Sandalwood High program becomes national model

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sandalwood High School is earning recognition for its success with a program that prepares students to improve their critical thinking skills for the rigors of college.

The program is called AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. The course, an elective for students, has an application process. This year, 310 students in grades 9 through 12 participate in the offering that has been in place since 2006.

"Learn how to think and solve problems," said Nancy Cohan, who heads up the program that helps students in all subject areas.

Just ask 17-year-old Luis Tejeda, who said the skills he learned have made him a better student.

"It changed me completely," said Tejeda, who is bound for the University of North Florida to study physical therapy. "Enabled me to be independent and opened my mind to what I want to be in the future."

This year, 68 seniors are in the AVID program, which will see every student graduate from high school. And this year, all 68 are college bound with several receiving full ride scholarships.

The program's success at Sandalwood High has earned it the honors of being a National Demonstration School, which means the school will host educators from across the country looking for ways to replicate the program.


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