Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From the newsletter of Seoul American Middle School, Korea (AVID)

This past week an on-campus evaluation was conducted by the DoDDS-Pacific Area Office for recertification of our AVID program. The evaluation heaped bright words of praise on our program and the learning opportunities afforded our students. In fact, SAMS has become the only school in DoDDS-Pacific to have a DoDEA Model/Demonstration program. This was earned by having all program essential elements institutionalized. Twelve specific commendations were recorded regarding our commitment to high student achievement. In particular, the addition of AVID to this school year’s 6th grade curriculum was applauded. This certification is an honor that has been achieved through the efforts of many stakeholders including our parents, students, faculty and staff.

Our stakeholders might ask, “What significance is this honor if my child is not enrolled in AVID?” At SAMS, AVID permeates the academic environment. One of the guiding principles of our school mission statement is “AVID centered teaching methods.” (You can review our mission statement and all of the guiding principles on our website, http://www.seoul-ms.pac.dodea.edu/sip.htm.) One of the most visible aspects of AVID is our school-wide common binder. All students use the same format of organizational skills, Cornell notes, and WICR (writing, inquiry, collaboration and reading) strategies regardless of their teacher, team or course. Since 83% of the faculty has received AVID implementation training, our stakeholders can be assured that these strategies are followed. Additionally, the 7th grade study skills course is based on AVID principles.

A secondary benefit to an outstanding AVID program is the increase in rigorous courses. Sections of high school credit courses have been added in algebra, French, German, geometry, Korean, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish in the past few years. Literally hundreds of 7th and 8th grade students have benefited from the increase in course offerings. In fact, over 350 high school credits will be earned by our students this year. Therefore, approximately 250 non-AVID students work and sit together with AVID students in these rigorous courses. No other middle school in the Pacific comes close to this level of accomplishment.

You can learn more about AVID on our website at


or the AVID website at http://www.avidonline.org/.

AVID is defined as:

a language arts based curriculum with emphasis on the writing process and writing as a tool of learning. In addition to inquiry and collaboration, AVID also provides students with academic survival skills, i.e., time management, note taking, textbook reading, library research, test taking skills, and study skills. The Cornell note-taking system is taught and students are expected to use this system in all classes.

Later this spring, our AVID site team will compile a list of students who would best benefit from this course. Should your student be invited to participate (whether at SAMS or SAHS), would you please consider enrolling them in this powerful course? Should your student not qualify, be assured that many of the skills offered in AVID will be present in other course curriculums and lessons. It truly is a great time to have your student enrolled at SAMS.


Darrell R. Mood


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