AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a professional development program that uses research- based strategies and curriculum. AVID is a structured, college preparatory system working directly with schools and districts that was established over 30 years ago. AVID is a school-wide approach to curriculum and rigor that impacts more than 700,000 students in K-12 and 41 post-secondary institutions. AVID has been adopted by nearly 4,900 schools in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and 16 countries. The Vallivue School District first implemented AVID at Vallivue High School, Vallivue Middle School, and Sage Valley Middle School in 2012. Since then, the AVID program has now expanded to Rivervue Academy and all elementary schools in the Vallivue School District.
AVID is a program for students who are academically “in the middle.” However, AVID students must also have a strong desire to attend school beyond high school and have the "individual determination" to do what it takes to get there. Teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents cannot place students in AVID. Students must place themselves in AVID and have the willingness to participate as this will be a key to their success. AVID students have the potential for honors/accelerated work in middle school and high school, but need academic and emotional support from teachers, other AVID students, their AVID teacher, and university tutors. AVID students are expected to maintain at least a 2.75 GPA throughout the school year in middle school and a 2.75 GPA in high school.
Through rigorous curriculum, AVID helps students improve their reading, writing, and math skills, which are essential to success in college and professional careers. The curriculum also features inquiry, collaboration, note-taking, various study skills, and motivational activities. AVID students are taught how to study for tests, time management, organizational skills, and public presentation skills.
AVID is not a special education, “at-risk,” or ELL program. It is also not a study hall or tutoring class. AVID is not for students who have behavior issues or students who frequently don’t complete any of their homework. AVID is not a program for unmotivated students who consistently have “D’s” or “F’s” in all subject areas.
An AVID student must be hard working, have a positive attitude, and be collaborative in nature. AVID students are placed in accelerated classes with other students who are working toward post-secondary education. They are also placed in the AVID elective class. The AVID elective provides academic support through college-type study groups known as tutorials. On tutorial days, AVID students work in small groups with a college tutor or an adult who is a college graduate and has gone through AVID training. The group helps the student presenter(s) get to an answer on their own through higher level questioning. The students then articulate the process they went through to gain new knowledge. Tutorials teach students how to problem solve, how the learning process works, and how to re-look at material to be better prepared to find an answer.
Typically, AVID students are “under-represented” racially, culturally, or economically at colleges and universities. This is because historically it is much more challenging for students who fall within one of these groups to gain acceptance into a university as a freshman. “Under-represented” groups may include students who come from a low-income family, a single parent family, or a family with parents who are not college graduates. However, the AVID program was designed for students who are academically “in the middle,” so students who have the “special circumstances” of not falling into one of these groups can still be part of the AVID program.
Based on the same learning foundation that underlies AVID is grades 6-12, AVID Elementary is designed to be embedded into the daily instruction in elementary classrooms, across entire grade levels to impact schoolwide structures. Like AVID Secondary, AVID Elementary focuses on the four necessary areas to ensure that all students are poised for academic success at the elementary level and beyond. These include:
1. Student Success Skills – encompassing communication skills (e.g. listening, speaking, writing), self- advocacy skills, note-taking strategies, critical thinking, and study skills.
2. Organizational Skills – both mental and physical; students learn to use organizational tools, as well as learn and practice skills around time management and goal-setting.
3. WICOR Lessons – emphasize instruction on Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading to learn in all content areas.
4. Partnerships – among students, classrooms, grade levels, schools, feeder patterns, families, and communities.
All elementary schools in Vallivue School District are implementing the AVID program in 4th and 5th grade classrooms. The district goal is to ensure that all our students transitioning to the middle schools have student success skills that will benefit their efforts regardless of whether they participate in the AVID elective. It is the goal of the district for AVID at the elementary level to expand to other grade levels in the near future.