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It is Friday and Tillicum’s AVID students are on the Bellevue Challenge Course. “We learned to collaborate with people that you didn’t necessarily get along with or didn’t know that well. So you had to work as a team and figure out certain problems like sometimes people would disagree with each other, but you had to use synergy to agree with other people and solve the problem,” said eighth grader Yusuf Lahlou, describing the different obstacles the students were faced with and how they problem solved to overcome the challenges.

The challenge course is a fitting analogy to the AVID program. AVID is a college preparatory program for students who have the potential to succeed at high levels, despite an obstacle they face that may impede them. AVID teaches students strategies about how to learn and master the knowledge and skills needed to meet the Common Core Standards of what they should know.

Parallel to what the AVID program boasts for students, the challenge course offered students an opportunity to define and strengthen their collaboration skills. On the course, students problem solved to complete the various challenges and then set new goals as they moved on to the next. Similarly, as AVID students overcome their obstacles they set academic goals for themselves to continually grow and improve. The program aims at guiding and encouraging each student to overcome their obstacle. The curriculum focuses on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading. Students use AVID strategies not only towards their own success, but also to help their peers succeed. The students are ambassadors who teach the AVID strategies to other Tillicum students.

Motivated leaders best describes AVID students. Lahlou said “On this field trip I think I learned how to achieve success in a group and be more dependent on others. But at the same time be independent using your own skills and applying your own knowledge in situations that require multiple people and everyone giving input on a subject.” Seventh grader Bayan Farag said the most challenging part was figuring out how to put each student’s ideas together in order to solve the problem. The collaboration resulted in the best solution, rather than one individual’s sole pursuit. Farag’s favorite part of the day was “being with friends and learning how other people think.” Farag detailed some of the activities and said “they were teaching us how to be balanced in our life and don’t do some things more than others.”

Lahlou summed up AVID by saying, “AVID is just like a mindset. Applying the things that you learn for collaboration is something that you use in school, but also in real life with other people. It’s a good way to prepare me for the future.”

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.