Schools, community, business work to help AVID students succeed

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AVID may be an acronym for the student program, Advancement Via Individual Determination, but a recent AVID training session held at the multi-generational Center in Apache Junction was a collaboration of 50 students, two counties, three schools, a city agency, local business and community volunteers.  

The City of Apache Junction provided the use of the multi-generational center at no cost and Fry’s Foods donated lunch and snacks for the facilitators as well as students who included boys and girls from Florence and Mesa public schools, and from Apache Junction High School.   

I was really excited to work with AVID to bring this to our community and even more excited now,” said Roybn Gonzales, AVID director for AJUSD, on the day of the event on Oct. 22. “It’s been such a fantastic day. Students came to me with unsolicited feedback sharing how much they learned and enjoyed the opportunity. The AVID presenters shared how amazing the students were.  They said it was one of their best and most productive groups they have worked with.  The facilitators, as well as the teachers that come with their students from Mesa and Florence, commented on how nice the multi-generational facility is.”  

The event focused on "tutor training." Tutoring is an essential part of AVID, and tutorial days occur twice a week and students help tutor one another.

The AVID program was adopted into the AJUSD curriculum at Cactus Canyon Junior High in 2018 and expanded to the Apache Junction High School in 2019. The program helps students, regardless of their life circumstances, to overcome obstacles and achieve success. The overall mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and academic success.  

Currently AJUSD has 23 seventh graders and 29 eighth graders in the AVID program at CCJH and 24 ninth graders at the high school. 

“AVID trains educators and provides resources that help all students on campus reach their full potential,” said Regan Roach who teaches AVID classes at CCJH and AJHS. “The AVID curriculum covers writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading. AVID students also receive extensive help in preparing college applications and financial aid forms. 

Many AVID participants are students with potential to succeed in college but may not have considered the possibility due to their life circumstances. AVID helps meet the needs of these students by helping them develop college-level entry skills in areas such as critical thinking,  working collaboratively, developing better “coping techniques” and they receive encouragement and academic assistance from their teachers so the students can pursue ambitious long-term goals.  

“What I like about AVID is how we help each other out and we have fun,” said Tajavah, a ninth grader at AJHS. “Also I like how we learn about things we don't really think about like when we talked about whether it was better to be born smart or rich. We found out that rich kids have a higher chance of getting places and have a better support system than poor kids."  

Site visits to college campuses are an important part of the AVID experience. In addition to learning more about each school, setting foot on the campus makes it easier for students to imagine themselves attending college after graduating from high school. AJUSD’s AVID students are scheduled to tour Central Arizona College on Nov. 7.     

“I like that this class helps me stay on track in the rest of my classes, said Giselle, a ninth grader at AJHS. “I also like how it is preparing us with things we will need in our daily lives. For example, time management is something we will need for the rest of our lives.” 

 For more information about AJUSD schools call 480-982-1110, or visit ajusd.org. 

Editor's note: Sally Marks is AJUSD's public information officer.

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