Carter-Riverside High School in Fort Worth district has had the AVID program for about eight years. This program basically aims to prepare students in the middle to succeed in high school and go to college. After having the AVID program for about eight years, the Fort Worth school district decided to expand the program to all high schools next year.
First of all, what is AVID program?
AVID program might sound little bit unfamiliar with many students, but the AVID program started in 1980 by Mary Catherine Swanson, who was the head of the English department at San Diego’s Clairemont High School, to help many underserved students to survive academically in Clairemont High School. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID started with one high school and 32 students, and now it serves almost 200,000 students in over 2,700 middle and high schools in 39 states and in the District of Columbia across 15 countries.
AVID is an academic support program for grades 5 to 12 that prepares students for college success, especially for students who are academically in the middle.
In Texas, AVID began in the San Antonio Independent School District. 27 high schools and 13 middle schools participated in AVID in 1999-2000, but the number of participating schools has been increased to 158 high school and 153 middle schools by 2006-2007. Also students’ enrollment is increasing rapidly each year. In 1999-2000, 724 high school students and 680 middle school students enrolled in AVID and 11,969 high school students and 8,498 middle school students enrolled by year 2006-2007. Now, Texas is the second largest in the nation that implemented AVID.
Now, it is important to think about why Fort Worth school district decided to expand AVID to all high schools next year.
According to the Texas AVID state office’s website, 80% to 85% who are enrolled in AVID are Hispanics and African Americans and about 65% to 70% are economically disadvantaged.
More than 80% middle school students in AVID enroll in advanced courses, and greater portion of high school students passes TAKS exams as well, which means that AVID is actually aiding underserved students for their academic success without paying high-cost tutors. AVID works with school districts and the districts provide public school teacher and tutors for these students.
Also parents are involved by attending site team meeting and keeping regular contact with the AVID coordinator, thus can encourage their students to academically success.
When AVID and National high school graduation rates were compared, 99% of AVID students graduated high school while national high school graduation rate was about 82%. AVID students completed university entrance requirements at a much high rate than non-AVID students (91% vs. 34%), and more than 80% AVID students applied for four-year colleges and more than 75% of AVID students accepted to four-year colleges.
For all these reasons, AVID should be implemented more in Texas schools. AVID is the road to the American Dream, which is college for many students. According to Education Trust, only 13 percent of all bachelors’ degrees are earned by Blacks, Latinos, and Native-Americans combined.
If districts are seriously concerning about their students to academically speed up, they should support and expand AVID programs. AVID isn’t an organization to make money out of underserved students’ pocket. It is actually helping those students to get back to their track and take burdens off of their parents. Support for AVID will provide opportunity for the many of minority students’ academic achievements, that is the opportunity to fulfill their college dream. Furthermore, fulfilling their college will lead more of the minority students into higher social position jobs and help them to maintain certain level of living.
Therefore, expanding AVID to more high schools in Texas, and other states, should be encouraged and supported. AVID isn’t just a way to acceptance to colleges. It is actually minority students’ road to their success in college and their life in the near future. Success of minority people in Texas will benefit the state by decreasing minority-related problems, such as unemployment and crimes caused by low-level livings, since Texas' population is consist of more than 50% minorities.