AVID

Advancement Via Individual Determination

General Information

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a school-wide approach to curriculum and rigor adopted by more than 4,000 schools in 45 states and 15 countries over 28 years. It is a research-based program that equips students to meet the challenges of rigorous coursework in high school and college. AVID students:

  • Test high on standardized tests like MAP testing.

  • Earn grades that do not reflect their ability.

  • Have desire and determination to be challenged academically.

  • Have a goal to graduate from college.

  • Have the drive to take an AP course.

The AVID elective course is only for students in AVID. The class takes place every other day for one block all year. Students can take the AVID class and still take a music, another class, or study hall opposite the AVID elective. Students will earn a letter grade and earns one elective credit. Students must receive no more than one D and zero Fs on a term report card. Students are expected to seek out help when struggling but will also have the support of the AVID team in the building.

The AVID course focuses on three main pillars:

  • Writing and Reading Strategies

  • College and Career Education

  • Time Management and Organization

The AVID tutorials include:

  • Collaborative Study

  • Writing Groups

  • Socratic Seminars

What AVID is NOT:

  • Remediation

  • A “quick fix”

  • Special Education

  • An At-Risk Program

  • Content Mastery

  • Supportive Study Hall

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is an AVID student?

AVID students have the potential to succeed in a rigorous course of study and earn a college diploma but lack some skills and habits of mind necessary to bring these goals to fruition; these students need more formalized support to succeed in a college-preparatory environment and leave high school equipped for the rigors of a university. AVID students have academic potential, as evidenced by their performance on standardized assessments like MAP testing. AVID students possess the desire and determination to meet expectations of the AVID elective course as well as challenging core academic classes.

What is the AVID elective class?

Each AVID elective class will meet every other day for one class period all year. During class sessions, students learn the AVID curriculum from the AVID teacher. That curriculum is based around five primary components: writing to learn, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading (WICOR).

AVID WICOR chart

Curricular topics include successful class interactions, team building, time management, tutorials, goal setting, learning styles,  philosophical chairs, Socratic seminar, test taking skills, and public speaking. In addition to learning the AVID curriculum, AVID students deepen their understanding of content taught in core academic classes through tutorials. Assisting the tutorials are college students and other adults who serve as AVID-trained tutors. An AVID site team member is responsible for training these tutors. AVID students engage in other activities that assist them in career investigation, navigating the college selection and application process and other postsecondary planning. The 9th-grade curriculum includes topics such as: planning for the future, extracurricular activities, and career exploration. Through 10th, 11th and 12th grade the curriculum grows in depth and scope on the topics of college readiness, ACT test preparation, career and college choice, applying to college and early planning for financial aid.

What need does AVID meet?

AVID equips students with the intellectual skills and habits of mind necessary for college entrance and success. It targets students in the academic middle and provides them with focused, structured, and research-based instruction and support to improve their achievement. While Brookfield East’s students’ performance on ACT testing often leads the state and region, there is an opportunity for students to maximize students’ academic potential with support from AVID. Furthermore, the goal is to not only get our students in to college but to see them succeed in college. The skills learned can help with the continued success of students as they enter life after high school. AVID prepares students for the realities of college and equips them to meet the academic requirements of that learning environment; further, it helps to guide them into a post-secondary option best-suited for their interests, abilities, and goals. The skills students focus upon are in the areas of Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading.

How are students invited to apply and selected?

The selection process includes reviewing a student’s academic record, standardized test scores, and teacher recommendations. Students are invited to apply if they score within the academic middle of their peers. They also should have the individual determination to succeed. Students may need the additional support of an adult and a supportive classroom to gain skills in organization, study skills, and to successfully complete rigorous coursework.

AVID candidates must complete a face-to-face interview with the selection with members of the AVID site team. Finally, as parental support of AVID is essential to a student’s success, parents need to provide permission of the AVID program.

How will student progress be tracked?

Data collection and analysis are essential components of an AVID school’s efforts to promote students’ improved achievement. Annually, each AVID site is required to engage in an extensive self-reflection on its efforts in meeting the objectives of the AVID program; that self-reflection is reviewed by an external evaluator, the regional AVID representative, who provides feedback to the site and helps to guide improvement efforts.

Regarding individual students, data is collected on their academic achievement as evidenced by class grades; just as importantly, course selections are reviewed for rigor and appropriateness. Performance on college entrance examinations like the ACT is also reviewed. AVID mandates that all graduating seniors complete an AVID-created exit survey that tracks information like college entrance test scores, GPA, college acceptances, and AP classes taken; these senior exit surveys are submitted to the AVID office for review. Finally, as the AVID teacher develops a strong relationship with students in the program, that person is positioned to gather data on those students’ success post-high school.

How will other (non-AVID) students be affected by the program?

While approximately 25-30 students per grade level can enroll in the AVID elective course, students across the school will benefit from Brookfield East being an AVID site. BEHS began AVID in 2008-2009 and its success led to Brookfield Central High School implementing their first AVID 9 class in 2015-2016. Additionally, AVID’s success at both high schools led the Elmbrook School Board to approve AVID to be implemented in Elmbrook middle schools (Wisconsin Hills and Pilgrim Park); they will start their first AVID 7th grade class in the 2019-2020 school year.  

Annually, the AVID site team and other building teachers receive extensive training during a week-long summer institute. This training equips the participating teachers to implement the best practice approaches and methodologies that are at the heart of AVID. All students in those teachers’ classes will learn in a setting that relies heavily on AVID approaches outlined in the WICOR model. Further, teachers on the AVID site team are expected to share these high-impact strategies with fellow teachers through building-level staff development.

Is AVID in Elmbrook the same as in other schools?

Generally, yes it is the same because we use similar teaching strategies that focus on the use of WICOR (writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading). AVID is an international program and provides consistent components based on researched best practices. Many of these strategies, however, are not new to educators. The foundations of learning are built upon strong reading and writing skill development. This has long been a staple in Elmbrook.

The AVID elective is designed for the student whose performance is in the academic middle. Students selected are achieving well but could be reaching higher levels of learning with some additional support in the elective, especially when taking honors or AP coursework. Elmbrook is proud of the success its students have and because of this success, an average student in Elmbrook AVID may not fit the national description of an AVID student. The large majority of our students come from families in which the parents went to college and the children likely planning on attending college. Our goal is to ensure students thrive while in college, technical school, trade, or military service due to the foundation and support they received in high school.

What other schools/districts are AVID sites?
A list of Wisconsin AVID sites can be found here.

AVID Divisions in US map

To learn more about AVID please see their website at AVID.org.

Student Responsibilities

AVID is an elective college-preparatory system that prepares students to attend a four-year college upon high school graduation.

Student Goals

  • Academic success in college-preparatory courses.

  • Successful completion of college eligibility requirements.

  • Enrollment in college-preparatory courses throughout high school to ensure enrollment in a four-year college or university upon graduation.

Student Responsibilities

  • I will maintain satisfactory citizenship and attendance in all classes.

  • I will maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.

  • I will maintain enrollment in all college-prep courses (including honors, dual enrollment and Advanced Placement).

  • I will attend summer school as needed to take additional coursework and/or raise my grades to maintain my college eligibility.

  • I will be an active learner, be prepared for all classes with all assigned work completed, take Cornell notes daily and be an active participant in all activities.

  • I will come to AVID class prepared for tutorial session with the TRF pre-work completed, AVID binder with Cornell notes and textbooks. I will use critical thinking, inquiry and collaboration with my classmates to create greater understanding about my point of confusion.

  • I will participate in extracurricular activities and community service.

  • I will prepare for and take college entrance exams such as the ASPIRE and practice ACT.

  • I will apply to at least one four-year college or university during senior year.

If these responsibilities are not upheld students will be placed on a probationary contract. Students may be exited from AVID if a probationary contract is unsuccessful.

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

Parent support includes:

  • Partnering with the AVID Elective teacher through regular communication and attendance at parent meetings.

  • Monitoring my child’s academic process to ensure that he/she is on track for meeting the grade and course requirements to remain in AVID and in line for the successful completion of college eligibility requirements.

  • Checking for an organized binder with agenda, content class Cornell notes and Tutorial Request Forms weekly.

  • Encouraging opportunities to take rigorous courses, complete college prep/entrance exams, and participate in community service, extracurricular activities and leadership opportunities.

AVID Tutors

AVID Tutors are adults who currently hold or who are pursuing a college degree to serve as tutors for the school’s AVID program. AVID tutors work with AVID students to building tutorial session on topics in their area of study.

Tutors are employees of the School District of Elmbrook and can apply through the Elmbrook website.

Postings for Tutor positions will become available in the Spring. Each AVID elective class has tutorials every other day for an hour in the morning at the high schools, typically AVID 9 and 10 alternate during 1st block, while AVID 11 and 12 alternate 2nd block. Occasionally, tutors attend paid meetings with AVID teachers to receive feedback and plan for the future.

Tutors receive paid training in the AVID tutorial process and will learn how to facilitate tutorial groups, evaluate students’ tutorial questions, review Cornell-style notes, and overall make a positive contribution to the AVID classroom. This is an ideal role for a college student preparing to become a teacher.

The rate of pay: $13 per hour

Contact Information

For more information contact:

Ms. Hannah Guth
AVID Site Coordinator
AVID 11th-grade Teacher
guthh@elmbrookschools.org


Mr. Jason Lippold
AVID Counselor
lippoldj@elmbrookschools.org


Mrs. Michelle McKenna
AVID Counselor
mckennam@elmbrookschools.org


Mrs. Amie Farley
AVID District Director
farleyam@elmbrookschools.org


Brookfield East
(262) 781-3500
Program / AVID 11
Twitter: @guth_mathBEAST