AVID aims to close opportunity gaps for students
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AVID aims to close opportunity gaps for students

BISMARCK, N.D. – AVID, a college prep class, can be found in school districts across the country, including Bismarck Schools, but some students say it’s more than a just class.

Legacy High School senior Deben Barnnie says the Advancement Via Individual Determination class not only has help him with college readiness and organization, but it’s also been a place he feels he can be himself.

Deben Barnnie gets a lot of information to study in his AP Government and Psychology class, but the note-taking skills he learned in his AVID class are helping him retain that information.

“I use those notes to learn and apply them to like my homework too so I can like know what I’m doing and finish my homework. I apply a lot of stuff from AVID to my other classes.” said Barnnie.

Although he likes learning academic, organizational, and leadership skills, there’s another aspect to this class that appeals to him.

“Schmeichel, he helps us a lot with like our homework or like what we need to turn in or just like real-life stuff, like personal stuff,” said Barnnie.

Deben’s AVID teacher Landen Schmeichel says while they do focus on high rigors and habits, they’re some days where it’s just about building relationships.

“We say hey,  here’s what’s going on in our life right now, you’ve been through it too, can we talk a little bit about what that means. It’s a vulnerable piece, but in creating that family, I think it’s an excellent opportunity to practice building community,” said Schmeichel.

The BPS AVID district director says AVID targets students who are in the academic middle and above, who have the desire to go to college and the motivation to work hard.

Students may be the first in their families to attend college, and some come from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

” At the end of the day, when we look at those student applications, we ask ourselves in what way can we help the student. In what way is it serving to close that opportunity gap,” said BPS AVID District Director Tana Sukauskas.

Students can receive recommendations from teachers and counselors, or they can simply apply.

There are about 700 students enrolled in AVID on the secondary level in Bismarck.

Deben Barnnie has been accepted into four colleges, and he plans to attend the University of North Dakota to study psychology.

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