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Olathe High School Students Visit MNU to Get a Look at College

More than 195 local high school students are getting a closer look at what MNU has to offer through the Olathe School District’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. All four Olathe high schools have scheduled campus visits to MNU as a part of this program for college readiness.

“We are anticipating their visits and the opportunity to assist students considering going to college,” says Darla Elliott, MNU campus visit experience coordinator.

AVID is a program targeted at students in the “academic middle” – B, C, and D students who want to attend college and are willing to work hard to get there. AVID students are enrolled in honors and advance placement classes in high school and also take an AVID elective to learn organizational skills and critical thinking strategies while receiving academic help from peers and college tutors.

While preparing the students academically, AVID also works to foster college awareness in its students. Dr Gretchen Sherk, director of secondary programs for the Olathe School District, works to instill a desire for attending college in AVID students.

"The Olathe Public Schools value the partnership we've established with MidAmerica Nazarene University in support of our AVID programs,” Sherk says. “Site visits to college campuses are a key component of the AVID curriculum and provide our students the opportunity to experience a slice of college life as they explore their career options and prepare academically for their futures."

MNU initiated contact with the Olathe School District in the fall, according to Elliott, as part of the university’s commitment to reaching out to the community.

“We told them we want to actively add value to the ‘backyard’ – our community – and talked about ways we can connect with their schools. Of the many avenues we discussed, the AVID program definitely stood out,” says Elliott.

While it is important for Olathe students to be made aware of what MNU offers them, Elliott stresses that recruitment is not the only objective. Plans are also being made for MNU students to provide tutoring in the Olathe schools through AVID.

“We not only want to provide an MNU campus visit for the Olathe AVID students in order to recruit them, we truly want to provide assistance to the under-represented students in our backyard for college readiness,” says Elliott.

The campus visits are scheduled throughout the spring semester. To learn more about the AVID program for Olathe high schools, contact Dr. Sherk at or 913-780-8065.

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