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The Meaning of Summer

By Jim Nelson, Executive Director, AVID Center

Welcome to summer!  There isn’t a person I’ve talked to who can believe it’s already June – the year is indeed flying by.

I know there are thousands of educators who are more than happy that it’s June, because for most, it means the end of a school year with a few weeks of well-deserved time off.  Whether traveling, relaxing or engaging in professional learning, the summer months provide time to broaden knowledge and enrich skills, so we can return to school with fresh ideas, a few new things to try and a sense of renewed inspiration.

For AVID, summer is the most important time of the year.  It is during the summer months when AVID Center staff and staff developers hit the road to conduct our eight Summer Institutes.  This year, we will train more than 22,000 educators with a single focus . . . preparing students for college readiness and success using proven AVID strategies.  No other single organization or group that I know of impacts the number of educators that we do every year through our Summer Institutes and other professional learning opportunities.  It is a humbling responsibility that we take very seriously because we know the difference it makes for the students who are served by these educators.

This year marks our 24th year of AVID Summer Institutes—a rich legacy of training dedicated educators that continues today.  Just as we did 24 years ago, we provide educators with strategies and curriculum, so they can prepare students for college.  Here’s a little Summer Institute history…

AVID Summer Institute History*

The first AVID Summer Institute was held in 1989 at the University of San Diego and was available only to San Diego County educators where the capacity for general sessions was 258.  The Institute began Monday morning and closed at noon on Saturday when the participants presented skits regarding what they had learned during the week.  The staff development strands offered were: Collegial Leadership (for those who had already gone through one or two years of AVID coordinator training), New-to-AVID (for coordinators without prior training), and subject area strands in English, history, science, mathematics, and foreign language.  In addition to the strands, the Institute featured two general sessions with keynote speakers, including former AVID students who were now teachers in area schools.  Four break-out afternoon sessions were offered, demonstrating writing-for-learning strategies across the curriculum.  Other afternoon sessions were Site Team meetings, during which interdisciplinary school teams used specific site disaggregated student performance data as the impetus to create action plans for the coming school year.

* Summarized from the AVID Archives 

In addition to Summer Institutes, AVID also takes advantage of the summer months to help students in grades 7 through 10 stay on track through our math and science summer bridge programs, which were created with funding support from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.  We know that time off in the summer can mean a loss of knowledge and skills in the important subjects of science and math, so we developed an engaging curriculum to provide students with fun ways to catch-up or get ahead in those subjects.  The teachers also benefit by using AVID instructional methods designed for high student engagement and deep learning.  The interactive programs provide rigorous content instruction using AVID’s WICOR strategies, and the math program also provides a means of increasing student access to 8th grade Algebra 1.

As you can tell, we are very busy here at AVID Center during the summer months so that we can help make your school year as productive as possible.  I hope to see many of you at Summer Institute and wish you safe travels, a little R & R and much enjoyment of the simple pleasures that summer offers us all.

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