Perhaps chief among the duties of any school is to prepare its students for college.
Case in point, the Mansfield School District (MISD), where James Coble Middle School remains one of the top schools in the nation for doing exactly that. For a second consecutive time, the school has been validated with the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) National Demonstration School distinction as being among the best at fostering a college-readiness culture.
AVID designations are given out every three years. Coble first received this honor in 2014. Only about 160 schools nationwide are selected through site visits, screenings and interviews.
Coble was the first MISD campus to receive the honor and the only one to do so twice. Timberview High School and T.A. Howard Middle School were also honored in 2016.
"We are implementing systems that have an effect on the entire student body and staff," said LaKetra Robinson, Coble AVID coordinator.
Robinson said the results have had a positive impact on school morale, academic success each grading period, and an increase in state testing scores annually.
"We remain dedicated to our AVID lifestyle by sending staff members to AVID trainings each year and continue to train through monthly 'AVID moments' on campus," she said. "As you walk our campus, the walls tell the story of an intentional college-going culture that engages the students and teachers."
Robinson said AVID has been emphasized heavily in the district after officials saw the data's direct effect on student success. The MISD trains staff on AVID methodologies, giving more students access to academic rigor and extending relational capacity beyond the classroom.
"This represents our district’s dedication to career and college readiness for all students," she said.
"We are very proud of the important work that continues to be done at Coble," School Board President Raul Gonzalez said. "Dedicated teachers and staff, as well as parental support, helps these determined students succeed, and we are excited about what their future holds."
Coble Principal Winston Gipson said: "Mansfield ISD is committed and supportive of college readiness systems for all students. Systems like AVID validate MISD’s values: Students First, Continuous Improvement, Integrity, Communication, Positive Relationships, and Resiliency.
"We are very proud of all our students and staff. We are grateful for the support provided by the Mansfield ISD executive administration, because it takes all of us to make this happen."
Robinson said she is still connected with Coble students who have on to the University at Austin, University of North Texas, UT-Arlington, Texas Woman's University, Dallas Baptist University, Louisiana Southern University and beyond.
"All of our AVID students graduate from high school, and the majority of them go on to attend a four-year college or university," she said. "They often share stories of how being in AVID prepared them for the rigor of college."
As for herself, Robinson said the honor makes her reflect on the school motto, "Pride. Respect. Responsibility."
"Pride in being on a campus that is working together towards a common goal of college readiness and success for ALL students," she said. "Respect for maintaining and uplifting the reputation of JCMS. Responsibility for enhancing the educational experience for every student that passes through our halls.
"My mentor always said, 'We cannot change how the students come to us with their various home lives and educational experiences. We can, however, be intentional about what we do on a daily basis to make sure that they do not leave here the same way.'"