McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Advocating for kids

MCHS has implemented a new program called AVID for the class of 2027
Rudy Culbert
Maxwell Zerdt give feedback to a student from during tutorials AVID 9 class on April 4 at the Freshman Campus. Tutor Chad Dunn helped assist the other students as they asked questions and tried to solve the problem.

On a sunny-cloudy day, the AVID staff walk into a quiet school before the first period starts. They get into their classroom to get ready before students come in and learn, once getting situated they all communicate about what they’re going to do in AVID for the week.

AVID is a new program at MCHS and the class of 2027 is the first ever class to be in the elective. It stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. Andrew Stegenga is one of the teachers for AVID. This program is very new to everyone, even teachers, it is only at Freshman Campus but soon it will go to Upper Campus.

“AVID is about giving kids skills that will pasture them to be successful after school,  specifically college,” said Stegenga. “I think that the biggest part of AVID is not just creating a good student, hopefully those kids become better people and a big part of that is being a good student in your class … AVID’s main focus is college preparedness.”

AVID has made an impact on students but there were some scares that this program was not going to workout. JR Bocian is a counselor for both AVID and Freshman Campus.

Bocian has seen the impact that AVID has had but at first he was not sure if the kids would be the right fit. So that is when all AVID staff had to come together and select kids that would be good for the program, then pick a good handful out of those students they selected to be part of AVID.

“So I mean, for me, it was almost too good to be true,” said Bocian. “You know, like you looked at the kids that were in it that they had amazing things to say about it, you look at all the data, and the data shows that these kids are achieving higher, much higher than their peers.”

There is so much good AVID can bring to a kid. Every person on staff that’s a part of AVID just wants what is best for these kids, but there are some challenging parts about AVID and it takes a lot of communicating, participating and listening to peers to enjoy or at least stay in AVID.

In the AVID class they have a form called a TRF that looks for what students are struggling in a class and just talk through it.

“So it’s basically a Socratic session where groups of kids show up together,” said Bocian. “They fill out a TRS form with a question that they have regarding one of their classes, assignments, things of that nature, and then they’re grouped together based on that, that subject, there’s tutors in there to help kind of facilitate.”

This program works to help students in many different ways, for example having guest speakers, college visits, and more to talk to and motivate the students.

“I think the interesting part of those tutorials is that kids are not given the answer,” said Bocian. “They’re asked questions to kind of find the answer themselves.”

AVID is full of many things, they have all different types of activities. Some students will find all of the activities fun, and some will not like any of them, it depends on the student. Heidie Dunn who is an English teacher but also the AVID coordinator has seen a bunch of good effects that AVID has brought upon the students in it.

There’s study skills like in the class students learn like how to take notes, how to organize themselves and their time, they learn how to present in front of other people. They learn how to do Socratic seminars and timed writes and all sorts of different things that they might run across in their classes.

“This AVID class,” says Dunn, “has gained more confidence in themselves as students and more knowledge about what they need to do to head in the direction they are planning on for after high school. This group of freshmen in particular have been excellent ambassadors for a program they took a chance on joining out of 8th grade. We can’t wait to see how they conquer the UC next year.”

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