Brian Wharton

2016 File Photo — Brian Wharton is the Yelm Community Schools superintendent.

Many have heard about our powerful community impact initiative, Graduate Yelm!  

When the new school year begins in September, we will have 104 Graduate Yelm! partners in the community helping students and families build toward graduation. Within our schools there are numerous graduation readiness concepts in place so students know at all times they will graduate and have a plan for continuing education and work.  

Five of our schools (Lackamas, McKenna, Yelm Middle School, Ridgeline Middle School and Mill Pond) are already members of the No Excuses University Network, which is a nationally recognized graduation readiness movement.  

New to this movement in September will be our rollout of AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) at the middle and high schools. AVID is a national program that provides incredibly strong training for teachers and opportunities for students to graduate and move into their post-high school education.  

Not all students see themselves as able to access post-high school education (two- and four-year colleges, trade schools, the military or work programs), and AVID helps students build their academic skills and improve their knowledge of how to access education after high school.  Teachers also learn strong strategies for note-taking, organization, critical thinking and problem-solving. 

AVID has a school-wide component for all students and a class cohort in each school.  

AVID is very common across the country with a proven track record of success.  

We are so fortunate to be able to deliver AVID in our district thanks to a grant we received from the Department of Defense Education Activity that will support the program over the next three years. 

AVID also provides strong support of our Graduate Yelm! work and will really help students.  Staff members from YMS, RMS and YHS began training in AVID this past spring and summer in topics such as Culturally Relevant Teaching, Academic Language and Literacy and Digital Teaching and Learning.  

I can’t wait to start sharing our AVID success stories.

As a quick reminder to parents and students, please start accessing your school’s website for information about back to school activities and ways to get prepared for a great school year.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.

••• 

Brian Wharton is the superintendent for Yelm Community Schools. 

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