HMS Showcase Demonstrates its National Recognition in Preparing Students for What’s Next
Posted on 03/06/2023
Heritage Middle School is an AVID National Demonstration site and on Friday, March 3, they showcased what makes them a model for this college and career demonstration program. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is in all of GCISD’s middle schools, Colleyville Heritage High School and Grapevine High School.

“It’s about getting them ready for whatever is next, sixth graders getting ready for seventh grade; seventh graders getting for eighth grade; eighth graders getting ready for high school,” said HMS Principal Sheila Shimmick. “If you’re successful each year, it boosts your confidence and you are ready for college. College doesn’t seem so overwhelming. We also want to equip them with what they need so they can say, ‘I can do whatever I want, including going to college,' and that is all because they are being successful instructionally in class.”

The showcase, which was attended by GCISD educators and leadership, opened with HMS leadership and staff sharing how the program is used schoolwide in all of the classes.

“Today is all about showcasing what our AVID students do schoolwide so you are going to see WICOR strategies in not only the AVID elective, but also in regular content classes,” said Shauna Hunter, HMS AVID site coordinator.

WICOR stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading and is a learning model used by AVID to learn at higher levels and increase rigor in the classroom.

According to Hunter, “AVID helps students with different strategies for taking notes, planning and backwards mapping when they have projects, how to keep an agenda, how to stay organized with a binder, how to collaborate and how to ask higher-level questions.”

What is unique about HMS is that those strategies are not only taught in the AVID elective, but schoolwide.

“I’m taking good notes. I fill out my planner. I will highlight. I just think it’s helped me a lot,” said HMS sixth grader Ellie Kovach.

She also added that “If you are struggling in a class, you can do a TRF, or tutorial request form, about that class or topic and then students will sit with you in a group and ask you questions. They don't give you the answer, but help you find the result.”

HMS sixth grader Journee Washington explained that students also have a planner, they write their assignments for the week and cross out items as they complete tasks.

“In AVID we take focus notes and at the front of the planner there is an area to help us with that,” she said. “In college, I think planners will help us out a lot.”

The planner and TRFs are only a tip of the iceberg of AVID at HMS.

Tiffany Tahu, program manager with AVID who works for the U.S. central region and attended the HMS AVID Showcase, said that she was impressed by “the student agency that we see, the ownership of their learning, and the fact that they are internalizing the strategies. They look for unique ways to eliminate barriers for students and create as many opportunities as possible.”

HMS was selected as an AVID National Demonstration School in 2020 and will be up for redesignation next school year.