The Mission of AVID
The mission of AVID is to ensure that ALL students, and most especially the least served students who are in the middle:
• will succeed in rigorous curriculum,
• will complete a rigorous college preparatory path,
• will enter mainstream activities of the school,
• will increase their enrollment in four-year colleges,and
• will become educated and responsible participants and leaders in a democratic society.
AVID’s systemic approach is designed to support students and educators as they increase schoolwide/districtwide learning and performance.
The History of AVID
The AVID program is designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance for students in grades 4 through 12. The purpose of the AVID program is to restructure the teaching methods of an entire school and to open access to the curricula that will ensure four-year college eligibility for almost all students. The mission of AVID is to ensure that all students, and most especially the least served students in the middle, capable of completing a college preparatory path: will succeed in rigorous curriculum, will enter mainstream activities of the school, will increase their enrollment in four-year colleges, and will become educated and responsible participants and leaders in a democratic society.
In 1980, Mary Catherine Swanson, then English department chair at San Diego’s Clairemont High School, developed AVID to address the significant needs she observed at her school. Court-ordered integration in 1980 transformed the student body of Clairemont, which had served an affluent, homogeneous population. Busing brought to the school hundreds of disadvantaged students who had no experience in the traditional college preparatory programs that were Clairemont’s strength. Ms. Swanson devised AVID to help these students succeed in a rigorous program and prepare for college.
The success of the program attracted nationwide attention, and Swanson became the first K–12 educator to learn the prestigious award for Pioneering Achievement in Education from the Charles Dana Foundation. Beginning with one high school and 32 students, by 2006, the program was serving over 200,000 middle school and high school students in more than 2,700 schools in 39 states and 15 countries (including Canada and those in Europe, the Far East, and Central America). Last year, more than 8,100 AVID graduates planned to attend college representing a 95% rate among graduates.
AVID students are typically first time college-goers in their families, from low-income backgrounds, and are capable of completing a rigorous curriculum but are falling short of their potential. AVID students are enrolled in a school’s toughest classes, such as AP and IB, and attend an academic elective class—called AVID—taught within the school day by a trained AVID teacher. AVID comes from the Latin root avidus, meaning “eager for knowledge.” A well-developed AVID program aises advanced level course enrollments, and increases the number of students attending college.
Few of the students who are identified for the AVID program are enrolled in college preparatory classes prior to enrollment in AVID, and even fewer are enrolled in a rigorous curriculum. Upon entering AVID, students enroll in advanced level college preparatory classes that fulfill the college entrance requirements, such as the A–G sequence for the University of California and the California State University schools. Tutors (ideally former AVID students) from area colleges and universities are trained to use specific teaching methodologies and materials to work with these high school students. The college tutors work with AVID students in study groups and individually, assisting them in all academic areas to make progress commensurate with college
AVID-trained coordinators/teachers instruct students in lessons originally developed collaboratively in AVID by high school and college instructors. These lessons also include note-taking, study skills, test taking, time management skills, SAT and college entrance/placement exam preparation, effective textbook reading, and library research skills. The AVID curriculum covers writing, inquiry, collaboration and reading (WICR).
AVID students also receive extensive help in preparing college applications and financial aid forms. Guest speakers from educational institutions and the business community also visit AVID classes. Students raise money for field trips to museums, theaters, and other places of educational and cultural interest. Trips to colleges are an integral part of the program.
In addition, ongoing home contact (in the form of quarterly letters, regular telephone calls and quarterly parent meetings for all parents and students in the AVID program) is vital to the success of the program.
It is also essential that AVID coordinators/teachers elicit the support of other leaders on the high school
campus. An AVID site team should be established to ensure schoolwide change. Team members should include the principal, a counselor, and staff members who represent the various departments on the campus. This team should also work with the feeder middle school team(s), creating a vertical team to ensure that the program is truly a seventh through twelfth grade program that becomes more and more rigorous each year. The site team and vertical team can also work on ensuring that the program is meeting the “AVID Program Implementation Essentials.”
Colleges nationwide strive to increase their enrollment of students in postsecondary education, especially those students designated as “students in the middle,” who are often underachieving, disadvantaged, underrepresented, or first generation college students. Of further concern is the less than adequate academic preparation of those who do enter college. Many of these students with potential to succeed in college need extra encouragement and academic assistance, which traditional secondary school programs do not offer. AVID meets the needs of these students by:
1. Providing academic instruction and other support to students to prepare them for eligibility to four-year colleges and universities.
2. Giving students college-level entry skills.
3. Increasing the “coping skills” of program students.
4. Motivating program student to seek college educations.
5. Increasing the student’s level of career awareness.
Based on 2006 Senior Data Collection, of those AVID seniors participating in AVID for three or more years, 97.8% plan to attend a 2-year or 4-year college or university (AVID Center, 2006). For more information about the AVID program, news and research related to AVID, and staff development opportunities, visit the AVID Center Web site at: <http://www.avidonline.org
AVID Site Team Members
Andrea Rochetti - AVID Coordinator & Counselor
Dax Grooms - AVID 12th/11th Grade Elective Teacher
Lupe Lopez - AVID 9th Grade Elective Teacher
David Sark - AVID 10th Grade Elective Teacher
Steve West - Site Team Member
1. Students are selected from the middle and would benefit from AVID support to improve their academic records and begin college preparation.
2. Student and teacher participation is voluntary.
3. The school is committed to full implementation: AVID is scheduled as an academic elective.
4. AVID students are enrolled in a rigorous curriculum.
5. Astrong, relevant writing and reading curriculum is a basis for learning in the AVID elective class.
6. Inquiry is used as a basis for instruction in the AVID classroom.
7. Collaboration is used as a basis for instruction in the AVID classroom.
8. Trained tutors regularly facilitate student access to rigorous curriculum using AVID methodologies.
9. Program implementation and student progress are monitored through the AVID Data System and results are analyzed to ensure success.
10. The school or district identifies resources for program costs, supports the Essentials, participates in certification, and commits to AVID staff development.
11. Active, interdisciplinary site teams collaborate on issues of access to and
success in rigorous college preparatory classes.