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Elmora School No. 12 Becomes First Urban AVID National Demonstration School in NJ


Elizabeth, N.J., December 20, 2018 – Elmora School No. 12 has been selected as an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) National Demonstration School in an announcement made by AVID this afternoon.

According to AVID, School No. 12 is New Jersey’s first urban AVID National Demonstration School.

AVID is a research-based instructional model that encourages students to prepare for and participate in a challenging college preparatory curriculum and is implemented in more than 6,400 schools in 47 states across the U.S., plus schools in Department of Defense Education, Canada, and Australia. AVID impacts nearly 2 million students in grades K–12 and 50 postsecondary institutions.

The AVID team arrived at School No. 12 in the morning to take a school-wide tour and evaluate the school’s AVID program to determine whether it met the standards to become a national demonstration site.

School No. 12 has been building its AVID program since 2013. In June 2016, School No. 12 was among the schools throughout the country to be selected as an AVID Showcase School for AVID’s Fall 2016 showcase schedule, at which a presentation was given on School No. 12’s AVID implementation.  Visitors, including educators from throughout New Jersey, engaged in conversations with students about WICOR (writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading) strategies and observed students’ participation in Philosophical Chairs and Socratic Seminars on controversial topics.

On July 19, Elmora School No. 12 Vice Principal Melissa Kulick was given the prestigious honor to present the keynote address during the General Session at the 2018 AVID Summer Institute in Philadelphia, PA. Summer Institute is AVID’s annual professional learning event where districts come to learn the latest in AVID methodologies and strategies to successfully implement AVID in their schools.

Kulick shared School No. 12’s journey in becoming an AVID Demonstration Site with participants representing districts throughout the Northeast. She reflected on a moment when she recognized that AVID was going to be successful at School No. 12

“…I walked into a seventh grade AVID class and overheard a student say to peers, ‘Let’s collaborate before we decide which topic to side with,’” said Kulick. “She pointed to the classroom WICOR poster as if it was this powerful weapon. At that moment, something clicked within me. I knew that AVID was beginning to take hold.”

As she further described how the AVID program was taking shape at School No. 12, she said she was reminded “that urban learners are more than capable, can think critically, and college should and must be a part of their future.”

The AVID Team that conducted the evaluation agreed with her assessment of the success that was taking place throughout the AVID program at School No. 12 and provided validation that college education should and must be a part of the future for students in urban schools.

“We are pleased to announce and welcome Elmora School No. 12, Elmora University, as an AVID National Demonstration School,” said AVID Demonstration Coach Tamara Gilliam.

“Realize that you are now officially a teaching and learning center for all of the AVID world,” added Gilliam.

AVID has been an important part of the curriculum at Elizabeth Public Schools for the past decade and has been instrumental in the district increasing the number of students participating in postsecondary education after graduation.

“We are proud of Elmora School No. 12 for being a shining example of the AVID program, which aligns so well with our district goals,” stated Hugelmeyer. “The lessons and skills provided to our students through the AVID program are invaluable in our efforts to prepare each of our students for a college education and a successful career.”

“The students and staff at Elmora School No. 12 have been highly committed to advancing the AVID program over the past several years and today their dedication and determination has been rewarded,” said Elizabeth Board of Education President Maria Carvalho. “Congratulations to the Elmora School No. 12 learning community for this tremendous honor, you truly deserve it.”