Kimberly Krull: Butler’s AVID program offers seamless transition for high school students

03/01/2014 9:50 AM

05/27/2014 9:28 AM

As one of Butler Community College’s strategic priorities, ensuring student success is the foundation of the college’s work each day.

This creates a perfect fit for Butler and AVID for Higher Education.

AVID — Advancement Via Individual Determination — is a college-readiness system designed for students with the determination to succeed and for campuses committed to promoting student success. It is an institution-wide transformative effort focused on leadership, systems, instruction and culture.

AVID began more than 30 years ago with a focus to close the college-readiness gap and make college accessible to all students. It has grown to encompass more than 4,900 schools nationally, including 35 elementary, middle and high schools in the Wichita school district.

As the only AVID college in Kansas, Butler will provide a seamless transition for high school students to college and be at the forefront of supporting students in their efforts to earn a college degree or certificate by identifying student barriers and needs, examining student support efforts, and developing and implementing student learning outcomes.

Through AVID, instruction is learner-centered with students engaged in writing, inquiry, collaboration, observation and reading — AVID’s WICOR components. Students will take rigorous credit-bearing, rather than developmental, coursework.

Coherence in their learning and experiences will be accomplished through academies, creative online options, learning communities and linked classes, and cohort models.

Troy Nordman, associate dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, said, “Butler is committed to student success and helping students finish what they start. Becoming a higher education AVID institution is going to greatly enhance how we meet the needs for students and we believe it will truly transform the educational experience for Butler students.”

Foundational to AVID is ongoing and meaningful faculty training and professional development. By embedding best practices, creating avenues for student engagement and providing support, faculty are able to impact student performance.

Whether enrolling as high school students from AVID programs or not, non-traditional students changing careers, or returning for short-term training to prepare for the workforce, Butler’s newest Information Technology Institute being established at the Andover campus will provide both credit and non-credit skills-based training opportunities.

A $2.7 million U.S. Department of Labor grant will help create and implement curriculum and training involving multiple partnerships, in particular with High Touch Technologies and the Kansas Workforce Alliance. Students will be prepared with broad competencies to strengthen the workforce and support the region’s economy through employment in a variety of industries including Custom Computer Programming, Computer Systems Design, Aircraft Manufacturing, and Aircraft Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing.

The curriculum will be organized into academic clusters where students will complete a common set of foundational courses before moving through specialty tracks leading to a variety of related certifications and degrees.

“This training provides an opportunity for our regional workforce to be competitive for jobs of the 21st century,” said Roberto Rodriguez, dean of Career and Technical Education.

As a “jump start” to the training opportunities afforded by the Department of Labor grant and the Information Technology Institute, current high school students will have the benefit beginning in fall 2014 of enrolling in an Early College Information Technology Academy at Andover, which has been developed through Butler’s strong partnerships with area school districts.

This academy will allow students multiple tracks to attain college credit and industry credentials before they finish high school and provide a seamless pathway for continued credentialing and degree attainment at the college level.

Butler’s goal is to transform student lives through innovative learning approaches, preparing them for the changing workforce or to transfer for further education.

Student success is what it’s all about.

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