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What is AVID & How Could It Help Your Child?

Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID), is a college readiness system for elementary through secondary education that was developed by Mary Catherine Swanson in 1980 in San Diego CA. The program is designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance. The AVID College Readiness System (ACRS) accelerates student learning, uses research based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional learning, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change.

The AVID Elective includes development of study skills, tutoring in collaborative study groups, and a curriculum focused on reading and writing for learning. Training strands are offered for administrators, counselors, AVID Elective teachers, tutors, and teachers of English, history, mathematics, science, and world languages. Schoolwide site teams meet to discuss the teaching practices that are most helpful for student learning. Participating teachers design lessons around the methodologies, share them, pilot them, and refine them for schoolwide use. Teachers visit the AVID class to see the practices in action and AVID tutors are sent schoolwide to assist subject area teachers in utilizing the methods.

By 1986 AVID was incorporated into all secondary schools in San Diego County. In 1989, Ramona High School in Riverside became the first school outside of San Diego County to adopt the program, which is now adopted worldwide. This successful program is integral to the successful acceptance into universities and colleges of thousands of low-income/at risk students annually. However, many student athletes are left out of the equation due to a propensity for taking classes that will insure a grade point average that will enable them to remain eligible to participate on sports teams and ineligible for college entrance. There is no reason why schools, with careful forethought and planning cannot support student-athletes in the AVID program. Moreno Valley Unified School District has developed an AVID strand for athletes. Other Southern California school districts should be encouraged to do the same.

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