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Nicollet’s AVID program serves as model to other schools

A group of teachers and administrators from Twin Cities Metro area schools visited Nicollet Junior High in Burnsville to learn about how the school has implemented its Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program on Oct. 23. The event was one of only a handful of AVID “showcases” in the Midwest this year, designed to provide an opportunity for educators to see an AVID implementation, share best practices, and learn more about AVID in a hands-on manner.

Nicollet Junior High language arts and AVID teacher Danielle Christy (left) goes through student binders with visiting educators Natasha Brown (left) and Kari Schell of Anoka High School.

At Nicollet, AVID is both a building-wide initiative and an elective class designed to help students prepare for and succeed in college by developing critical thinking and organizational skills and establishing a “college-bound” culture among students.

According to Principal Renee Brandner, Nicollet’s AVID program is getting good marks in meeting its goals and the school may be on its way to becoming a “National Demonstration School,” one of the first in Minnesota. That process includes a review by national AVID officials, likely to take place later this school year, but the recent showcase event acted as a sort of preview.

“They said that if we had our validation day today, we would have made it,” Brandner said, noting that only a small percentage of AVID schools become National Demonstration Schools. “We feel really good about how we’re doing and are excited about this possibility.”

This fall’s peer visits specifically surrounded Nicollet’s AVID elective class, where students participate in additional college-prep activities, including working with college tutors, participating in enrichment and motivational activities, and learn to plan for their future so college becomes an expectation.

Some visiting educators were learning as their schools consider launching AVID, while others came from schools looking to remodel their already existing AVID programs.

Read more about AVID at Nicollet online at

Nicollet was the first school in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 to have an AVID program. It has since expanded to Burnsville High School and Burnsville Alternative High School, and is now growing at Eagle Ridge and Metcalf Junior High Schools.

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 15:55