AVID began in 1980 by Mary Catherine Swanson, then-head of the English department at San Diego's Clairemont High School. The federal courts issued an order to desegregate the city's schools, bringing large numbers of inner city students to suburban schools. While applauding the decision, Swanson wondered how these underserved students would survive at academically acclaimed Clairemont High.

Her answer was AVID, an academic elective. But it's more than a program - it's a philosophy: Hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge.




Beginning with one high school and 32 students, AVID now impacts more than 700,000 students in more than 4,800 schools and 41 postsecondary institutions in 45 states, the District of Columbia and across 16 other countries/territories. The AVID College Readiness System spans elementary through higher education. Although AVID serves all students, the AVID elective focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple - raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge. What distinguishes AVID from other educational reform programs is its continuous success rate. Of the 33,204 AVID seniors in 2012 who reported their demographics, academic achievement data and future plans, just over 98 percent indicated they would be graduating from high school, with 90 percent planning to attend a postsecondary institution: 58 percent to a four-year college and 32 percent to a two-year institution. Seventy-three percent reported taking at least one rigorous course, such as AP®, IB® or Cambridge®, with 61 percent taking the corresponding exam. Additionally, Hispanic/Latino and African American/Black AVID students take AP tests at rates that exceed their peers.