AVID process has Mesa elementary students thinking about college
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AVID process has Mesa elementary students thinking about college

MESA, Ariz. -- Our children need to go to college or career training after high school. Parents hear this all the time. But children don't always understand what college is or why it's important. We found a program in some elementary schools that has students thinking about higher education from day one.

“We are the Oregon Ducks!” yelled a group of kindergarten students.

The students at Porter Elementary in Mesa chanted for their university. Of course, most of them have never been to Oregon, but they know a lot about the Ducks.

“To bring that idea of 'I can go to college' and start thinking about it really, really early,” said Principal Paula Warren.

Warren helped introduce a process known as AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, two years ago.

On the practical side, kids learn how to stay organized and even take notes starting in kindergarten.

“They were never that advanced before,” Warren said.

Then there is the focus on college in every grade. We found fifth graders who picked careers they might like at the beginning of the year.

“There's doctors, basketball player, there's a lawyer, a vet, psychologist, dancer, inventor,” teacher Amber Marquez-Wells ran down the list.

This is by no means unusual. But this is where the chosen university comes in. Marquez-Wells explained they go a step further to see if they could earn a degree at their college, which happens to be Cal State Long Beach.

“We are researching it, we're getting on the website, we're checking out the degrees, and so they have the chance to really see what college is. And rather than it being something that is far-fetched or looming in their future, we start talking about it right away at an elementary level.”

Sixth grader Lauryn Spilsbury showed us her notebook, which, she admits, used to be a mess.

“It helps us stay organized and understand,” Spilsbury explained. “It’s a lot easier to remember everything.”

And Gaby Ramos plans to be the first person in her family to attend college.

“I'm thinking ASU because it's pretty close,” Ramos said. “Or I've always wanted to go to Yale or Harvard.”

AVID is even part of the parents’ English class, helping them develop vital organizational and study skills, and an understanding of the importance of having their kids look beyond high school.

“When we brought that AVID process in here,” Warren said, "we changed the culture of our school.”

“We want it to be tangible,” Marquez-Wells said. “We want them to be able to have their hands on it, that this is something they can achieve.”

Porter was recently chosen as a showcase school for AVID. Mesa Public Schools has long-term plans to add the process in every elementary school. Previous article ADOT expects to reopen US 89 near Page this month Next article Phoenix weather: Mostly cloudy conditions prevail

Source:   azfamily
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