Our projects

The Helps Education Fund develops programs and projects according to a unique mission so that we can directly address many of the central challenges within education. We currently have eight primary programs that are available or will be available soon (and with support from people like you, there are many more to come).

The eight different programs are summarized below. They provide a vast range of materials and services for educators and (sometimes) for parents of school-aged children. 

The programs aim to support educators in a variety of important areas. For example, we have programs designed to improve children's literacy, improve students' mathematics skills, bridge meaningful connections between families and schools, integrate highly-trained volunteers into school improvement models, help schools to use the most effective and efficient systems for assisting struggling learners, connect schools and universities to collaboratively address critical needs in education, and more. Our programs are used locally, nationally, and internationally.  

The Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies (HELPS) Programs

The HELPS Programs are all designed to improve students’ reading fluency, a critical skill for early readers that approximately 40% of elementary aged students in the U.S. do not have. Reading fluency is critically important in early reading because it is necessary for adequate reading comprehension. The four HELPS Programs include:

  • An individualized, one-on-one program
  • A program that can be used with small groups of 2-6 students
  • A program written in Spanish and is therefore for students learning to read in Spanish
  • A program that follows the system of the one-on-one program, but contains training materials for parents so the program can be used in the home

Learn more about each of these specific programs, and access the respective materials, by visiting: http://www.helpsprogram.org


Parents and Schools Together to Enhance Learning (PASTEL)

The purpose of the PASTEL is to assist parents with using feasible, evidence-based reading activities in the home, particularly with young children who are beginning to develop their reading skills. When parents use evidence-based early reading activities in the home, students’ reading readiness and early reading skills tend to improve. There are many features of PASTEL, including ways to bridge communication between a child’s parents and teachers. Therefore, PASTEL is also designed for teachers.

Click here to learn more about PASTEL.


The Systems Oriented Plan for Academic Achievement (SOPAA) Model

The SOPAA model is described in a low-cost guidebook titled, Enhancing Instructional Problem Solving: An Efficient System for Assisting Struggling Learners.

The practical guidebook describes a flexible and resource-efficient model of academic support that can be successfully used in elementary schools with varying strengths, weaknesses, resources, and organizational structures. Designed to align with and enhance a school's existing practices, the model can be implemented incrementally by various specialized educators, such as school principals, school psychologists, special education teachers, Title I teachers, and reading specialists. The model can also be implemented to support schools that currently use or do not use a structured problem-solving model, such as response to intervention (RTI), professional learning communities (PLCs), or pre-referral intervention teams.

To learn more, go to: http://www.sopaaforschools.org


Advancing Math Performance with Practice Strategies (AMPPS)

National and international data indicate that more than 60% of U.S. students struggle in mathematics and need more effective interventions to assist them with meeting grade level expectations. Number operations and conceptual understanding represent two critical domains of knowledge that all students must possess in order to be successful with higher level mathematics, such as problem solving and algebra. Using all of what is currently known about effective math instruction, AMPPS is currently being developed to assist educators with improving elementary-aged students’ skills in numbers operations and conceptual understanding. Like the HELPS Programs, all AMPPS implementation and training materials will be available for free.


Research-Practice-Connect (RPC)

Embracing one of the Helps Education Fund’s key missions of bridging the gap between educational research and practice, Research-Practice-Connect (RPC) is a forthcoming online program that will easily connect educational practitioners (e.g., superintendents, principals, teachers, school psychologists) with educational researchers. Connections are made through common needs and interests (e.g., finding more effective ways to reduce school bullying or improve high school math instruction), and RPC will help the emerging partnerships between schools and researchers to foster authentic, reciprocal, and sustainable relationships for the betterment of K-12 students. RPC also supports educators and researchers in other needed ways, all while generating meaningful data in order to better understand how, and what it means, to merge research with practice through authentic collaborative partnerships. 


Metropolitan Organization of Volunteers for Empowering Students (MOVES) Program 

MOVES is designed to effectively and efficiently put well-trained volunteers into metropolitan-located schools that can benefit from volunteers’ support—and nearly every school can benefit from free, highly skilled professional support. To meet this need, MOVES staff train community volunteers to use academic intervention programs that have proven effectiveness of improving students’ learning (including but not limited to our own programs), and then a MOVES coordinator works with the school to ensure that volunteers are assisting in a way that efficiently aligns with the school’s schedule and teacher needs. Students are empowered through this program because they improve their educational success (and education is empowering!), but volunteers also feel empowered because they provide a meaningful service to their community and can watch students become more successful and confident in their academic skills. 

Click here to learn more.



Leamos para Avanzar (programa de voluntarios)

The Helps Education Fund creates opportunities for volunteers to implement research-based reading interventions (in Spanish) with students for whom Spanish is their first language but live in the U.S. Most of these students would never otherwise get structured academic support to improve their Spanish reading, so LPA gets these students the opportunity to improve their reading in their native language (a key ingredient to also acquiring reading proficiency in a second language). Simultaneously, volunteers improve their cultural and Spanish language proficiency, and often serve as a valuable resource in predominantly Spanish-speaking communities.

To learn more or get involved, contact: john@helpseducationfund.org 


The A+ Team (and related international work)

The A+ Team is a service that currently takes place in Latin America and partners with local schools in an effort to build their capacity (through free training, materials, collaborative problem-solving, and start-up student assessments) to use the Spanish version of our HELPS Program. With this type of support, a growing number of educators in Latin America will have better knowledge, materials, and preparation for improving the literacy skills of students in their own school and for supporting other educators in their community. The Helps Education Fund is also currently working with international colleagues who asked to translate our HELPS materials to other languages (e.g., Portuguese, Arabic). Like all our programs, translated materials will also be free to all educators who want them, and these forthcoming materials will offer opportunities for A+ Teams to assist in even more countries.  

To learn more or get involved, contact: john@helpseducationfund.org