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Harrison High School hosts AVID regional showcase

The first Pikes Peak Regional AVID showcase of the school year took place at Harrison High School in Colorado Springs on November 10, 2022. A District Two school, Harrison High, recently received National Demonstration status with AVID. AVID stands for Achievement Via Individual Determination, and the program supports college and career readiness for all students. As an AVID National Demonstration school, Harrison High School is recognized as exemplary in its practice of incorporating college and career readiness across all grade levels and content areas, while also melding these strategies with the rigorous courses offered within the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

Various school districts from the area learned about the AVID program and how it has benefited students with life-long learning strategies embedded across all contents, as well as providing strong support in college and technical school preparation - including financial aid support, scholarship application support, and equitable access to rigorous courses.

A student panel spoke enthusiastically about how AVID has provided the structure needed to be successful: "Every week we include a tutorial, which is very heavy on note-taking, writing, and speaking." "I think AVID gives a level of discipline because there's repetition, and through that repetition, you really start to develop these habits in your life. I think it just helps you build those skills that you wouldn’t get elsewhere."

A 2022 Harrison High graduate, former AVID student, and Dakota Promise recipient, expressed her gratitude for the AVID program and the teachers who supported her: “I graduated from Harrison High School, and it's been so amazing and a great opportunity. I knew that I didn't want to leave Colorado Springs, and I wanted to stay home for college. I was afraid to go to college before AVID, but I learned a lot about applying for scholarships, where to get help and opportunities. I think it was very helpful to have these components to get a scholarship for my career.”

A showcase visitor inquired with the HHS AVID Team, “There seems to be a positive energy here amongst staff and students. How does the AVID program affect teachers here at Harrison High School?” Bridger Stapleton, AVID Elective Teacher, replied, “There is a level of energy and it’s refreshing because it raises the question of ‘What did I need coming out of high school? What did I wish I had?’ and relationships is a big one. Also, with that are the soft skills, confidence, communication, public speaking, and the ability to work in teams. The AVID program puts energy and autonomy into what we’re able to do every day and that kind of keeps the energy up.”

When asked about new and veteran teachers learning AVID and IB strategies, Mr. Stapleton noted that, “From a teacher’s perspective, our administrators do a great job of training staff. At professional development, we’re always doing AVID and IB training, so it’s not just about being able to speak the language and talk the talk. It’s about being able to do the strategies ourselves and apply them in a way to make us better as teachers, and then we’re able to model that for our students.”

As the showcase concluded, it was clear that the AVID program has supported thousands of District Two students in making their dreams a reality. Many of the AVID students will be the first in their families to attend a four-year college or university. With both AVID and District Two’s partnership with Pikes Peak Community College and the Dakota Promise, college is no longer out of reach for its students, but a definite reality.