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AVID in Print!

​The following article was featured in the Cherry Hills Village Living magazine in the November 2014 issue!

Cherry Creek West Middle School and AVID

Adrienne DeBall AVID Teacher and Coordinator

Don Zapfel AVID Administrator

Kate Bergles Principal

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a nationally known program whose mission is to “close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.”  It targets students in the academic middle–B, C, and even D students–who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college and they come from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education. These are students who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential. In AVID, students are routinely required to enroll in their school’s toughest courses, such as Honors or Advanced Placement. To support them in the rigorous coursework, AVID students learn organizational and study skills, develop critical thinking skills, learn to ask probing questions, receive academic help from peers and college tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities to make their college dreams a reality ( AVID Secondary, 2014).

AVID is not a typical classroom. AVID levels the playing field for underrepresented students who are the first in their families to attend college. Students in AVID learn to “do school” through organizational and study strategies, Cornell Note taking, study skills, and public speaking. They learn to advocate for themselves, and collaborate effectively with others. Twice a week college students and community members, serve as tutors during Tutorials.  Students bring a topic or question which is unclear to them, and through a purposeful and guided discussion, every member of the Tutorial group assists the other in explaining course content. Cherry Creek West AVID students discover their character strengths through the use of the Character Report Card, focusing on perseverance, love of learning, and respect towards others.  By focusing on their strengths, students are able to improve in their areas of weakness. AVID students possess great potential, but may not be working to the best of their abilities.  The curriculum and instruction with AVID help them bridge this gap.

In the heart of Cherry Creek West Middle School, there is a classroom where students who need this support can find it.  They’re pushed, they’re prodded, they’re supported, and above all they’re encouraged to become the students they always wanted to be.  In the AVID program, students discover how to systematically become successful learners and grow into academic leaders.

Not only are AVID students at Cherry Creek West Middle School growing into academic leaders, they’re also serving their community through projects such as the Walk for Sudan, held every October at Cherry Creek State Park.  The walk is sponsored by the Nuba Water Project, a local non-profit providing clean water, crisis relief, and education to the people of the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan.  In 2013, AVID students held a sock drive, “Sockvember,” collecting over 250 pairs of socks for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and aim to double their drive for 2014.

Community support is vital for a strong AVID program. The community can support AVID at Cherry Creek West Middle School by providing speakers and volunteer tutors.  For more information please contact Adrienne DeBall at or Don Zapfel at

AVID Secondary. (2014). Retrieved September 24, 2014, from AVID Web site:

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