UEA Teachers AVID About Giving At-Risk Students a College Try

When kids get lost in the system, lose hope for college opportunities due to youthful mistakes or troubled home environments, Utica Education Association teachers are engaging those students in a program that is AVID about helping them overcome.   

The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program is national college readiness program which was launched more than 30 years ago as a research-based college readiness system. By being placed into advanced curriculums, AVID students are given support and have shown significant gains in their academic achievement.

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Students must apply for the program, which is geared towards “children who have parents who never went to college, have struggled in the middle of the pack academically, have been incarcerated or just lost in the cracks,” according to 14-year junior high English teacher and UEA Board member Courtney Moore who recently returned from summer AVID training in Philadelphia, PA along with 2,000 other educators across the country, including more than 20 UEA members. The training was another example of UEA educators dedicating their summer months to engage in programs that will help them better connect with the diverse student population in their schools. Moore says a big part of AVID’s success is the program’s support structure in the classroom.

“We reach students that tend to underachieve in the system and need a connection because of their life circumstances,” she said. “What AVID does is counter this by building a classroom family atmosphere, compelling students to be great and reach their potential, not letting their life circumstances determine their future.”

Davis Junior High UEA educators (L to R) Mary Mills, Courtney Moore and Whitney Robertson take a break at AVID Workshop (Photo Courtesy Courtney Moore)

Davis Junior High UEA educators (L to R) Mary Mills, Courtney Moore and Whitney Robertson take a break at AVID Workshop (Photo Courtesy Courtney Moore)

Moore is one of the many teachers who employ the AVID program at Davis Junior High in Sterling Heights, MI, which is moving into year 3 of the program. Jeannette Junior High School in Sterling Heights also uses the AVID curriculum and next school year, two additional UCS junior high schools will be adding AVID, according to Moore.