Friday
May092014

Preventing an Elite Program from Becoming Elitist

By Liz Mizrahi, District AVID Coordinator for Bellevue School District, in collaboration with the entire Interlake AVID/IB TeThe AVID/TOK Team from Interlake High School with Liz Mizrahi, District AVID Coordinatoram: Maria Frieboes-Gee, Michael O’Byrne, Alison Pendlebury, Marisa Corso, and Matt Daniels

Interlake High School’s Answer to the IB and AVID Dilemma

Interlake High School’s AVID/Theory of Knowledge (AVID/TOK) class was born in a car ride from Portland to Seattle two years ago.  Interlake’s principal Maria Frieboes-Gee and IB Coordinator Michael O’Byrne were driving home after attending an IB conference.  Both Maria and Michael noticed similar troubling trends with IB and AVID at Interlake.  For one, even with Interlake’s seven period day, students could not take the AVID Elective class all four years of high school and complete their IB diploma. This meant that promising AVID students with the top grades and college prospects were forced to leave AVID in their crucial senior year to finish their IB diploma.  Secondly, IB was in danger of getting the reputation as an elitist program.  

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Thursday
May012014

Course Placement: Why Do We Need to Understand the Process?

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

In my current role as an education professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, I often talk with prospective teachers about the years I spent helping to develop, implement, and coordinate AVID at J.E.B. Stuart HS in Fairfax County, Virginia. In talking about AVID’s purpose and the reasons why it is vital for so many students and their families, I frequently share some of the challenges our site team encountered. One such challenge was ensuring AVID students were provided with consistent and equitable opportunities to enroll in advanced-level classes.

Our site team had a difficult time identifying and understanding the various processes being used within the school to recommend and assign students to advanced classes. It was not uncommon for teachers, even within the same subject area, to use different strategies and approaches to assign students to classes for the subsequent school year, and we had no idea how our feeder middle schools made 9th grade course enrollment decisions. As a result, ensuring the curricular pathway of each one of our AVID students was not always easy, and at times, efforts to accomplish this goal created conflict.

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Friday
Apr252014

AVID and IB: Success with a Schoolwide Approach 

By Adria Tate, College Readiness Systems Manager, Denver Public Schools

AVID Center and International Baccalaureate (IB), have a strong working relationship between the two organizations, but there is often confusion in school districts on whether AVID and IB are competing or complementary.  To help schools develop their best practices for AVID and IB, I have spent the past several months interviewing educators at  8 AVID/IB high schools and 5 AVID/IB middle schools who are doing amazing work between their AVID and IB programs to better support student success. A pattern emerged with the most successful sites: AVID’s Schoolwide approach.

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Thursday
Apr172014

Poverty, Privilege, and Academic “Othering”

By Yvonne Ortiz-Prince, Program Manager, AVID for Higher Education

I hail from a long line of strong women. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, my maternal grandmother grew up poor and received the equivalent of a 6th grade education. In search of greater financial opportunity, my grandparents decided to move to New York. Abuelito remained temporarily with their eldest son, so he could complete the school year. Abuelita rode on a steamship with their infant and toddler sons, speaking no English. When Abuelito and my eldest uncle arrived four months later, Abuelita had secured a job as a seamstress, as well as child care and furniture, in their modest railroad apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

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Thursday
Apr102014

“That” Teacher

By Jeanie Greenidge, AVID Teacher and Coordinator, O’Banion Middle School

Photo courtesy of Sebron Snyder Photography

Every school has at least one. That teacher who does the “hard, personal stuff.” She is the one who takes a student shopping for her first bra, when it’s time (because there is no one else available to do it). It is that teacher whom the other teachers approach to have a talk about the nuances of deodorant; that teacher who has an extra stock of snacks in case of hunger, of extra uniform clothing, some extra balm for chapped lips, feminine hygiene products, extra pens and pencils, and extra time to “be there” for our students; to listen and try to understand students. These “soft” skills come more easily for some teachers than others. These teachers can become a tribe unto themselves.

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