Beth Parker, AVID Consultant
Many of you are keenly aware of the huge success that AVID has experienced in supporting elementary through high school students via the daily connection with AVID trained teachers. We know the impact that teachers have on preparing students to be successful college students is huge. Yet, until this last school year thousands of new teachers have entered the teaching field straight out of teacher preparation programs in our colleges and universities without the advantage of being deeply trained in AVID frameworks, methodologies, and strategies. I want to share with you the exciting first year of a new AVID initiative, AVID for Higher Education Teacher Preparation Initiative (TPI).
Working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and through a grant from the Meadows Foundation, AVID moved forward to create the Teacher Preparation Initiative. The Initiative began in June 2011 with the teams from the two pilot universities, University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB). The TPI is designed to ultimately impact teacher candidates as they enter their classrooms and begin supporting a college-going culture. AVID TPI personnel collaborate with colleges of education to systematically address the needs of teacher candidates as they enter the teaching field. The goal of the AVID Teacher Preparation Initiative is to provide teacher candidates with a deep understanding of, and practical experience with, AVID methodologies, e.g. WICOR, so that they enter the teaching field having analyzed and practiced instructional strategies that make them successful in meeting a broad spectrum of students’ needs.
- Faculty members are trained in the basics of AVID methodologies through a variety of selected professional development experiences.
- Faculty members then model and utilize these strategies for teacher candidates within their teacher preparation courses, making the AVID framework and philosophy explicit.
- The teacher candidates are expected to implement the strategies within the supportive framework of their classes and during their field experiences/student teaching.
- Courses are enhanced and teacher candidates receive vital methodology and strategy instruction within the WICOR framework.
In this, TPI’s first year, 67 university education classes at our two pilot universities, UTA and UTPB, have been infused with AVID frameworks, methodologies, and strategies. 199 professors, teacher candidates, and school district partners have completed AVID trainings. An average of 493 teacher candidates were enrolled in AVID infused education classes in each semester during the 2011-2012 school year. The UTA and the UTPB Teacher Preparation Site Teams have worked tirelessly during this initial year of the program to embed AVID strategies into their teacher preparation courses with great success.
It has been an exciting year to observe the professors, teacher candidates, and local partnering school systems respond to the results of the AVID Teacher Preparation Initiative. I have had the opportunity to hear directly from the professors as they have told me that their AVID training and collaboration are making a marked impact on their planning and teaching as well as the receptiveness of their students. It has been an incredible experience to hear the teacher candidates share how excited they are to be learning and practicing the AVID methodologies and strategies in their education courses. These future teachers feel strongly that these skills will enable them to teach more effectively..
As the TPI has begun into its second year, the four additional universities that have joined the Initiative (Minnesota State University at Mankato, Wiley College, Texas College and Texas A & M University Central Texas) met with the two pilot universities to plan for the upcoming year during Dallas II Summer Institute. Each participant had the opportunity to utilize the TPI Implementation Guide that is being drafted for new TPI universities as AVID supports them in creating the program in their teacher preparation courses.
Our continued goal at AVID throughout the entire system is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. By preparing future teachers through university teacher preparation programs, we also have the opportunity to bring the AVID system full circle as these teacher candidates leave the universities prepared to teach in a manner that allows all students to be college ready.
Beth Parker has been engaged with the education of children and adults for more than thirty years in a variety of roles. She taught in grade levels from pre-K through high school in the public schools before serving in McKinney ISD as a middle school administrator, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development for K-12, Director of Advanced Academics and, most recently, as an elementary principal of a nationally recognized school. She was the AVID District Director in McKinney ISD (McKinney, TX) when AVID was first implemented in that district. She has served as the Director of Program Development for 3e McKinney where she created and led the Adopt-A-School program. Beth teaches graduate courses at Dallas Baptist University in Ed Leadership and serves as the lead consultant for AVID for Higher Education’s Teacher Preparation Initiative.