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Question Everything: The Rise of AVID as America's Largest College Readiness Program

Question Everything: The Rise of AVID as America's Largest College Readiness Program

Jay Mathews

ISBN: 978-1-119-03945-7 May 2015 Jossey-Bass 272 Pages




How AVID levels the playing field, helping underserved students come out ahead

In Question Everything, award-winning education writer Jay Mathews presents the stories and winning strategies behind the Advancement Via Individual Determination program (AVID). With the goal of preparing students for the future – whether that future includes college or not – AVID teaches students the personal management skills that will help them survive and thrive. Focused on time management, presentation, and cooperation, the AVID program leads not only to impressive educational outcomes, but also to young adults prepared for life after school. This book tells the stories of AVID educators, students, and families to illustrate how and why the program works, and demonstrates how teachers can employ AVID's strategies with their own students.

Over the past thirty years, AVID has grown from a single teacher's practice to an organization serving 400,000 middle- and high-school students in 47 states and 16 countries. Question Everything describes the ideas and strategies behind the upward trajectory of both the program and the students who take part.

  • Learn which foundational skills are emphasized for future success
  • Discover how AVID teaches personal management skills in the academic context
  • Contrast AVID student outcomes with national averages
  • Consider implementing AVID concepts and techniques into current curricula

As college readiness becomes a top priority for the Federal Government, the Gates Foundation, and other influential organizations, AVID's track record stands out as one of success. By leveling the playing field and introducing "real-world" realities early on, the program teaches students skills that help them in the workplace and beyond.

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Introduction 1

Taking AVID Home 7

Tortuous Journey of a Teacher’s Idea 15

Boise Schools Changed by Love 29

“Prove to Me You Got an A in Everything” 35

Showing America How to Take Notes 43

Teachers Afraid of Tough Courses 47

Asking Rather Than Answering Questions 59

Bringing the Power of Tutoring to El Cajon High 71

Santa Barbara Rejects AVID 79

“Our Teacher Said We Couldn’t Take the Test” 87

AVID on 60 Minutes II 91

Changing the Mess at Bell Gardens High 99

Three Days at the Summer Institute: A Crash Course in AVID 105

“I Don’t Care If I Have to Haul You Down There Myself” 117

Losing It in Atlanta 125

Inside Tutoring 129

“Don’t Give Me That, Akila” 135

Looking for More Mr. Searcys 141

Struggles of an Average AVID Program 147

A Friend, a Teacher, a Mentor 161

Checklist for AVID Greatness 167

All Students Need More of a Challenge 173

Taking AVID to the Other Side of the World 181

New York Site Team’s Philadelphia Adventure 189

 “Precious Is Making a Big Mistake” 195

Escaping Death, Making AVID Cost-Effective 201

Research Results: Slow Groups Make You Dumb 205

Surprise Leader Creates Giant AVID District 211

Up and Down in Chicago 215

From7-Eleven to AVID 223

Spreading AVID to Elementary School and College .231

A Veteran Superintendent Becomes AVID Leader 239

McKay Wins One in Madison, Indiana 245

Conclusion 251

About the Author 255

Acknowledgments 257

Index 259