Clint Heitz Presents at Beating the Odds Summit in the White House
Bettendorf High School Teacher Clint Heitz recently presented at the annual Beating the Odds Summit at the White House in Washington, D.C. He was invited to attend as a result of his work with The Teachers Guild, an online network bringing teachers together to solve 30 of the biggest challenges in education.
Heitz answered the challenged to take on finding ways to make the transition from high school to college easier for all students. His idea, originally called Graduation Gurus, was designed to help new graduates from all types of backgrounds create stronger connections with their high school for support and return to serve as a mentor.
As the project evolved the First Lady’s initiatives Better Make Room and Reach Higher picked up the idea and are now working to put it into action under the name Reach Advisors.
Heitz attended discussion panels and also facilitated a breakout sessions for the 130 students in attendance at the summit. Heitz's session focused on hopes, fears, setting goals and building supports. In the end, the students wrote a letter to themselves that will be mailed to them from the White House in December.
The students attending the Beat the Odds Summit were all nominated because they overcame various struggles (e.g. significant illnesses, poverty, loss of loved ones to violence and going through the foster system, representing underrepresented groups, refugees, special needs, etc.). Many are first-generation college students.
"They were truly inspiring and models of what can be accomplished through education and when teachers truly care and build relationships," said Heitz. "So many of them referenced 'a teacher who believed in me' and learning the value of education."
Clint Heitz was a Language Arts Teacher at Bettendorf High School last school year. This coming year he will be the Bettendorf High School and Middle School Instructional Technology Coach.