IUSD values the learning journey of every student and is committed to providing dynamic and supportive learning opportunities to encourage student success, now and in the future.
One tool aligned with the District's overarching goal of continuous improvement is Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), a global nonprofit organization addressing the opportunity gap for students. AVID is an elective course that equips students in grades 6-12 with the skills necessary for college and career readiness. As a school-wide program, AVID helps students meet the highest educational standards through academic and social support, playing a pivotal role in ensuring each student's academic success and post-secondary education and career options.
IUSD Insights sat down with a few AVID staff members to learn more about how AVID can be beneficial to all students.
Donbi Chung, IVA Secondary English Teacher and AVID Site Coordinator
As one of the first AVID Site Coordinators in IUSD, Donbi Chung has witnessed the program's expansion across the district.
Chung walked us through a typical week in the AVID Elective class, breaking it down into the key focuses of learning the AVID curriculum and going through tutorials. Chung explained that the curriculum follows the instructional approach of writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading (WICOR), which helps students build and showcase skills. The AVID tutorials are small group sessions that help teach students to learn through the inquiry process. For tutorials, all students must come prepared with completed pre-work and specific questions for their AVID Tutors. She emphasized that further exploration of material is always encouraged. The week typically ends with Fun Friday, featuring guest speakers or college-touring field trips, enhancing the educational experience.
She expressed that, “While every week may follow the same routine, each day can bring new and different academic and social possibilities. AVID is not just a structured educational approach, but a dynamic and innovative way for students can grow.”
Chung shared her observations on the tangible impact of AVID, particularly during college tours, where students can begin to visualize themselves on campus and see the end goal of their hard work. According to Chung, AVID has helped students have a clearer view of future plans and next steps.
John Valerie, Irvine High School Social Science Teacher and AVID Site Coordinator
John Valerie brings a background in special education to his role as the AVID Site Coordinator. Being the first AVID teacher on campus, he has witnessed the program grow and help many students find a path for the future.
When asked about the benefits of AVID, he said, “AVID is instrumental in helping students develop problem-solving skills independently. Its impact extends beyond academic achievement, guiding students in navigating aspects of their educational journey such as understanding college applications, managing their time efficiently, setting meaningful goals and gaining access to essential resources.”
Given the high number of students in Irvine, Valerie expressed how a considerable portion of the student population can benefit from AVID. He also noted that AVID Tutors have been key to the program’s success at Irvine High School as they have helped guide students toward academic success. He mentioned that individuals aspiring to pursue a career in education or those seeking roles involving leadership in tutorials, especially in math and science classes, would find being an AVID tutor a valuable introductory job to gain essential skills.
Zach Okamura, Beacon Park K-8 Social Science Teacher and AVID Site Coordinator
Zach Okamura brings previous experience in AVID to his role and has seen the transformative impact AVID has played in his students' lives. Okamura is an AVID Site Coordinator and teacher for 6th and 7th grade. He explained the curriculum from 6th to 7th has a few differences with the 6th grade curriculum emphasizing collaborative study groups, while the 7th grade introduces tutorials and activities related to WICOR.
Okamura highlighted the impact AVID has had on his students' academic and personal development, noting increased academic engagement, improved note-taking skills, and a supportive peer-to-peer learning environment.
When discussing the impact AVID has had on his school site and the District, Okamura stated, “AVID serves as a valuable return to foundational academic skills and experiences, especially post-COVID, providing students with teachers and AVID Tutors that act like academic coaches to guide them towards college and career readiness from an early age. IUSD's commitment to providing learning opportunities that work for students is really shown through the implementation of AVID.
To learn more about AVID in IUSD, visit the AVID College and Career Readiness webpage.