanish.

FPG will prepare the HELN Final Report, which will include information about educators who participated in HELN cohorts and pathways across six school years (2018-2024) and provide a high-level overview of the program’s successes and impacts, along with future directions. A Final Report Appendix will also be prepared as a supplemental document that provides Lastinger Center and the Vinik Family Foundation with additional details about the participants and outcomes achieved during HELN.


Funding Agency:  

University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning

Funding Period:  

03/14/2024 to 08/31/2024

Award Amount:  



Sandra L. Soliday Hong, Principal Investigator
Laura J. Kuhn, Co-principal Investigator
Paige Bowden, Account Manager
Jada F. Walker, Project Coordinator