The West Ada School District, formerly Joint School District No. 2, is based in Meridian and is the largest school district in the state.

MP file photo

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's largest school district is the latest of six districts across the state to launch a program designed to help at-risk kids get ready for college.

The West Ada School District is starting the program, called Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, in the Mountain View and Meridian high schools. The administration will expand the program to other schools in the 38,000-student district over the next several years, The Idaho Statesman (http://bit.ly/2pa5ihs) reported.

Boise, Emmett, Homedale, Mountain Home and Vallivue districts already use AVID.

The program combines instruction in organizational skills and note-taking with a rigorous curriculum and scholarship-hunting to help kids find and get into post-secondary education. It's focused on kids who will be the first generation in their families to attend college.

"It's hard to find someone who says something bad about this program," said Don Nesbitt, West Ada School District assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

West Ada's decision to adopt AVID will cost the district $77,000 in its first year. But the cost will drop dramatically afterward.

Sixty-five percent of West Ada's seniors went on to college in the 2015-2016 school year, far above the statewide rate of 46 percent. But both parents and staffers wanted to see West Ada's rate improve further, said Mary Ann Ranells, district superintendent.

Boise School District, which is a neighbor to West Ada, adopted the AVID program about 12 years ago. In 2015 about 61 percent of Boise's seniors went on to college, including 75 percent of the kids who participated in AVID.

Inga Nurati is a 16-year-old sophomore at Borah High School in Boise. She's one of 150 students taking part in the AVID program at the school, and she hopes to go to Washington State University to study nursing.

Nurati said she knows getting into the school will require hard work. AVID helps her know what she has to do and how to get it done.

"They want us to be challenged," Nurati said.

At Borah, AVID students take advanced-placement or dual-credit classes that earn them college credit. They meet daily, helping each other answer questions from classes, volunteering for community projects and spending time on sustained, focused reading.

The focused reading helps prepare the students for the intensive reading they'll need to complete while in college, Borah AVID coordinator Amy Everson said.

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

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