Eighth graders glimpse college life
For a group of West Fargo students, a recent trip to the NDSU campus was a potential glimpse of the future. On Oct. 19, 25 eighth graders from Cheney Middle School attended university classes to experience college-level academics firsthand.
The youth are enrolled in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), an elective program that prepares students for college by teaching them skills such as taking notes and studying for tests.
AVID program participants have had NDSU admission presentations and toured the campus, but the visit marked the first time they actually attended classes, said Jerry Standifer, director of the AVID program at West Fargo Schools. NDSU education students who work as AVID tutors took the eighth graders to class and to lunch.
“This was a great opportunity for students to gain a better understanding of the rigor, expectations and daily interactions of a college experience,” Standifer said. “This is not an experience all kids get.”
Stacy Duffield, assistant professor and coordinator of teacher education at NDSU, also wanted the students to see that college is a friendly place where they will receive the support they need to be successful.
AVID participant Dyllan Bader was surprised by the number of students in the general education history class he attended. “There were a lot of people in there,” he said. As he listened to the lecture on the Great Depression, he thought, “Wow, this is way more advanced than what we do.”
He also noticed he would be able to apply the note-taking skills he is developing through AVID. “It was fun to come here and be able to do this,” Bader said.
The West Fargo Schools have the only AVID program in North Dakota. All 14 of the schools’ AVID tutors are NDSU education students.
“The AVID tutor training that our candidates have received is invaluable as they prepare for careers as teachers,” Duffield said. “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.”
A second group of AVID students will attend classes at NDSU on Nov. 2.