AVID comes to the McMinnville School District
Posted on 02/04/2016

The first AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) classes launched at McMinnville High School this week with 60 freshmen in two classes.  The students, recruited from the fall freshman seminars as well as outreach events, applied for the inaugural cohort, which will continue through their senior year.

AVID, part of a 30-year-old global non-profit, uses research-based curriculum and strategies to help develop critical thinking, literacy and math skills across all content areas.  The program is based on the principle that students who are willing to work hard in rigorous coursework and take ownership for their learning can acquire the skills necessary to succeed in a four-year university.

“You are AVID students, so you are leaders,” teacher Darcy Houston told her class.  Part of the learning model is to help students become confident, create a vision for their future and develop academic behaviors.

Targeted toward first-generation college students, the program is also intended to narrow the achievement gaps between groups of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds, race/ethnicities and genders.

“This is intended to get more kids on the path to college,” said Dr. Amy Fast, assistant principal at MHS and administrator in charge of the new program.   “When kids are the first in their families to reach beyond a high school education, we know a big part of getting them to college is getting them to picture themselves there and helping them get the academic skills they need to be successful once they are there.”

The students must apply for the program and sign a contract with their parents.  The teachers require them to find a “study buddy” for every class in their schedule and learn organizational tactics to keep them on track, among other academic strategies.

“This is about helping kids understand they have options,” said teacher Nicole Long.  “This will be a game-changer for some of these kids.”

Staff trained for the program include teachers Darcy Houston, Nicole Long, Jody Mechals, Michelle Buczynski, and Colin Mize; counselor Nichelle Green; and administrators Amy Fast and Kris Olsen.

The MHS AVID program is funded by a grant from the Nike School Innovation Fund.