East Lansing High School to End AVID Program

Friday, April 12, 2019, 9:40 am
By: 
Karessa Wheeler

After four years, East Lansing High School will be ending a college preparedness program aimed at underrepresented students.

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a national program used in 6,000 schools, according to avid.org. The non-profit organization provides a “more equitable, student-centered approach” through the training of educators to close the opportunity gap.

Glenn Mitcham, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, sent a memo to Superintendent Dori Leyko and the Board of Education asking them to approve the discontinuation of AVID by 2022. The Board unanimously approved the request at this week's meeting.

“Although the AVID Elective course has proven effective for many of the students in the program, the number of students in those courses has dwindled,” Mitcham wrote. “This school year the 11th-grade cohort shrunk to 7 students resulting in combining the cohort with the 12th-grade cohort.”

Mitcham said there were many positive aspects to the AVID program, but instead of focusing on specific classes, the District would like to take the lessons they have learned to the entire school.

High School Principal Andy Wells told the Board that he had discussed the AVID program with faculty, staff, students and parents and received a wide range of feedback and ideas regarding how best to prepare all students for college.

“Our staff is poised to move forward with our collective vision and we are going to do all that we can to provide the best education for all of our students,” Wells said.

The program will continue for the students currently enrolled but will be gradually phased out by the spring of 2022.

AVID costs the District $97,100 for fiscal year 2018-19 including $86,000 for staffing, $5,400 for conferences, $1,800 in supplies and $3,900 in membership to the AVID program, said Richard Pugh, the District's ’s Director of Finance.

Since 2015, there have been four cohorts of AVID students. In 2016-17, ELHS had two AVID Elective trained teachers and 9 trained core area teachers. According to the District’s website, they had hoped to expand the AVID program during the 2017-18 year to include 8th grade as well as 9th-12th grades.

That did not happen. Instead, there is currently one AVID class for 9th and 10th graders and one combined class for 11th and 12th graders.

The program includes professional development, resources and support for staff and students, including training, lesson plans, articles and videos relevant to students. Its mission is to “close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.”

AVID is offered as an elective course for students who are underrepresented on college campuses. AVID provides these students with aids in college application process, writing letters and essays, pre-college testing and applying for financial aid and scholarships, according to the District’s AVID webpage.

 

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