Arcadia Unified Expanding AVID Program!

-Academic Program Pushes Students to the Next Level-

The Arcadia Unified School District is placing a renewed focus on students in the academic middle who have the potential and motivation to be among the top-performing students in the district.

Last year AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, was introduced at Arcadia High School. This year, the program is being expanded to First Avenue and Dana middle schools.

“It’s very easy for a student who’s getting by on average grades to just get lost in the system,” said AUSD Board of Education President Cung Nguyen. “By incorporating this structured program, we’re providing additional mentoring to students while teaching them important study and organizational skills that may just be what they need to perform at the next level.”

Arcadia High School sophomore, Belamey Dean, works on a math problem with a group of students as part of the AVID elective class.

Currently, roughly 140 students are participating in the AVID program. As part of the AVID elective, two days a week students break into small groups to work on problems they need help with in a variety of subjects. However, instead of simply giving each other the answers, students ask questions to guide each other to the solution. The remaining three days are spent on various lessons that provide students with additional academic support, such as lessons on how to take proper notes, binder organization, how to ask great questions and be efficient in their work.

“Through this process, our students are learning to think more critically and work collaboratively in their search for a solution,” said AUSD Superintendent Joel Shawn. “At the same time, AVID is helping to create a connection between kids and their campuses so that they’re more enthusiastic about learning and reaching their goals.”

During a recent sophomore AVID elective class at Arcadia High School, students spent their classroom time in small groups helping each other solve their problems. They were engaged as they led their classmates to the solution by asking the proper questions.

“This class has been really helpful in terms of organization, because before I was just a mess,” said sophomore Taylor Cadd, who is now in his second year of the AVID program. “Now I am much more organized and I have better study habits.”

Arcadia high School sophomores Nicole Ngo, left, and Andy Hernandez take part in a tutorial session during an AVID elective class last week.

Their teacher Leslie Klipstein roams the classroom to help guide students on their tutorial days, teaches formal lessons three days a week and performs “binder checks” every Friday to ensure students are staying organized and have all that they need to be successful in their academics.

“AVID strategies are just good strategies for everyone, teachers and students alike. For some, these come naturally, and others need to be taught this often "hidden curriculum" of how deep learning happens,” Klipstein said. “Anyone can benefit from AVID, and these kids are working hard to reach their full potential. I couldn't be more proud of them.”

In fact, each summer the district sends a new group of teachers across grade levels and subject areas to AVID training so that they may incorporate the strategies into their own AVID and non-AVID classrooms. The district plans to further expand the program next year.

To be accepted into the program, pre-selected students who the district determines may benefit from AVID are interviewed to ensure they are self-motivated to reach higher academic achievement, a main requirement for the program.

Application information will be available in early spring.