Last year at this time I was excited about the possibilities in life for my oldest daughter. She had been invited to join the AVID program at school to start out her 7th grade year. AVID is Advancement Via Individual Determination. What it does is gives middle of the road students the tools they need to challenge themselves and prepare for college.
There is a sacrifice to be a part of AVID. It takes the place of one of their electives and they are pushed harder and there are more expectations out of AVID students. When I heard about this program last year I knew it was just what my daughter needed. An extra push for her to achieve academic excellence.
Now that two new schools are slated to open next school year and 4 old ones are closing there has been a lot of change. I have had to sit back and watch them redistrict and hope that my children would remain in the same schools they are currently in, and they have. One hurdle avoided. But now one of the major reasons I was hoping my oldest would remain in her same middle school, the AVID program, might not make it through the budget. They are actually looking to cut $40,000 from the AVID budget.
What Does That Mean
It doesn’t seem entirely clear what that would mean for AVID. While they were planning on starting it at the other high school in town it looks like that might not happen. And even in talking to my daughter’s AVID teacher it’s not entirely clear what will happen with AVID at the middle school level. Current freshman would likely get to complete 4 years in high school of AVID, but it doesn’t seem clear if they would have it for any future grades. As it is with a $40,000 cut to the budget for those continuing 3 years they would be running a bare bones program.
Academics Should Never Be On The Chopping Block
Last year it was middle school sports that were on the chopping block, but everyone made a huge stink and they found the money to save the sports. Now they are looking to seriously diminish an academic program. An academic program which takes those kids who are middle of the road and accelerates them so they learn at an early age what is needed to succeed in college.
College has always been a place I have seen my oldest daughter attending. And for her to have this opportunity to be learning Cornell note taking this early, visiting college campuses, and getting the extra help she needs to succeed in advanced classes it just makes her chance for success that much greater.
In one year of AVID my daughter has visited two college campuses and declared for both that she wanted to attend there. Something that before this program she would have been petrified of because of the size of college campuses. Now she is able to see herself attending these colleges.
In my daughter’s 1st year of middle school she struggled greatly with talking to her teachers when she needed help. This year she is taking the initiative to ask for help when she needs it. She has much more confidence knowing that even if she can’t get the help she needs from her classroom teacher, then she can talk to her AVID teacher.
She now has her work more organized in her notebook. Things aren’t going missing. She is much better prepared everyday for her classes. All of this is after just one year in the AVID program.
What Would 6 Years Of AVID Give Her
If she is allowed to continue with AVID for all 6 years right through high school, then the amount she could achieve is astronomical. Certainly much more for any child’s future than having middle school sports could provide. We are talking about children’s futures here.
AVID has been a wonderful opportunity for my daughter, but we need to show her that education is key. Taking away this program or seriously diminishing it will not show her that academics are key. If it’s not important to administration, then how can we ever expect our children to take academics seriously.
No one wants to be the one who has to make those difficult decisions with the budget. Someone is always going to be upset by the choices. I know they have to try to please as many people as they possibly can. But in this case so much more is at stake. Academics should never be a place that is cut from a school budget. AVID should stay and if anything the budget should be increased. Give more children the opportunity to learn these skills. Put it in all of the middle schools and both of the high schools. AVID is that important.
Lets show our children that their education matters. That their future matters. That we believe college is where they belong. There is a reason that this program was started and focuses on the children that are the middle of the road. We make special accommodations for children with special needs. We have to, I know. But even the gifted have special accommodations. What happens to the ones in the middle? With AVID these children stand out. They shine. They are recognized as AVID students and have to maintain certain expectations. They get noticed right away when grades start to slip and are given the help they need.
Lets face it, teachers have a lot of students to keep track of. My daughter isn’t always quick to say stop, slow down, I don’t understand that. She just doesn’t work that way. AVID gives her the ability to do that in a separate class so it’s not taking away from the rigorous teaching schedule teachers have to keep. She can ask her questions and have someone take the time to really explain it to her.
Maybe it’s not so obvious to the administration what AVID does. But are we willing to risk finding out what happens if we take this program away? I am not. I want my daughter to go through the AVID program in its entirety. I want other children to get to have the opportunity to dream about college when they otherwise might not have that dream.
I am pleading with the board of education and finance to find another area to cut $40,000 from the budget. Academics is not the place we should be cutting from the budget.
Are there programs in the school budget you have wanted to see saved from budget cuts?