AVID Excel for Long-Term English Learners
Alexandria City Public Schools is excited to be partnering with AVID Center by incorporating the AVID Excel (PDF) elective at local middle schools, Francis Hammond Middle Schools and George Washington Middle School. This elective offering is open to qualified students in grades 6th-8th grade who are long-term (LT) English Learners (EL) who are still receiving English language services in ACPS. Upon completion of 2-3 years of AVID Excel, students are poised to enroll in the AVID 9 elective at A.C. High School. SY2022-23 will mark the initial AVID 9 cohort enrollment for hopeful AVID Excel students. To date, ACPS has five sections of Excel students (100 students) in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at FCH and GW. More than 50 AVID Excel students participated in the virtual Excel Summer Bridge this past summer.
The AVID Excel recruitment process takes place in the spring at the same time of academic advising across the school division. Counselors from ACPS elementary schools guide the recruitment process for rising 6th graders. At middle schools, AVID Excel teachers and counselors monitor and retain students throughout grades 6-8.
Recruitment criteria are similar in some ways to the AVID elective but target LT English learners:
Must possess one or more of the following as well:
- First-generation college-goer
- Low income
- Historically underserved in four-year colleges/universities
- Special circumstances* individual to student and family need
This elective is highly engaging and strives to not only support the notion of academic language learning, but the mission is to treat bilingualism as an asset-driven model where Excel students are architects of their own language development. Ultimately, the goal of Excel is college readiness. Students engage in language-building routines and are supported by tutors who regularly help to build academic language through the critical reading process. AVID Excel students learn year-round by participating in the Excel Summer Bridge during the summer months. Summer Bridge affords students a chance to engage with other Excel students and their teacher as they learn language routines, build trust and confidence, and explore introductory skills for success.
The Excel framework keys in on the following Foundations of Instruction to ensure selected student maximize their membership and learning in this course:
- Establish an Appropriate Environment
- Build Powerful Relationships
- Ensure Clear Learning Outcomes
- Use Diagnostic Teaching
- Plan Strategic Lessons
Excel serves as a lever for equity and access to rigor and college access for our non-white, non-native-born students who have often been marginalized in the past. We are excited about the potential that AVID Excel will continue to bring as it relates to the 2025 ACPS Strategic Plan, which focuses on equity for ALL. For AVID Excel success in other school settings, see the AVID Excel blog.