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Our History


AVID’s history started in 1980 with Mary Catherine Swanson, an English teacher, at Clairemont High School in San Diego, California. She wanted to find a solution to the chronic academic underachievement she saw in her class amongst students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. Her strategy was simple: enrol students in rigorous classes and provide them with the support and strategies to learn – and it worked. Out of her first 32 students, all of them went to university (most to prestigious and Ivy League schools).

Over the following decades, AVID has continued to calibrate its approach and have built an effective and scalable model of school improvement that has been successfully replicated in close to 7000 sites across the USA and Australia.

To learn more about AVID USA's history, click here.


AVID’s journey in Australia began in 2011, when The Victoria Institute (Victoria University) received Commonwealth Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) competitive funding of $1.4m to trial and research the implementation of the program in Australia. The trial proved successful and in 2015 AVID Center (USA) issued AVID Australia with an exclusive site licence for Australia.

Today, AVID is being implemented in more than 50 sites across Australia, equipping several thousand students and teachers with AVID strategies every year.