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AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.  AVID is a nonprofit created in San Diego by an English teacher named Mary Catherine Swanson.

Mary Catherine Swanson 1980Mary noticed that teachers at Clairemont High School had low expectations for students bused in from disadvantaged areas of San Diego, which caused a belief that these students could not succeed. Swanson believed if students were willing to work hard she could teach them the skills needed to be college-ready.

She discovered that a teacher’s job was to provide the missing background pieces while quickly accelerating the rigor of the coursework in a manner that was supportive, encouraging, and interesting to the student.

AVID was created and implemented in the 1980’s and has been changing lives by helping schools shift to a more equitable, student-centered approach. 

When schools partner with AVID, they receive professional development, a suite of resources, and ongoing support to ensure a lasting impact that maximizes their return on investment. AVID is not “one more thing to do”—our work with schools aligns with their goals to accelerate and enhance the work that is already happening.

On July 6th, 2019 I attended my first day session at the AVID Summer Institute in Philadelphia. Baltimore County Public Schools sent any educator who wished to attend the one day workshop, being that we had a star student as the guest speaker!

Elijah Edwards, from Pikesville High School, spoke about his journey and how AVID became a saving grace for him, helping him to finally walk proudly in his own shoes to pursue his passions in life. ElijahEdwards

“Elijah Edwards will be a first-generation college student. He has been an AVID scholar for all four years of high school, and during that time, he has taken seven Advanced Placement classes. He was a four-year wrestler, AVID Ambassador, and AVID Class Representative. He will attend Jacksonville University in the fall of 2019 with an $80,000 Presidential Scholarship. At Jacksonville, he plans to study pre-medicine in hopes of becoming an anesthesiologist.”

At the beginning of the day we attended two PLW’s (professional learning workshops), Buy-in to Belief and WICOR Strategies.

I truly feel this program will bring about change to the climate of our school.  AVID builds relationships. Through teaching critical thinking skills and teamwork, students develop relationships that help them succeed way into the future. Its already bringing our faculty together.


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