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Educational Foundation of Lake County receives AT&T grant


AT&T Donation  

Statistically, students who do not earn a high school diploma are far more likely to participate in risky behaviors such as alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. Without a high school diploma, unemployment rates soar to almost 15%, two times higher than with a diploma. Not having a high school diploma impacts not only the individual, but the community as a whole.


To receive a high school diploma in Florida, students must pass a standardized assessment test that includes a reading component in the tenth grade. The graduating Class of 2014 did not include 120 students who had every graduation prerequisite except for passing the State of Florida reading requirement after multiple attempts. Their only option to graduate was to have received a score of 19 or higher on the ACT.


To provide the opportunity for students who are at a high risk of not being able to earn a high school diploma, AT&T is collaborating with the Educational Foundation of Lake County in 2015-2016 by funding a proven successful remedial reading program. The ACT Reading Prep Program takes a dramatically different approach to reading remediation by focusing on three primary learning objectives: comprehension, test taking skills and vocabulary development. Implementation of this program consists of a structural shift in instruction, content intensity, and student engagement. Remedial reading professionals with extensive experience in developing reading lessons, instructing teachers in implementing those lessons, and overseeing the teachers’ fidelity to the lessons are employed in order to achieve the intended outcomes.


The program was piloted at Leesburg High School and Umatilla High school last year and 81% of the 102 students in jeopardy scored high enough on the ACT to receive a high school diploma. Carman Cullen-Batt, executive director of the foundation is “expecting great things as we can now roll this program into Lake Minneola High School and continue to sustain the program at Umatilla High. Even if the success rate remains constant, 154 students will walk off a stage with a diploma.”


“By using a unique teaching approach of focusing on the areas of comprehension, test taking skills and vocabulary development, students have the opportunity to build a better foundation for their future success” said Troy McNichols, Regional Director – AT&T Florida “Our support of the ACT Reading Prep Program and its innovative techniques demonstrate our belief that these encouraging results are providing a positive impact on student’s daily lives”.