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 AVID Flashback

It's 1980 and Mary Catherine Swanson is head of the English department at San Diego's Clairemont High School. San Diego still feels like a sleepy town, but is becoming increasingly diverse. The federal courts issue an order to desegregate the city's schools, bringing large numbers of inner city students to suburban schools. While applauding the decision, Swanson wonders how these underserved students will survive at academically acclaimed Clairemont High.

Her answer is AVID, an academic elective, but it's more than a program - it's a philosophy: Hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge.

Fast Forward
It's 2009 and policymakers and school administrators now consider AVID an essential strategy for closing the achievement gap and making the college dream accessible to all students.

Beginning with one high school and 32 students, AVID now serves nearly 300,000 students in over 4,000 elementary and secondary schools in45 states and in the District of Columbia across 15 countries.
Quick Facts
What AVID is...
  • AVID is an acronym that stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.
  • AVID is an in-school academic support program for grades 4-12 that prepares students for college eligibility and success.
  • AVID places academically average students in advanced classes.
  • AVID levels the playing field for minority, rural, low-income and other students without a college-going tradition in their families.
  • AVID is for all students, but it targets those in the academic middle.
  • AVID is implemented schoolwide and districtwide.
What AVID isn't...
  • AVID isn't a remedial program.
  • AVID isn't a free ride.
  • AVID isn't a niche program.
  • AVID isn't a college outreach program.

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