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AVID

AVID Flashback

It’s 1980 and Mary Catherine Swanson is head of the English department at San Diego’s Clairemont High School. San Diego still feels like a sleepy town, but is becoming increasingly diverse. The federal courts issue an order to desegregate the city’s schools, bringing large numbers of inner city students to suburban schools. While applauding the decision, Swanson wonders how these underserved students will survive at academically acclaimed Clairemont High.

Her answer is AVID, an academic elective, but it’s more than a program - it’s a philosophy: Hold students accountable to the highest standards provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge.

Fast Forward It’s 2008 and policymakers and school administrators now consider AVID an essential strategy for closing the achievement gap and making the college dream accessible to all students.

Beginning with one high school and 32 students, AVID now serves nearly 300,000 students in over 3,500 elementary and secondary schools in 45 states and in the District of Columbia across 15 countries.

AVID Purpose

AVID targets students in the academic middle — B, C, and even D students — who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These are students who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college, and many are from low-income or minority families. AVID pulls these students out of their unchallenging courses and puts them on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation.

The AVID Curriculum

The AVID curriculum, based on rigorous standards, was developed by middle and senior high school teachers in collaboration with college professors. It is driven by the WICR method, which stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading. AVID curriculum is used in AVID elective classes, in content-area classes in AVID schools, and even in schools where the AVID elective is not offered.

The AVID Elective

Not only are students enrolled in their school's toughest classes, such as honors and Advanced Placement, but also in the AVID elective. For one period a day, they learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking and asking probing questions, get academic help from peers and college tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities that make college seem attainable. Their self-images improve, and they become academically successful leaders and role models for other students

Role of Parents

The involvement of parents is a priority in AVID. Parents are informed about program events and expectations through newsletters and parent meetings. Parent groups often become active in planning programs and fund-raising.

Parents sign a contract agreeing to support all AVID academic requirements; encourage and support their children’s academic success; and, attend AVID parent meetings.

Student Results

  • Increase in student eligibility for four-year college/university entrance requirements and increased college going rate of AVID graduates.
  • Support for teachers engaging students in rigorous curriculum.
  • Alignment of AVID teaching strategies to support the national/state standards.
  • Correlation of AVID Write Path materials to current instructional research findings.
  • Student curricula support for national/state testing (PSAT, SAT, ACT), both in test preparation and expansion of participation in the exams.
  • Collaboration with the College Board for increasing access to AP courses and exam participation.
  • Provision of materials and coaching for student academic competitions, recognition models, and national scholarships.
  • Provision of materials and information regarding state and federal grants.