AVID Frequently Asked Questions

Who is an AVID student?
AVID students have the potential to succeed in a rigorous course of study and ultimately earn a college diploma but lack some fundamental skills and habits of mind necessary to bring these goals to fruition. 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?
The AVID elective class will meet every other day, for one elective class period, all year. During class, students work through the skills taught in AVID curriculum from the AVID teacher. That curriculum is based around five primary components: writing to learn, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading (WICOR).

WIROC chart: Reading, Writing, Inquiry, Organization, and Collaboration points

Curricular topics include successful class interactions, team building, time management, tutorials, goal setting, learning styles,  philosophical chairs, Socratic seminar, test taking, and public speaking. In addition to learning the AVID curriculum, AVID students deepen their understanding of content taught in core academic classes through the assistance of AVID-trained tutors.

PPMS will begin AVID with a single 7th-grade section beginning in 2019-2020 and another section the following year - establishing the elective in both 7th and 8th grade.

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 at Pilgrim Park and provides them with focused, structured, and research-based teaching and support to improve their achievement. While Pilgrim Park students’ performance on standardized testing often leads the state and region, there is an opportunity for students to maximize their academic potential with support from AVID. The skills learned can help with the continued success of students as they enter high school and  life after. Students focus on skills that are based upon 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 and show 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.

All AVID candidates have a face-to-face conversation with members of the AVID site team selection committee. Finally, as parental support of AVID is essential to a student’s success, parents need to provide signed permission for student participation in  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.

How will other (non-AVID) students be affected by the AVID program?
While approximately 25-30 students per grade level will be enrolled in the AVID elective course, students across the school will benefit from Pilgrim Park being an AVID site. 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 share these high-impact strategies with fellow teachers through building-level staff development.

Who will be impacted if we implement AVID?
Initially, AVID site team members, their students, and the students in the AVID elective course will be most impacted by the use of AVID strategies. By using the in-building staff development platforms, AVID strategies will spread across the teaching staff. The school’s vision is that all teachers employ AVID-endorsed best practices in their classrooms, allowing all students to receive the benefits of PPMS being an AVID site.

Is AVID in Elmbrook the same as in other schools?
Generally 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 at Pilgrim Park Middle School. Students selected are achieving well but could be reaching higher levels of learning with some additional support from the AVID elective, especially when taking honors or AP coursework once they are in high school. Elmbrook is proud of the success it’s students have.  Because of this success, an AVID student in Elmbrook 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 through their AVID experience.

Map of AVID Divisions across the US

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