All Means All
District State: Maryland
District Website: aacps.org
Challenge: With 83,000 students in the district, leaders at Anne Arundel County Public Schools wanted to improve supports for historically underrepresented students and for the often overlooked students in the academic middle.
Initiative: The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program supports students through college and career exploration. The academic elective program is in all classrooms, from elementary school through high school, and focuses on developing transferable life skills, such as thinking critically, taking notes and managing time. Teachers model these skills as students engage in research-based practices that lead to individual ownership. Secondary students participate in college tours and career days, and are exposed to guest speakers and career representatives.
Impact: “Our AVID students graduate from high school with limitless possibilities—prepared for whichever path they choose,” says Mary Tillar, assistant superintendent, advanced studies and programs. Of the 560 AVID graduates, 80% have been accepted to four-year colleges.
Advice: As a first step for implementation, start by encouraging educators who have received professional development on the program to share what they learned and how they are integrating it into their classrooms, says Tillar.