North Junior High AVID 9 students put their service learning on display March 16 during the program’s first-ever service night. The event is part of a pilot program that will soon require AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students to create a community awareness project.
Service learning is an integral part of the curriculum at Hopkins Public Schools, and AVID students are no strangers to giving back. As part of AVID, the curriculum emphasizes the IB (International Baccalaureate) requirement of service learning and is intended to get all ninth-grader to complete a community service project by the time they graduate high school.
Projects focused on cultural diversity and inclusion, health and wellbeing, and educational informational topics. Some students researched and presented on their heritage, while others created a video to breakdown stereotypes. Another station included in-depth information about Aleppo, compete with several tablets and virtual reality devices to take a first-hand look at the destruction. Other students shed light on domestic violence and food insecurity.
“Students spent a lot of time thinking, reading, and writing about what they truly care about and how they wanted to engage with an issue that mattered to them,” said Angela Wilcox, AVID 9 teacher and IB coordinator at North. “We're getting to see what happens when you really ask students what problem they want to solve, and then give them the tools and get out of their way.”
AVID, which is a District-wide, is a foundational program that provides educational opportunities to students who have the potential to be high achieving, but aren’t reaching that potential. The AVID elective class supports students in reading, writing, inquiry, collaboration, communicating with teachers and peers, and learning how to do better in school.
“This is what makes school matter--their learning has an application that they really care about,” Wilcox said. “We're getting students authentically engaged with the larger school community and beyond.”
At the conclusion of the evening, students had the opportunity to talk more about their project but used it thank teachers, North staff, and each other for pushing them to succeed.
“If you look at this group,” student Babette Buckner said, “you see that we are all from different cultures, different backgrounds. But we all work so well together. And that’s what AVID and IB is really all about.”