Using AVID to Support Students Transitioning from Elementary School To Middle School

Authors: Deborah Bennett & Kristen Eubanks

The transition from elementary to middle school can be challenging for students. AVID is used to help prepare students to make a successful transition for students from MED at Bridge Creek Elementary, a feeder elementary school for Kelly Mill Med Pro Middle. In this post, we will provide an in-depth explanation of how and why AVID is implemented at our schools to support our students in becoming college and career ready.


What is AVID and Why Does it Matter?

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, fosters a collaborative, culturally-responsive climate. It strives to empower all students to be successful by setting high expectations for teachers and students and using WICOR strategies in the instructional components of WICOR (Writing-Inquiry-Collaboration-Organization-Reading). WICOR strategies scaffold learning, promote equity, and build literacy to ensure students are prepared for college and career.


Examples of WICOR Strategies Implemented at Both Schools

The components of AVID instructional strategies are Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading (WICOR). Together, these strategies support students when learning new concepts and tackling complex problems and texts.


Writing to Learn- DLIQ, Focused Note Taking, Quickwrites

Inquiry- Costa's Level of Thinking, Philosophical Chairs lesson, rules for engagement and tips, Socratic Seminar

Collaboration- Stand-Share-Sit, Carousel Brainstorm, Four Corners

Organization- AVID eBinders, AVID Graphic Organizer

Reading to Learn- Marking the Text, F-L-I-P Strategy, Frayer Model


AVID’s Four Domains

The AVID Site Team focuses on continuous improvement in the four domains of AVID. A school’s AVID Site Team is key to its success and consistency in AVID integration from year to year. The four domains include:

  • Culture: The Site Team promotes beliefs and behaviors that reflect and demonstrate a college-going culture.

  • Leadership: The Site Team communicates the vision and tone of college readiness and high expectations for all students by taking a leadership role in the growth of AVID on campus.

  • Instruction: The Site Team supports improved academic performance and college readiness for all students by utilizing AVID strategies, other best instructional practices, and 21st century tools.

Systems: The Site Team actively promotes and monitors open access to rigorous curriculum and improved academic performance for all students.


How We Implement AVID at MED at Bridge Creek Elementary

MED at Bridge Creek Elementary began our AVID journey four years ago as part of our STEAM-M whole-school magnet implementation. While we are in the early implementation phase of AVID, we have worked hard to ensure that we have a solid foundation in the four domains: leadership, culture, systems, and instruction. We have prioritized our goals in the four domains to ensure that we are providing our students with the necessary skills to prepare them for success in middle school and beyond.


Leadership

Our vision is “Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day”, partnering with our community to invest in every child by providing diverse opportunities to succeed through Medical, Engineering, and Arts immersion. This vision sets the tone that promotes college readiness and high expectations for all students. We chose AVID as our research-based instructional program to ensure that our students were properly prepared for success in middle school and beyond. Our students leave our elementary school and head to Kelly Mill Med Pro Middle, which is also an AVID site. We wanted to ensure that we have a common language that transfers as students move throughout our continuum.


To ensure successful implementation, we have an AVID Site Team with representatives from each grade level. The team sets yearly AVID goals for our school, as well as monitors our progress and implementation. They provide professional development aligned to our school AVID goals.


To promote college and career readiness, we recognize the colleges and universities that our teachers attend by posting school pennants over their classroom doors, as well as an interactive infographic display that highlights that teacher’s particular university. We have a strong partnership with our local university, University of South Carolina, through which we host student teachers. In addition, we partnered with UofSC to showcase our university students, our MED at Bridge Creek team, and community members to read aloud picture books for our Black History Month Digital Library. We have weekly college and career spotlights. For our job shadowing days, we welcome our former students back who may be interested in becoming an educator one day.


Culture


We believe that in order to give “Every Child Every Chance Every Day”, we designed the 5C’s of Character Program which includes the the 21st Century Skills of Collaboration, Communication, Critical thinking, and Creativity in addition to the component of Caring (to care about self, others, work, and property). This is implemented through our daily circle meetings in each classroom, our MTSS program, and our school-wide Town Hall meetings. Our 5C’s are displayed in each classroom and throughout our building and are at the core of who we are.


AVID’s WICOR is also an integral part of our culture. We believe that WICOR equates to rigor and gives our students the necessary skills to close the opportunity gap. In addition, WICOR is intentionally aligned with our 5C’s of Character program through both the Caring component and the 21st Century skills.


Systems

The AVID System is a foundational component designed to be embedded in the daily instruction of all of our elementary classrooms. AVID is threaded throughout the instructional day and across all grade levels.

We began our AVID journey in 2017 when we received our MSAP STEAM-M grant to transform our elementary school into MED at Bridge Creek. We began by focusing on AVID professional learning for faculty and staff through AVID Summer Institutes and Workshops. Our yearly goal is for each teacher to receive at least 50 hours of AVID professional development through opportunities such as WICOR Wednesdays, PD Playground, Faculty Meetings, and formal AVID training.


Our AVID professional development plan took a top grade-level down approach. Our Fifth and Fourth grade teachers received AVID Foundations training followed by Third, Second, First, and Kindergarten training soon thereafter. We took this approach to set up our upper elementary students for success in middle school by having a strong foundation in AVID’s WICOR.

Instruction

Over the last four years, AVID has become part of our school culture to ensure rigor through WICOR implementation. This is accomplished through all teachers integrating AVID WICOR strategies into daily lesson plans. Accountability measures are in place to ensure fidelity of AVID implementation through walk-through observations. Our administrators observe for the presence of WICOR and provide feedback to ensure college and career readiness.


AVID Elementary teaches students fundamental learning, study, and academic behavior skills

through WICOR . Students write to Learn through responding to texts through Text-Dependent Analysis, Philosophical Chairs, Socratic Seminars, and other AVID strategies. Inquiry occurs regularly through our STEAM-M classroom integration, Club Fridays, and Project Based Learning. Students collaborate through various in person and virtual options including learning clubs, reading groups, break-out rooms, Jamboard, Flipgrid, and more. Students are taught how to properly organize their materials and classwork through the use of folders, notebooks, binders, graphic organizers, and interactive note-taking. Reading to Learn begins by accessing students’ prior knowledge, making connections between their lives and what they are reading, and developing relevant content that will help them comprehend the text. We accomplish this through the use of KWL charts, guided reading, interactive read-alouds, literary analysis, and close reading with marking the text.


How We Implement AVID at Kelly Mill Med Pro Middle School

Kelly Mill Med Pro Middle School is one of three AVID National Demonstration Sites in South Carolina. According to the AVID.org website, AVID National Demonstration Site is the highest honor designated by AVID. These schools serve as models for those interested in learning about the AVID College Readiness System. Demonstration schools clearly demonstrate an ongoing pursuit of excellence to ensure college readiness in the four domains for all AVID Elective students and improved academic performance for all students based on increased opportunities and support for success.


Culture

AVID is intentionally embedded in everything we do at our school. Schoolwide displays communicate the importance of AVID college and career readiness. Teachers post College

Corners in their classrooms and AVID College Templates and Why Statements at their doorways, showcasing their alma maters and why they are passionate about education to their students. We celebrate College Colors Day each month with staff members and students dressing in college attire. This year, due to the pandemic and our hybrid schedule, we celebrated College Colors Day twice, once for each set of students meeting our campus. AVID is used during our advisory period as well, to help empower students as they revise their agendas and interactive binders, write reflections and

summaries, and conference with teachers about how they can improve. Students set goals and reflect on their progress toward meeting them.


Our AVID Site Team collaborates on planning school wide events for our students and teachers to build our culture. Our school’s annual college pumpkin and wreath contests promote the college environment with staff decorating these items in their college alma