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AVID in Action


Advancement Via Individual Determination 

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is an educational program for middle (and high school) students that support student preparation for college through an academic elective course that teaches necessary learning skills, reinforces the academic core, and encourages rigorous student course-taking.  AVID is both an elective offering for students selected through an interview process and a school-wide set of research-based instructional strategies aimed to improve success for all students.  

AVID Elective 

The AVID elective is a year-long course for 7th and 8th grade and a semester course for 6th grade. Students in 7th and 8th grade must apply, interview, and sign a one-year AVID agreement.  The focus of the course is on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading to support academic growth. Students receive training in effective study skills, such as note-taking, organizational skills, and goal-setting strategies. Socratic tutorials, led by college students, other adults, peer tutors and/or cross-age tutors, are held twice per week.  Students also experience different field trips, guest speakers, and research to increase their knowledge of college and career options. The concepts, strategies, and skills build in a sequenced curriculum so that students benefit from taking the AVID Elective across all three grade levels.


AVID School-Wide 

AVID Schoolwide instruction occurs when the entire instructional staff utilizes AVID strategies, other best instructional practices, and 21st-century tools to ensure college readiness for AVID Elective students and improved academic performance for all students.  AVID instructional strategies include the incorporating of Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading in a daily lesson to increase rigor, engagement, and higher-order thinking.  Some specific strategies are Focused on Note Taking, Socratic Seminars, Philosophical Chairs, Binders Organization, Goal Setting, and Critical Reading Strategies.  


AVID in Action in Kyrene 

In Kyrene, three middle schools, Akimel A-al, Aprende, and Centennial, along with one K-8 school, Kyrene Traditional Academy, and one elementary, Brisas are implementing AVID.  Aprende earned the honor of being named a Site of Distinction in the 19-20 school year and a National Demonstration School in the 21-22 school year.  

Kyrene Akimel A-al Logo

To see examples of AVID in Action in Kyrene, please select the videos below.  

Socratic Seminar is a type of class discussion that promotes critical reading skills as well as higher-level thinking and questioning skills. Students use a text or texts either provided by the teacher or research material that they find relating to the topic of discussion.  They read the text or texts using critical reading skills in order to gain a deeper understanding of the material and to prepare for discussion.  On the day of the seminar, students come prepared with questions that both clarify and prompt discussion.  The style of Socratic Seminar is DISCUSSION based; it IS NOT A DEBATE.  The ultimate purpose is for the students to comprehend the text on a deeper level by having a dialogue with their peers using the material. - copied from -Basha High School

  • Step inside a 7th grade ELA classroom to see how students are approaching a Socratic Seminar lesson, taught by Kyrene School District teacher, Jill Malina.


Philosophical Chairs resembles a debate where students are given a topic related to a shared reading, a trending topic, or a problem related to content standard and they must pick a side.  Students are given an opportunity to present their already prepared argument.  Before the next person agrees or disagrees, he/she must paraphrase the previous person's stance.  Students are then given the opportunity to reflect upon the information presented and change sides if desired.  

  • See how 6th grade Social Studies teacher, Adrienne Gilby, uses Philosophical Chairs to teach about Hammurabi's Code. 


Focused Note Taking is an AVID strategy in which students are specifically taught how to take notes in a variety of formats.  Since the purpose of taking notes is to use them for studying, completing assignments, or reference, this AVID strategy teaches students the five phases of note-taking:  Taking Notes, Processing Notes, Connecting Thinking, Summarizing, and Reflecting on Learning, and Applying Learning.  By engaging in the FNT process, students are revisiting their notes within 10 minutes, 24 hours, and 7 days of taking leading to deeper retention and understanding of the material.  

  • See how 7th Grade ELA teacher, Diana Miller, uses the Focused Note Taking Process to teach her students about text structure. 


Strategy Mash-Up  Sometimes due to the nature of specific content areas, one strategy alone will not meet the needs of the students.  Teachers often combine strategies to create an opportunity for students to engage in the content in a manner that leads to application and true understanding! 

  • See Math teacher, Heather Staudohar, combine two strategies, Socratic Seminar and Philosophical Chairs, to engage students in higher-order thinking, problem-solving, and discourse about Mathematics.   


AVID Elective Teacher Speaks at Summer Institute 2022

Kyrene Aprende's 7/8 ELA teacher and AVID Elective Teacher spoke at Denver's Summer Institute in 2022.  Kyrene is so proud of her and the groundbreaking work she and her co-teacher, Katie Desserres, have done with the AVID Elective for students receiving Special Education services.