Superintendent's column: College readiness program is huge success
As I travel across our 612 Square Miles of Excellence, I am continuously amazed by the level of talent I encounter with each and every visit. We have much to celebrate this week in the VISD, and we are extremely proud to showcase one of the latest accomplishments of our outstanding students and staff.
VISD celebrated the upcoming graduation of our second class of AVID seniors Tuesday along with a celebration and recognition of other outstanding AVID students. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination and is an elective class designed to prepare students to meet the requirements for admission and success in a four-year university after graduating from high school.
We are extremely proud to announce that for the 2013-14 school year, 100 percent of the 34 AVID graduating seniors have been accepted to at least one university or college, and many of these students have received multiple scholarship to assist them with their college expenses. The Victoria ISD wholeheartedly supports our AVID program and plans to expand the number of AVID classes next year. We are also proud to announce that this school year, all seven campuses providing AVID classes have received national certification recognition.
AVID was started in 2009-10 with 46 students enrolling in two classes at the Memorial High School Ninth Grade Center. Those students were selected to participate in the new AVID class based on the enrollment and feeder pattern that would align them to move to the two new high schools, Victoria East and Victoria West, which would open for the start of their sophomore year.
The AVID program expanded the following year to add a class of students in the eighth grade at each VISD middle school. Each year, another grade level of students was added, with VISD celebrating our first class of AVID seniors graduating in the 2012-13 school year. Victoria ISD currently has 22 AVID classes from grades seventh through 12th with an overall current participation of 352 students.
AVID is designed for students who want to go to college and are willing to work hard to get there. The mission of AVID is to ensure that our students will enroll in more rigorous courses and to enter mainstream activities of the school, enhancing their leadership skills. The three main components of AVID are academic instruction, tutorial support and motivational activities. A key aspect of AVID is helping students and their parents learn to navigate the path to post-secondary education.
AVID teachers are academic coaches and provide outstanding support and guidance to their students. Our academic coaches assist students in learning how to organize schoolwork, take notes, strengthen writing skills, work collaboratively in a group setting and prepare for college entrance exams as well as schedule college visits and guest speakers. During the AVID class, students participate in tutorial groups twice a week with college students who assist them in their academic subject areas.
Gary Ryan Blair once stated: "Success in any endeavor does not happen by accident. Rather, it is the result of deliberate decisions, conscious effort and immense persistence all directed at specific goals."
We are extremely proud of our AVID students and staff for taking the risk of being great. Their efforts on a daily basis continue to make us the extraordinary school district we aspire to be. On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire VISD, we thank them for reminding us that the greatest risk in life is never taking one.
Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.