AVID program expands to Brookfield Central

Lily Chen, Editor-in-Chief

The Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, designed to help underachieving students fulfill and surpass their academic potentials, is expanding from Brookfield East to Brookfield Central in the 2015-2016 school year.

The AVID program is a college-readiness system with the goals of increasing enrollment and completion of a degree at four-year colleges for students in the academic middle. It seeks to help students of low-income and linguistic minority by providing more formalized support and skills necessary for the rigors of university.

“There was an initial misunderstanding about the students of AVID,” said Mrs. Simek, Senior AVID Elective teacher and AVID coordinator at BE. “We have Youth Options, Gifted and Talented, and Special Education programs, but nothing for the average kid. AVID targets those who are not meeting their potential.”

AVID trains educators to prepare students with high academic potential, especially those traditionally underrepresented in higher education, for post-secondary success. At Brookfield East, they have achieved this by teaching skills and behaviors for success, providing intensive support through student-teacher relationships, and by developing in students a sense of hope for personal achievement gained through hard work and determination.

“AVID is more collaborative and supportive than Peer Tutors, which is more ‘question and answer’ and less teaching,” said Simek. “AVID, in a way, is more like a structured college study group.”

In the program’s seventh year, Brookfield East’s AVID program takes place in the form of a special academic elective class, which consists of 25-30 students, in lieu of a study hall. There are classes for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. In it, students learn inquiry-based study and organizational skills, and collaboration techniques to promote critical thinking. AVID students have access to college-age tutors who facilitate learning through study groups and to field trips to familiarize students to post-secondary options. For upperclassmen, they are guided through preparation for standardized testing and college applications.

“Students are part of an intensive program,” said Mr. Farley, Principal of Brookfield East. “One that relies on individual desire and commitment.”

The BE AVID students are those who have tested in the “proficient” or “advanced” range on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination but earned grades that do not reflect their abilities. These students have applied and been interviewed for the program while juggling rigorous courses, such as Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment, achieving and sustaining C’s and better in their classes, and planning on applying to a four-year college.

“There is a waitlist [for the course],” said Simek. “And if a student’s still interested, the door is always open for assistance.”

Even if a student is not chosen for the program, the AVID coordinators and the teaching staff that make up the school’s AVID site team state that the program impacts all students. AVID-approved methodology, such as the Socratic Method and Cornell notes, has been implemented in many of the schools in the Elmbrook District.