The Norman Transcript

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April 23, 2013

NPS making college-readiness investment

NORMAN — A lengthy awards ceremony was followed by an in-depth informational discussion on the district’s latest college-readiness investment at the Norman School Board meeting Monday evening.

Norman Public Schools’ general funds, bolstered by a $67,000 grant for Norman High and Norman North high schools, will implement AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) in both schools, introducing a new elective class and teacher support program designed to boost representation of under-served demographics in Advanced Placement classes.

“Our AP courses are an opportunity for our students to really step up and be challenged and apply their experience of being challenged beyond high school,” Superintendent Joe Siano said. “The equity aspect of participation in AP became of particular concern to us, and we have to ask ourselves, ‘Do the AP classrooms reflect the demographic of the district?’”

Siano said NPS administrators also identified a shortage in what he referred to as a “safety net” for students needing additional academic or emotional support as they pursue the district’s most rigorous coursework.

According to AVID Program Manager Rachel Henley, criteria for the ideal AVID student will be eighth and ninth graders who display a disparity between a low grade point average and high performance on aptitude tests.

“We look for the middle students — those who are getting through but not excelling. Those who display a gap between performance and potential, and those who display college potential if appropriately supported,” Henley said.

AVID also targets youths who may be first generation college students, low-income, historically underserved at the college level or those struggling due to special circumstances.

“Fifty-five percent of AVID students nationwide are Hispanic and 70 percent qualify for free and reduced lunch,” Henley said. “We will establish a four-year, four-section elective class which students will take from freshman to senior year.”

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