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Aguirre Junior High's AVID program receives national recognition

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Aguirre Junior High students proudly display a certificate presented to the school for being named an AVID Schoolwide Site of Distinction. The campus is one of 104 schools nationwide to be named as a Site of Distinction. In addition, only 10 percent of AVID secondary schools globally hold this certification.
Aguirre Junior High has earned national recognition as the campus was recently honored as an AVID Schoolwide Site of Distinction.


AVID, formally known as Advancement via Individual Determination, has enhanced Aguirre students’ college and career readiness skills through pre-advanced placement programs, enrichment opportunities, individual support and tutorials. Aguirre is one of 104 schools nationwide to be named as a Site of Distinction. Only 10 percent of AVID secondary schools globally hold this certification.


“This is a great honor and a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the Aguirre teachers, students and staff,” said Greg Ollis, Channelview ISD superintendent. “We are proud of their achievements and commitment to making sure all students are successful.”


Aguirre Principal Eric Lathan said the school is now pursuing their goal of achieving National Demonstration School status, which is the highest level of certification awarded.


“AVID is like a family,” Lathan said. “It is a schoolwide system that embeds itself into the culture of our school.  AVID not only teaches the skills and behaviors for academic success, but it also develops a sense of hope for personal achievement gained through hard work and determination.”


Lathan said the school must meet certain guidelines and criteria in order to become a National Demonstration School. In addition, the campus is required to follow a detailed application process.


“If the AVID center determines that our campus meets the guidelines and our application is approved, we will then be recommended for an 18-month coaching cycle from an AVID Center coach,” he said. “During the coaching cycle, the AVID Center will look at 4 campus domains: Instruction, Systems, Leadership and Culture. Our campus data will also be analyzed to ensure we are improving academic performance for all students based on increased opportunities.”


Aguirre’s AVID program has served as a model for other districts, such as Houston ISD. This past November, a group of HISD secondary teachers, coordinators and administrators visited with Aguirre principals, staff and students to learn about what has made the program successful. One Houston ISD AVID administrator referred to Aguirre’s program as “the blueprint of how a successful program works.”


Lathan said the success of the program is a collaborative effort among teachers, students, parents and tutors. “These relationships and open lines of communication allow for feedback and exchange of new ideas that help our program to grow and better serve our students,” he added.


Lathan said the rigorous, but personalized curriculum of AVID allows students to develop the skills that will guide them academically and socially.


“Implementing a culture of college and career readiness throughout the campus motivates and encourages students to strive for success through their own individual determination,” he said. “Our teachers are influential in making sure that students not only receive academic support, but also emotional support that motivates them to set their goals high and achieve them,” he said.