AVID has helped raise high school graduation rates and college readiness for all students and is continuously improving academic outcomes for students enrolled in the AVID elective course.

The AVID/TOPS program was developed to address the opportunity gap primarily for students from low-income backgrounds and students of color in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). As a national curriculum, the AVID/TOPS partnership strives to foster a supportive atmosphere for students to develop the necessary academic and organizational skills needed to be successful throughout middle school into college. 

AVID has been a successful strategy for Excellence with Equity in MMSD since 2007.  Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) includes three components: 1) an AVID Elective Course for students in the academic middle to attend post-secondary education; 2) AVID Schoolwide, which ensures every student has access to key strategies to help them become college, career, and community ready; 3) the highest quality training and resources to support all school staff.  In grades 9-12 AVID/TOPS Club is a collaborative partnership between Boys & Girls Club of Dane County (BGC) and the MMSD that serves and prepares them for college.

To understand the greater impact the AVID/TOPS program has on students of color, Vice President of Education at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County Taylor Jackson, reflects on what inspires students to pursue this program and what keeps them motivated.

“They want to reach their goals.” Jackson said. “They know coming into this program, there are staff who will help them. The staff and students share the same end goal in that they’ll feel supported and successful in whatever way they decide that is.” 

In addition to supporting students in academic and organizational excellence, the TOPS component of the partnership aims to help students envision the bigger vision of their self-defined success. This program creates a holistic supportive approach for students to get real world experience to help them put their goals into perspective and build the necessary stamina needed to pursue them.  These real-world experiences often complement the bigger picture class curriculum.

The goal of this program is not only to provide structure, but to encourage students to develop independent learning skills, leadership skills, and time management skills so they can be successful once they leave school. 

Langston Evans is the District Director for College and Career Readiness for Madison Metropolitan School District. He reflects on how the MMSD and BGCDC work collaboratively on shaping the culture of schools.

“We want to empower students that come from marginalized identities or come from marginalized communities. We’re really thinking about how we can direct resources and thinking about how we are creating inclusive spaces using AVID and using our relationships with the Boys & Girls Club to create best practices,” Evans says. 

“What’s really critical is that the Boys & Girls Club and TOPS provides opportunities to connect our students to leadership opportunities that are outside of our schools that they wouldn’t have access to without this partnership, and so they can shine in ways that we simply don’t have the resources to provide. They bring that leadership back into our classrooms and leverage that to help our students bolster and solidify their academic identity as scholars, but it can start outside the classroom!”  

To learn more about the AVID/TOPS program please visit madison.k12.wi.us/secondary-programs/avid.