Approximately 25 eighth graders from Cheney Middle School in West Fargo are spending this morning (Wednesday) at North Dakota State University attending college classes. Each of the middle school students are going to class and eating lunch on campus with an NDSU student from the Teacher Education Program.
The middle school students are visiting NDSU through the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, an academic support system to help prepare students for college. In 2010-11, 91 percent of more than 27,000 AVID-program seniors throughout the United States planned to pursue post-secondary education.
"The purpose of this day is to allow students to gain a better understanding of the rigor, expectations and daily interactions of a college experience," said Jerry Standifer, director of the AVID program at West Fargo Schools. "AVID is a college readiness system, and it is our hope this experience will help students better understand the academic rigor and expectations they will be challenged with at the post-secondary level."
Cheney Middle School implemented AVID in 2006, starting with sixth-grade students who are now sophomores. Since then, a grade level has been added each year. The program now serves students in grades 6-10 at Cheney Middle School, Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center and West Fargo High School. The West Fargo Schools have the only AVID program in North Dakota. All 14 of the schools' AVID tutors are NDSU education students.
"The college visit day is a great opportunity for our teacher education candidates to interact with students," said Stacy Duffield, assistant professor and director of teacher education at NDSU. "Additionally, the AVID tutor training that our candidates have received is invaluable as they prepare for careers as teachers. I am excited not only for the great things the AVID program does for West Fargo students, but also for the knowledge and experience it provides our teacher candidates."
The middle school students will gather in the NDSU Family Life Center 212 from 9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. to meet their NDSU partners and to learn about their morning schedule. They will attend 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. classes and then have lunch in the West Dining Center.