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News from the Superintendent: September 8, 2010
September 8, 2010
Good morning. I hope you had a good three-day weekend.
This week we welcome 31 tutors into 16 of our middle and high schools as part of the AVID program. If you haven’t heard me talk about this before, AVID—or Advancement via Individual Determination—is all about taking the students in the middle and giving them that extra push and support they need to prepare for college.
This, to put it simply, is an exciting program. APS has plenty of students who get attention at each end of the achievement spectrum. However, it’s those kids in the proverbial middle, the ones who turn in solid but unspectacular work, who can kick it up a notch if they just got a little extra direction. Who knows what they could achieve if they knew in advance what colleges expect from them, or if they even considered college in the first place?
The key component that makes AVID unique is the use of tutors in the classroom. Tutors work with groups of no more than seven students as facilitators, as the students work together to find solutions in subjects they’re struggling with. The teamwork and critical thinking processes they’re learning now will pay off for them later.
This is the second year we’ve used AVID in APS and we’ve tripled the number of schools over last year. So, with around 1,000 students enrolled in 43 class sections, the program could still use about 30 tutors. What’s exciting is that people are stepping up from all corners of the community to offer their services. Parents have volunteered and Sandia Labs employees have inquired about helping out.
We are also fortunate to have UNM and CNM students serve as tutors. Some are interested in becoming teachers, but all show the AVID students what is possible. When college students are standing in front of them, suddenly college doesn’t seem so far away. They serve as role models for the very students we’re trying to encourage toward college.
I wish we could offer AVID at every middle and high school in the district but, like every program, it costs money, so we have to introduce it gradually. Still, I’m pleased that we’ve been able to expand this year and make it available at Highland, Manzano, West Mesa and Valley and their feeder schools.
AVID may be in its infancy in APS, but there are districts that have stood by it for 30 years. Even some nearby districts like Rio Rancho Public Schools use it. The program gets results over time, and I can’t wait to see how much it helps our students in the years to come.
Have a great week.