Last week, Evans Middle School Principal Todd Young, AVID Teacher/Coordinator Wendy Dutton and MISD Coordinator of Advanced Academics Marita Cleaver sat expectantly in the Evans library across from a two-member AVID validation team as they awaited the results of a day-long AVID evaluation of the campus.
After a brief summary of their findings, Dr. Aliber Lozano presented the team’s recommendation, and the news was exactly what the campus had hoped for: Evans Middle School would retain its AVID National Demonstration School status for three more years—the highest possible endorsement of the school’s program quality.
“What we saw today is really great teaching and learning,” said Lozano. “And under the leadership of Todd Young and Wendy Dutton, we recognize that the school is a national teaching and learning center that is truly a model for other educators and school districts who are interested to see how to increase access and success. This is really a place for them to come as a teaching and learning center.”
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a national college-readiness program designed to prepare students for four-year college eligibility. AVID students are enrolled in a school’s advanced classes and attend an academic elective class—called AVID—taught within the school day by a trained AVID teacher.
The National Demonstration School designation is one that is bestowed on only about 5 percent of AVID campuses, and they play a vital role in helping campuses nationwide who are interested in starting their own AVID program or who may be struggling with implementation of the program already in place. While attaining National Demonstration School status is no easy task— there are only about 125 of them worldwide—McKinney ISD boasts three: Evans Middle School, Scott Johnson Middle School and McKinney North High School. Each must undergo “revalidation” on a 1–3 year timeline determined by the validation team. This is the second time that Evans has earned a 3-year term.
The revalidation team cited several areas of commendation for Evans Middle School: the campus’s increased participation in algebra; the leadership of the counseling department in building a culture of college-readiness; the effectiveness of the the AVID site team; the school-wide approach with all students that utilizes binders, Cornell notes and an emphasis on organization; and the outstanding coordination of leadership between Young, Dutton and Cleaver.
“It’s a validation of what we’re doing here,” said Young of the revalidation results. “What they saw today is what we try to do every single day. It’s not something special [that we did just for this visit]. And, it’s not just here at Evans. Across McKinney, every single day we try to do the best we can for our kids. I think that’s what sets our district apart from other places—we have that approach, and it’s consistent on all the campuses. The revalidation is great for the kids, it’s great for Mrs. Dutton—it’s great for everybody.”
Story submitted by Shane Mauldin, MISD