In December 2012, eight rural secondary schools and a college in the Heartland area of Florida were selected to participate in a federal i3 grant received by Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID, a college-readiness system implemented in more than 4,900 schools nationwide, received one of the 20 i3 grant applications to help three districts prepare students for admission and persistence in college. DeSoto Middle School and DeSoto County High School are among those supported by the funding. The grant also partners with South Florida State College to show that a collaboration of secondary and postsecondary institutions serving a rural area can significantly improve student achievement and success. The Heartland Educational Consortium serves as a partner in this grant, providing support and training for the three districts involved.
The selected districts have high poverty student populations and struggle with a lack of funds for innovation. Nearly half of the educators in each school will receive AVID training.
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