AVID is a nationwide curricular program that prepares high school students for life in college and beyond. But what does a typical day, week, or year in the AVID life actually look like?
In the process of becoming an AVID national demonstration school, Redlands East Valley is a stellar example of an exceptional AVID program. If you are trying to learn more about what AVID is – whether you’re a student interested in AVID, a parent of a student, or simply curious – you couldn’t get a better picture than REV AVID.
AVID: Week by Week
Though there are small variations from one program to the next, the core of AVID remains the same: equip kids for college, careers, and future lives that are defined by success.
The AVID coordinator at Redlands East Valley High School, Jana Bailey, says that REV’s AVID curriculum is structured after a nationwide AVID standard. Looking at REV, there are three main components to an average week of AVID.
Lessons are what you would expect. A concept or skill is taught to the AVID class. The students are instructed in a wide range of crucial academic, career, and general life skills, the lessons covering subjects under the acronym WICOR – writing, insight, collaboration, organization, and reading. Walk into an AVID lesson, and you will likely find students learning about something like effective note-taking, constructive conversations, time management, or public speaking.
Tutorials are a little more unique to AVID. When they run into a problem they do not understand while completing their homework for another class, AVID students will fill out a “tutorial request form.” This form facilitates the problem-solving process.
Students are expected to try and start solving the problem and then be able to verbalize their “point of confusion” – that is, what aspect of the problem is tripping them up. After identifying the specific problem, a student must brainstorm vocabulary that may apply to the problem’s solution.
During tutorials, AVID students break out into small groups and take turns sharing the problems they are stuck on with their peers. Together, the students work on the problem and untangle the presenter’s point of confusion until an “aha!” moment is reached. To ensure that they have a future resource for any similar problems, the students write down how exactly they reached the “ah-ha” moment.
Friday: Binder Checks, Good News, and Fun Friday
Every Friday, AVID students at REV complete a Binder Check. Graded on elements such as organization and notes, the binder of an AVID student is like the rifle of a soldier – polished with precision and always in perfect working order.
Bailey reported that about 50% of a student’s grade in AVID is based on organization. Expectations such as those set for the students’ binders “forces them to have habits that they didn’t ever really have to implement,” she said.
Though Binder Checks may not be a favorite among AVID students, with Friday also comes Good News and Fun Friday. According to Bailey, the AVID classes take time at the end of each week to share good news – whether it be about a student’s school or personal life – and collaborate in team-bonding activities. “They get to know each other really well,” Bailey said.
AVID: Year by Year
Each year of an AVID program can have a unique focus in its curriculum. Here’s the breakdown:
“Freshman year we focus a lot on just how to be successful in high school,” Bailey said. The students start learning the AVID basics: notetaking, time management, higher-level questioning, collaboration, and the like. The lessons build on each other, each taking the students a few steps further than the last.
College is closer than you’d think when you’re in tenth grade, and AVID keeps on top of it. Sophomores in AVID at REV will research colleges and take a look at college paths that are available and interesting to them.
The third year of high school is when the college preparation really takes off. Bailey says that juniors spend most of their time in AVID working on personal statements, preparing for scholarships, gathering letters of recommendation, and practicing for the PSAT and SAT.
“It’s pretty much a culmination,” Bailey said. “Everything is ready-to-go for them; they just need to implement all of the stuff that we’ve taught them over the years.” Senior year means final college prep like preparing FAFSA, crafting a Common Application, and applying to at least one essay-based scholarship a month.
How to Join an AVID Program
According to Bailey, the majority of AVID students are recruited in middle school. In January, juniors and seniors who are currently in AVID visit the middle schools and present the opportunity to join the program to the eighth graders. Bailey said that they focus on reaching students that currently are in AVID or qualify for AVID. Any interested students are given the link to apply online and then be interviewed in April – again by the juniors and seniors.
Bailey noted that students who were not on the AVID team’s query but were nonetheless interest in the program are also welcomed to apply. As long as a student qualifies for the program, AVID is excited to have them on board.
The AVID coordinator also pointed out that the AVID program is not limited to high school. In her district, AVID has programs at all four middle schools and is beginning to incorporate curriculum into some of the elementary schools.
AVID understands that the futures of students are powerful things. With each day in the program, students are sharpened and trained and equipped to better conquer the days ahead.
To learn more about what a day in the AVID school program looks like, visit the official AVID website.
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