Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dates for AVID Family Workshops 2006-07

5-6 P.M. in the Multi-Purpose Room unless other location is announced.

19 September

24 October

28 November

6 February

13 March

8 May

Sunday, August 27, 2006

AVID High School Syllabus

High School AVID
Advancement Via Individual Determination
Sigonella Middle/High School, SY 2006-07

Instructor: Ms. Maryellen Pienta (Room 106
AVID Tutors: Ms. Jennifer O’Connor, Mr. Sid Spain, and Ms. Virginia Imlah

E-mail: Maryellen.pienta@eu.dodea.edu
AVID Etna blog: www.avidetna.blogspot.com
Ms. Pienta’s website: http://www.avidoffcenter.org/
AVID Etna Group site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/avidetna/

Course Description: This course is designed to support the students and mission of AVID.

AVID Mission: The mission of AVID is to ensure that all students, especially students in the middle capable of completing a college preparatory path, . . .
. . . will succeed in the most rigorous curriculum,
. . . will enter mainstream activities of the school,
. . . will increase their enrollment in four-year colleges, and
. . . will become educated and responsible participants and leaders in a democratic society.

AVID Curriculum:
Strategies for Success
Writing/Reading to Learn
Colleges and Careers

AVID is about learning to learn efficiently and powerfully. The goal is to help every student become an organized, successful, thinking student who is successful on the path to college and a degree.

In AVID, students will learn all about college and what it takes to get there. Everything we do in AVID supports that: notetaking, test-taking, college information, study skills, organization, writing skills, research skills, guest speakers, study trips, Socratic-style tutorials, and successful student behaviors.

Classroom rules: There are only two--respect and responsibility. This includes respect for other people, the classroom and its contents, and the work. Students are expected to be reasonably responsible for themselves and their work.
The AVID Student Contract: This spells out exactly what is expected of the student, the parent, and the school in the AVID program. It will signed by all students and parents within the first quarter.

Attendance: This is critical. Students cannot learn what they are not exposed to, both in AVID and in all of your rigorous classes. Showing up is half the battle. Assignments are still due. Life goes on. Class goes on. In the AVID class, work that is turned in late will go down in value 10% each day.

Computer skills/internet: We will make good use of technology. It is advantageous, but not required, to have a computer and Internet access at home.
Homework: There will be homework. Students are responsible for coming to class prepared.
KEEP UP and you won’t have to CATCH UP.


The greatest portion of the student’s grade in AVID is based on 1) the binder and 2) tutorials. Binders will be checked and graded every tenth school day, or as near as possible to it. Parents and students will know exactly when this is happening. Tutorials yield points to students every time they participate, which will be every time AVID meets. Other grades, to a lesser degree, will come from unit tests and daily work. In AVID, positive points are given to students. They are not “punished” by having points taken away. Extra credit is awarded when the student goes above and beyond the normal assignment.


A weekly email newsletter will be sent to parents, students, tutors, and site team members. Please take a few minutes to read it. We welcome any and all communication from parents and students in the form of phone calls, email, or conferences.

Sigonella High School was recently named an AVID Model Demonstration School. This is due to the efforts of ALL of us—students, tutors, parents, teachers, and site team. This is going to be a GREAT AVID year as we continue to present our MODEL PROGRAM! Last spring, 95% of the faculty were trained in AVID methodologies and philosophy. The support for AVID at this school is unparalleled.

AVID is Advancement Via Individual Determination, a nationally recognized program that was founded in 1980 in San Diego, CA, by Mary Catherine Swanson. The AVID name, logo, and materials are copyrighted by the AVID Center, a non-profit organization, and cannot be used without their express permission. The official website is http://www.avidonline.org/

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Earning Power of a College Degree

"Today the United States ranks ninth among industrialized nations in higher-education attainment, in large measure because only 53 percent of students who enter college emerge with a bachelor’s degree, according to census data. And those who don’t finish pay an enormous price. For every $1 earned by a college graduate, someone leaving before obtaining a four-year degree earns only 67 cents."

from David Leonhardt's article "Rank Colleges, but Rank Them Right" in the New York Times, August 16, 2006.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Could You Earn a Degree for Free?

Read the whole article here on MSN Encarta.

Is there any chance you could get a free ride to college? It's not easy, says Barry W. Simmons, director of the office of scholarships and financial aid at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia.

"Unless you can score a 1600 on the SAT or can run faster and jump higher than anyone else, there aren't many 'full rides' out there," he says. "It's a matter of supply and demand."

Multiple sources

A student's best bet is to combine a variety of aid, including scholarships, grants, and financial awards. You'll have to do your homework, but it can pay off. "If a student has been thorough in his research, and used scholarship search tools, he will find many opportunities," Simmons says. Students must be aware that many local and regional scholarships last only one year, so they should check to see if they can "bank" any excess awards for future years, Simmons says.

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