Friday, December 15, 2006

Dear Santa . . .

We've been very good AVID students this year, do please bring us the following things . . .

From Patrick F., Tim F., and Miguel D.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In Twist on Tuition Game, Popularity Rises With Price

Excerpted from the New York Times
Published: December 12, 2006

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. — John Strassburger, the president of Ursinus College, a small liberal arts institution here in the eastern Pennsylvania countryside, vividly remembers the day that the chairman of the board of trustees told him the college was losing applicants because of its tuition.

It was too low.

So early in 2000 the board voted to raise tuition and fees 17.6 percent, to $23,460 (and to include a laptop for every incoming student to help soften the blow). Then it waited to see what would happen.

Ursinus received nearly 200 more applications than the year before. Within four years the size of the freshman class had risen 35 percent, to 454 students. Applicants had apparently concluded that if the college cost more, it must be better.

“It’s bizarre and it’s embarrassing, but it’s probably true,” Dr. Strassburger said.

Ursinus also did something more: it raised student aid by nearly 20 percent, to just under $12.9 million, meaning that a majority of its students paid less than half price.

Ursinus is not unique. With the race for rankings and choice students shaping college pricing, the University of Notre Dame, Bryn Mawr College, Rice University, the University of Richmond and Hendrix College, in Conway, Ark., are just a few that have sharply increased tuition to match colleges they consider their rivals, while also providing more financial assistance.

The recognition that families associate price with quality, and that a tuition rise, accompanied by discounts, can lure more applicants and revenue, has helped produce an economy in academe something like that in the health care system, with prices rising faster than inflation but with many consumers paying less than full price.

Average tuition at private, nonprofit four-year colleges — the price leaders — rose 81 percent from 1993 to 2004 , more than double the inflation rate, according to the College Board, while campus-based financial aid rose 135 percent.

The average cost of tuition, fees, room and board at those colleges is now $30,367. Many charge much more; at George Washington University, the sum is more than $49,000.

But aid is now so extensive that more than 73 percent of undergraduates attending private four-year institutions received it in the school year that ended in 2004, not even counting loans.

“We can cushion the sticker shock,” said Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, which distributes aid on the basis of financial need. “We focus on both middle-income and low-income families.”

So net prices vary widely on a given campus. On some, as many as 90 percent of students receive support, primarily from the college itself or the federal government.

And financial need is not the only basis for it. Many colleges, competing for the students with high grades and standardized test scores that help a college rise in rankings guides, offer merit aid ranging from a few thousand dollars to a full scholarship.

But officials of private colleges and universities say they fear that unless other steps are taken, the middle and upper middle class could ultimately be squeezed out.

To read the rest of the article CLICK HERE.

The Best of the Binders for December!

Congratulations to these high school students for their binder checks on December 7:

105%: Jessica B., Patrick B., Caitlin G., Kevin R., Aica D., and Julie T.

104%: Joelle N.

103%: Carlo A., Niko R., Elishah H.

102%: Tim F. and Nico L.

100%: Reggie G. and Camron S.

99%: Mia S.

98%: Brittany B.

97%: Miguel D.

96%: Marco M. and Ruben S.

95%: Asher B.

94%: Elisa V.

G R E A T W O R K ! ! !

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Middle School Binder Checks

Congratulations to the following for outstanding binders:
8th grader: Lakara
7th graders: Danelly, Madiea, Justine, Tiera, Gabby, Kierra, Eboni, Riley, Nathan, Mikayla
6th grader: Harriet

National Honor Society Inductee

Congratulations to AVID Junior Patrick F. who was recently inducted in the Sigonella High School National Honor Society!

Patrick has been an AVID student since seventh grade and recently earned a 4.0 GPA for the quarter. Patrick participates in cross-country, Future Educator's Association, and Science Symposium as well as volunteering at AVID Family Workshops and working part-time. We are very proud of his recent induction into this prestigious organization.

Representing Middle School at Family Night-Justine

"Good evening. My name is Justine, and I am a first year AVID student. Since I joined AVID, I have been more organized, and I have noticed my grades have gone up since 4th quarter last year. Being in AVID has taught me many things to help me with my academic classes. I think AVID is an excellent program because it helps students improve by individual determination. So if you are in AVID, you now have the focus and discipline to do whatever you set your mind to. Thank you, and have a good night."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"Escaping 'Average'"

The article entitled "Escaping 'Average': Innovative Programs Make the Case That High-Level Classes Aren't Just for the Gifted" written by Jay Mathews for the Washington Post on Tuesday, November 28, 2006, used AVID as a strong example. Jay Mathews has been a long-time supporter and admirer of AVID. Here are some excerpts from the article:

"The largest effort to prepare average students for high-level courses is led by a San Diego-based nonprofit organization called AVID, for Advancement Via Individual Determination. It was started in 1980 by Mary Catherine Swanson, a high school English teacher who was dissatisfied with how average students were treated at her suburban San Diego school, particularly those who were minorities. Swanson retired this year with the program operating in 2,716 schools in 39 states, including Virginia and Maryland, and in the District.

"Fairfax County has AVID in 14 schools, more than any other school system in the region. It uses study skills classes to prepare students for one of the nation's strongest college-level programs. 'Average students who are put into higher-level classes without support is a recipe for disaster,' said Derek E. Steele, who heads the county's AVID program. 'Our program helps students recognize they are not average, but they have to develop certain skills to prove that to others.'

"AVID looks for students with C to B-plus grades and average to high test scores who are from low-income or minority families or who would be the first in their families to attend college. Carol L. Robinson, principal of Twain Middle School in Fairfax, said teachers refer students to the program, which starts in sixth grade and continues into high school.

"Robinson said teachers look for 'students with a lot of potential but who need an additional push.' She cited several Twain students who were not initially recommended to take algebra but were enrolled in the course anyway, with the AVID teacher and tutors helping them adjust to the tougher math.

"'Every one of those students did well,' Robinson said. They all passed state tests."

Correction to This Article: A Nov. 28 article incorrectly said that the Fairfax County school system leads the region with 14 facilities that offer the Advancement via Individual Determination program. Anne Arundel County (MD) has 31 schools offering AVID.

Family Workshop #2 Successful for All

On November 28, over sixty people attended the second AVID Family Workshop of the school year.

Students and parents who attended received a personalized College Portfolio. During the course of the workshop, Ms. Pienta explained the use of the portfolio's sections via a slideshow. Several forms for tracking academic and extra-curricular progress were reviewed. (NOTE: Families who were not able to attend can receive the portfolio at the next workshop, where further instruction will be shared.)

The workshop program included the following:

Welcome and Introductions: Asher B. (11th grade AVID student)

School Improvement: Ms. Bernie Camuso (Sigonella School Improvement Co-Chair)

Honor Student Recognition: Chynnah T. (9th grade AVID student, at left)

AVID Portfolios: Ms. Maryellen Pienta (AVID Coordinator)

Middle School AVID Message: Justine C. (AVID student)

Farewell Message: Reggie G. (9th grade AVID student)

Closing: Ms. Jan Sibayan (MS AVID Teacher)

Thank you to all the other AVID students and site team teachers, tutors, family members, and friends who helped make the workshop a success. Special thanks to Mr. Flint Sibayan for procurement of binders and dividers, Mr. Dale Aevermann for room setup and audio equipment, and Mr. David Brown for AV setup and equipment.

The next AVID Family Workshop will be on February 6, 2007.

In-state Tuition

With tuition costs soaring ever higher, it is more important than ever to look at the eligibility requirements for in-state tuition. All states have excellent state universities and colleges that offer the most reasonable rates to state residents. Military family members are granted special rights as residents in nearly every state, and more strides are being made every day to expand those rights through the Military Child Education Coalition and other groups.

Go HERE to find a STATE SUMMARY and Frequently Asked Questions about in-state residency and tuition. This link will remain on the sidebar.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Reggie's Farewell at AVID Family Workshop

Hi! My name is Reggie G. I started attending Stephen Decatur in third grade in 2001. I am now a freshman at Sigonella High School. I take Honors Literature/History, Biology, Geometry, AVID, Italian II, and Drama. In just a few weeks, I’m leaving for San Diego, California. I plan to attend Mira Mesa High School and join AVID.

In AVID, I’ve learned plenty of things. I learned how to take notes and be organized. I’ve learned one important thing that helped me not only in school, but life. It was determination. Before I got into AVID, I was a lazy kid who barely did homework. But when I entered Ms. Pienta’s room in 7th grade, I looked around and saw everyone working. I saw how they put so much time into their work. I thought I’d be the dumb kid in the classroom. So I figured I’d do the homework and get good grades on tests. Watching the students in the class working made me want to work hard and make honor roll. Since everyone in the class was an A/B student, I felt I could be one, too. After that day, I felt good about not being lazy or procrastinating. I could finish homework the day before it was due and not worry about it.

For all the parents, I would advise you to keep your kids in AVID. For all the kids that are lazy and never do your work or are unorganized, join AVID. This will help you, not only in high school and middle school, but in college, since AVID is a preparation class for college.

After high school, I plan to attend San Diego State University. I want to major in psychology or automotive technology. Thanks to AVID, my parents, classmates, friends, teachers, and tutors like Ms. Andre, Ms. Kendall, Ms. Imlah, Ms. Deal, Mrs. O’Connor, Ms. Pienta, Ms. Novak, Ms. Sibayan, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Cary, Mr. Spain, and my big brother, Angelo, I feel like I have a good start toward reaching my goal.

Thank you!

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