Thursday, May 31, 2007

Navy Nurses Love Their Work!

Thanks to the efforts of our school nurse Ms. Rettie, two Navy nurses from the Sigonella Hospital visited the third period AVID high school class during National Nurses Week to tell about their chosen career. Their enthusiam for the Navy and for nursing came through loud and clear. This is Lt. Commander Clark on the left and Commander Jones on the right. Their presentation covered all aspects of nursing, from education to career rewards. They answered many students' questions, also!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

So, your kid didn't "pass" his/her AP exam?

It's not a total loss. And it's not unusual! The national rate of "passing" an AP exam with a score of 3, 4, or 5 is only around 60%.

According to Jay Mathews, Newsweek contributing editor and Washington Post education reporter, in the May 28, 2007 issue of Newsweek: "AP and IB are important because they give average students a chance to experience the trauma of heavy college reading lists and long, analytical college examinations. Studies by U.S. Department of Education senior researcher Clifford Adelman in 1999 and 2005 showed that the best predictors of college graduation were not good high-school grades or test scores, but whether or not a student had an intense academic experience in high school. Such experiences were produced by taking higher-level math and English courses and struggling with the demands of college-level courses like AP or IB. Two recent studies looked at more than 150,000 students in California and Texas and found if they had passing scores on AP exams they were more likely to do well academically in college.

"To send a student off to college without having had an AP or IB course and test is like insisting that a child learn to ride a bike without ever taking off the training wheels. It is dumb, and in my view a form of educational malpractice."

Newsweek just published their new list of "America's Best High Schools."

My own two personal children, both graduates of Heidelberg High School, took a total of ten AP classes and eight exams (they didn't used to require them). They were both excellent students, but only one exam received a score of 5, two were 3's, and the rest were 2's and 1's. They both went on to perform very well in prestigious, very selective colleges. They both felt very prepared for the rigors of college course work, thanks in part to AP participation.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Marco had his cake and ate it, too!

AVID Recruitment in Full Swing

More than twenty-five students have applied to enter the AVID program at Sigonella MS/HS next school year. Students who will be in grades 7-12 and were eligible for AVID by virtue of their Terra Nova scores and grade point averages received letters of invitation to attend a briefing about the AVID program on May 10. About twenty families attended the briefing, received an overview of the program, and had the chance to ask questions. Ms. Pienta was assisted by AVID tutor Jennifer O'Connor, Honors 10 teacher Kendra Smith, and high school counselor Margie Ascierto.

Interested students and parents submitted applications for the program. Currently, these applicants are undergoing personal interviews, and teachers have been asked to make recommendations.

In just a short time, letters of acceptance or rejection will be going out to all applicants.

The AVID program continues to grow!

Student Loan Network & Free Scholarship Awards

This link comes from The Student Loan Network, another valuable resource for the future. They explain every kind of loan (private, federal, consolidation, etc.) and offer you a free monthly newsletter about financial aid. You can register for it on their site.

Be sure you've registered for Scholarship Points, their free college scholarship awards site. Every 3 months, they draw 3 winners for $1,000, $500, and $250 scholarships.

AVID takes Baltimore County by Storm

"117 students complete college prep program: 26 teens have earned $1 million in scholarships "

Follow the link to the complete article in the Baltimore Sun about how successful AVID students have been in their first graduating class. Baltimore County has big plans to expand the program to all of its high schools!

Littlest and Biggest Boys of AVID

Former AVID Tutor Virginia Imlah and son Randall recently visited the AVID classes. Randall slept through the entire visit. He was probably dreaming of all those tutorials he sat through before he was born!

Monday, May 14, 2007

NCA Report Highlights AVID at Sigonella

The AVID program at Sigonella MS/HS was cited several times in the NCA Report on the official visit that took place in February. These items appeared in the report under DoDEA Initiatives:

"Parents and students agree that "The AVID program does a nice job in skill development.' Teachers cited improved organization, study skills, and academic performance of AVID students after their first year of participation."

"The school is to be commended for having more than half their teachers AVID trained and for its proportionaly high AVID enrollment."

"It was observed that many teachers consistently use research-based AVID techniques, such as one binder for all classes, daily planners, and Cornell notes."

"It would be beneficial to consider additional school-wide staff development in AVID methodologies to further extend its effectiveness."

"Because of the high number of students enrolled in and seeking AVID participation, it will be important for the school to ensure that the program remains available and effective for all participants."

Overall, the school received an outstanding report, and AVID is proud to be part of the success of students and the school!

Mia's Long-Awaited Birthday Party in AVID!

Ms. Pienta's Period 3 AVID class

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Last Workshop of the Year Well-Attended!

On May 8, the last AVID Family Workshop of this school year was held above Applebee's. Despite the nice spring weather and the change of location, between 70-80 people attended this event.

Ninth-grade AVID student Chynnah T. was the mistress of ceremonies for the evening. She welcomed the group and introduced each speaker. AVID students who attained third quarter honor roll status were recognized and introduced by middle school honor student Sedric F. and high school honor student Patrick F.

A number of students will be leaving Sigonella this year, and several of them shared their experiences in AVID, telling how the program helped them become better students in many different ways. The speakers were Alex T. (9th grade), Asher B. (11th grade), Elisa V. (9th grade), Madiea C. ( 7th grade), Danelly A. (7th grade), Tiera L. (7th grade).

Next on the program, parents and students were able to add more information to their college portfolios as Ms. Pienta gave a presentation on financial aid, including the types of aid, the cost of college, how aid is awarded, and how to apply for it.

Ms. Sibayan closed the program and drew the winning number for the door prize, which went to the Burke family. Congratulations!

Thanks to AVID site team members and tutors for their help and support: Ms. Ascierto, Ms. Balboni, Ms. O'Connor, Ms. Vary, Ms. Rettie, and Ms. Camuso. Thanks also to Ms. Folmer for arranging the location and Mr. Brown for AVID support.

The next AVID Family Workshop will be held in September 2007. Stay tuned!

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Understanding College Loans

The Associated Press's primer on borrowing for college appears this week in Business Week magazine, on Yahoo, and in quite a few other publications. This is probably one of the easiest articles to understand about loans for college. It's written in plain English in a question and answer format.

Q: Where should I look for a loan first?
A: That one's easy: Uncle Sam.
The federal government helps students borrow in several ways: through direct loans, by subsidizing interest payments, and by encouraging private lenders to lend to students. Which of these programs you qualify for depends on your school and level of need.
In virtually all cases, government loans are a better deal than private loans, so max them out before borrowing elsewhere.

There are several useful LINKS at the end the article.

Thanks to site team member Ms. Smith for this article.

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