Houston schools have implemented a new program called AVID, which targets minorities and other students who will be the first in their families to attend college.
Students sit in circles and engage in debates over many current issues, including online piracy.
They receive intensive tutorials, academic support and counseling and are placed with the same specially trained teacher for all four years of high school. This ensures that they receive the coaching and attention that they deserve to have.
When many of the students started in the program, many were afraid to speak in public and struggled with writing complete sentences.
Now, all of the students are enrolled in AP classes (Advanced Placement) and are in the school's top 10% and the National Honor Society.
Wow. That's incredible.
Teacher Ayasha Greene says:
"I cry at home some days when I look at their growth over four years. Before, they didn't believe they could succeed in AP."
Meanwhile, Principal Pat Crittendon says:
"We have got to tap into the ability of all students. We're having these conversations with students and letting them know that it is OK to be one of the smart kids on campus.
Early identification is key. When you look at nonminority students, their parents are on the front line to get their kids into AP. With Latinos and African-Americans, it's incumbent on the school to identify students and say 'you have this ability.'"
What a fantastic program. It seems like AVID should definitely be implemented into other schools around the country. It gives a confidence boost to kids who otherwise are afraid to try something new.
[Image via J. Patric Schneider / Houston Chronicle ]