AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)

AVID targets students in the academic middle who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These are students who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and many are from low-income or minority families. AVID pulls these students out of their unchallenging courses and puts them on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation.

The AVID Elective -— AVID students enroll in their school's toughest classes, such as honors and Advanced Placement, and also in the AVID elective. For one period a day, they learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking and asking probing questions, get academic help from peers and college tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities that make college seem attainable. Their self-images improve, and they become academically successful leaders and role models for other students. Visit http://avidonline.org for more information on the AVID program.

Teacher Professional Development -- The AVID elective class is led by a teacher who has been trained in the program's methodologies. Teachers and administrators from throughout the school and district attend AVID's Summer Institutes, where they learn techniques for bringing out the best in average students. In this way, AVID students are supported in content-area classrooms as well as in the AVID elective, and even more students can benefit from the AVID program. Curriculum -- The AVID curriculum, based on rigorous standards, was developed by middle and senior high school teachers in collaboration with college professors. It is driven by the WIC-R method, which stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading. AVID curriculum is used in AVID elective classes, in content-area classes in AVID schools, and even in schools where the AVID elective is not offered.

Results of AVID in GEAR UP and ENLACE Schools -- AVID is at work in eight middle schools and five high schools in Santa Fe, Pojoaque, Española, and Las Vegas School Districts. The well-developed AVID programs in our GEAR UP and ENLACE schools have improved schoolwide standardized test scores, rigorous course enrollments, teacher practice, and the number of students attending college. The AVID site team composed of teachers, administrators, and counselors support the spread of AVID strategies throughout the school and become a leadership team in each school.

Why AVID Works -- Between the remedial programs for students who lag far behind, and the gifted-and-talented programs for a school's brightest children are the silent majority: average students, who do "okay" in ordinary classes but, because they don't attract attention to themselves, are left alone. Many of these students hunger for more challenging coursework but fear failure. Their potential lies dormant, waiting to be recognized, encouraged, and supported.


Poets in the Schools Program
Student Poems (2007-2008)

NM Culturenet Poets work directly in classes with students and teachers. The poets visit each Language Arts class at least three times a semester. Poets also participate in training and program orientation prior to the start of the school year. In addition, the poets provide after-school and off-campus activities such as public poetry readings, Poetry Slams and poetry competitions for interested student writers.

Mystical Forest by Kimberly Babicke (Pojoaque Valley High School, 9th grade)

I come from the beautiful mountains in Cundio, New Mexico
I come from the twinkling stars and silvery moon.
I come from the taste of joy and my wonderful parents and crazy little sister.
I come from the crystal icicles that hang three feet long off my rooftop during the winter.
I come from the many paths and trails that lie near my home.
I come from the mysterious jungles and the many treasures they hold.
I come from the flowing river and the mystical forest.

Joy by Dalton Torres (Pojoaque Valley High School, 9th grade)

I come from the taste of homemade frybread
The hearing of the horno keeping warm
The touch of the warm feeling on my hands
The smell of the smoke getting up.
Having joy of great senses
The sorrow of it being gone.
Having anger if it is not fully baked.
The love of its warm surroundings.

My Truth by Tamarra Vigil (Pojoaque Valley High School, 9th grade)

My dad is never there for me
it's like having a bank with no money
trying to make a withdrawal
but getting nothing

not being able to say me and my daddy
always saying me and my mommy
not to know what it's like to talk to dad after a rough day
always curling up in the corner, trying not to be sad

not having him there makes me
a frustrated cheetah, nothing to eat
when the only thing you can eat is meat
not being able to lay in his arms

I live on a farm
So many animals, not enough attention
Someday all this will be gone
he's going to wish he was in my life
to watch me grow up
when he tries, it's going to be just a little too late.
Like the last piece of pie
missing from the plate
he's going to realize he made a huge mistake.

Yo Soy Amor by Carmen Fierro (Carlos F. Vigil Middle/High School, 9th grade)

Me gusta escribir canciones
Yo soy bella
Yo soy inteligente
I am bored
I am nice
Yo soy juevana
Yo soy la hija de mis padres
Me gusta ir a Mexico
Me gusta andar con mi novio
I like sports
I like to sleep
Yo soy cansada
Yo soy una flor
I am a young woman
I am funny
Yo soy superwoman
Yo soy aburrada
Me gusta comer
Me gusta dormir
I like food
I like the color purple
Yo soy Mexicana, Americana y Nativa
Yo soy amor.

Beat by Gregory Serna (Carlos F. Vigil Middle/High School, 9th grade)

When I put on my long sox
Pull up my tight pants and my jersey
When I lace my cleats
And walk out of the dugout onto the field
My heart starts to beat.
When I get into the huddle to say a prayer
Then I get my glove and go to my position
As they hit me a ground ball to first base
I throw to 2nd
As the batter walks to the batter's box,
I get nervous.

But when the first pitch is thrown
And I hear the clink from the bat
I forget about everything
And my heart beats faster than ever
And I dive to catch the ball
And I get up to go back to my position
Ready to do it again.

Frito Pie by David Mondragon (Carlos F. Vigil Middle/High School, 9th grade)

I come from rock music
Frito pies with Chimayo Chili
From a family who listens to
"Oldies" music on Sunday
I come from video games
And an old computer that barely starts
It feels all right
To come from these things

Youth Leadership

Over 45 Youth Leaders are chosen from our GEAR UP cohort of 700 high school students to step up as leaders and mentors to their GEAR UP peers. These GEAR UP students attend a leadership camp every summer and learn how to do research, make presentations, facilitate conferences and mentor other students. Each leadership team implements projects in their high school such as 1)creating posters that encourage students to study hard and stay in school; 2) presenting to school boards, teachers, and parents about the achievement gap and GEAR UP; and 3) heading up a “2.5 GPA or Better” Campaign to improve the academics of GEAR UP students.