AVID Brings a Skyscraper MentalityPosted by AVID Center on 10/3/2019
By Hermann Pereira, Principal, CTE Director, and AVID Coordinator, Connally Career Tech Pathways in Technology High School
There is nothing better than to look out and see the skyline of your hometown. What fascinates me the most is how the perspective changes as you climb to the top. As you go up, you see more and more of the surrounding landscape, busy streets, neighborhood parks, and houses. When you get high enough, you start to appreciate the view because you can see for miles.
This perspective change is very much aligned with what we do as educators throughout a school year. As the school year ends, teachers and students are fatigued from the year. We gave it our all, learned a lot, and grew as a campus, but I hope that students’ perspectives change because of the supports and systems that are in place. This perspective change can become a catalyst for a shift in overall attitude toward postsecondary plans. As a principal of a high school focused on career and technology, my mission is clear, and the school’s focus is to refine our students’ perspectives about their postsecondary plans. We have been designated by the Texas Education Agency as an Early College High School, and most recently, we have transitioned to become a Pathways in Technology (P-Tech) campus. Students’ paths might take many routes: They may move straight into the workforce, they may attend technical schools or community colleges, or they may enroll in a four-year university. No matter the path they take, all students eventually enter the workforce, and we want them to be successful in our global society.
At Connally ISD, we strive to engage students in rigorous coursework centered on the career readiness skills they will need as they enter the workforce. This type of campus is not possible without hardworking staff, dedicated district leadership, and wonderful college partners, like Texas State Technical College and McLennan Community College. Another key to our success at Connally is our focus on implementing the AVID system. Our district is an AVID district, and at our campus’ inception, we knew that only the AVID system could provide the professional development, common rigorous instructional strategies, and high standards necessary for all students to succeed. When implementing the AVID system, educators must make a conscious effort to give all students that skyscraper perspective about their futures.
Offering rigorous courses is also aligned with our district mission, so many resources have been put toward preparing students for these challenges. Our campus, the AVID system, and grants—such as GEAR UP and Upward Bound—have helped give students a broader perspective of their futures. This is a process that takes slow and deliberate steps but so does climbing a skyscraper.
I am proud to work for a campus and a school district that take typical barriers—such as schedules, money, and time—and treat them like opportunities. These perspective-changing efforts, paired with the right tools, are already yielding positive results. We don’t gauge our success based purely on data; we gauge success on how prepared our students are entering a college or career field. At the end of the day, if we as a district can say that we adequately prepared our students for a college or career of their choice, then we have been successful.
Hermann Pereira is the Principal, CTE Director, and AVID Coordinator at Connally Career Tech Pathways in Technology High School. He has been in education for 12 years. He is a Houstonian, who roots for all Houston sports teams but has called Waco home for the past 13 years. He is married and has two children.