Stephens Middle School becomes AVID demonstration school


Stephens Middle School becomes AVID demonstration school

Published 5:07 p.m. PT March 14, 2017 | Updated 1:11 p.m. PT March 15, 2017

Every student at Stephens Middle School who has completed the Advancement Via Individual Determination program has gone on to graduate from high school and attend a four-year collegiate institution.

AVID program executives have noticed and on Tuesday awarded Stephens status as a national “demonstration school,” the second school in Oregon and the first school in the Salem-Keizer School District to receive the distinction.

Stephens Middle School began the journey to earn the status 18 months ago.

“They’ve been working extremely hard,” said Terra Boyko, a K-12 program manager for AVID in Oregon. “Today (Tuesday) is about showcasing what they do and what they have done.”

AVID is a national program that strives to prepare young students for college and life after education.

While in the program, students are provided academic, social, and financial support, given help with college visits, talks with families, and more. The program is designed to help students who wouldn’t usually have the support or resources to go to college.

National demonstration status is the highest of four levels of recognition a school can achieve in AVID. By earning the status, the school becomes a model school for others across the country.

For the nearly two years leading up to Tuesday, the school has been working to improve its program. School and AVID officials listed many things they have done, such as refine their tutorial program, use more academic language in all classes, and teach the students how to take more interactive notes.

In October of 2015, 20 percent of Stephens students were part of the AVID program, which made it one of the largest AVID programs in the state. However, the school uses many of the program’s strategies and resources for all students and classes, making it a schoolwide program.

“It’s really something to see when other people outside their own community and school come (and are impressed),” Boyko said. “It speaks volumes to what they’re doing here.”

Contact Natalie at, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook at

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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