Does AVID Program Have a Future at Nicolet?
Nicolet School Board members hope district can continue - and possibly expand - academic support program.
The $10 million referendum approved in April for Nicolet High School has alleviated some of the district's fiscal concerns, however, administrators and School Board members are still scrutinizing how money is being spent.
And as they look at the numbers, board members say they are hopeful the Advancement Via Individual Determination program (AVID) can be preserved in this time of tight budgets.
AVID serves 57 students by providing academic support, including tutoring, and helping them prepare for college.
But the issue is always the money. Even with the referendum's passage, School Board President Marilyn Franklin reminded everyone at Monday's board meeting that it's not a free-for-all and the budget is still a balancing act.
"One of the limiting factors along the way has been the finances," Franklin said. "And if we go back, historically, to look at our budgets over the last couple years, where we’ve had to look at budget, the AVID program was always one of those programs that was a possible to be cut. Of course, we’ve been successful with the referendum and, hopefully, we can continue with the AVID program."
Franklin was on the board when AVID was implemented five years ago at Nicolet, and she says that the main goal, at the time, was to expand the program.
"One of the major things we wanted to make sure would happen is that it would be implemented throughout the whole school, and not necessarily on a hit-and-miss situation," she said.
Some of the skills AVID teaches students are how to properly prepare college applications and study skills. Franklin said that these skills should be taught to all students, supporting the expansion of AVID.
However, she also says it would take more support to go school-wide.
"I think the opportunity for broad school implementation will be better because I don’t think that everybody necessarily has bought into the aspects of AVID," Franklin said.
Recently elected School Board member Mort Grodsky chimed in, supporting the AVID program, but he assigned a task for Melissa Trepte, AVID district director.
Grodsky said that with recent changes to graduation requirements, he would like to see AVID coupled with fine arts and carrer class requirements.
"I’d like you to bring us some ideas and see whether we should do that with AVID," he said. "I understand there have been financial constraints, especially based on the number of students we end up serving. To me, that maybe a way to serve more and encourage more students."
This discussion came after Trepte presented information to the board about what AVID is, how it works, and even had two students tell their success stories.
"It’s a decision that parents and students also have to make about the buy-in because it’s a lot of work. And sometimes we lose students along the way because they don’t realize it really is another class and there’s a lot of work to it," Trepte said.
"One of the big hurdles is going to be pushing and getting into 'big' AVID," Trepte said. "This isn’t something additional, it works right with what you’re doing already and it can benefit every student."