AVID College Readiness Effort Expanding

A nationally-recognized college preparedness system has expanded to a record 29 middle and high schools, serving thousands of students in the Long Beach Unified School District. Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) began in just two local schools a decade ago and has since become an integral part of the school district’s efforts to prepare more students for college and beyond. Through rigorous curriculum and intensive support, AVID makes it possible for more students to go to college, including students who may not previously have thought of themselves as college material. The college preparatory system serves traditionally underrepresented and underserved students in nearly 2,600 schools in 40 states and 15 countries. As part of the system, students are required to take an AP or Honors course. They also take an elective course in which they learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking, and receive academic help from peers and specially trained college tutors. The students participate in several college awareness activities including tours of various colleges. Students also receive help with college applications and financial aid. Long Beach schools have implemented the system to help all students, not just higher performing students, realize their college goals. Since 1990, nearly 40,000 AVID students nationwide have graduated from high school and gone on to college. More than 94 percent of AVID students report enrolling in college, 77.1 percent in four-year institutions and 17.2 percent in community colleges. The national average for four-year college enrollment is 35 percent. Among the AVID Class of 2006 in Long Beach, 90 percent met the A-G college entrance requirements for the University of California and California State University. Long Beach’s AVID effort is contributing to a significant increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses, helping students to earn college credit while still in high school and potentially saving their parents thousands of dollars on college tuition. Robinson Academy and Millikan High School were recently named AVID National Demonstration Schools by a visiting validation team. Millikan is one of only 85 high schools nationwide to earn this distinction. Currently there are 110 AVID National Demonstration Schools in the U.S. Colin Powell Academy was named an AVID National Demonstration School last school year. Powell was the first K-8 school in the nation to be declared a Demonstration School.