By Rob Gira, Executive Vice President, AVID Center
In these turbulent times, it can be difficult to break through the noise in education. Every teacher, counselor, and administrator in your school building is there because he or she hopes to see students succeed, but we all know that it is easy to lose sight of that when bogged down with competing priorities, bureaucracy, and the very real and heartbreaking struggles that our students often face outside of school. Much of the current media attention also focuses on what is lacking in our education system, with countless experts rattling about what should or shouldn’t be done.
Educators and students deserve better than this, and it’s our sincere hope that this week-long celebration will be an opportunity to put the focus where it truly belongs: student success.
Thus, at the AVID Center, we are encouraging all educators—especially those from the AVID World—to participate and show how they commit to student success! To assist with the process, we’ve created a toolkit to help any campus hold their own Commit Week, though we don’t want anyone to feel limited by these daily activities. Each day has a unique theme: My Success Monday, Their Success Tuesday, What Is Success? Wednesday, Thank You Thursday, and Future Friday. Each day of this week will allow students to consider different facets of success and what they can do to support their own success.
In planning Commit to Student Success Week, we’ve also connected with many people and organizations who, like us, want to provide resources that help schools and students succeed. To help illustrate, we offer three examples of our many allies in the campaign:
- The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation: This organization has been supporting our work and our students for more than a decade. They helped spread AVID across the central U.S., especially in Texas. They have also provided support for research and development projects, such as our Math/Science Summer Bridge and, most recently, the expansion of AVID for Higher Education. There is no greater example, however, of the commitment of the Dell Family than the Dell Scholars Program. Since 2004, when the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation began the Dell Scholars Program, 1,672 AVID students have been awarded a Dell scholarship for a total of more than $33.4 million.
- International Baccalaureate (IB): This worldwide non-profit offers opportunities to participate in challenging and holistic curriculum, as well as a rigorous testing program, which can confer the prestigious IB® diploma. We have observed many AVID students participating in IB courses and encourage schools and districts to make sure that IB and AVID are seen as complimentary, not competitive. We have also published examples of AVID/IB best practices in a recent blog series and frequently feature examples at our National Conference.
- Wes Moore: A true champion for student success, Wes Moore was the keynote speaker at our 2012 AVID National Conference. His bestselling book, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, shows how the interplay of personal choice, expectations, and opportunities shapes our students’ destinies. Like AVID Center, Moore argues for more equity and access in education so that all students can meet their true potential. Moore is committed to helping parents, teachers, mentors, and advocates who serve our nation’s youth.
With the help of our allies and many other educators, we can change the conversation in education and share what we know works to help all students succeed. We hope every campus that is able to participate will show us how they are #AVID4StudentSuccess on social media throughout the week! To all of our dedicated AVID teachers and site team members, the next time that someone asks you, “What’s AVID anyway?” feel confident in telling them that AVID is an organization that proudly supports your work to help all of your students succeed.
For more on AVID, visit http://avid.org/what-is-avid.ashx.