New Northeast program aims to close achievement gap

A new program at Lincoln Northeast High School is designed to provide the necessary skills and support to students who want to reach their full academic potential and attend a four-year college.

The program is called AVID - an acronym for Advancement Via Individual Determination - and it’s actually an elective course that students take their entire time at Northeast, preferably starting in ninth grade. 

Students learn “college-going skills,” things like how to take focused notes, set goals, work in groups, think more critically and ask higher order questions of their teachers and classmates. They also are expected to take at least one advanced class for which they’ll receive targeted tutorials as part of AVID. During a normal school year, they’ll go on college visits, field trips and hear from guest speakers.

More than 100 ninth- and tenth-graders are currently enrolled, with the ultimate goal of reaching 200, said Jon Davidson, the program’s coordinator. Counselors and teachers identified potential students last year. The majority of those chosen could be the first in their family to go to college.

“We’re trying to close the achievement gap by addressing the opportunity gap,” Davidson said.

Although it stresses college, the program also aims to prepare students for a career after high school if that’s the route they choose. Last year Davidson asked his fellow teachers and staff to list the attributes they felt are necessary to succeed in college and in a career. The responses were identical, with skills such as the ability to communicate and to be organized.

“There was an exact overlay between the two,” he said.

Jazmine Laguna is one of the students in the program. The ninth-grader said she’s already learned a lot, including how to set goals. Right now her ultimate goal is entering a good career after graduating from Northeast. She believes the AVID program can help her get there.

“I felt like I maybe needed a little extra help to stay organized,” she said. “I really like it so far.”

Published: September 17, 2020, Updated: November 12, 2020

"We’re trying to close the achievement gap by addressing the opportunity gap."

Jon Davidson, coordinator of the new AVID program at Northeast High School