|AVID and College Board Team Up for
The AVID Center and the College Board held their fifth collaborative national conference March 7-8 in San Diego. The annual event attracted more than 600 educators from around the country, who explored efforts to close the achievement gap. AVID — which stands for Advancement via Individual Determination — is a 4th- to 12th-grade system designed to prepare students for four-year college eligibility with a proven track record of bringing out the best in students. AVID and the College Board work together to promote greater access to preparation for college-level work for low-income and underrepresented minority students, including AP® classes.
Attendees included superintendents, district and other school administrators, school board members, teachers, counselors and AVID students, who discussed such topics as access to rigorous curriculum for all, districtwide strategies for closing the achievement gap, unique collaborative models and how schools can benefit from an AVID/College Board collaboration.
“There are many states going through significant budget challenges, and they share the concern that everybody has — can they still deliver what their students really need?” said Cynthia Lyon, executive director for K-12 relationship development, who serves as liaison between the College Board and AVID in developing the program. “They are all looking for innovative ways to continue to serve the students who need more support.”
In the panel discussion “Pulling Back the Covers of AP,” Laura Schwalm, superintendent of the Garden Grove (Calif.) Unified School District, and Chris Steinhauser, superintendent of the Long Beach (Calif.) Unified School District, were joined by Trevor Packer, College Board vice president for the Advanced Placement Program®, to discuss how schools can use AP to improve student achievement. Packer provided data from recent AP research and surveys, and the two superintendents, who were both recipients of awards from the Broad Foundation, shared best practices for support structures that increased college readiness in their districts. Both talked about increasing the number of students taking AP without decreasing average scores. Another panel discussion — this one with students who have succeeded with the help of AVID — was moderated by Peter Negroni, College Board senior vice president for relationship development.