A total of 124 students at Blue Valley are enrolled in Advancement Via Individual Determination (Avid), taught by Kelsey Bakalar and Dianne O’Bryan.
The class participates in tutorials twice a week and focuses on the Avid curriculum the other two days.
“A lot of the curriculum relates to reading, writing, research and things of that nature,” Bakalar said. “We also do a lot of college- and career-prep and go on college visits.”
To be able to take the class, there are a couple of assessments made by teachers and the student themself.
“Middle school teachers recommend kids for Avid,” Bakalar said. “Students then have to apply and be interviewed, so it’s a mutually selective process.”
A key aspect to the Avid curriculum is college planning and preparation.
“They will gain skills that help them be more prepared for college,” said O’Bryan, the freshman and senior Avid teacher.
Avid student junior Isaiah Euler said the most beneficial part of Avid is planning for his studies down the road.
“Preparing for my future and college is definitely a big [benefit] because I wouldn’t have been looking into a lot of that now if I wasn’t in Avid,” he said.
Students can also take the class if they already earn good grades but have a hard time studying or organizing their work effectively. Tutorials as well as binder and notes checks help students stay organized and create study groups for the students to lean on each other for support.
“I like the tutorials,” Avid student sophomore Emma Blackwood said. “If you don’t get something in a subject, your classmates can help you.”
Bakalar said students learn organization, study skills and self-advocacy.
“One of the most important things I can offer them is teaching them how to advocate for themselves and boosting their confidence,” Bakalar said. “The students would say the most beneficial thing they receive is what Mrs. O’Bryan and I have described as the hidden curriculum that teachers don’t have time to teach, such as communicating with teachers and how to study for different kinds of tests.”
Students in this class get a chance to connect and create a long-term relationship with a teacher. O’Bryan said the relationships she makes with her students is her favorite part about Avid.
“It has allowed me the opportunity to really connect with the students in my class since I have them for four years,” O’Bryan said. “I love getting to know the kids and helping them to navigate high school.”