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AVID Coordinator

Nancy Wiggins


Hi!  I'm Nancy Wiggins and I am the Site Team Coordinator at Grant MS.  I enjoy working with the students, parents, and the wonderful site team here at Grant!  This is my 23rd year at Grant and I love working here!  I received my Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Missouri State University and worked in the field of wildlife rehabilitation until I decided to switch careers and be a teacher..  I have a Masters Degree in Special Education.  In my spare time I enjoy travelling, spending time with my family, and volunteering with Girl Scouts.

Please feel free to contact me if I can help you in any way!!

7th and 8th Grade AVID Teacher

Amanda Matray


Hi!  My name is Amanda Matray.  I teach 8th grade social studies as well as 8th grade AVID here at Grant.  I have taught at Grant for the past nine years and I love it here!  I believe there is something special about Grant students and our community.  I grew up in Las Cruces, Go Bulldawgs!, and moved to Albuquerque to attend the University of New Mexico.  In 2008 I was lucky enough to student teach here at Grant, and even luckier to be offered a job after graduation.  I completed my Master’s Degree in Secondary Education at the University of New Mexico graduated in December 2016.  I look forward to working with parents, students and my fellow teachers this school year!

6th Grade AVID Wheel Teacher

Tiffany Darling

What is AVID



AVID is an elective class offered to students who would like to prepare for four-year colleges and universities. Students must have satisfactory citizenship, good attendance, and a G.P.A. of 2.0 or higher. Applicants must be motivated to work toward college eligibility.

In middle school, our task is to prepare our students to succeed in middle school and college preparatory high school classes. In AVID, students are given the support and instruction they need to succeed. The AVID coordinator and elective teacher, along with college tutors and a school site team, provide the necessary support for students who might otherwise not aspire to go to college. By being enrolled in rigorous classes with the tutorial support provided in the AVID elective, student grade point averages rise, increasing numbers of students enroll in honors classes and algebra in eighth grade, and these students who are typically not involved in the school community come to share a sense of school pride and become role models among their peers. AVID motivates students and provides the skills and confidence to reach their goals.

The AVID elective is a class that meets five hours per week within the regular school day. The class is composed of several different elements, making students more successful in all their classes. The week is divided into curriculum days, tutorial days, and motivational activity days. The two days devoted to curriculum focus on the WICR methodologies of AVID: Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, and Reading. Aside from WICR, the curricular days also develop students’ note-taking and study skills, while also teaching time management and goal setting. Mini lessons provide additional support for English, math, science, and social studies classes. Students participate in twice weekly tutorials with college students wherein tutors provide content area support in math, English, social studies and science. Motivational activity days include college and career activities, guest speakers from area colleges and local professionals, and field trips to local colleges and universities.

What are the requirements to take an AVID class

APS, AVID programs are for students grades 7-12 who are not necessarily college-bound, but who are willing to work hard and push themselves, and will hopefully become college-bound by the end of their high school career. AVID looks for students who have:

  • 2.0-3.5 GPA in non-weighted classes
  • a good attendance record
  • the desire and determination to take challenging courses, such as AP and honors classes, and do well in them

Also, those who are the first college-bound students in their families, historically under-represented in four-year colleges, or economically disadvantaged are given priority in the application process.

How to enroll in AVID?

Students can contact one of the school’s counselors, teachers, and/or the principal by email or by talking to them during the school day. They will be given the application, which states the requirements and terms of taking the class. A scheduled interview with the site team is also part of the application process. Students will apply for this course prior to registration. Students can contact the office for more information.

Preparing for College in Middle School

Middle school students should begin planning their academic path that will carry into high school. Meet with the school counselor and discuss the courses that can be taken in middle school to prepare for high school, especially in the math and science categories. Many middle schools offer classes that were traditionally reserved for high school students. These math classes are required to take more advanced math classes in high school and to take science classes like chemistry and physics. In addition to taking math every year in middle school, your child should take:

  • English: Every year.
  • History (including geography) and science: As many classes as possible.
  • Foreign language: Many colleges require at least two years of a language, which your child can begin in middle school.

Because college work and many jobs now require computer skills, your child should also try to take advantage of any computer science classes offered in middle and high school. They'll gain new skills and may discover a career path.

Read, read, read

Establish an environment at home that encourages reading. Students can start adding to their vocabulary by reading diversely. Tweens should be reading all types of books, articles, blogs and news articles. This increases their vocabulary, which is a strong component in essay writing and standardized tests. While you're at it, why not make vocabulary building a family game by learning a word a day? There are lots of free subscription services that will email a word of the day.

Partner with your child’s educators

Middle school is the time parents tend to be less involved, but it's the very time your child needs encouragement and guidance. Meet your child's teachers, if you haven't already done so, and make it clear that you want to be kept up to date about any changes in your child's work or behavior.

Go over your child's standardized test results with the counselor to identify strengths and weaknesses. Talk to the counselor about your child's interests to see if there are electives and extracurricular activities that will help him develop his talents. If your child needs extra help or more challenging assignments in a subject, talk to the counselor about how to arrange it.

Start working on extracurriculars

A key ingredient in the college application is extracurriculars. Begin looking at areas that interest your child in middle school. Try out some volunteering, connect with a mentor for an internship, and explore hobbies and interests. If your child enters high school committed to one activity, it will be much easier to carry that through the next four years.

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