Thursday
Apr212011

Is AVID part of your district’s DNA?

By Jim Nelson, Executive Director, AVID Center

Recently, as a district’s budget was being discussed during a school board meeting, the subject of AVID came up to consider as part of a budget reduction plan. The superintendent quickly silenced any talk of eliminating AVID and said, “AVID is not on the table. It is part of this district’s DNA.”

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Friday
Apr152011

AVID Summer Institutes Transform Educators

By Lauren Ramers

Summer is my favorite AVID season. While some teachers are enjoying their much-deserved hiatus from the classroom, AVID educators are gearing up for Summer Institute. In 2010, AVID trained nearly 20,000 participants, and each year, Summer Institute participants are motivated and energized as a result of their transformative experiences led by the quality of their staff developers.

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Wednesday
Apr062011

Money Isn’t the Only Thing

By Jim Nelson, Executive Director, AVID Center

Last week, The New York Times ran a series addressing the long-time issue of raising the status of teachers. Several credible bloggers weighed in, giving suggestions ranging from allowing teachers more autonomy to embedding more accountability. My good friend Kati Haycock, President of the Education Trust in Washington D.C., proposed that we “improve teacher training,” and she couldn’t be more accurate. My experience as state commissioner in Texas, as a   superintendent, and as AVID’s executive director has allowed me to observe classrooms across the country, and the one constant to student success is a highly qualified teacher.

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Friday
Mar252011

Advanced Placement®: Some Research Reflections — An Interview with Dr. Kristin Klopfenstein 

By: Rob Gira, Executive Vice President, AVID Center

As an economist, Dr. Kristin Klopfenstein looks closely at return on investment. Thus, she examines the dollars that school districts invest, and has not been shy in her criticism of AP® “helicopter drops.” Jay Mathews, the unabashed AP advocate from the Washington Post, has called her the “smartest critic of AP in low-income schools,” but in meeting with her on several occasions, I have been impressed with her understanding of what underserved students need and deserve from our school system, as well as the importance of teachers in changing students’ lives.

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Wednesday
Mar162011

AP Access and Democracy: A History Teacher’s Point of View

By Tom Swanson, AP US History teacher, Del Norte High School, San Diego, CA

The United States prides itself on being a nation of social mobility where no citizen is superior or inferior to another. It is a nation where children grow up hearing that they can be anything they want to be, regardless of their background; where free will, not family, determine success. Even President Obama, in his recent State of the Union Address stated, “We are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea, the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny.” The great irony is that our public school system, far from being the great equalizer for this nation’s children, is in many respects still reinforcing the social inequities considered so very un-American.

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