First AVID Fest brings 330 High Schoolers to LBCC to Learn and Connect
Linn-Benton Community College hosted the first-of-its-kind AVID Fest April 23, with
330 middle and high school students attending from Central Linn, Harrisburg, Scio,
Greater Albany Public Schools, Philomath and Corvallis High School.
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID serves as a national college and career preparation program for high school students that includes elective programs and strategies to improve critical thinking and study habits.
Created by a nonprofit in San Diego more than 30 years ago, AVID provides students with the academic and social support to get to college: especially those who might be the first in their families to make it that far.
As the students took their seats in the Russell Tripp theater at the college, their excitement and positive energy quickly filled the room. Benjamin Sell, AVID coordinator for Greater Albany Public Schools, took the stage to help set the mood and start the program.
Student voices rocked the house as Sell had them do a call and response exercise using the words “AVID Rocks!” and “College Ready!” He went on the say, “You joined AVID because you wanted to go to college. Well guess what? You’re at college!”
“AVID Fest is really a win-win-win event,” said Sell. “The students get to see that they are not alone in this process, as they meet and connect with other AVID students. Since AVID can be challenging, AVID Fest provides a fun day for them, and, getting them on a college campus is a great experience for them.”
After the warm-up and a quick Improv Smackdown comedy show, students headed to their first session of the day: a fish-bowl tutorial led by South Albany High School AVID students, where students shared problem-solving techniques and strategies.
The tutorial process works much like a Socratic seminar, where students help one another with problem solving by learning concepts and strategies in a group discussion format. The end game really not about solving the problem in itself, but instead is to learn how to solve the problem, said Sell. The answer is not the end goal; instead, it’s all about the process to get there.
“In the tutorial process, students write their steps on a white board, summarize what they’ve done, and then reflect on their work. By the time they are finished, they have done it several times over. That’s the kind of support AVID offers our students,” said Sell.
In schools with AVID programs, every student receives AVID instruction in their classrooms, whether that class is an elective or not. Students practice organization, note-taking, critical thinking, working in groups and problem solving through step by step solutions. AVID can also be targeted – where students who are taking advanced AP classes are provided targeted support so they are able to succeed at those levels.
AVID Fest featured keynote speaker Marshall Habermann-Guthrie, director of Student Enrichment at Western Oregon University, whose talk was titled “The Road Ahead: No One Walks Alone.” Students also engaged in activities centered around making connections, learning, and sharing strategies for success with other AVID students.
The idea for AVID Fest originated from a regional AVID Network group, which expressed a need for a student-led, student-driven showcase for AVID students, said Virginia Mallory, director of LBCC High School Partnerships. Funding was provided through a Regional Promise Grant.
“Our first AVID Fest was a success, as it allowed AVID students from different school districts the opportunity to come together to learn from each other and share,” said Mallory.
Funding for AVID Fest was provided by a Department of Education Regional Promise Grant. AVID Fest organizers included: Benjamin Sell, AVID District Coordinator, Greater
Albany Public Schools; Angela Spencer, Language Arts instructor, South Albany High
School; Virginia Mallory, director, LBCC High School Partnerships; Brenda Yahraes,
Career and College Readiness, Linn Benton Lincoln ESD.
Find out more about AVID