College AND Career Ready?

The “and career” in the title of this blog provoked some interesting conversations within the AVID Center. Since our mission is “to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society,” staff asked me some challenging questions.

“Are we changing our focus, shifting away from four-year college success?”

“Are we now becoming devoted to vocational efforts?”

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Resilience, the Brain, and Emotion

When I started thinking about resilience, and how we can develop this quality in our AVID students, I really didn’t understand the degree to which resilience is much less about the genetic make-up of the student and family background  than it is about the kind of educational environment we create.  In other words, I was falling into the typical trap:  “Blame the victim.”  We interview AVID students, looking for “Individual Determination,” but it is important to remember that we need to keep developing that determination and their resilience.

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Resilience and Academic Success

One of the joys of my job is that I get to work with our AVID student speakers in the summer, occasionally serving as host during our institute luncheon celebrations.  I also get to read many of the student essays that become the basis for their speeches.  This past summer, we had over 40 AVID speakers, including current students and graduates.  All of them exemplified the “Individual Determination” we value so highly in the AVID world.  Another way to look at it is:  These young people are resilient, they persist; they believe that their efforts will result in achievement.

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