Thursday
Nov202014

You Just Never Know…

By Tania Litwiler, AVID Elective Teacher & Coordinator, Lompoc Valley Middle School

I could hear the snickering from the big boys at the top of the bleachers. It was the middle of our first annual Commit to Student Success Week, and I was watching our 3-on-3 basketball game. UCLA (our principal’s alma mater) vs. University of Alabama (our assistant principal’s school) was on the court, and the teams were playing to 21. The snickers were because of Dulan, who was overthrowing shots and missing every basket attempted.

Dulan, a Sri Lankan boy with an infectious smile, had been the first student to turn in the Scholar Athlete application required for participation in the game. Since I knew that many of the other participating students would be taller than Dulan, my first thought when he handed me the application was, “You will get munched on that court!” But of course, we selected Dulan to play; he was so excited, and his excitement never waned as he flew around the court with the other 3-on-3 participants...

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Thursday
Nov132014

Do Your Students Know How To Ask Questions?

By Craig McKinney, AVID Elective Teacher and Staff Developer
This painting was created for Craig by his students: Kavina Hsu, Amy Wang, and Sara Watters

As I walked into school yesterday morning—the day of a big test in my Humanities class—I found a small group of students in the hall, who had arrived at school early and were studying with one another prior to attending the before-school tutorial session in my room. Sounding like an overly cheery teacher in a 1980s high school sitcom, I said something stereotypically teacher-y like, “Wow, you’re up early and studying hard already.”

One of the students looked at me with a confident smile. “I’m helping them study, and I’m not even in this class. …But it’s okay, I’m in AVID. I know how to ask questions.” This brief exchange reminded me of one of the things that I love about AVID: the AVID Elective class teaches students how to ask questions.

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Friday
Nov072014

Academic Placement: Creating Transparency, Equity, and Well-Defined Practices

By Dr. Philip E. Bernhardt, Assistant Professor & Department Chair of Secondary Education, Educational Technology, and K–12 Education, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Former AVID Teacher and Co-School Coordinator

After recently writing a blog explaining why we need to pay critical attention to the process of recommending and assigning students to classes, I felt it was important to follow up with a description of strategies AVID educators can advocate for in order to create transparent, equitable, and well-defined course placement practices. These approaches hold the potential to facilitate meaningful change by eliminating the type of academic sorting that often results in unequal educational opportunities.

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Thursday
Oct302014

What Are We Really Doing When We Think?

By Bill Madigan, AVID Staff Developer

“In my experience, my education as a psychologist and neuroscientist was pretty much a waste.  Everything I was taught in the seventies has now been proven wrong: the ‘deficit’ model of psychology that meant all we did as therapists is find out what was wrong with you; There was no knowledge of neurogenesis or brain plasticity. We were taught you had a finite number of cells and that no new cells were ever generated throughout the rest of your life. And, finally, we knew nothing of ‘epigenetics,’ or that brain genes were affected by the environment in which the brain was growing – that gene expression was affected by how you are treated in the environment you grow up in. We were in a dark age of understanding.”

– Louis Cozolino, Learning and the Brain Conference, San Francisco, 2013

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Tuesday
Oct212014

Zoe’s Top Five Rules for New AVID Students and Elective Teachers  

By Jonathan Petrick, AVID Elective Teacher & Coordinator, and Zoe Harrigan, AVID Student, Ramstein Middle School, Germany  

Have no fear, the AVID Experts are here! As we provide support to students who may not have always had a voice with their path to success, it is important that we listen to those students for advice and encouragement along our path as educators. AVID Elective teachers and coordinators can tell you that having an interdisciplinary site team is a huge advantage when the path to success is looking impossible. They will also tell you that having a few experts that have ‘walked the walk’ with AVID is greatly valued. Now I’m talking about our real experts…students! What do our students think? What advice can they offer for other students and educators looking at the plethora of updated forms, curriculum, trainings, and professional conferences and sometimes feeling overwhelmed? Enter Zoe.

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