AVID system a plus for students

November 8, 2018

LAUGHLIN — Advancement Via Individual Determination is a system, rather than a program, designed to teach students an assortment of lifelong skills that help in moving from grade school into higher education and careers.

“When I went to the training, I was like ‘when can I start this,’” said Grecia Galaviz, a fifth grade teacher at Laughlin Junior Senior High School. Fourth and fifth grade students are housed at the high school campus.

Galaviz has worked with a similar system as AVID and students seemed to do well with having the structure, she said.

AVID is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools nationwide, providing techniques to help students learn skills that help with success in grade school and the transition into higher education and beyond.

“AVID is really based on WICOR, which stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading,” said principal Dawn Estes. “This just validates and provides that structure for what we already do but makes the students responsible for what we do.”

Galaviz discussed said teachers are given tools and methods to use but it ties in with what’s already being used instead of adding to teachers’ responsibilities, she continued.

The schools are focused on implementing the organizational piece this year, she said, and hope to grow in subsequent years.

Students who are part of the program at this point have binders that include a place to write down assignments due dates and color coded folders to keep things organized. They can track what’s been turned in, what needs to be turned in, what’s coming up, and keep all their notes in one place.

The hope is to have a color coded system for next year, Galaviz said. This level of organization significantly helps with time management and knowing what they still need to work on or what’s been completed so they can move to the next assignment.

Instructional strategist Wendi Lytle said Clark County School District participates in AVID and Laughlin reached out to become part of the program. This year, the system is rolling out starting in fifth grade with hopes of it growing in future years, she said.

“AVID really teaches kids how to play the game of school and how to play the game of life,” said Lytle. “It teaches them how to organize their time, organize their thinking, organize their processes so AVID at this point is integral to teaching the kids how to get a return on their investment on time by working on classwork.”

The system includes tutorials about how to handle problems, allowing students to sit with their peers and work through them, Lytle said.

They are able to work through any points of confusion in an academic setting.

While some took to AVID quickly, not everyone was warm to the idea of adding it to Laughlin curriculum.

“I knew nothing about AVID and I thought ‘oh another program,’ ‘another blah’ but since going to these trainings, it’s absolutely amazing,” said Dani Leroux, dean of students.

AVID is another tool for teachers to use to help students engage in learning and to have fun, Leroux said.

“It’s strategies to help all students be more effective learners, it’s teaching those college, career readiness skills,” said Estes. “It focuses on the importance of writing and collaborating, which is a 21st century skill and we know students will need to have that going into the workforce. Yes academics are critical but employers are really asking for a set of soft skills which is really about knowing how to learn, the perseverance to overcome, the willingness to fail to succeed. That’s really what AVID teaches all learners.”

The thing about AVID is that it ties in well with the state standards students are expected to learn, said Estes.

“It specifically ties in with those college and career readiness standards, which are reading, writing, speaking and listening and language, which we know are skills that every employer needs regardless of career,” said Estes.

It’s interesting to go into a classrooms using AVID and to see the kind of collaborative work they are doing, Estes said.

The thinking that’s taking place and conversations that are happening is phenomenal, she said.

For now they are focused on grades four, five and six. Year two will incorporate the middle school and by year three kindergarten through grade 12 will be included in the system, Estes said.

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