(McKinney, TX Nov. 17, 2020) — McKinney North High School AVID program coordinator Leslie D’Annibale is the latest winner of the Trinity Falls McKinney ISD Staff Spotlight Award.
The $500 award is presented quarterly to deserving teachers or staff members at the three schools serving Trinity Falls: Press Elementary, Scott Morgan Johnson Middle School and McKinney North High School. Nominations are made by Trinity Falls residents.
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, a program designed to help underachieving students with high academic potential prepare for entrance to college. As part of that preparation, AVID students are enrolled in honors and Advanced Placement classes. They also attend an academic elective class called AVID taught by a trained AVID teacher.
“AVID places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills,” said D’Annibale. “I am the AVID coordinator and it is truly the best job in the district.”
D’Annibale said working with AVID students is always exciting and she sees the benefits of the program year after year.
“We have the students for four years and to see the growth in their educational confidence, their leadership skills, their reading and writing skills and, most importantly, their communication skills is so rewarding,” she said. “Senior year, they finally get to see the benefits of the program with their improved GPA, test scores and the hundreds of acceptances to colleges all over the country. Last year, my 42 seniors were offered more than $6.2 million in scholarships.”
McKinney North is a National Demonstration School for AVID and a School of Distinction. It is a designation that is bestowed on only about 5 percent of AVID campuses.
“We go through a rigorous process to obtain and keep this title,” D’Annibale said. “AVID not only helps students in our program but reaches out to all students in our school. We have an AVID Site Team that represents all departments on our campus. We provide training to staff throughout the year so they can use our AVID strategies in their classrooms.”
An educator with 25 years of experience, D’Annibale has taught in Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas. She has been at McKinney North for the past six. D’Annibale said AVID students have become like her own children.
“I am available 24/7 to answer application questions, proofread essays, write the hundreds of recommendation letters to colleges and for scholarships,” she said. “Graduation day is the saddest day of the year for me. I am so proud of my students but they become such a huge part of my life that is like I’m sending children away to college year after year.”
D’Annibale hopes to use the money to benefit the entire school.
“I could not believe it when I was awarded this check to assist our AVID program,” she said. “Part of being an AVID Demonstration School is that we want to bring college spirit and awareness to our campus. I believe that we will be using the money to start us on our very expensive process of filling our hallways with college flags.”
McKinney North is ranked among the top 8 percent of high schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school placed No. 1,418 in the nation out of the 17,790 traditional, magnet and charter high schools and No. 147 among Texas High Schools.
The high school also has been ranked among the top 100 Best Public High Schools in Texas by Niche.com, nabbing the No. 98 spot out of 1,729 schools as well as receiving an A ranking from the Texas Education Agency along with three distinctions in Mathematics, Comparative Academic Growth and Postsecondary Readiness.
Trinity Falls students are zoned to McKinney North. Homes are priced from the mid $200,000s to the $700,000s.
For more information about Trinity Falls, visit www.trinityfalls.com.