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Tuesday, 18 February 2014 00:00

Mount Jordan Takes AVID Schoolwide

Mount Jordan Middle will be moving into a new, state-of-the-art building in fall 2015, but Principal Molly Hart is making sure her students are getting ready now with education technology and innovative teaching strategies.

"We're preparing to go into a new building, and we needed to make sure we were prepared for a 21st century learning environment," Dr. Hart says as she talks about some exciting changes happening in her school.

Mount Jordan is the first middle school in Canyons District to take AVID, a college-readiness system designed to increase learning and performance, schoolwide. An acronym for Advancement Via Individual Determination, the program has been used at Mount Jordan for three years as an elective class, but this is the first year that AVID techniques are being applied schoolwide as part of a Board of Education initiative, with all of Mount Jordan’s teachers trained in the strategies.

Also new this year, Mount Jordan’s classrooms are equipped with technology at a 1:1 ratio. That means that every classroom now has a set of devices — ranging from iPads and iPod touches to laptops, Chromebooks and traditional computer labs — available to each student to be used as an appropriate classroom tool.

“We assessed our strengths and weaknesses, and we wanted to do better for the students who are at Mount Jordan,” Dr. Hart said. “We felt like putting the tools in their hands that they would use in a college and a career and giving them the strategies they would need for college and a career together would create a fantastic middle school experience.”

The school showed off its innovative learning strategies at the “Mountaineer Showcase” Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.

AVID teaches students a set of strategies — such as how to stay organized, how to plan for upcoming assignments and tests, how to take notes and how to direct their focus — to help them prepare for college or the work force. It is especially geared toward helping students who come from lower-income families who don’t have a role model or relative who went to college to teach them these fundamental habits.

The system has promising results, according to the non-profit program’s Web site. Nationwide, 90 percent of 34,000 seniors who participated in the program in 2013 planned to attend a college or university after high school and 77 percent of the participants took at least one higher-level course such as an AP class. Nearly three-fourths of participants qualified for free- or reduced-price school lunch, according to AVID. At Mount Jordan, Dr. Hart says she has seen an increase in benchmark testing and more students have gone on to take AP courses.

Mount Jordan is located at 11150 S. 300 East in Sandy. The school will move back to its historic address, 9360 S. 300 East, when the newly rebuilt school opens in fall 2015. The building project is funded by a $250 million bond voters approved in 2010.

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