AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, is in its’ third year in Madison City Schools, and has really started to grow in a way that will touch every student who chooses to take the elective or who is taught by an AVID-trained teacher. In the words of one Discovery Middle School AVID student, “this class makes good students great students.” The class is designed to support student learning in reading, organization, questioning, critical thinking, and writing. In addition, it provides students with opportunities to learn about different career pathways and it shows them what college looks like. Finally, it fosters a sense of community and safety so that students can practice thinking out loud or presenting their ideas to the group. This practice will help students develop confidence in their ability to communicate with others.
For all these reasons, Madison City Schools have partnered with AVID and Mazda to provide this opportunity to our students.
When one walks into an AVID elective classroom, they will not notice a difference between it and any other classroom. The elective classes’ demographics and size mirror our other classes. However, it is the direct instruction of studying, note-taking, and collaboration that tends to set the class apart from others. The creator of AVID knew something that we should all be familiar with, the notion that no one explicitly teaches how to take notes or how to organize study materials. Most assume that students know how to do this, and some students naturally figure these things out on their own. However, many bright students do not and need to be taught these life skills. The class teaches these things so that students can take what they have learned and apply it in all of their classes, thus becoming a stronger student.
If you are fortunate enough to visit an AVID Elective classroom when they are having tutorials, you will see everything that AVID focuses on at work and you will see students supporting other students and asking them questions to help them solve points of confusion that they may have. Students identify a point of confusion from another class. It is something that the student is struggling with. The student must present his or her point of confusion to the class for their feedback. Once the student has presented, their peers will begin to ask clarifying questions to guide the student to finding the solution themselves. Through this activity, you can see how both presenter and listener must think critically about the problem at hand in order to come to an answer.
Students who take the AVID elective are invited to participate every year; this builds a sense of family, of community, in the classroom. Students move through their academic experience with the support of the AVID network behind them. As they choose to take advanced classes, they will not be alone. This is just another way that AVID supports our students, through giving them a sense of belonging in class.
As you can see, our teachers are doing amazing things in their AVID classes with the resources provided by AVID. We hope to continue to see growth in this very successful program.