College readiness program earns Sellers Middle School prestigious title

A model for campuses across the country, Sellers Middle School has once again been named an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) National Demonstration School. The campus received its fourth title Nov. 3, following a visit from the AVID organization.

“Of all the wonderful things they said about our school, the one that makes me most proud is how confident and articulate our students are when discussing their learning,” said Principal Vikki Mahagan.

Sellers began its AVID journey in 2003 as Garland ISD’s first campus to launch the college readiness program. Designed to increase student engagement and academic performance, it requires participants to take advanced courses and teaches them the organizational skills, study habits, critical thinking and problem-solving needed to succeed. Sellers was first named an AVID National Demonstration School in 2008 and received revalidations in 2011 and 2013. Last year, the campus began an 18-month application process for its fourth title. The final step included a daylong visit from AVID officials to experience classes and interview students and staff.

“Every year, Sellers continues to refine its AVID system, developing a college readiness culture schoolwide,” commented GISD AVID Director Janice Howard. “We regularly observe the use of best teaching practices in action, so the AVID Center just got to witness what we already know—that Sellers is providing the best education possible for all students. It's exciting to see the impact this program has on them through the transformation of school systems, leadership, instruction and culture.”

Less than two percent of AVID campuses achieve a prestigious National Demonstration School title. And, Sellers received the highest level: a three-year distinction. GISD is one of a select group of districts to boast multiple schools with this honor. O’Banion Middle School has held the designation since 2012 and North Garland High School since 2015.

“AVID continues to be a driving force for college readiness throughout the district,” said Superintendent Bob Morrison. “We are proud of the ongoing excellence at Sellers Middle School. The staff there ensures that college is truly a viable option for students through the AVID program and electives, rigor in core courses and the overall high expectations that are part of a future-ready culture for all students.”

Currently, every secondary campus in GISD offers AVID, and new elementary schools will continue to launch the program every year until it is districtwide. To see the program’s success, visit the AVID web page and follow @avidgisd.