AVID is the nonprofit every school needs


courtesy of avid.org

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a nonprofit organization striving to prepare students for college eligibility. The organization was created in 1980 by Mary Catherine Swanson, head of the English department and teacher at Clairemont High School.

‘Tis the season that students dread – finals time. With the last month of classes wrapping up and finals quickly approaching, it can easily be the most stressful time of the year for students. Many students who don’t have support from their family members regarding their college plans usually feel lost; however,there are organizations that can help with these feelings. Advancement Via Individual Determination is a nonprofit organization that aims to prepare students in the academic middle for college eligibility.

AVID started in 1980 when Mary Catherine Swanson, English department head, teacher at Clairemont High School and founder of AVID, believed that if her students worked hard she could teach them the skills needed to enroll in a four-year college. Before Swanson, teachers at Clairemont had low expectations for students who came from the impoverished neighborhoods of San Diego, California.

The AVID system was revealed to be successful with students and after six years of the program being implemented in Clairemont High School, the California Department of Education granted funds to spread the AVID program throughout San Diego county. Now, the nonprofit is implemented in over 7,000 schools, including 62 postsecondary institutions, in 47 states and impacts more than 2 million students in grades K-12.

Schools can partner with AVID to receive professional development, a suite of resources and continuing support to ensure a lasting impact for students. AVID works to close the opportunity gap in college graduation rates within diverse and underrepresented groups of students.

When teachers, professors and family members don’t have faith in their own students, it puts them at a significant disadvantage to succeed. AVID allows support and resources for students who have families at home that have little to no care about their academic career or are busy working multiple jobs to put food on the table.

42% of first-generation students or low-income AVID college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree within six years.

The AVID website included a statement from Swanson.

“The goal of education in America must be for the purpose of teaching all of our students to the very highest levels – for lifting up all people,” Swanson said.

Through training, AVID has allowed teachers to create an equitable environment by using student’s backgrounds to teach content in a more personal and inclusive way. Starting at a young age, AVID students begin to learn basic skills, such as note-taking and organization, to help prepare them for college.

These students are given the support that no one had previously given to them. With finals and the holidays approaching, stress can feel inevitable. AVID’s mission is to motivate students in pushing through classes so they can succeed in college and soon after, the workforce.

AVID accepts donations through their website; these donations help spread their national impact and community participation, along with funding the resources needed for classrooms using this approach. If this organization sparks an interest in anyone, feel free to research and consider donating.

Editing by: Alijah McCracken, Simran Shrestha