AVID began in 1980 by Mary Catherine Swanson, then-head of the English department at San Diego's Clairemont High School. The federal courts issued an order to desegregate the city's schools, bringing large numbers of inner city students to suburban schools. While applauding the decision, Swanson wondered how these under served students would survive at academically acclaimed Clairemont High.
Her answer was AVID, an academic elective. But it's more than a program - it's a philosophy: Hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge.
Beginning with one high school and 32 students, AVID now serves over 425,000 students in more than 4,800 elementary and secondary schools in 48 states, the District of Columbia and across 16 countries/territories. The AVID College Readiness System spans elementary through post-secondary. See our Getting Started section for information on AVID Elementary, AVID Secondary (The AVID Elective), and AVID Post-secondary.
Although AVID serves all students, it focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple - raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge. What differentiates AVID from other educational reform programs is its astounding success rate. Since 1990, more than 110,000 AVID students have graduated from high school and planned to attend college. Of the 27,891 AVID graduates in 2011, 91% plan to attend a post-secondary institution; 58% in four-year institutions and 33% in two-year institutions.
Policymakers and school administrators now consider AVID an essential strategy for closing the achievement gap and making the college dream accessible to all students.