Last Friday Shira and I visited a Fairfax Middle School to talk to 7th and 8th graders who are in AVID. Some parts of middle school hadn't changed:
And some parts had:
From what I can tell, AVID is a sort of pre-pre-college prep program, that helps reach kids who might not think going to college is an option. It goes beyond preaching the importance of college, and helps them focus on selecting the ideal college and making the most of your time there. I've always thought that schools should focus on nuts and bolts skills that will help build a foundation for being a responsible adult (Civics, anyone?) and this program seems directly in line with that.
Shira and I actually had two totally different high school, college and post college experiences. In fact, like most things about my wife, I'm her opposite. Shira was in the top of our high school class, I was in the middle. Shira got in early decision to an Ivy League institution, I managed to land a place at a state school (Go UB!). I quickly settled on a major and career path; Shira meandered. It was quite the display of contrasts with an important lesson: you can go about high school, college and career a number of different ways and still be quite successful.
The kids listened and asked questions and generally proved how responsible 7th and 8th graders can be. I think we may have instilled a bit of panic when explaining that some classes in college are curved, and that you might get a 91 on a test and have that be a C.
It was definitely fun to share the good o'l days with a classroom of young'uns.