Wednesday, March 14, 2018

AVID Recognition and Facilities Update

You may not currently have a student attending middle school in Unit 4, but perhaps you have driven by Jefferson, Franklin, or Edison and seen a sign for AVID outside. What's AVID, you ask?

At our Board of Education meeting on Monday (3/12/18), we were proud to recognize our middle school staff and administrators and our Assistant Superintendent for Achievement & Equity, Angela Ward, for their work around AVID. They have achieved a milestone worthy of celebration!

All three Unit 4 middle schools are now AVID National Demonstration Schools, with Edison earning the certification for the first time and Franklin receiving revalidation. Jefferson received certification three years ago and is up for revalidation next year. Unit 4 holds a unique status with three middle schools receiving this recognition.

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other postsecondary opportunities. Established more than 35 years ago with one teacher in one classroom, AVID today impacts nearly 1.5 million students in 46 states and 16 other countries/territories.

With three National Demonstration Schools, that means all Unit 4 middle school students receive college prep skills and supports, including a focus on writing, inquiry-based learning, organization and reading. Research shows students enrolled in National AVID Demonstration Schools have higher college enrollment and completion rates. AVID also prepares students for 21st century careers each day by providing the academic and behavioral skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. Organization, time management, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving are important components in our classrooms and in our students' future workplaces.

Our Unit 4 staff has worked incredibly hard to earn this recognition. To earn National Demonstration status, each school has undergone a rigorous validation process by external evaluators. As a result, teachers and leaders from across the U.S. will visit our middle schools to learn from their work.

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Also at Monday's meeting, Dr. Susan Zola presented a Building Projects Update to the Board. You can find her presentation here. Since we often get questions about what stage each of the referendum projects is in, I've pulled 3 slides from her presentation that hit the highlights of the District's facilities work for the remainder of 2018.

Referendum and relocation work, this month

Referendum and relocation work, projected March-August 2018

Referendum and relocation work, projected Sept-Dec 2018

In the near future, our communications staff plan to reorganize the Building 4 the Future section of the Unit 4 website to make it easier for community members to stay informed, including adding a list of Frequently Asked Questions. As a specific project moves closer to breaking ground, they plan to have a dedicated page for the project that neighbors, in particular, can check regularly for updates.

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Remember that applications to join the Referendum Oversight Committee (ROC) have been reopened, and are being accepted until March 30th. Please consider sharing your expertise with Unit 4 in this important capacity. A schedule of upcoming ROC meetings can be found here.

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Next meeting of the School Board: Monday, March 26, 2018

We meet in the Mellon Building, 703 S. New St. (next to South Side Elementary School) at 5:30pm, with the Open Session beginning closer to 6:00pm. Members of the public are welcome to observe, and to address the Board (for up to 3 minutes) during the designated public comment period.

You can find the meeting agenda here on BoardDocs by navigating to the "Meetings" tab, clicking on the meeting date, and then clicking "View the Agenda." (Be sure to click on each agenda item to bring up additional information or description, including any attached documents.)

The schedule of Board meetings is available here; meeting minutes are posted here (once they are approved at a later meeting); and meeting videos can be viewed here.

For the latest news and announcements from Unit 4, visit the district website:

For the latest information on referendum facilities projects, check out

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