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Original AVID Students Graduate This Year
After three years, the first students in the program are walking the line.
May 1, 2012
Three years of challenging extra work for high school seniors in the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) program pays off in a couple of weeks when they graduate, ready to take on the world.
While more than 4,000 Albuquerque Public Schools students are scheduled to walk the line, AVID graduates are leaving with a little something more, a “swagger,” as Manzano High teacher Ed Bortot calls it. Six APS high schools offer the program, but only Manzano and Highland have had AVID since it came to the district in 2009. These students have participated in the AVID class for most of their high school careers.
AVID students are more prepared for college and the career world than most of their peers, Bortot said. He taught the same group of about 20 students for all three years, while also serving as an assistant principal. He started working with them on college applications, how to navigate college and testing systems and career goals when they were sophomores, earlier than most high schoolers gather that information.
“They are empowered,” Bortot said. “They can (find their way) themselves and they know what they’re doing. Most of all, they can advocate for themselves.”
Bortot taught his 20 or so students as sophomores about what their grade point average means. They looked through newspaper classified ads to see where their GPAs could take them professionally. They looked at the cost of living, figured out where they wanted to go and what it would take to get there.
By and large, these were not honors students. Bortot said GPAs “skyrocketed” once they got started, though, noting one student who went from a 2.6 average to 4.0 in these three years. Some have been taking classes at UNM or CNM this year.
AVID is intended for students “in the middle” who aren’t necessarily thinking about college, but could get there with an extra boost. Many will be the first in their families to attend college. After taking AVID, several of Bortot’s students have been offered full-ride scholarships at schools in New Mexico and elsewhere.
“I learned how to be college-ready and meet deadlines,” said Alexander Quintero, who moved to Albuquerque from Panama as an eighth-grader and spoke no English at the time. He plans to attend UNM in the fall and is considering medical school in the future.
They also worked really well together.
“I got help with my classes,” Jaden Posada said. “I bonded with these people.”
“We know each other really well,” Quintero said. “We help each other, like a family.”
A key component of AVID is the regular tutoring sessions, when adults or college students serve as moderators when AVID students present school work they’re having difficulty with. Bortot said this group of seniors is such a well-oiled machine, the tutors can watch them run the show.
“It’s been my privilege to teach this group of students,” Bortot said.