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Retire The Certification Binder - Go Electronic!

by Kristin Lockwood, AVID Teacher and Coordinator, Adams City Middle School, Commerce City, CO

I have been an AVID Teacher and Coordinator at Adams City Middle School in Commerce City, CO for 10 years.  I recently noticed our AVID Certification binder has a weight problem.  This Marlon Brando Godfather-sized binder contains the history and evidence of our ten-year program.  Students look at it in both awe and terror.  At its heaviest, during our Demonstration visits, the old binder topped out at eight inches thick and weighed at least 40 pounds.  I had to use my mother’s old red flyer wagon to transport it from meeting to meeting and room to room.  We constantly worried about the health of its three rings.  They threatened to burst open every time we worked with the binder.  I used to have nightmares that a student would knock it off its perch in my classroom.  Then one day it happened; two students were horsing around, and the binder went flying.  I watched in horror as it fell.  I saw in slow motion, rings opening and pages explode and land all over the floor.  I knew in that moment that it was time for a major change: time to retire the binder and move into the 21st Century.

I took to the computer. 

AVID had been pushing electronic documentation for a while now.  In fact, the new Certification document had places for us to upload our evidence and insert it on to the document.  I tried to upload many things, but our pictures and PowerPoints were incompatible.  I needed more.  We had beautiful pictures of our students and projects that I wanted to display for everyone.  We were already using Google Docs for my science class so I thought, “why not have an AVID site?”  So I set up our AVID site on Google.  There is a central home page that displays our team and our mission.  Each essential gets its own page where we can upload all of our evidence.  Each page has our rationale and our areas for growth; below there is a “file cabinet” for all of our documentation.  I chose to use Google Sites as it is user-friendly and the hosting is free.  I spent about three days scanning information, collecting papers from colleagues, and entering our information.  Setting up the site was initially very time intensive, but now that it’s there, we can add and subtract at will.  The updating will be much easier and we will have a true living document that can be accessed anywhere there is a computer.

Retire your Certification binder; it will take years off your life and pounds of paper off your desk!  Please feel free to visit our site or email me with your ideas, suggestions and questions.

Adams City Middle School site: https://sites.google.com/site/adamscitymiddleschoolavid/  

Kristin Lockwood: [email protected]


Kristin Lockwood has taught Science at Adams City Middle School in Commerce City, Colorado for the last 14 years. She started teaching AVID 10 years ago and has had the pleasure of helping push ACMS to National Demonstration Site status as the AVID Coordinator.  Kristin also works with AVID’s Western Division as a consultant and as a staff developer.



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Reader Comments (2)

What a great blog! Our site team has been playing with this idea, but I couldn't really visualize it. Seeing your page has inspired us to try this. Thanks for sharing this valuable information!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCamille Gonzales

YEA!!! I did the same thing with Google Sites & Docs last year, and it was so much better than the old stuffy binder system. I was even able to include videos of our Socratic Seminars and TONS of pictures! The only thing I did not upload was report cards, schedules, things with confidential student ID information. I just loaded all of those things onto a separate flash drive. Everything is organized by Essential and by sub-category like 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!! Thanks for sharing!

February 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim Mouser

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