Wauwatosa School District Reconsiders Implementation of AVID Program


Annabelle Wooster

Parents and students of the AVID program in the Wauwatosa School District received an email on Wednesday, October 27th that announced a review of the AVID program and how it fits into the district’s equity plan.

Annabelle Wooster, Editor

Parents and students of the AVID program in the Wauwatosa School District received an email on Wednesday, October 27th that announced a review of the AVID program and how it fits into the district’s equity plan. 

“As a district, we hold ourselves to a very high standard. The adoption of AVID has been challenged with numerous oversights. We have fallen short of our professional standard and that to which the community should hold us. For that we are deeply sorry.” The email stated. 

The email came as a surprise to both teachers and students. 

“My students found out…through the email from the district and then we talked about it in class the next day. They had some questions about it as well… so we read through the district letter as a class,” said an AVID teacher in the district. They are asking that their identity remain confidential. 

This particular AVID teacher was disappointed to hear the news and thinks the program has a lot of potential. 

“I personally was very sad to hear it. I think AVID is a great program and I don’t think we’ve fully been able to see what it can become yet.” they said. 

The AVID program was brought to the district in 2019. Described as an instructional framework, AVID focuses on developing students that have shown signs of academic strength, preparing students for college, and teaching students a wide range of abilities and techniques that will prepare them for a higher level of learning. However, the district is now acknowledging that their implementation of the program may have fallen short. 

“There are questions regarding whether the district’s procurement process was properly followed in adopting and approving AVID contracts. Our preliminary internal review indicates that district officials failed to adhere to district policy in the procurement and initial adoption of AVID.” The email went on to say. 

In addition to the implementation process of AVID, the effectiveness of the program as a whole is also being evaluated.

“There have been questions concerning the effectiveness of the program and if AVID truly addresses the district’s equity goals” the email stated.

The email also addressed how current AVID classes are going to be handled going forward.

“The district has elected to pause the implementation of AVID Schoolwide at our secondary schools. AVID elementary will be placed on hold, as well. In addition, we will begin phasing out the AVID elective courses at the highschool level, while allowing current students to complete the cycle of courses” the email continued. At the middle school level, AVID 8 is also being placed on hold, but feedback about the successful AVID 7 course will ultimately determine if AVID 8 will be considered for the future. 

In regards to a student perspective on the effectiveness of the class, one student expressed her opinion, saying that there is definitely room for improvement.

“What we did freshman year is completely different from what we are doing this year. It is all very repetitive, we do the same things and take the same notes” said Sarah Ho, a sophomore. 

Ho also thinks that students may have not fully understood the purpose of the class when signing up.

“I think most people in my grade joined for the wrong reasons. They didn’t have a good understanding of what the class actually was” she said. 

However, Ho is optimistic that the review will help to keep the program around, as she sees its potential.

“AVID is helpful and it would be more beneficial if they continued it… I know some people do care about it” she added. 

After a review of the program, the findings will be presented to the members of the School Board and then a final decision will be made about how to best implement the program while simultaneously meeting the district’s standards. 

“Superintendent Demond Means… will secure the services of educational experts and a financial auditing firm to analyze the situation. A written report will be provided to the board and shared with the district community upon completion” the email explained. “We are committed to ensuring that the findings of the review provide a pathway to improved practices, restored trust in the district, and strict compliance with Board policies moving forward”.