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PHS AVID Announcements

Pomona High School AVID effort lauded
Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Created: 02/17/2010 07:00:00 PM PST

POMONA - AVID students, faculty and staff gathered in the gym of Pomona High School on Wednesday afternoon waiting for a much-anticipated announcement.

A team of state and national representatives of the Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, program spent the day on campus visiting more than a dozen classrooms and conducting interviews with students, parents and teachers.

After reviewing data about Pomona High's AVID program and Wednesday's visit the team announced it was certifying Pomona High as a National AVID Demonstration School for 2010-2012, said Julie Elliott, director of the AVID National Demonstration Schools program and the state's AVID director.

With that, students broke out into cheers

Pomona High School was named a National AVID Demonstration School on Wednesday. Advancement Via Individual Determination is a program that helps students get the skills and support they need to go on to college. Only 110 out of the 4,500 AVID schools in the country become demonstration schools. (Frank Perez/Correspondent)

and applause and faculty members embraced.

Only 110 schools out of 4,500 in the AVID program are National Demonstration schools, Elliott said.

"You are the best of the best," she said drawing more cheers from the students.

Freshman Julian Ortiz was among the students waiting for the announcement.

"I'm proud to be in this school and to represent AVID," Julian said.

Being named an AVID National Demonstration School means it will serve as a model for schools wishing to start or enhance AVID programs, AVID officials said.

The principles of AVID have spread across the campus, said Sandy Sanders, the school's AVID coach and AVID consultant with the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Before making the announcement, Granger Ward, executive vice president of the AVID Center in San Diego, reviewed the content of the visiting team's report with the audience.

The teams made note of several things including the school's strong college-ready culture; visionary leadership at every level; high parent participation; and tutors who have ties to the school and community, Ward said.

Students are not only focused on learning but articulate and are quite capable of expressing their views clearly, he said.

About 340 Pomona High students are enrolled in the AVID program, which prepares them for college by giving them study, organizational and time-management skills in addition to academic support through bi-weekly tutoring sessions and study groups.

Most are the first members of their families who will be going to college, school officials said.

Pomona High's AVID program has been in place since 1995 and has recently grown to serve about 20percent of the student body, school officials said.

The goal is to increase that number to 25percent, said Principal Roger Fasting.

About 97percent of Pomona High's AVID students head to four-year colleges after graduation, he said.

Teachers Eva Morales-Vargas and Diana Rendon, who together coordinate the program, said the designation was an important milestone for past and present AVID students and faculty along with the school and the entire community.

In making the announcement, the AVID officials had a group of students rolled out a large banner announcing the school's designation.

"It feels like a Super Bowl trophy - only better," said Rendon.