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AVID grant helps prepare students

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Red Oak Middle School sixth-graders Miracle King, 11, left, and Tairon Cousar, 12, right, receive assistance from CIS Student Support Specialist and AVID teacher Amber Weaver as they work on a college knowledge vocabulary project Friday during their AVID elective class at the school.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools is reaping some of the benefits of a $2 million grant awarded by the state of North Carolina to support college and career readiness programs through initiatives offered by Communities in Schools.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced the grant awards earlier this month as he visited Walter M. Williams High School in Alamance County. Walter Williams High School was one of seven schools in the state whose students will benefit from the services of college and career specialists as as result of the grant. In addition, multiple schools in the Nash-Rocky Mount school district will receive support through the AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, program.

“Jobs for North Carolina's Graduates will help ensure that our young people have the skills they need to succeed in the workplace and live productive, rewarding lives,” Cooper said as he made the announcement. “Employers need skilled workers, and this program strengthens our state’s workforce by giving students who need extra help to finish high school ready for additional training and fulfilling careers.”

The grant, which is funded through statewide funds from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, will be used to aid Communities in Schools as they pilot the Jobs for North Carolina’s Graduates program. The program is designed to assist students in middle and high school with graduating and preparing for a career, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The Jobs for North Carolina’s Graduates program will include two models: a model for seven high schools across the state and the AVID model, which will be used in six middle schools in Nash County. The models are designed to identify the best strategies for helping students prepare for college and career.

Jobs for North Carolina’s Graduates is part of a national network, Jobs for America’s Graduates, and will continue its mission to achieve high outcomes in graduation and employment rates, resulting in increased college access and completion. In 2016-17, 95 percent of students in the Jobs for America’s Graduates program graduated from high school, and 90 percent had a full-time job placement after graduating, the press release said.

In Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools,  the Jobs for North Carolina’s Graduates program will support six middle schools offering the AVID model, which is a program “dedicated to closing the achievement gap while equipping students with the skills necessary to succeed academically and socially.” Students in the AVID elective receive daily instruction  in writing, inquiry, collaboration, organizational skills and critical reading.

With the help of the grant, the AVID program is being offered in Nash-Rocky Mount in Parker Middle School, Edwards Middle School, Southern Nash Middle School, Nash Central Middle School, Red Oak Middle School and Tar River Academy.

LaTeesa A. Allen, vice president of embedded operations for Communities In Schools of North Carolina, said the statewide grant funds are being used to deliver the AVID program to  local schools through six student support specialists, one embedded at each school.

“Through this grant, Communities in Schools of North Carolina has sponsored the training of almost 50 Nash-Rocky Mount school employees who attended the AVID Summer Institute Training,” Allen said. “Students in the AVID program have received school supplies, the six middle schools will receive the AVID library package, and tutors will be provided to students in need of academic support. Our partnership with Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools coupled with the College and Career Readiness grant make possible our mission to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school, and achieve in life.”

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