For many, summer is a time away from school to relax and recharge. However, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) student scholars and staff members from Ted Polk Middle School spent time this summer representing their school at the AVID Summer Institute in Dallas.
AVID is a college readiness system designed to increase learning and performance in students beginning in elementary school. The Summer Institute is designed to help build engagement in programs and also provide learning opportunities for educators about closing the opportunity gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success.
At the Summer Institute, both students and staff had the opportunity to learn more about AVID and share the impact the program has had on them. Bianca Chapman, Polk Middle School U.S. history teacher and social studies department head, is also a former AVID student.
“This was my third AVID Summer Institute experience, and I was able to gain so many leadership and engagement strategies that I will be able to utilize in the classroom, and as a teacher leader on my campus,” Chapman said. “From team building and relational capacity for staff and students, to being able to network with educators across the country, AVID Summer Institute helped bridge the gap for educators and students.”
Polk Middle School is not only an AVID campus, but has been an AVID National Demonstration School since 2018. The school is one of only 200 demonstration schools in the United States, and 49 in Texas, who have received this honor.
This year, in addition to the educators in attendance, nine AVID students were selected to be Summer Institute Student Leaders.
"The impact it had on me was really important,” said Kayleigh Wampler-Jones, Polk seventh grader. “It gave me a big opportunity to express myself and to help other people learn about the AVID system. I got the chance to explain to people about the struggles at first, but when you have people to help you, it will get better. I was really thankful because people actually listened to me, gave feedback, and they looked at my binder and everything, it was just a really good experience."
These Polk student leaders led the way in sharing their experiences with teachers and staff in order to help others learn more about the importance of the AVID program.
"Being a student leader at the Summer Institute made me realize how far I can go,” said Luciana Vasquez, Polk seventh grader. “No matter what our background stories are, there are so many people with an incredible amount of potential for the future.”