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AVID Going School Wide at New Bern High School David Spence, English Teacher

AVID Going School Wide at New Bern High School

David Spence, English Teacher

New Bern High School (NBHS) looks different than it did a year ago. Murals depicting college logos, military insignia, and workforce opportunities line the hallways. The stairsteps in the Administrative hallway are labeled with the names of North Carolina colleges and universities, and collaborative spaces, complete with flexible seating, whiteboards, Apple TVs, and charging stations, invite students and teachers to collaborate on real-world, project-based assignments. The school has a new look and a new vibe, but these alterations reflect an even greater and more significant change at NBHS: AVID is going school wide.

AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) is a time-tested, researched-based program that aims to prepare all students for success after high school. Although AVID’s primary goal is to guarantee that all students are prepared for college, the program also recognizes the importance of the military and workplace in shaping the lives of students after high school.

NBHS initiated its AVID program five years ago, planning for one year before taking on its first cohort of approximately 50 AVID students. The program is based on providing students with effective learning strategies to succeed with rigorous and challenging academic work. It also focuses on helping students plan effectively for post-secondary life, including field trips to colleges, a special night for applying to colleges and then applying later for financial aid.

Academically, AVID centers on the concept of WICOR, building all instruction around the foundation of writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading. Students receive special training and instruction in these areas as well as additional assistance with focused note-taking, and strategic writing and reading skills.

For the past five years, a team of teachers has worked with specific groups of AVID students, grounding them in the core values and strategies of the program. But now AVID is going school-wide. All teachers are being trained in AVID structures for learning, so that they can implement the different elements of WICOR and other AVID strategies in their classroom.

When asked about the benefits of taking AVID school-wide, AVID District Director Ashlee DeCamp stated, “The commitment to go AVID Schoolwide is ensuring the academic success of ALL students at New Bern High School. The benefit of this school wide implementation is the building of skills that are essential for college and career ready students and include: focused note taking, collaborative grouping, and academic self-advocacy.”

Principal Jerry Simmons agreed and said, “Going school-wide with AVID allows students and teachers to approach learning with a common language and mindset. With everyone speaking the same language and using the same processes, greater emphasis can be placed in the classroom on learning content.”

The skills AVID promotes are skills essential for learning, working, and succeeding in the 21st Century. The administration, faculty, and, yes, even the students are excited as they expand this effective program to benefit all students at New Bern High School.