Grant will provide mentor/tutors for students in AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program

AVID students compete in chess tournament

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation has long been an “avid” supporter of AVID.  Through fundraising and advocacy, the Foundation has contributed to the expansion of the program to every one of our district middle schools and high schools.  AVID, an international college-readiness program, serves under-represented students in the academic middle who have the desire to go to college and willingness to work hard but may be falling short of their potential or may not have the family support to consider college in their future.  Typically, these students are the first in their families to attend college;  many are from low-income or minority families. AVID delivers results for students: in 2009 the national average for graduating seniors who had completed college entrance requirements was 36%. The national average for AVID graduating seniors was 91%.

The Santa Cruz City Schools district has recently adopted an objective to ensure that “all students will be college-ready and successfully access post secondary educational and career opportunities”. In partnership with the Foundation, the district has committed to making AVID a core educational program incorporating classroom teachers, counselors, tutor/mentors and administration impacting hundreds of students in a sustained, supportive program that guides them through their seven years of secondary education. Beginning Fall Semester 2011, AVID programs will be in place at every one of our middle and high school campuses.  When AVID is fully embraced, it creates a college-going culture on campus that impacts all students, not just those enrolled in the AVID elective class.  Building a climate that embraces academic rigor with constant reinforcement about “how to do school” and “why to do school” supports the Foundation’s goal to make our schools inspirational places to learn.

Essential to the AVID approach are the mentors who help students with class work, homework, guide “Socratic-style” tutorials and assist with navigating the college application, testing and financial aid process. They are trained to implement the methodologies used in AVID, serve as role models and are the key to the program’s success.  Typically, AVID tutors are college students; many are themselves graduates of AVID programs. The grant from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation Youth Fund will be applied to compensating mentor/tutors during the 2011-12 school year.

The Foundation supports AVID not only because of the direct benefits to the students in the program, but also because AVID students are successful leaders and role models for other students. AVID students are more likely to take AP (Advanced Placement) classes, complete their college eligibility requirements and enroll in four-year colleges than students who do not take AVID. Fully implemented, AVID benefits all students by creating a school-wide climate of high expectations and shared goals, coupled with relentless support to meet those aspirations.