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The City Journals

Granite Park Junior High National Demonstration status renewed

Feb 03, 2017 11:03AM ● By Aspen Perry

Granite Park Junior High National AVID Demonstration School. (Granite School District)

By Aspen Perry | [email protected]

In December 2016, after a rigorous evaluation, Granite Park Junior High’s status as a National Demonstration School for the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program was renewed through 2019.


The purpose of the AVID program, as described in AVID’s mission statement is, “to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.”


Career and college readiness are the main objective for AVID, which is considered a global nonprofit that prides itself on the foundation to, “hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise.”


In addition to preparing students from an academic standpoint, the AVID programs focus on preparing educators to be able to aid students when they need guidance applying for college, as well as scholarships and financial aid.


As Granite Park Junior High AVID teacher Keri Graybill said, “AVID works because great strategies teamed with individual determination results in academic achievement. Dreams become reality as students accomplish their goals.”


Graybill described AVID as the difference for students graduating and attending college, especially considering many of the students being the first in their family to attend college. In turn, because Granite Park is a demonstration school, those students are then able to inspire other students from schools throughout the state.


“Just this week we had a former student return with her acceptance letter in hand to Dixie State University. And another letter informing her she had received a scholarship. Just two months prior to this she was a guest speaker in our AVID classes where she inspired students with her journey,” said Graybill.


To earn the title as a National Demonstration School of the AVID program, Granite Park must be re-evaluated every three years, and in accordance with the Granite School District site, is a title less than four percent of all schools with AVID programs nationwide have earned.


Though the process to become renewed is rigorous, for the school administration and teachers, one of the biggest thrills is witnessing the pride their students take in being a demonstration school.


Principal Danny Stirland, described being able to hear students from nearby classrooms cheer and clap as their teachers informed them the school had been renewed.


“Our kids take pride in this, it’s a success for them to have other kids coming to see what they are doing,” Stirland said.


Following Stirland’s sentiment, Graybill added, “They realize that what we learn and do in our AVID classes not only impacts their future, but it also impacts students, teachers, counselors, and principals in other schools.”


Additionally, AVID promotes their program as being the “most appropriate partner” for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) an important element considering The Utah State Board of Education set the new Utah Core Standards based on framework of the CCSS.


Another feature of the AVID program is a collaborative involvement from colleges and universities across the United States to offer support to students through continued college support. This feature is available for students regardless if they are seeking an advanced degree or career certifications.