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AVID for the rest of us: parent forum Wednesday

April 4, 2014

Next week Red Clay will be presenting a session on its AVID program as part of its Parent University series. AVID is a promising new program that should be expanded in Red Clay and needs to be given a push by parents. Please attend if you can!

Parent University – What is AVID ?
04/09/14
Conrad library
6:00pm – 7:00pm

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a national college readiness program aimed at average students. Unlike other programs for either advanced students or remedial students, AVID is aimed squarely at the academic middle. AVID students are guided toward honors courses and more challenging curriculum, and are given extra support to help them succeed.

I thought this was supposed to be standard. Lord knows why we need a special program to do this, but apparently we do.

In Red Clay, AVID is implemented only at the high school level. However, it seems to me AVID is desperately needed in our middle schools, and elementary as well. AVID appears to be further along in the Brandywine School District; at least I could find some information there. In Brandywine, AVID is for grades 6-12. Perhaps some Brandywine parents could comment?

The national AVID web site describes the different elementary and secondary programs:
AVID Elementary (national)
AVID Secondary (national)

There is nothing about AVID on the Red Clay website (at least I couldn’t find anything in its inscrutable and chaotic new Edline redesign). But I was able to collect some information from Red Clay,

AVID students are enrolled in an additional class to provide life skills, study habits, and a general aspirational, college-oriented mindset. This is a also a holistic effort that seeks support from parents and other students who provide mentoring and tutoring. From the AIHS AVID parent letter:

In addition to direct instruction in the AVID curriculum, college students, high school students and volunteers will provide tutorial assistance. These tutors will work with the students in small groups and individually. The tutors will use students’ notes and questions from their academic classes to help the students understand learn course material. Tutors will not give students the answers to their questions; instead they will help them work together to discover the answers. Because our AVID tutors are successful high school and college students, they become excellent role models.

And a summary:

AVID Summary
Red Clay is excited to participate in AVID for the first time in 2012-2013. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students have college as a goal, are motivated to succeed in school, would like teacher and tutor support to achieve their academic goals, have families that support their goals and are enrolled in college preparatory courses.

AVID students learn study, organizational and time management skills. There is also a focus on note taking, writing, research, library, computer and career skills. In addition to direct instruction in the AVID curriculum, college students, high school students and volunteers will provide tutorial assistance. The tutors will work with the students in small groups and individually. The tutors will use students’ notes and questions from their academic classes to help the students understand course material. Tutors will not give students the answers to their questions; instead they will help them work together to discover the answers. Because our AVID tutors are successful high school and college students, they become excellent role models. They keep the students aware of academic expectations at the high school and college levels.
The mission of AVID is to ensure that average students (“students in the middle”) who have the potential to be successful in a college preparatory path will: succeed in a rigorous course of study, enroll in four-year colleges and universities, enter mainstream activities of the school, and become educated and responsible participants and leaders in a democratic society.
AVID students enroll in at least one honors or advanced placement class each year they participate in AVID and take a course of study designed to prepare them for college acceptance upon graduation from high school. They are eligible to participate in the AVID elective all four years of their high school experience. AVID is an academic class that meets daily to provide students with study skills instruction, motivational activities, and career and college exploration.
In late July, Red Clay sent 32 representatives (admin, teachers, counselors) to the regional AVID Conference in Philadelphia. The conference outlined the philosophy of AVID, the application process, the supports from the organization, etc. In Red Clay, AI High, McKean, Dickinson and Conrad will all have AVID classes in session this Fall.

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  1. April 4, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Not really getting why RCCD would only implement at the high school level – or why they’re so late to the game. That makes no sense since Middle School determines your high school track.

    When my daughter was in the TAG program at P.S duPont middle school I witnessed a concerted effort to help move students into this program. Wasn’t aware it had a name! Just thought it was great and demonstrated how having special programs housed in public schools could create an environment that allowed all kids to access them… without a “choice” application and all the hurdles (many deliberate) that come with it.

  2. April 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

    So… how much does THIS cost and who will be pocketing the money? And wouldn’t that money be better spent by putting more teachers in the classrooms? Has anyone actually looked at AVID, to see what it teaches, if it is competent, if it does what is says it should? We just came off the same rush to Common Core, and at this point we should be very skeptical of anything being sold to us in the educational field… We know that smaller classes do work. Maybe we should go in that direction.

  3. April 4, 2014 at 11:43 am

    AVID was created in the dark of the moon on Halloween by the Trilateral Commission.

  4. Kayla Burrow
    April 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Hi, My name is Kayla, and I am a former AVID Elective Teacher/Coordinator, and I now work for AVID Center (the non-profit organization that trains teachers and provides resources to AVID school sites). AVID began at Clairemont High School in San Diego, CA in 1980. It was started by a teacher, Mary Catherine Swanson, when she realized that students with great potential were slipping through the cracks because they were not being pushed into tougher classes that would ready them for college. She also knew that they would need extra support and guidance in those tougher classes, so she formed the AVID Elective to help teach study skills, time-management, critical thinking, collaboration, organization, and more, along with providing tutoring from current college students. She also took students on college field trips, so that they would better understand the college culture and be able to envision themselves there. AVID is now in 45 states and 16 countries/territories outside of the U.S. For some recent news and data on our college readiness system, you can see our 2013 Year in Review, for an idea of what we do and our results: http://avid.org/med_pub_yearinreview.html

    We wish you well as you work to grow AVID in your district. If we can help with any questions or online resources, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! And if any of you have children who are AVID students, I’d love to hear from you. I am in charge of our blog, and I would love to feature a parent voice! http://avidcollegeready.org/

    On a personal level, teaching AVID was one of the most rewarding parts of my teaching career. And my AVID training helped me incorporate helpful teaching strategies for all my students in my English classes as well. I don’t have children of my own yet, but I do have a teenaged nephew, and I wish that his district had AVID. I’d definitely want him in the class. The skills and reinforcement and support should be there already, as you said in your original post, but it just seems like they’re not – there is so little time to teach these soft skills and provide these extras that can make such a big impact in a student’s life, a teacher’s practice, and a school’s culture.

    Again, please feel free to reach out to me: kburrow@avidcenter.org

    Thank you!

  5. April 7, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Kayla! I will definitely follow up with you after our local meeting when I will get a better sense of where our district is with AVID. My own kids are already in honors classes and are probably not candidates for AVID, but I think the program has a lot of potential for many others in our district.

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