My school is an AVID-based Early College High School. To be enrolled middle students must meet certain criteria, apply and interview. The most unique part about my school is that students must come from the “middle quartile” which means we do not accept gifted and talented students or those that are academically too low. This is the AVID philosophy that the G/T students and the low students already recieve a lot of services but it is the middle students that often fall through the cracks. For example, in my district G/T students can apply for AP classes, a special scholars academy and an Academy for Arts, Science, and Technology. Once the applications are narrowed down and the interviews have been conducted our selection committee then takes only 100 students to join our Freshman class and these students will stay with Early College for their entire high school career. Another part of the selection process is that we favor ‘traditionally non-college bound’ student populations. This means that we favor students that would be first in their family to graduate college, come from low income families, or have a family challenge. We also try to match the district ethnic makeup.
I love my school because we provide supports for students that likely would not have gone to college and many of which were drop out candidates and help them earn a degree or certificate. Roughly half of our students will graduate high school with an associates degree! Many more will have nearly 2 years of credits toward college, a trade certificate, or at worst a high school diploma. In my 10 years at ECHS you can count the number of students that failed to receive a high school,diploma on one hand. Literally, I believe only 1 student has not graduated.
One reason that we are so successful is our leadership and the culture of success that is actively built by every member of our faculty and staff. Again, I mean this literally. – Every member of our school from the Principal to our Cafeteria Staff help build the school culture.
Possibly the most important piece of this enculturaltion is Bridge Week. The 100 or so students selected will take 3 days oit of their summer vacation and come to our school to meet their fellow Freshman, the 9th grade teachers, the Principal and Cafeteria Staff, and their advisory teacher. Advisory is a ‘class’ similar to a homeroom where students will meet with their adsvisory teacher once a week through their Junior year. Thus is intended to be a family at school setting and much of the non-academic culture of the school flows through this program. Bridge Week is where advisory, team building, school norms and rules, and culture begins.
This year I participated in Bridge Week and met my new advisory. My group named themselves ‘Powley’s Powerful Prodigies’, developed a logo, a motto (Sining the Light on the Path to Success), and performed a skit in front of their new classmates!
I asked Ms Martina McKoy, our Curriculum Coordinator and person responsible for Bridge Week, if I could share her agenda for our 3 day Bridge Week and she is happily sharing these documebts with my readers. Please feel free use these resources and I will happily answer any questions or connect you with Ms McKoy. See the links below and please consider ways to build your culture of success!