Thursday, July 8, 2010

Great AVID Story

Teachers give student a little extra aid for college
07:07 AM CDT on Thursday, July 8, 2010
By JEFFREY WEISS / The Dallas Morning News
Link: Dallas Morning News Story
Dewan Woods' new Boston College hoodie is a welcome reminder of North Texas. The sweatshirt was a gift for the incoming freshman, one of many gifts to help set him up in college.
Woods just graduated from Richardson's Berkner High School, an honored product of a program designed to give a leg up to at-risk students who show a particular spark of promise. Woods delivered on that promise in high school, earning scholarships from his chosen college and from the Dell and Gates foundations.
Those grants will pay for his education and room and board through graduate school. But a kid needs more than his studies, a dorm room and a laptop to settle into college life far from home. Things like bedding, a desk lamp, cold weather gear for the Boston winters, and plane tickets to get him there and back.
I encourage you to read the rest of the story.  Really nice.  Also I wanted to link to the Berkner Cardboard Confessional video.  Very inspiring.

LINK to the Video


  1. Thank You Jeffrey for writing about these great kids. It is inspiring to our AVID teachers and students. Great work.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note. I'm glad you enjoy the SF stories.

    As for AVID, I'm sure it has its good points, but I am opposed to it as it's done at our school. The Marketing Academy in which I taught for 20 years, is an excellent program with lots of success. Our students, by the time they graduate, stand head and shoulders above the rest of the kids, even the AVID students. However, and this is the big flaw that makes me so angry, once the student signs on for AVID as a FRESHMAN, they cannot get out of the program to get into the Academy which starts at the SOPHOMORE level. We cannot touch those students, BUT the counselors can pull the kids we've recruited for the Academy and put them into AVID. That takes their elective class and we have lost another student.

    I have had AVID students in my yearbook class as seniors (when they finally allow them to take an elective) and the kids can't write. My Academy seniors do a much better job of writing and just being an overall good student. The AVID kids haven't done any volunteer work or internships either. And when I ask them to bring in work so as to prepare a portfolio, they just look at me. They don't have any projects.

  3. AVID is different at every school. I would challenge your school's version of it, as it does not follow a major tenet of what AVID is supposed to be. It is voluntary. If students are told they can not exit the program, well it seems to me that what your school is "calling" AVID, just isn't AVID. We are to certify on 11 essentials. One is specifically devoted to the fact that teachers, site team members and all AVID students are in the program because they want to be on a voluntary basis.

    So, although I don't question your Marketing Academy and its success, I do wonder how AVID at your school could be successful without following the program. It is not surprising to me that some students may have struggled because when the program starts to be modified (and to that extreme) results can be very different.

    I also want to add that AVID has not worked at EVERY single school or district. But, it has been successful at our school and many, many others. In most schools across this country we have specialized programming for special education, gifted & talented, and lots of programs like Market Academies and specialized training areas. But, there are very few programs that focus on students in the academic middle, who would be the first in their families to attend college, and who are not taking honors, Pre-AP, AP, or Dual Credit classes to prepare for college.

    AVID takes students who want to go to college, but may not be prepared and gets them ready for the challenge. If they make it, it's because they have decided to take advantage of the program and all it has to offer. Much like the success rate of any program, it is up to the students to have the determination to use the tools provided.

    Thanks for reading and commenting. :)


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