From 32 students in 1980 to millions of students annually today, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is celebrating 40 years of closing the opportunity gap in education. The nonprofit organization changes lives by partnering with more than 7,500 schools in 49 states to create a more equitable, student-centered approach that ensures every student is prepared for college readiness and success in a global society. Today, first-generation, low-income AVID alumni who go to college are four times more likely to graduate than their national peers.
“AVID was born in an era of crisis in education for teachers and students, which in many ways resembles the crisis in schools today,” said Mary Catherine Swanson, Founder of AVID. “But the AVID system continues to demonstrate the powerful impact that is possible when an educational system supports teachers who meet the future with hope and confidence in our profession and in the knowledge that every student can be prepared for a bright future full of possibilities.”
AVID was conceived in 1980 when Swanson recognized that many teachers at Clairemont High School, where she led the English department, had low expectations for the students bussed in from disadvantaged areas of San Diego. She believed if students were willing to work hard she could teach them the skills needed to be college-ready. When all 32 of her students enrolled in college, Swanson began changing the course of education as she trained teachers to build relational capacity, using research-based educational practices to prepare students for success in college and careers.
“We know educators are the key to identifying what is possible for students and preparing them for their futures,” said Thuan Nguyen, Chief Executive Officer of AVID. “When the path forward for students feels uncertain or hard to navigate, teachers show up with a map and a flashlight to activate possibilities for their students. AVID is honored to continue supporting these gifted educators in guiding their students to lives of opportunity.”
AVID empowers educators with proven educational practices to activate the agency of students, illuminate opportunities for their futures, and surround them with supportive communities. As a result, AVID students graduate and attend college at higher rates regardless of their life circumstances, but more importantly, they learn to think critically, collaborate, and set high expectations for themselves.
Every person whose life has been impacted by AVID has their own experience to share. Here are different perspectives from leaders, educators, and alumni from across the nation that reveal the profound transformative power of the program:
“AVID has provided all of our campuses with infrastructure and accountability. It has allowed for proven achievement, lifelong accountability, and college and career sustainability. I truly believe all students can benefit from AVID.” – Timothy Eyerman, Principal, Scottsdale Unified School District, Phoenix, Arizona
“AVID helped shape me as a student, educator, superintendent, and person. The real power of AVID is not that it helped me realize my own potential, but that it has helped me realize the power of community. As a superintendent, I strive to foster a community that allows everyone to succeed.” – Dr. Lamont Jackson, Superintendent, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego, California
“AVID helps my students see possibilities. It teaches them responsibility and helps them pursue their dreams and set goals. AVID equals pride, deeper thinking, organization, and excitement for the future.” – Erin Sindlinger, AVID Elementary Teacher, Guerrero Elementary, Mesa, Arizona
“AVID just completely changed my heart in education.” – Jenna Gomer-Weyh, Math Teacher, Burnsville High School, Burnsville, Minnesota
“AVID is the reason I dreamt so big, and the reason that one of my dreams — going to college — is now a reality.” – Lexi Esperanza, AVID Alumna and Sophomore at Oregon State University
As the organization continues to create lifelong connections that positively impact the trajectory of students’ lives, AVID remains committed to the vision first ignited in a San Diego classroom: to build thriving learning cultures that support passionate teachers in accelerating possibilities for every student every day.
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a nonprofit organization that changes lives by helping schools shift to a more equitable, student-centered approach. To close the opportunity gap, AVID trains 85,000 educators annually so they can prepare all students for college, careers, and life. More than 7,500 schools partner with AVID to transform the lives of millions of students each year. To learn more, visit www.AVID.org.