There are many students at the Owatonna High School now receiving additional help they need thanks to a newly integrated program called Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). AVID began in California 35 years ago during a time when segregation was common. Mary Catherine Swanson created the program when minorities were being thrown into remedial classes because many in the education system did not believe in them. Catherine chose to put those students in AP classes, preparing them for college. Now, 35 years later, AVID is an international program.
The AVID program recruits students who meet general criteria such as being first-generation college students and a passing GPA. Christie Martinez , Program Manager for the Central Division of AVID, said, “The GPA runs from 2.5-3.5 or 2.0-3.0. We have programs for students that are very high achievers, and we have programs for students that need additional assistance.” Martinez explained that the program has first-generation college students as one of their criteria because, “so many first-generation kids don’t know how to work the system, and you gotta work that system.” Martinez is in charge of supporting the AVID teachers and coordinators and answers any of their questions throughout the central United States.
This year’s sophomores were the first OHS students given the opportunity to participate in AVID. Sophomore Vivica Rosenberg was one of the students recruited for AVID. She said, “It helped me to get organized, especially when it comes to note-taking. We work on skills for college. We also bring questions from other classes to this class, and we help each other out.” Next school year will be AVID’s second year at OHS, and this time, recruited students for AVID will be in ninth, tenth and 11th grade. Students chosen for AVID will spend a skinny class (42 minutes) with an AVID trained teacher each day throughout the whole school-year. When students chose to be in AVID they will also be committing to it for their four high school years, with the same AVID teacher encouraging them. During this time, AVID helps students prepare for college by bettering themselves at things like note-taking, studying, time-management and social skills.
The AVID program strives to improve and motivate first-generation college students for college and for the life ahead of them.