This system has increased thousands of schools’ graduation rates, maintaining an average over time of 98%. After 36 years, AVID continues to grow with over 1.6 million students being taught AVID strategies in 5,500 schools across the USA. With AVID’s introduction to Australian schools in recent years, Australian students are now able to share in the education and social benefits that come from participating in this system.
The AVID program was started in 1980 by an English teacher, Mary Catherine Swanson. She wanted to find a solution to the chronic academic underachievement she saw in her class amongst students from diverse and lower socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds. She created AVID, and over time this system has calibrated its approach to support any student to become a better learner. Since its inception, AVID has understood the barriers of privilege and postcodes. By nurturing the academic potential of each individual student, AVID equips students with the tools, mindset, and skills they need to bridge that divide.
Schools across Australia are already experiencing the difference AVID can make to students’ lives. Could a system of whole school change (informed by years of research and evidence) help transform your school?
AVID offers a student-centred approach that is supported by a schoolwide system, not single, isolated measures. AVID is not confined to the classroom, but is a system of school improvement that changes the culture on campus and the broader school community’s aspirations. Its focus on comprehensive instruction, culture, systems and leadership enables schools to replicate AVID’s success time and time again. Our consistent track record is supported by a strong evidence base that validates AVID’s approach and efficacy. One such example is the OECD report: Excellence and Quality in Education (page 141) which highlighted AVID as a case study of excellence in combining both quality and equity in improving students’ education outcomes. With a calibrated curriculum and supportive systems in place, AVID continues to produce learners who can advocate for their learning supported by excellent teachers.
AVID encourages and equips students with the confidence and the skills to take calculated learning risks and become self-directed learners. It recognises that rigorous content alone does not bring success for every learner. It’s not only what you learn but knowing how you learn that makes the difference. An AVID student can extract the vital information from sources, analyse it, critique it and form their own opinion due to the explicit academic skills (like note taking and critical thinking) employed and reinforced across the curriculum. It is here where AVID can benefit any focused student, regardless of their background. AVID holds students and teachers accountable to rigorous academic standards because that gives every learner a solid foundation on which they can develop self-advocacy and lifelong learning skills.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Changing the fortunes of a school, in essence, means changing its habits.
The AVID system provides teachers with the means and resources to become highly skilled professionals through events like its annual professional learning conferences, Summer and Winter Institute. Teachers are equipped with a repertoire of strategies and tools to build their students’ capabilities and aspirations as well as receiving ongoing professional learning and support throughout the year. It is this extensive knowledge base that prepares AVID teachers to lead by example and develop a nurturing culture with the behaviours and mindset that result in increased student learning, persistence, and graduation. Adopting habits of excellence is achievable for any school willing to change.
In under six years, AVID Australia has grown from one school in 2009 to 40 sites – primary, secondary and post-secondary – across Australia in WA, VIC, NSW, QLD and the Northern Territory. Schools in Australia get access to the resources, learning materials and online interactive spaces. Every year, AVID’s unique teacher professional learning events (Summer and Winter Institute) attracts hundreds of AVID educators for a three day immersion model of professional learning.
US and Australian Staff Developers work with Australian educators to practise and apply explicit teaching strategies to their own classroom and school contexts. Summer Institutes in both the USA and Australia have been consistently rated by participants as the best professional learning they have had as the high engagement strategies reinvigorate teachers to rethink their craft from a student’s perspective.
"Through our partnership with the AVID team at Victoria University our school performance data is showing a steady improvement and we have been able to focus on reaching our vision on ‘creating a community of high expectations’. The AVID project has enabled us to create a positive teaching and learning environment where the consistency and accountability of all of our staff is being addressed."
"All my feelings were that I was going to fail all my classes and that I wasn’t going to go far – then AVID came. Now, I want to finish Year 12."
"Now that I’m with AVID I can go a lot further and achieve my dream to go to university."
"AVID seems to flatten the hurdles for them [students] and has put them on another plain."
Contact AVID Australia to find out more information about the AVID program, its progress in Australia and how you can sign up.
AVID Australia operates out of The Victoria Institute, Victoria University and through an exclusive licencing agreement with AVID USA, we are partnering with schools to implement and research AVID in Australia.
Telephone: 03 9919 7832