About AVID

  • About AVID

    The mission of AVID® is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and career readiness and success in a global society. The AVID System is designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance for students in grades K–16. AVID comes from the Latin root avidus, meaning “eager for knowledge.” A well-developed AVID system restructures the teaching methods of an entire school and opens access to rigorous curricula, raising advanced-level course enrollments and increasing the number of students attending college.


    In 1980, Mary Catherine Swanson, then English Department chair at San Diego’s Clairemont High School, developed AVID to address the significant needs that she observed at her school. Court-ordered integration in 1980 transformed the student body of Clairemont, which had served an affluent, homogeneous population. Busing brought to the school hundreds of disadvantaged students who had no experience in the traditional college preparatory programs that were Clairemont’s strength. Ms. Swanson devised AVID to help these students succeed in a rigorous program and prepare for college.

    Some of the strategies that are used in the AVID elective classroom that support and help with other courses are:

    WICOR: Key methodologies used in AVID. It stands for Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading.

    • Writing can serve as a record of one’s thinking or as a learning, public, and personal communication tool. Students who write consider their audience and purpose, engage in various writing processes to address specific situations, support their thinking, and demonstrate understanding. The AVID curriculum supports writing through the use of focused note-taking, learning logs, quickwrites and reflections, process writing, peer evaluation, and authentic writing.
    • Inquiry is uncovering one’s understanding, asking critical questions, and engaging in thinking, learning, and discussion. Students who inquire analyze and synthesize materials or ideas, clarify their own thinking, probe others’ thinking, and work through ambiguity. The AVID curriculum supports inquiry through the use of skilled questioning techniques, Costa’s Levels of Thinking, Socratic Seminars, tutorials, investigations, and guiding questions.
    • Collaboration is teamwork with shared responsibility; sharing of ideas, information, and opinions; and formal and informal discussion. Students work together toward a common goal, develop positive interdependence, work in focused study groups, and support the learning of others through inquiry. The AVID curriculum supports collaboration through Socratic Seminars, tutorials, Philosophical Chairs, group activities and projects, peer editing groups, and service learning projects.
    • Organization is managing materials and practicing methodical study habits; planning and prioritizing school, work, and social tasks; engaging in mental preparation and goal-setting; and strategically and intentionally taking responsibility for one’s own learning. Students who organize, develop and use processes, procedures, and tools to study effectively; manage their time through prioritizing and goal-setting; are prepared for courses; participate during instruction; interact with instructors; self-direct, self-evaluate, self-monitor, and self-advocate. The AVID curriculum supports organization through the use of binders and organizational tools, calendars, planners, agendas, graphic organizers, a focused note-taking system, tutorials and study groups, and project planning and SMART goals.
    • Reading is strategically gaining meaning, understanding, and knowledge from print and other media; it is purpose-driven and interactive. Students who read understand text structures; apply prior knowledge; make connections to other texts, self, and the world; make predictions and ask questions; and create visual images as they read. The AVID curriculum supports reading through the use of deep reading strategies, note-taking, graphic organizers, vocabulary building, and summarizing.