HELP ALONG THE COLLEGE TRACK; Duval Program Focuses on Study Strategies, Test Prep and Other Skills

Article excerpt

Byline: TOPHER SANDERS

Wolfson High School senior Kristen Davis received an acceptance letter this month to attend college at Savannah State University.

Davis said had it not been for her participation in Duval County Public Schools' Advancement Via Individual Determination program she might not have the opportunity to go to college in Georgia to study marine science.

"If I wasn't in AVID," she said, "I probably wouldn't have known about the ACT, the SAT, how to get your scores sent to schools, what to look for in schools."

Davis is part of Duval's first class of seniors to have completed four years of the AVID program, which targets average students who educators believe can perform better in school if given additional tools.

The AVID program started at four high schools is now at 11 schools. There are nearly 1,500 students in the program.

The program is administered during elective classes and focuses on study strategies, college preparation and test-taking skills. It gives students a full class period to talk about, learn about, and work toward earning entrance into college.

Now that a group of students has been in the program for four years, the Duval school district is collecting information like college acceptance of the AVID students, graduation rates and discipline records to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, said Eddie Christian, Duval's AVID director.

Katelyn Rash, 16, a sophomore at Wolfson, said AVID has helped to give her an understanding of what the workload will be like when she gets to college.

"In AVID we get college speakers and they tell you what you need to prepare for those classes," she said. "In regular classes you wouldn't get people from college coming to speak to you."

Last week, Sheri Porubski's students spent one of their AVID classes in Wolfson's library, reviewing their ACT scores and working on applications for college. …