Ready to launch: JFK adopts AVID college, career program

May 2015 Posted in School

By Vince Teresi

It’s a milestone in a teenagers’ life when they receive a high school diploma on graduation day, confident they are prepared for the next challenge of succeeding in college and career goals.

Helping to provide that confidence, Mt. Angel School District announced Kennedy High School will introduce a “readiness system” in the 2015-2016 school year curriculum to beter prepare students for on-going life-goals.

The school will partner with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a global non-profit organization dedicated to closing the achievement-gap by preparing all students for college and other opportunities following their high school graduation.  AVID today impacts more than 800,000 students in 44 states and 16 other countries/territories.

The achievement-gap refers to the difference in the educational performance of groups of students, especially those groups defined by socio-economic status, race, ethnicity and gender.

College readiness refers to the level of preparation a student needs in order to enroll and succeed, without remediation, in for-credit general education coursework at a college or university.

Kennedy Principal Craig Swanson worked with AVID while an administrator at Sprague High School in Salem.  He said the results are impressive and believes it could benefit Kennedy High as well.

“AVID is a system that provides support to students who are capable of going to college but may not necessarily have the support-system in place to get there,” Swanson said. “We are all very excited to provide this for our students. We have great kids with lofty goals.”

The first year of implementation at Kennedy will begin with sophomores in AVID 10 this fall.

The AVID elective targets students in the middle academic group who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These students are capable of completing a rigorous curriculum but need support to attain those goals.

They often move through school without any special recognition, positive or negative. While many students within the middle academic range go on to graduate from high school since they haven’t been pushed academically often they are not ready for rigorous coursework in college.

Swanson is eager to introduce AVID to his staff.  A team participated in an AVID implementation seminar.

Joining Swanson were Superintendent Troy Stoops, Marie Ballance, Kennedy Counselor Jacob Copley, science teacher Carlie Harris and math teacher Chadd Shotwell.

Their mission was to determine if AVID was something that would benefit Kennedy students.

“The team left that training convinced that the AVID system would have a major impact upon student achievement at JFK,” Swanson said.

Copley said AVID will provide students with a purposeful means to discover their strengths and possibilities.

“Students will be better equipped to meet the demands of post-secondary education,” Copley said. “As counselor, I will be better prepared to guide AVID students on each individual’s path, knowing well that students have had the opportunity to learn more about themselves and how to be successful.”

Harris believes that “AVID will be an amazing opportunity for our students to push them towards success and hopefully accomplish the goal of attending a post-secondary program.”

“AVID is perfectly matched to give our students the tools they need to not only successfully get through the rigorous demands now placed on American students, but also open up post-secondary pathways,” she added.

Shotwell will serve as district coordinator for the AVID system at Kennedy.

“AVID’s goal is to give bright, motivated students access to curriculum that they’ll need for success in college and beyond. We’re extremely excited about the opportunities that AVID brings to Kennedy,” Shotwell said.

Schools use federal, state and local funds, as well as private grants to provide AVID.

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