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Connolly Middle School achieves third revalidation from college readiness group


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  • Kristine Baxter/Tempe Elementary School District

Connolly Middle School Achieves Third AVID Revalidation
For nearly a decade, Connolly Middle School has strived to instill the pursuit of a college education in their students through the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.AVID is a college readiness system for elementary through higher education that is designed to increase school-wide learning and performance.Every three years, AVID representatives visit AVID-accredited schools to review and observe the progress of its implementation.

Connolly achieved its third revalidation in October, marking another three years that Connolly Middle School is an AVID National Demonstration Site, not just to instill AVID instruction at the school but to be a model to other schools wanting to implement the program.

The next revalidation will take place in 2019.

“What the AVID program has done is raised the level of teaching and raised the level of expectations for all students,” said Connolly Principal Kathy Mullery.

Connolly Middle School achieves third revalidation from college readiness group Connolly_AVID_Group-Photo-with-Banner_8731_Crop_resizedThe AVID program targets students in the academic middle–B, C, and even D students–with the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard.

Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and come from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

These are students who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential.

At Connolly, AVID is an elective class that students attend daily. AVID students learn to develop critical thinking, organizational and study skills, and learn to ask acute questions.

Twice a week, college students visit the AVID classes to participate in tutorial sessions.

“AVID will not work unless the student really wants to be in the program,” said Connolly AVID Site Coordinator Denise Dorn. “It helps meet our students’ needs but also challenges them in their individual learning of complex content.”

Three AVID representatives visited Connolly to revalidate their accreditation. The representatives’ day was spent observing and talking with AVID teachers and students and also getting a “feel” of Connolly’s campus.

“Connolly has had a cycle of continuous improvement,” said AVID Program Manager Kathy Josephson. “Walking in the hallways, I knew that college preparedness was important to not just AVID students, but all students at the school.”

Connolly’s leadership was also applauded by AVID representatives.

“It’s evident that everyone at Connolly believes in kids and is willing to do whatever it takes to reach them,” said AVID Program Manager Valeri Angus.

Currently, eleven percent of Connolly’s students are in the AVID program.

Connolly would like to see the number rise in the future.

“We are always recruiting students to join our AVID program,” said Dorn. “It is a big commitment, but we are confident that each and every one of our students has the potential to be prepared for college.”