New course aims at the middle of student body
October 10, 2006
Students at the top are praised and awarded; students at the bottom are coached and nurtured. But what about the majority in the academic middle? For those students, there’s AVID.
AVID ” Achievement Via Individual Determination ” is a new course offered at Tahoe Truckee High School that targets average students who would like to go to college, but who might not have the resources and support to get there.
“None of my family members have gone to college, but I want to be a surgeon,” said freshman Baylee Hall. “I really want to go to college, but I don’t think that I could get there without this class. I’ve got straight A’s now, and I’ve never had that.”
During her AVID class time, which she and her classmates have committed to attending for the next four years, Hall can work with small-group tutors who will help her develop her writing, organizational, and critical-thinking skills, and who will eventually help her prepare for the SATs and complete her college applications.
In fact, AVID students are required to take the SATS and apply to post-secondary schools as part of their curriculum. They are also required to study for two hours everyday and are encouraged to take advanced placement classes while in high school.
“If you could just get your C students to move up a little, they could easily get into college,” said AVID tutor Emily Wexler.
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Wexler was first introduced to the AVID program while tutoring seven years ago at a
school in Los Altos.
“There were 13 different languages in that AVID room and all of those kids were applying to, and getting into, college,” Wexler said. “Then I came to Truckee and saw that not nearly the same percentage of students–and not just the Hispanic students, but the white students too–were applying to college, and for no particular reason.”
That contrast inspired Wexler to write a grant to the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation for the development of the AVID program at Truckee High. The foundation awarded $7,500 and local Realtors matched the foundation’s grant. The $15,000 purchased the curriculum and trains and pays tutors.
Two of the AVID tutors at Truckee High are college-educated professionals; the other two are seniors at the top of their class.
“My job entails being a positive role model,” said AVID tutor Cole Froelich, who is fluent in Spanish and focuses on helping fellow students in that subject. “A lot of it is leadership-building and being able to learn to speak out. Tutoring is helping me with my own leadership abilities and to form questions of my own.”
The AVID program was first implemented locally at North Tahoe Middle School last year, but the program itself was founded more than 15 years ago.
“It’s a program that is well documented as being highly successful, and it’s subsidized by the state because it’s so successful,” Wexler said. “I could just go on and on about it.”
Enrollment is closed for this year, but freshmen and sophomores will be able to jump on board in the 2007-2008 school year.