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10 Top AVID Blogs from 2014

As we prepare to ring in the New Year, we want to be sure you don’t miss these great blog posts from 2014. The bright ideas in these blogs will help you start your 2015 off right! Happy New Year and happy reading!


It’s Not Easy Being the First, But It’s Worth It!
By Chelsea Jones, Associate Director, Student Programs, Center for Student Opportunity, I’m First

If you are a teacher, you are probably in the midst of the college search and selection process frenzy. Writing letters of recommendation. Helping students put together resumes and activities lists. Correcting students and letting them know that it’s “FAFSA,” not “FASFA.”
A good number of your students probably have daily arguments with their parents around the dinner table about which parent’s alma mater they should attend. That’s sort of a cool conversation to have, right? But what about your students who don’t come from a background of their parents having a college degree? How do you think those conversations go? Let me fill you in…


AVID: A Game-Changer
By Sean McComb, English and AVID Teacher, Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts, 2014 National Teacher of the Year

The AVID program forever changed the trajectory of my teaching career with two words: voluntary participation.

I traditionally teach students English, by certification and assignment. Those courses begin with an understanding that the students have to be there and they have to pass in order to graduate. I was asked to take over a fledgling AVID site as both the program and I were completing our first year at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts. With AVID, I had to operate under a new paradigm. I would have to create an academic environment so supportive and appealing that students would choose to return to it for four consecutive years…


“That” Teacher
By Jeanie Greenidge, Coordinator, Secondary AVID, Garland Independent School District

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…


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…


Make the Commitment to Student Success by Taking AVID Schoolwide
by Dennis A. Johnston, Ph.D., Senior Director, Chief Research Officer, AVID Center

In 2010, AVID Center changed its mission to include all students, not just students in the academic middle. This came as a result of our continual growth in the understanding of the impact AVID has on students, teachers, administrators, and institutions overall. For more than 30 years, AVID has supported secondary schools in the implementation of the AVID Elective and the training of staff in inquiry-based pedagogical strategies designed to exercise and strengthen the metacognitive skills necessary for students to engage rigorous curriculum and be successful in postsecondary education. Today, AVID has moved beyond elective classrooms and is designed to be implemented schoolwide so as to touch all students on a campus in support of our new mission. So what does schoolwide AVID look like?


I Stopped Teaching Math and Started Teaching Kids
By Anthony Ritz, 2014 Dallas Summer Institute Speaker

Sitting in a café on a Sunday afternoon, I received a text message that changed my life. I’ll tell you how in a minute.

I have taught for nine years and just completed my first loop with AVID students, from freshman year to senior year. In the beginning, I taught math. I had a pacing guide to get through, and students needed to stay caught up with me. I believed sleeping in class was disrespectful and excuses were hollow. Then, the AVID Program happened…


AVID Teacher Gives Students Roots and Wings
by John Hines, AVID Elective Teacher & Coordinator, Todd Beamer High School

As part of my summer reading, I finished a New York Times Corner Office interview with Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon. In this interview, what stuck out to me the most was the favorite expression of Kat Cole’s mother, “Don’t ever forget where you came from, but don’t you dare let it define you.” As an AVID teacher helping many students become the first in their family to graduate from college, I find that this advice is critical…


Zoe’s Top Five Rules for New AVID Students and Elective Teachers
By Jonathan Petrick, AVID Elective Teacher & Coordinator, and Zoe Harrigan, AVID Student, Ramstein Middle School, Germany

Have no fear, the AVID Experts are here! As we provide support to students who may not have always had a voice with their path to success, it is important that we listen to those students for advice and encouragement along our path as educators. AVID Elective teachers and coordinators can tell you that having an interdisciplinary site team is a huge advantage when the path to success is looking impossible. They will also tell you that having a few experts that have ‘walked the walk’ with AVID is greatly valued. Now I’m talking about our real experts– students…


Academic Placement: Creating Transparency, Equity, and Well-Defined Practices
By Dr. Philip E. Bernhardt, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Former AVID Teacher and Co-School Coordinator

After recently writing a blog explaining why we need to pay critical attention to the process of recommending and assigning students to classes, I felt it was important to follow up with a description of strategies AVID educators can advocate for in order to create transparent, equitable, and well-defined course placement practices. These approaches hold the potential to facilitate meaningful change by eliminating the type of academic sorting that often results in unequal educational opportunities…


Do Your Students Know How To Ask Questions?
By Craig McKinney, AVID Elective Teacher and Staff Developer

As I walked into school yesterday morning—the day of a big test in my Humanities class—I found a small group of students in the hall, who had arrived at school early and were studying with one another prior to attending the before-school tutorial session in my room. Sounding like an overly cheery teacher in a 1980s high school sitcom, I said something stereotypically teacher-y like, “Wow, you’re up early and studying hard already.”

One of the students looked at me with a confident smile. “I’m helping them study, and I’m not even in this class. …But it’s okay, I’m in AVID. I know how to ask questions.” This brief exchange reminded me of one of the things that I love about AVID: the AVID Elective class teaches students how to ask questions…

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Reader Comments (1)

what a great way to wrap up 2014! Thank you for making the blogs actionable.

January 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSchnitzel

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