Administrators and faculty at Granite Park Junior High were elated to hear from the AVID “bigwigs” that the school’s status as a National Demonstration School (the only school in Utah to earn the distinction) will be renewed through 2019.
AVID, an acronym for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a national program designed to help underachieving students with high academic potential prepare for college. The program is in place in several Granite schools, and around 5,000 schools nationwide.
AVID prepares students for college by creating a network of educators and professionals that students can turn to for help in applying for college, scholarships, and financial aid.
Students also learn basic skills that can better prepare them for the rigors of college, such as effective note-taking, problem-solving, and content knowledge.
To become a National Demonstration School, outside consultants need to assess if there is a high level of systematic rigor and fidelity to a research-driven learning process at the school. Of all schools nationwide with the AVID program, less than 4 percent receive National Demonstration status.
Granite Park had a recent visit from national AVID officials who observed and evaluated how the school uses AVID strategies to improve learning for kids and prepare them for college and career. After all the evaluations were completed, Granite Park received the highest mark possible.
“It basically means that we have demonstrated these research-based learning strategies school wide, not just part of our AVID electives classes,” said Granite Park principal Danny Stirland.
The distinction also means Granite Park receives visitors from other school districts in Utah and bordering states to see how the AVID program can be implemented successfully.
“It’s a pretty cool pride point for our kids, that we have other schools come to see the good things we have going on,” Stirland said.
More than a third of Granite Park students take an AVID class, and their grades and SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) scores are higher than average.