New this year in Pasadena ISD: AVID Excel

New this year in Pasadena ISD: AVID Excel
Posted on 10/09/2018
New this year in Pasadena ISD: AVID ExcelAVID Excel Logo

by Dwight Henson
PISD Communications

Pasadena ISD has expanded its AVID system this year to include AVID Excel.  

Offered at the intermediate level, the elective class prepares English as a Second Language students (ESL) and Long-Term English Learners (LTEL) for the rigor of high school coursework.

AVID Excel combines the proven strategies of the Advancement via Individual Determination system (AVID) with the proven language acquisition strategies of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP).  Its goal is to provide students with the tools needed to excel academically, and also eliminate the need for ESL support once they enter high school.

Miller Intermediate and South Houston Intermediate adopted AVID Excel after assessing its impact in neighboring school district, Channelview ISD.

“Channelview saw their STAAR test scores increase among ESL students just one year after implementing AVID Excel,” said Pat Sermas, Pasadena ISD director of advanced academics and AVID.

“We took a look at STAAR test results and realized that many of our students could do much better if it weren’t for their language gap,” said Miller Intermediate Principal Mikie Escamilla. “AVID Excel not only equips our students with the best learning strategies available, but it also addresses that language gap by providing them additional scaffolding and support.”

South Houston Intermediate AVID Excel teacher Sarah Finley said her students’ accomplishments go well beyond an increase in test scores. 

“Other teachers have told me that students that take my AVID Excel class are some of their best students—participating more in class and speaking in complete sentences,” said Finley.

Miller Intermediate AVID Excel teacher Leslie Luna elaborated on how AVID Excel also fosters confidence among her students.

“The strategies we learn in my class encourage students to be self-advocates. It gives them the courage to speak in front of other classes and to use and embrace academic language, both with their teachers as well as their peers,” said Luna.