Thank you for your interest in vertical alignment! Academic Vertical Alignment Training And Renewal (AVATAR) is a professional development model that promotes sustained networks for alignment across secondary and postsecondary education.  AVATAR works at the regional level with school districts, along with two and four-year institutions of higher education whose students form a genuine feeder pattern. With guidance from the regional Education Service Center and community workforce partners, often represented through a P-16 Council, we span the levels of education to support seamless transition and program completion for students preparing for higher education and careers and to decrease the need for postsecondary developmental coursework. AVATAR engages secondary and post-secondary faculty and administrators in on-going critical conversations about key courses and assessments, how they are aligned, and how students experience them in the journey from middle and high school to college and career.  AVATAR is funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and is implemented under the leadership of the North Texas Regional P-16 Council and the University of North Texas.      

         AVATAR started in 2011-12 with a pilot study conducted by members of the North Texas Regional P-16 with leadership from the University of North Texas and Regions 10 and 11 Education Service Centers.   In August, 2012, AVATAR moved statewide with formation of regional partnerships in 11 of the 20 Education Service Center Regions.  As determined locally, vertical alignments teams focused on high school readiness for the college core curriculum in English language arts, mathematics, and/or chemistry.   In 2012-13, regional AVATAR teams continued their work of vertical alignment using a variety of collaborative strategies such as lesson study, unwrapping the standards, and interactive notebooking.  Data collected annually by the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board enable regional partners to track the progress of students on key indicators of college readiness and success.  

         With passage of HB5 came the need for school districts to develop College Preparatory Courses in partnership with regional institutions of higher education.   AVATAR teams in several regions became involved in this work due to the strong partnerships and relationships.  For 2014-15, AVATAR was asked by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to invite the participation of all 20 Education Service Center regions to join the AVATAR process to support development of College Preparatory Courses and Endorsement options that are vertically aligned within a regional partnership of educators and workforce leaders concerned with college and career readiness of local students.

         The AVATAR website is a major resource for development of vertically aligned curriculum in core content areas.  The site is organized through a menu located on the left hand side of the page.  To access the files, click on "Files" located in the AVATAR menu.  The menu consists of the following folders: Partners and Meetings, Pilot Testing (2011-12), Training of Trainers/Statewide Network, College Preparatory Courses, Folders for each region in the Statewide Network, Evaluation, Presentations/Reports, and Resources. Subfolders with more detailed information are within each folder. When one clicks on a file folder from the AVATAR Menu, the subfolders appear as tabs at the top of the screen. Within the subfolders, all of the files and links are listed. Simply click on the name and the file or website will appear.    

         If you have any questions about the project or have suggestions for the AVATAR network please contact Jean Keller (jean.keller@unt.edu) or Mary Harris (mary.harris@unt.edu).

Best Regards,

Jean Keller and Mary Harris

Co-Project Directors