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AVID Elementary Four Pillars Training - Moving Districts from Good to Great
Robin Withers, AVID Elementary Program Mangaer (1st from the left), Shannon McAndrews, National Director of AVID Elementary Programs (4th from the left), and Leslie Wheaton, AVID Elementary Program Manager (2nd from the right) worked with teachers and adminstrators from ARizona and North Carolina during the inaugural Four Pillars Training professional development.
Elementary AVID Main Page
Additional Pages:
AVID Elementary Four Pillars Training - Moving Districts from Good to Great
AVID Elementary Program Manager
AVID Elementary Research
AVID Elementary Site Coordinators 2013-14
AVID Elementary Weekly offered as a new resource
AVID Elementary/Common Core STate Standards/21st Century Skills Crosswalk Tool
Gloria Cox, NC State Director, AVID Center Eastern Division
Shannon McAndrews, M.Ed. AVID Elementary Departmen
Support Roles in the AVID Elementary Network

"Good is the enemy of great"

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

     In September 2011, I got the opportunity to travel to the heart of the AVID Training Center as part of the inaugural class of Four Pillars trainers for AVID Elementary (AE) districts striving to take implementation practices to the next level.  (The four pillars of the AE system include accountability, articulation, assessment, and calibration).

     Facilitated by program managers and the National Director of AVID Elementary Programs, Shannon McAndrews, teachers and district leaders focused on building capacity within individual feeder patterns to strengthen sustainability and expand professional developmental teams for future growth.  Other key components centered on identifying key AE components that will reinforce, strengthen, and sustain AVID Elementary in all implementing sites and help districts build frameworks for fidelity within classrooms and schools.

     I was reaffirmed that AVID Elementary is not another program but supports and meshes with the current Onslow County Schools' "District Instructional Perspective" and vision, mission, and goals.  Similarities include college and future readiness, academic rigor, support systems, students as independent learners and thinkers, data to drive continuous improvement, and parent and community partnerships.    AVID Center will be seeking partnerships with postsecondary institutions showcasing strong teacher education programs to make AVID part of pedagogical training.  

  The K-3 Beginnings component, set for a target implementation date of 2013-14, will provide developmentally appropriate processes for primary age students.  Another process approximately two years away from nationwide availability is AVID Elementary certification.  Similar to the Secondary certification self study model that focuses on 11 essentials, the K-5 structure will target overarching areas of instruction, leadership, systems, and culture.  (Experienced AVID Elementary districts will be selected to test the certification tool in 2012-13).

     Whenever I have been in AVID group meetings with teachers, administrators and our district leadership team over the past three years, I have often asked, "What can we do to get better?"   Or in the query of a famous author, "How can we move from good to great?"  I have combined that feedback with what I gleaned from AVID executive leaders to comprise a brief list for consideration:

1. Continue to develop and fine tune local professional development for teachers at various levels of implementation.  Principals will continue to need courses such as "Leading Elementary AVID" that was piloted last fall.

2. Empower and equip site coordinators to serve as leaders.

3. Make AVID Parent Nights and web-based information for stakeholders part of our system's culture.

4. Develop uniform assessment tools and train teachers to use them properly and with fidelity.

5. Educate students on how to become independent practitioners and owners of their learning, success, and organization as they transition to middle school.

6. Share data and feedback with grade level teams and administrators with transparency in union with the cognitive coaching model.

7. Ensure that teachers can access the AVID website to take advantage of convenient self-improvement tools such as archived webinars and new products such as AVID Elementary Weekly.

8. Revisit SMART goals each June to determine areas of achievement and improvement.

9. Strengthen student development of various levels of questions and make assessment of Levels of Questioning consistent across the district in 2012-13.

10. Expand teacher assessment of students on Quality Standards to include beginning of year, middle of year, and end of year to provide more opportunities for teacher and student growth and feedback.

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