Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Campus Compare

I like this website. Very handy to compare 3 schools side by side.

Campus Compare

Saturday, June 27, 2009

AVID SI Luncheon - Summer Institute Speeches

One of the highlights of AVID Summer Institute is the luncheon. The luncheon is in a huge ball room. There are about 2,000 people stuffed in there. And there are two luncheon days. They happen on Wednesday and Thursday. The food is good, but the speeches from AVID teachers and students are way better.

Here is an editorial from this week's Dallas Morning News. It gives an overview of the luncheon that I was at and also about how powerful it was.
Editorial: These kids prove college is achievable goal
05:25 PM CDT on Thursday, June 25, 2009

If only those naysayers who believe Texas puts too much pressure on kids, especially poor ones, to attend college could have been at the Dallas Hyatt Regency on Wednesday.

They would have heard straight talk from Monica Washington, an English teacher from Texarkana; Ron Rossingh, an Odessa Permian sophomore; Elizabeth Ruiz, a top Edinburg High School graduate; and Gerardo Venegas, a Lake Highlands grad headed for Baylor. These were some of the most determined students and teachers you could meet. They not only dream big, they fuel it with the passion to realize those dreams.

They spoke to a summer institute run by AVID, a nationwide elective program that gives elementary and secondary students an extra push toward a college future.

Washington was first. The thin, soft-spoken African-American woman stared into the 1,800 faces staring back and launched into an inspirational address rivaling something out of Barack Obama's mouth. She had every bit of the crowd's attention when she described hearing a student in her AVID class say, "If I go to college..."

She knew she had to change that to, "When I go to college..."

Rossingh, broad-shouldered and round-faced, offered an arresting personal story. He was brutally frank about his drug-addicted mother, his spiral into gang life and his grandparents and middle school teacher who helped him turn himself from a smart-mouthed C student to an inquisitive A student.

What did it? Part of it was realizing that "gangs don't hand out scholarships."

Then, he leaned over the podium and said in the steeliest voice, "And I will be a college graduate," as adults around the room reached for tissues.

This is what Rossingh and his peers represent: They prove we can overcome the achievement gap, that pernicious divide that separates wealthy and poor, white and minority. It will take effort, programs and money, but we can get there. Initiatives like AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) prove that, by believing that every student can get to college with rigor and support.

Yes, the same college that naysayers say is too hard for some kids to achieve. Try telling that to these students. They want to go places, and their teachers believe they can get there.

The rest of us should get out of their way.
Definitely a highlight of my week.

AVID Summer Institute 2009

AVID Summer Institute in Dallas was great! We got in early Monday morning. I rode up with the new AVID teacher at Summer Creek High. It was great to tell her all about the 3 students that she'll be getting from my class. :)

I also spent a lot of time with the folks that teach at Atascocita Middle and Timberwood Middle. They were great and it is really awesome to learn who they are and how they work. We are so lucky to have such great teachers in our district.

This summer my class was for "AVID College Readiness." This meant I was learning all about what we should be doing during the Junior year of AVID. I am excited to say that I am now ready with tons of lessons, plans, and ideas. During the session I was lucky enough to have a tremendous facilitator from Wichita North in Kansas. They have an amazing AVID program there. She helped me so much.

We will be spending a great deal of time on four essential skills that colleges look for:

We will be using a long term research and writing project around "Leaders" to accomplish our goals of learning these skills. We'll do the skills as a full group, in smaller groups and then finally individually.

Last spring we finished the year in a really strong way. I can't wait to get started in late August. It will be a huge year for my AVID juniors as they begin to take Advanced Placement and Dual Credit classes. Everyone says the Junior year is the toughest academic year. We will also be focusing on SAT and ACT preparation. Juniors will take the PSAT in the fall, and then SAT and ACT in the spring.

And for my sophomores it will be a big adventure. We'll need to replace a lot of students and continue to tweak the skills we learned as freshmen. I am also really excited about the project the sophomores will be doing. It's called "Road Trip Nation." Check out a little sample here:

Official Road Trip Nation Website

Follow Road Trip Nation on Twitter

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Graduates 2008

Last Year's "The Graduates 2008" from NBC News. Looking for this year's 2009 version. It aired tonight, but not available on the internet yet. Strange. But, enjoy. As soon as I find the latest one I will share it.

So looking forward to attending MANY of your college graduations, when that day comes!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

2009 Spring AVID Freshmen Video

Please leave a comment or email and I will send you the password if you'd like to see it.
It was a great semester! Thanks for the memories. Can't wait until the fall. We are interviewing tutors for next year already.

Spring 2009 AVID Sophomore Video from Mr. Duez on Vimeo.