Our district offers Advancement Via Individual Determination, better known as AVID, which is a national system of college readiness designed to impact elementary through higher education students by increasing learning and academic performance. AVID is specifically designed to aid under achieving students with high academic potential achieve their goal of attending college and is just one of many support systems that C-VUSD has firmly in place to advance comprehensive learning to create an exceptional academic environment. The AVID program is an initiative that directly aligns with the ideal of C-VUSD’s principle of creating a college-going culture and is an essential strategy by which to close the achievement gap. The AVID program raises academic expectations by heightening student learning, providing effective instruction supported by research based methods, and offering meaningful and motivational activities as well as professional learning.
The core component of the AVID program is its rigorous academic elective. This element which emphasizes a sequential curriculum for grades 7 through 12 and focuses on writing, inquiry, academic reading and collaboration as a means to accelerate student progress, is active in three of our schools; Covina High School, Northview High School, and Las Palmas Middle School. Our teaching professionals are trained in AVID methodology and provide a tutorial program to its participants twice a week, academic and social support and action planning to meet the needs of our students and create role models and leaders that are college-ready. This creates a strong community that holds students accountable to attain their goals and enables students to become committed, effective and successful participants in their learning and their futures. In the AVID elective, students work individually, as well as in tutor-led collaborative groups to access information and answer questions arising from regular content coursework. Concepts emphasized in the AVID elective include: Cornell note taking, strategies for effective writing and researching, presentation skills (speaking and listening), test-taking strategies, study skills, time management, binder organization, and character development. Students also learn critical reading strategies, which they use when reading articles as they prepare for Socratic Seminars and Philosophical Chairs.
In addition, the AVID elective includes activities designed to motivate students to pursue a college education as a post-secondary pathway. The AVID class provides access to information about colleges and universities through field trips, guest speakers, college tutors, and college admission requirement information.
The results of involvement in the AVID program are remarkable. Almost all students who participated for at least three years are accepted into college and universities. Statistics uphold positive improvement in grade point averages as students advanced almost 14% when examining the percentage of high school students whose GPA increased from the beginning of the school year to the first semester. Statistic review of 8th grade GPA’s in relationship to their high school GPA’s ranging from 3.5 – 4.0 as first semester freshman showed an enormous increase of 20 percentage points! At Northview High School so far, twenty AVID seniors have already received acceptance letters to colleges and universities such as UC Riverside, Cal State LA, Dominguez Hills.
Las Palmas Middle School is in its fifth year as an AVID provider and students in this elite program gather support to achieve their academic potential from their AVID peers, teachers, and tutors. Las Palmas students refer to the core component of the AVID program, the AVID elective, as their “AVID family.” Las Palmas has grown its population to include two 7th grade and one 8th grade class with plans to expand to include an additional 8th grade class. This elective supports students as they challenge themselves in rigorous classes. It also provides them with the skills needed to be successful academically with the ultimate goal of attending college. Given that AVID encourages students to work to their potential, the Las Palmas campus has seen the majority of AVID students improve their CST scores and GPAs throughout their time in AVID. AVID students continue to be successful in honors coursework with the support they receive in the elective class.
AVID is not exclusive. AVID strategies and teaching practices are implemented on a school-wide basis. At our high schools all teachers are notified of college events such as college fairs, college and university tours and open forums where representatives from colleges and universities come to C-VUSD’s campuses to speak. Beginning in the middle school years, AVID encourages interest such as college visits. Over the past few years, the AVID students at Las Palmas have visited the university campuses of Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona, USC, UCLA, and APU. Information is given to teachers to distribute to our student body. One of the ways that Northview High School supports AVID and the ideal of a college-going culture is by having a college wall or college spot in each classroom, thereby creating interest and curiosity in the minds of high school students about the next steps in their educational experience.
Parents are a natural part of the academic process and our AVID program encourages parental participation. Parents play an integral part as participants on our advisory board and in AVID parent and site team meetings. Individual school sites promote regular contact with the AVID coordinator. AVID Family Workshops are available for families to learn how this program functions and the advantages of being a part of this system.