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New academic programs give students head start in college

Ruth Young Tyler | 1/20/2017, 6 a.m.
For Woodlawn High School students Morgan Tate and Tatyana Brown, their academic future looks promising thanks to a global, nonprofit ...
Preparing for college is a gradual process for Woodlawn High School senior Tatyana Brown (left) and) sophomore Morgan Tate (right) while participating in the school’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. Courtesy Photo

— For Woodlawn High School students Morgan Tate and Tatyana Brown, their academic future looks promising thanks to a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap, high school students have a greater opportunity to attend college and experience new opportunities.

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program was founded more than three decades ago with one teacher in one classroom. Today, the program has favorably impacted over 1.2 million students in 44 states and 16 countries/territories.

The AVID program is dedicated to implementing research‐based strategies and curriculum to educational institutions. Annually, the programs provides more than 30,000 educators with training and methodologies that develop students’ critical thinking, literacy and math skills.

Working in conjunction with AVID, the Early College Program (ECP) is a magnet program offered to Baltimore County Public School students entering 9th grade during the 2017-2018 school year.

Endorsed by Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent S. Dallas Dance, ECP is a partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County. ECP allows students to participate in high school and college courses, simultaneously. Students have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, an associate’s degree or up to 60 credits towards a Bachelor’s degree, tuition free.

The Early College Program (ECP) begins its first cohort Fall 2017 at Woodlawn High School and is the first of its kind across the country, according to Principal Georgina Aye.

Woodlawn High School has 220 students enrolled in the AVID program, and plans to welcome 125 new freshmen into the early college program in the 2017-2018 school year.

To date, over 1,000 students have successfully completed the AVID college program at Woodlawn High. Statistics indicate that 80 percent of those students have pursued their education at four-year schools and other programs.

Sophomore Morgan Tate and AVID student president Tatyana Brown both agreed that the AVID program has created a “family-like environment” for them.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I will be college ready when I graduate from Woodlawn High School,” said Brown, Class of 2017.

Brown said the AVID strategies she learned has helped her with organizational skills and academic success.

According to the Early College High School Initiative Impact Study, 86 percent of the students who participated in [a similar] program graduated from high school compared to 81 percent of other students. The study also revealed that two years past high school, 25 percent of the students had earned a college degree compared to only five percent of other students.

Tasked with empowering students to become college ready, Stephanie Little, the AVID coordinator at Woodlawn High School says some of the students never knew college was an option for them. Little also says the program allows the students to have greater opportunities for academic success.

“I believe programs like AVID and the Early College Program create gateways to success,” said Principal Aye. “Our students need exposure to this vast world of opportunities and options.”

Many of the students attending Woodlawn High School will be the first generation to attend college.

“This is exciting because it creates a cultural, instructional and climactic shift,” said Aye.