NAMPA, Idaho — Dave Armitage teaches the AVID elective to sixth- and eighth-graders at Sage Valley Middle School in Nampa.
"That's an elective class where they get recommended by teachers where we feel they have the potential to go on to college and take advanced classes, but they might need a little extra support," teacher Dave Armitage said.
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination; emphasis on determination.
"All of the students are in here because they want to be here," Armitage said. "They want to work hard. They've got these long-term goals."
Sixth graders Taylor O'Dowd and Colt Madron are certainly determined.
"It's one of my favorite classes. Yeah, it really helps me with my grades," O'Dowd said.
"Ever since I came into this class I feel like I've been doing so much better in every other class," Madron said.
In the AVID class the students learn the proper way to take and process notes, time management, organization and financial planning. They also research colleges and career information.
"We do a lot of stuff to build up their self-esteem," Armitage said.
Armitage has taught AVID at Sage Valley for nine years. He was the first AVID teacher here.
Vallivue School District Superintendent Dr. Pat Charlton says Armitage was also instrumental in the middle school becoming an AVID Demonstration Site. That mean teachers from anywhere can come here to learn the program.
Armitage is passionate about AVID and the kids.
"Now they're getting grades because they want to get scholarships or they want to get into that advanced class or they want to further their learning," Armitage said. "And to see the change for me it's very, that's why I got into teaching. It's what the payoff is."
The students feed off that passion.
"He helps a lot because I ask him certain things like, if we can do this, and he says yes," O'Dowd said.
"I love how he runs his class," Madron said. "He's funny at times, but he's very strict, I guess you could say, like he's always keeping us on task."
In one corner of the classroom the wall is covered with letters from former students thanking Armitage for making a difference in their lives.
He maintains it for motivation for his students and himself.
"It kind of motivates me every day to get up and do what I need to do," Armitage said. "I also like to use it with my students because I can point to it and say this could be you in a few years from now."
There's a good chance some of these students will be up on that wall in a few years.
"I think that AVID will help me do good in college so that way I can get good grades and actually be able to fulfill my dreams," Madron said.
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