MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Heather Walker is a teacher at Field School in Minneapolis. Many of her students may be the first generation in their family to go to college. She helps them remove barriers to get there.
Her students at Field School may be in just the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, but you can tell their teacher wants them thinking college — from the sweatshirts and hats on display to the university flags hanging from the ceiling.
“This class is a college preparation class called AVID,” Walker said.
AVID stands for “Advancement Via Individual Determination.” Students qualify to be here, either meeting low income requirements or being the first generation in their family to attend college.
“I also am, which is why AVID is a passion for me,” Walker said, noting she is also first generation to attend college.
Students in this class learn the basics like how to take notes and ask questions. But they also get to take field trips to college campuses and attend college fairs.
Walker says it’s never too early to thinking about the future.
“I think the sooner they’re on a campus and getting comfortable on a campus and seeing what they like, it’s a little easier to have that focus and strive toward something that is far into their future,” she said.
Students light up when talking about the class and the teacher behind it.
“Ms. Walker is one of my favorite teachers, she has really help me be a better eighth grader just with organization and taking better notes,” student Savannah Tody said.
“I think it’s really going to help me prepare for college and know what I want to do with my life when I get older,” student Tamara Jones added.
Getting students on a track to success is only part of her goal. For Walker, seeing how they change the world will be the pay off.
“They are our future,” she said.