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AVID expands to four more schools

One obvious sign that a school is following the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) system is the plethora of college and university-related visual references in the building. Pennants decorate classrooms and offices. Hallways are named after colleges and universities. Classroom doors not only indicate the name of the teacher and the grade but the teacher’s alma mater. Staff members frequently wear their college colors to school. These visual tools help students as young as kindergarten begin to form their own mental picture of “college.”
But AVID is much more than hallway decorations. AVID is a long-term, comprehensive system that prepares students for college. AVID is a set of rigorous expectations and skills that students can use through elementary, middle and high school.
AVID is already in place at Richwoods High School, Peoria High School, Manual Academy, Lincoln K-8, Harrison Community Learning Center and Franklin Primary School. As outlined in the District’s priorities for 2014-15, AVID is expanding to Calvin Coolidge Middle School, Von Steuben Middle School, Thomas Jefferson Primary School and Kellar Primary School. This expansion is a multi-year process with many teachers undergoing AVID training during the summer of 2015.
“Our school is in the first stages of implementing AVID. We are educating our students about AVID and our first AVID class for eighth-grade students will start this spring. Teachers have begun to incorporate AVID in lessons and classrooms,” says Calvin Coolidge Math and Language Arts teacher Katie Elledge.
AVID reaches over 700,000 in 45 states. Nationwide 99 percent of high school seniors in AVID graduate from high school on time. Seventy-six percent of those students are accepted to a four-year college or university.
The AVID system of curriculum and teaching methods is based on research by internationally-recognized experts in education, motivation and student achievement, in particular the work of Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dweck writes that “In the growth mindset, people believe that their talents and abilities can be developed through passion, education and persistence.” The growth mindset, contends Dweck, involves an authentic commitment to learning, a willingness to take calculated risks and learn from the results, a dedication to surrounding yourself with people who will challenge you to grow, and to assess deficiencies and seek ways to remedy them. The AVID system is based on a belief that this growth mindset can be taught to students, allowing them to follow their dreams and fulfill their expectations.
In the early years of school, when students are learning to read and write, AVID classrooms promote Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading (WICOR). WICOR is then used for every subject throughout the academic day and continues to be used throughout the student’s academic career. “AVID is helping create a common vocabulary, so students can get organized and participate in WICOR-based lessons that are embedded with high expectations,” says Elledge.
Although AVID was conceived to address high drop-out rates and to reach students who may be the first in their family to attend college, the skills learned through AVID will benefit any student. In addition to WICOR, other AVID components follow students throughout the elementary, middle and high school years. For example:
  • Student Success and communication skills including listening, speaking, writing, self-advocacy and study skills;
  • Organizational Skills including mental and physical tools such as time-management skills, goal-setting abilities and note-taking strategies.
  • Partnerships forged among students, classrooms, grade levels, families, community organizations and other schools.
For example, AVID teaches students to use the Cornell note-taking method and participate in Socratic seminar classroom discussions to build communication skills, investigate multiple perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of a topic. Teachers are trained to use techniques such as upper-level questioning, gallery walks and story maps. “All of these AVID strategies raise the rigor of our classrooms,” says Peoria High School interventionist Cindy Jones. “They enable our students to be successful and prepare them for college, technical school or the work place.”
Learning to collaborate and forge partnerships is a focus of Peoria High School's senior AVID class.  Recently the class helped Mrs. Rippey’s Life Skills Class paint jack-o-lanterns. The seniors paired up with a student and worked as partners to complete a festive Halloween decoration. The students enjoyed helping their peers and getting to know students they normally do not encounter in their classes. The AVID class will continue to do activities with Mrs. Rippey’s students throughout the year.
AVID PHS jolant   Avid phs    avid phs

“At Thomas Jefferson School, all of our students now have a planner that they use throughout the day. We check these frequently and the students are held accountable for having them filled in,” says Assistant Principal Carrie Kleist. “Students are really focusing on becoming more organized so they know when assignments are due. They also are given a monthly overview so they can plan for upcoming events and activities. We also spent time at Back-to-School night familiarizing parents with AVID and we plan to continue that process at Parent-Teacher Conferences,” says Kleist.

What do students like about AVID? “They really like talking about different colleges and universities and sharing that knowledge with other students and with parents. We have had presentations from college students for our 5th-graders and they really enjoy that,” says Kleist. Guest speakers are another important component of AVID, giving students another way to create a mental image of themselves as a “college student.”