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East Lake Middle
AVID Demonstration School

East Lake Middle School becomes AVID Demonstration School celebrationFor seventh grader Eric Bull, taking the AVID elective at the East Lake Middle School Academy of Engineering has led to better organization and more class preparedness.  
“My notebook is extremely organized,” Eric said. “And it’s not just the AVID class that has AVID materials, all classes incorporate AVID methods into our day.” 
Bull was one of eight AVID student leaders who celebrated East Lake Middle becoming an AVID national demonstration school with his classmates, teachers and district staff in a pep rally on Tuesday. Prior to the announcement, Bull and his peers participated in a student panel discussion and gave classroom tours.
East Lake is the first AVID designated middle school in Pinellas County (Boca Ciega and Northeast are AVID high schools) and the first to use AVID to support an existing STEM program.  
“They are now part of one percent of all schools in the nation,” said Dr. Christie McMullen, AVID’s associate area director for the southeast. “Anyone could come here and see what AVID is supposed to look like. Ultimately, the goal is for every student who walks through these doors to benefit from how to do school and how to do it well.” 
School leaders hold a banner that reads AVID National Demonstration SchoolFor sixth grade student leader Emma Huzar, taking the AVID elective helped her transition from the elementary curriculum to a more demanding middle school course load. She said the binder organization requirements, note-taking guidance and the AVID planner have all helped her become a more efficient student.  
“It’s a big change from one or two classes,” Emma said. “I’ve never been great at organization, but I will admit, it makes it a lot easier to study.” 
Following the panel discussion and classroom tours, East Lake celebrated with a school-wide pep rally in the gymnasium where they received words of congratulations from Dr. Dan Evans, PCS Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, as well as Superintendent Kevin Hendrick. AVID Center staff then presented Principal Karen Huzar with a banner denoting the school an AVID National Demonstration School.  
“Today means everything to me because we’ve been working on this since we opened,” Huzar said. “This just validates all the hard work and shows everyone that AVID is not just another thing, it’s the way to do it.”