by Joni Astrup
A program designed to help students get prepared for college has been implemented this year at Spectrum High School in Elk River.
Called Advancement Via Individual Determination, or A.V.I.D., it is an international program designed to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success.
“It’s aimed toward the academic middle and helping these students who have potential — giving them the support they need to get prepared for college,” said Brenda Schulze, who works in community development and partnership for Spectrum.
“We are still learning a lot. We’re excited to see where it goes,” she added.
Eighteen students in grades seven and eight and 21 students in grades nine and 10 are enrolled in the program at Spectrum. The students had to apply and be interviewed to be accepted into A.V.I.D. The plan is to have A.V.I.D. in all grades at Spectrum in the future, Schulze said.
There also is a school-wide initiative related to A.V.I.D. called Cornell Notes. It’s a method of taking detailed notes in class that is being implemented throughout the school, which has students in grades six through 12. Cornell Notes was developed in the 1950s by an education professor at Cornell University.
A.V.I.D., meanwhile, has a number of requirements for the students who participate, including:
•take an elective class that covers learning strategies, organization and critical thinking skills.
•participate in field trips to colleges.
•take at least one Advanced Placement or higher-level class.
•work with tutors.
The tutors include some Spectrum teachers as well as a couple of Spectrum graduates.
Matthew Beaudoin and Samuel Scherer are two Spectrum graduates now tutoring at the school. They graduated from Spectrum in 2012 and are students at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids.
Scherer, who wants to be either a high school science or math teacher, said the tutoring is giving him some experience.
“I like to work with kids. It’s one of my favorite things to do,” he said.
Beaudoin is exploring the idea of teaching as a possible career and he sees tutoring as a way to determine if that’s a good fit.
Both went through six hours of training. They tutor groups of students once a week for two hours in a variety of subjects.
•The program started in 1980 in California.
•A.V.I.D. is being used by 700,000 students in more than 4,900 schools and 28 postsecondary institutions in 46 states, the District of Columbia and across 16 other countries/territories.
•The program’s philosophy is to hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge.