State and national AVID representatives and regional educators at Martinsville Middle School (MMS)
recently to learn about how the school is implementing AVID learning strategies schoolwide to
improve student success.
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is an academic support program designed to
increase schoolwide learning and performance. The mission of AVID focuses on closing the
opportunity gap, providing support for students, and allowing them to achieve success and
activate their desire and commitment to own their present and their future.
The school’s AVID showcase was designed to demonstrate the variety of AVID strategies at work
in the school. The morning began by inviting attendees to “think-write-pair-share” about what
brought them to the showcase. Guests first worked individually, writing about why they were
attending and what they hoped to gain from the showcase, then discussing those thoughts in
Following that, attendees had the opportunity to visit classrooms to see how teachers in each
grade level were implementing various AVID strategies across the whole curriculum. Educators
witnessed AVID tutoring groups in action, saw teachers in multiple disciplines utilize the four
corners activity (which requires every student to participate in thoughtful discussion by taking a
position on an issue), gallery walks (in which rotating groups of students work to answer
questions posed by the teacher), and more—each activity promoting critical thinking, discussion,
participation, and collaboration.
The showcase concluded with a panel discussion, giving attendees the chance to hear directly
from students, teachers, and even parents about how the school’s implementation of AVID has
“AVID is like a second home to me,” one student said of AVID’s focus on
collaboration. “We’re all a big family.”
One parent shared the story of her son who was struggling academically. “Once he got into
AVID, everything changed,” she said.
At the conclusion of the showcase, AVID Associate Senior Director Allen Johnson noted
how impressed AVID staff were with what they saw at the school. “You can see the passion, the
accountability, as well as the (AVID) system,” he said.
“Being successful is never surprising,” said Schools Superintendent Dr. Zebedee Talley, who is a member of AVID’s National Superintendents Executive Board. “We have wonderful students and staff who work so hard.”
He challenged those in attendance “not to schedule an appointment,” but rather “just decide to
come back and see if we’re real. I just want you to walk in and see if we’re doing it. This is what
we do every day—I give you that guarantee, you’ll see this every day in our schools. It’s what
“In our district, we have seen the positive impact that AVID strategies have on individual
students and entire buildings,” said Cary Wright, city schools Director of Humanities and Advanced Programs. “Other educators may see the student demographics in Martinsville as a challenge, but
AVID strategies in the areas of writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading have
proven essential to our success, as evidenced by our full accreditation, even coming out of a
“We were thrilled to share our middle school successes with regional colleagues so they could
see that AVID really works,” Wright said.
“Our Martinsville City Public Schools family is excited about being a part of the National AVID
Organization,” Talley said after the showcase. “We are honored to be a division-wide
member of this effective academic institution. Students are learning to apply academic skills to
life-changing goals and visions! Our membership will bring enhanced learning to our teachers
and students as well as benefit our community.”