Apter & O’Connor with our partners at Literacy Powerline was recently asked to assist Rio Colorado LEADS, with a federal application for an I3 initiative. Rio Colorado LEADS is a Tri-County Coalition for Literacy representing three rural counties in southeast Texas. Their proposal requests funding for five years to implement wide-reaching and research based strategies to improve rates of student achievement, high school graduation and college entry among high-needs students from seven eligible rural school districts located in Colorado, Matagorda, and Wharton counties. The project will test the “collective impact” model developed by FSG Social Impact Consultants and plans to implement the basic tenants of the STRIVE Partnership. The Strive Partnership serves as a catalyst for working together, across sectors, and along the educational continuum, to drive better results in education and LEADS proposes to adapt this highly successful, urban intervention for the first time in a rural area. If the proposal is successful, Apter & O’Connor will lead the evaluation team to conduct an empirically sound and rigorous evaluation designed to assess the impact on participants including teaching staff, students and the districts involved and to elucidate key factors contributing to the outcomes.