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UCS expands college-readiness program that students call “My Safe Place”
UCS expands college-readiness program that students call “My Safe Place”
Posted on 10/05/2020
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Mary Qajar has a simple message for students who may be considering taking Advancement Via Individual Determination as part of their day: “Just Do It. I promise it will help.”

Qajar and her peers at Stevenson High School are unanimous in their feeling about how AVID has challenged them and put them a path for success at college and beyond.

This year, even more UCS students will have a greater opportunity to take advantage of the program as it has expanded two additional sites having been added for students. Eight UCS schools now have the program. 

AVID was introduced in 2012 in Utica Community Schools as a means to support students through the research-based college readiness system. UCS is one of only six school districts in Michigan with AVID.

“I plan on attending a four-year university and making it into medical school,” senior Mohamed-Ollie Chouman said. “These goals are going to be challenging to achieve, but I feel like I’m truly prepared and my mind set is prepared to take on whatever challenges I may face.”

By being placed into rigorous courses with support from the AVID elective classes, students make significant gains in their academic achievement.

AVID stresses the development in key areas of organization, study skills, and critical thinking. Students also participate in motivational activities that promote the importance of continuing education after their high school diploma.

“AVID has truly challenged me to become a better person and a harder worker,” said senior Mohamed-Ollie Chouman. AVID has helped me become a much more responsible and organized person in school and at home.”

AVID was first introduced to 60 students at Jeannette Junior High School and Stevenson High School. The program now includes more than 500 students at six additional schools: Davis, Shelby, Bemis and Eppler Junior High Schools and Henry Ford II and Utica high schools.

Students said that smaller group of students in the AVID program creates a comfortable environment where they are not afraid to take risks.

“It is like my safe place,” said senior Mecheal Dahma.