More AVID students headed to college

OKEECHOBEE — On Nov. 13, Okeechobee County schools released data from 2018-19’s graduating class of students participating in the district’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.

In 2018-19, 97% of Okeechobee County Schools seniors participating in AVID completed a FAFSA application, which tops the national rate of 61%. Likewise, 100% of AVID students applied to a four-year college and 100% were accepted.

AVID is a nationally recognized program that helps students navigate the college application process and build the academic and soft skills needed to succeed in college and the workforce of the future.

“The success of AVID is a result of the hard work of both our staff and students,” said Superintendent of Okeechobee County Schools Ken Kenworthy. “The mentors associated with this program go above and beyond to help their students succeed. Okeechobee High, including the Freshman Campus, Osceola and Yearling Middle, have been AVID members for several years. Recently, the program was expanded to North and Seminole Elementary Schools. This is one more example of the innovative programs the district offers our students and the community to improve our graduation rates and help students be more successful in college.”

Research shows that applying for financial aid is one of the best predictors of whether a student will enroll in college. Through the AVID program, the school district hosts regular FAFSA application nights and provides dedicated in-school time for students to work with teachers and staff to complete their applications, providing them with better insight into the financial resources available to them.

“We congratulate Okeechobee County schools for its demonstrated commitment to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary education,” said Dr. Sandy Husk, former schools superintendent and CEO of AVID. “The milestones announced today reflect the Okeechobee County schools’ holistic approach to college readiness, starting with building a culture of high expectations among teachers and students, and including the delivery of rigorous, student-centric instruction that prepares them for college-level work. We are proud to be part of Okeechobee County Schools’ work to ensure all students can reach their full potential.”

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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