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Marshall Selected as National Model School

Marshall Middle School recently was selected as one of only 40 national demonstration schools in the U.S. for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), which prepares underachieving students for college. The elite demonstration schools were selected from more than 900 sites in 13 states and several foreign countries where the rigorous AVID system is used. AVID schools offer a regularly scheduled elective that stresses writing, inquiry and collaboration. Students enroll in college preparatory classes and receive tutoring from college students. Teachers are trained to make college preparatory material accessible to all students. "It's a tremendous honor to be a national demonstration school," said Principal Penny O'Toole, who brought AVID to Marshall four years ago. "AVID helps kids who are perfectly capable but may not see themselves as college material. Actually, it helps all of our students because we're using a lot of the same methods in regular classrooms. It's been a big draw for parents, too. They really like it." Dozens of schools preparing to use AVID will visit Marshall this school year. "Marshall was selected because it has implemented AVID throughout the school," said Mary Swanson, founder and director of the San Diego-based AVID Center. "Demonstration sites have used it to bolster their college-going culture significantly and to create school-wide change." About 93 percent of AVID graduates enroll in college. Of those students, 89 percent remain enrolled in college two years later.