Robert Logan, senior regional director of AVID’s Eastern Region, moderated a panel of superintendents on their experience with AVID in their school districts.
Joining Logan in the AASA national conference session Friday were Adrienne Battle, director of schools for Metro-Nashville in Tennessee; Roselyn Evans, director of high schools for Clarksville-Montgomery Schools in Tennessee; and Jeff Gorman, deputy superintendent for Mount Vernon City School District in New York.
Logan introduced the session by explaining AVID’s role and mission.
“We are a college and career readiness organization that works with youngsters all around the world,” he said. “Our main goal is to close the opportunity gap and to prepare all students for college, or whatever lies after college might be.”
The panelists answered questions about the tangible benefits of AVID in their schools, strategic plans and school initiatives.
The most obvious benefit is the visible and numerical improvements that have occurred since each district has implemented this organization’s learning model.
When Gorman took over as Mount Vernon’s deputy superintendent in 2014, the district had a 12 percent literacy rate. Now, 78 percent of its high school students test above the proficient level for reading. The district has now expanded from one to three high schools, including one performing arts schools, one STEAM-based school and one comprehensive high school.
Another benefit brought by AVID is a newly shaped mindset among both teachers and students about academics and their school communities. Battle said AVID helped further develop the mindset that all students should be equipped and prepared for post-secondary opportunities.
Evans said that in her schools, AVID has helped students find a sense of belonging and support. She noted a newfound, visible excitement within each of her AVID students. She added that AVID inspires a different type of educational environment where teachers learn from their students, as well as other teachers.
This new mindset, Evans added, has helped teachers inspire each other by using different methods. This sense of inspiration and competition has improved the teaching innovation at her schools.
According to the panelists, yet another advantage of AVID is its direct improvement and creation of other school programs.
Gorman said AVID has helped the career tech., International Baccalaureate and STEAM programs at his schools bridge the opportunity gap and improve performance for all students. He also indicated that AVID Excel has improved his district’s ESL program.
Battle said using AVID has improved numerical indicators of school quality, but she noted the program also allowed her school district to partner with higher education institutions. AVID also helped her implement a high-impact tutoring program for students.
“We are determined that we are going to make a difference through AVID,” said Evans.
(Ava Sjursen is a reporting intern with Conference Daily Online and a junior at Harpeth Hall in Nashville.)