The study took place in four Florida school districts (Broward, Highlands, Hardee, and DeSoto). Broward is a large urban county in southeast Florida, and Highlands, Hardee, and Desoto are rural counties in south-central Florida.
At baseline, the average age of students in the sample was 14.8 years, 65% were female, 80% were minority, and 47% were Hispanic. Just over one-third (37%) came from single parent homes, all students were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, 54% were eligible to receive social services such as food stamps or Medicaid, and 78% had a mother who was a high school graduate. Forty percent of students reported that they have (or had) a sibling enrolled in college.
FLIGHT was implemented during three school years. The intervention included five components aimed at increasing the likelihood of students applying for, being accepted to, and enrolling in college. The first component was a pre-paid college scholarship for students who remained in good academic standing throughout high school. The second through fourth components were one-on-one mentoring from adult volunteers, intensive case-management services from school staff, and academic and college preparation workshops for students and their parents. The fifth component was a Student Detail Report of students’ grades, attendance, test scores, and status in the intervention that was provided at year-end to parents, teachers, and guidance counselors.
Students assigned to the comparison group did not receive the FLIGHT intervention and received business-as-usual college preparation support.
Support for implementation
FLIGHT staff were trained to create and distribute the year-end Student Detail Reports. New mentors are provided with a 2-hour orientation and training session before being assigned as a mentor. New and returning mentors are also asked to participate in at least one 1-hour enrichment event during the year. These enrichment events are informal and can be in the form of a lunchtime online webinar or a mentor appreciation breakfast with FLIGHT staff.