Three local high schools listed in Newsweek’s 2015 Beating the Odds list

Schools listed for excelling in preparing low income students for college

Three Southwest Florida high schools were recently listed in Newsweek’s “Beating the Odds” list identifying those that do an excellent job of preparing their students for college while also overcoming the obstacles posed by students at an economic disadvantage.

Lorenzo Walker Technical School in Naples ranked 97th, Edison Collegiate High School in Punta Gorda ranked 154th and Fort Myers High School ranked 368th in the top 500 high schools across the country who are “beating the odds” with high graduation and college bound rates despite high levels of poverty.

Fort Myers High has a college readiness of 78.8 percent with a 98.1 percent graduation rate and 35.8 percent poverty. Edison Collegiate has a college readiness of 83.9 percent with a 97.7 percent graduation rate and 35.7 percent poverty. Lorenzo Walker has a college readiness of 86.8 percent with a 100 percent graduation rate and 69.6 percent poverty.

In an effort to address the effect of socioeconomic disadvantage on education, Newsweek published two lists: “America’s Top High Schools 2015,” which ranks schools solely based on performance and “Beating the Odds 2015,” which ranks schools based on performance while also controlling for student poverty rates.

In Southwest Florida, only 27 percent of the population has earned a college degree; the number of residents with technical school or specialized training certifications is still being determined.

The FutureMakers Coalition is working to increase post-secondary certification completion in Southwest Florida and promote the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workplace and in life. Formed in 2015 around existing regional collaborations, the coalition’s goal is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025 throughout Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.

Two of FutureMakers six regional action teams include Aspirtation/Preparation and Access/Entry. The first team includes experts and advocates focused on infant mental health, early childhood-learning, parenting, and elementary, middle and high school. This includes the alignment of K-12 curriculum and preparation of students for post-secondary exploration and entrance. The second includes experts and advocates focused on post-secondary access, which includes student interest and skill identification, mentoring for post-secondary access and entrance, as well as support to access needed financial assistance.

As one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment, the FutureMakers Coalition is a regional partnership involving education, government, business, nonprofit and citizen stakeholders and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the coalition.  The FutureMakers Coalition encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa Lesage at [email protected].

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