Thursday
Mar262015

Building a Scholarship Buzz

By Kristen Behrens, English and AVID Teacher, Mundelein High School

At Mundelein High School, we host four Parent University Nights per year. This year, one evening in particular stood out to me. I was charged with educating parents on the nuances of the FAFSA, scholarship opportunities, and how to interpret a financial aid award letter. The response was stunning. I quickly realized that AVID parents and students are gripped by fear when it comes to the idea of taking out student loans for college. Parents literally created a line down my classroom’s hallway after the meeting, and I stayed in my classroom to privately talk each family off the ledge until 8:30 p.m. that night. Their financial woes were sobering, and I quickly realized that I needed an action plan to make parents realize how hard their students have worked, and that they are worthy of attending a four-year institution right after high school—even if loans do, in fact, need to be considered.

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Thursday
Mar192015

How We Do This All Day Long

By Craig McKinney, AVID Elective Teacher and Staff Developer

At the end of the second of five class periods, the guest speaker turned to me with a look of exhaustion and asked, “How do you do this all day long?”

By the end of sixth period, she was, as they say, “phoning it in.” A glazed expression in her eyes, she continued to click through her PowerPoint slides and deliver the same art history lesson—with the same inflections, the same pauses, and the same practiced information. My students sat there dutifully taking notes, some of them occasionally jolting back to semi-alertness after nodding off momentarily.

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Tuesday
Mar102015

It Takes an AVID Village

By Darral Sessions, AVID Elective Teacher and Co-Coordinator, Coleman Middle School

All my life, I have heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As a teacher, I have seen how important it is for each student to have a village to call their own. Just this year, our school officially became a Title I school, and we strive every day to overcome the challenges that our students and their families face. We also have many ELL students, sometimes complicating our communication between school and home. Our AVID site team decided to focus heavily on family nights this year, hoping to make these events special, amazing, and meaningful. We knew that we needed to increase parent involvement in the college-readiness process. We needed to strengthen our village.

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Thursday
Mar052015

Help Keep All Students from Becoming a Statistic 

By Gregory Heinecke, Curriculum Specialist and WICOR Trainer, Elk River Area School District, Minnesota

According to Los Angeles Times writer Kenneth Turan, “Sixty-eight percent of public university students do not graduate in four years, and forty-four percent do not make it out in six.” I offer that a schoolwide AVID approach not only prepares students for college, but it also lays the foundation for them to be successful—to avoid being a statistic.

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Wednesday
Feb252015

Advice From the Ivy League: An AVID Alum Reflects

By Ricky Herrera, AVID Alumnus, Brown University

My mother has reminded me countless times of the opportunities that I have here in the United States—opportunities that she could have only dreamed of—but did I ever think I would be writing this as a sophomore at Brown University, one of the most prestigious universities in our country? Certainly not early in my life as a student.

Before I began my relationship with AVID, my vision was somewhat limited.

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