25 Jul AVIDly Pursuing Increased Graduation Rates
by Laura Perry, President, Glades Education Foundation, Inc.
When you ask most middle and high school students what they want to do after high school, you often receive shrugged shoulders and a distressed facial expression. When you ask an AVID student, they can not only tell you careers they are interested in pursuing, but the colleges that offer the training they need. Pressed further, an AVID student can explain financial aid strategies that they plan to employ.
How is Glades County taking their students to this level of post-secondary planning? Through the implementation of the AVID program, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, students at Glades County public and charter schools are actively preparing for life after high school. Beginning in elementary school, students are trained to prepare themselves for graduation and beyond, through a series of research-based steps.
AVID’s program teaches students to become better organized learners by organizing their school binder and notes to be better prepared for class. They are taught a set of note-taking methods that gives them an advantage when learning new material. They eventually train to use Cornell notes, a proven method of identifying essential information and retaining it. Students are also taught how to collaborate on classroom projects, boosting their communication skills and teamwork.
Once AVID students are in middle and high school, post-secondary planning plays a big role in classroom instruction. Students learn how to fill out a college application, as well as how to apply and study for college entrance exam. The FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid) is discussed as well as other avenues of financial aid. Also, they are encouraged to take honors coursework, and take the ACT/SAT early and often.
Students that are in the middle of the academic spectrum are the main focus of AVID classes. Many of these students are also first-generation college, who may struggle with college and vocational school planning. Others need to learn “soft-skills” such as conflict resolution, adaptability, and problem solving to not only be successful in academic settings, but also in careers. All AVID students need a hand to development themselves into successful learners and students who are ready to be successful after high school.
The Glades Education Foundation, recipients of Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Community Impact Grant, as well as the Glades County School District have been laser-focused on increasing graduation rates of Moore Haven Middle High School’s students. As FutureMakers, the Glades Education Foundation realizes that new strategies must be employed and funded to help the school district achieve its goals. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has been instrumental in helping our students succeed by providing three consecutive years of funding for the “AVID About Success” program.
As commencement ceremonies become pleasant memories, the Glades Education Foundation looks to the future and the deliberate planning that is needed to help our students reach their education goals. “AVID About Success” is so much more than college-planning: it is a program that can take students to the next level of academics as well as life.
This summer, Florida Weekly has graciously allowed us, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, to spotlight the nonprofit organizations funded through the Foundation’s 2018 competitive grant cycle. We have asked these grantees to share their stories. We are pleased to partner with these change-makers.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Currently, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in South Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com