Oxford School District
Oxford School District
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Questions and Comments from AVID Info Meetings

Click here to download a printable version of this information.


Oxford, Mississippi (March 20, 2017)—The Oxford School District held AVID Informational Meetings on Monday, February 20, 2017, and Thursday, February 23, 2017, at Oxford Middle School. During the informational meetings, parents and community members submitted questions about the AVID Program, an elective program designed to help students excel in school and apply for college.

The district offers the following comments and answers to questions submitted during these informational meetings by parents and the general public:

  1. How will the students be targeted or chosen for the program?
    1. AVID offers a comprehensive guide to identifying and recruiting students who will benefit from the additional support provided in the AVID Elective class. This is a process that will involve parents, students, counselors and administrators. Enrolling in the AVID Elective classes is optional. An application must be completed by the student and parent in order to be considered for the elective class.
  2. How long will they be in the program? One, two, three years?
    1. Participation in the AVID system is voluntary. Students may progress through the elective for as many grade levels as offered.
  3. What impact will this have on enrollment?
    1. AVID will not impact enrollment.
  4. Teacher acceptance of the program: What is their goal for the student?
    1. This may depend on teacher goals; but in general, AVID teachers hope to help students reach/exceed potential, become organized, critical readers, and advocates for own learning, improve interpersonal and communication skills, and set goals and reflect on progress.
  5. How would AVID help 10th, 11th, and 12th graders?
    1. AVID research shows students who have exposure to AVID strategies and skills in the AVID Elective for at least three years show a greater impact on their college-readiness success than their counterparts.
  6. How would AVID be implemented in 5th and 6th grade?
    1. A core group of teachers will be trained in grades 5 and 6. With a school-wide focus, our goal would be to have all core academic teachers trained within four years.
  7. Can there be access for 10th plus-grade students, even as an after-school activity or during flex?
    1. Offering AVID for rising students in grades 10-12 could be an option. We will explore opportunities for these students.
  8. How does this integrate with the computer organization?
    1. AVID has partnered with Microsoft to present eBinders. Please visit the website www.ebinders.net for more information.
  9. How will this affect special education students?
    1. Students with special needs benefit from the research-based, WICOR (Writing to Learn, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading to Learn) instructional practices utilized by teachers.
  10. What grades and how many students will AVID affect?
    1. Our plan is to offer AVID at Oxford Intermediate School (OIS) for grades 5 and 6, Oxford Middle School (OMS) for grade 8, and Oxford High School (OHS) for grade 9. In the years to come, we plan to expand in grades 5 and 6, grade 7 and grades 10-12. Our hope is to have up to 56 students in grades 8 and 9.
  11. The presenter, Mrs. Rupert, stated that this process, AVID, should be implemented as a process for the entire school. Is this how the Oxford School District plans to implement the program?
    1. Yes, our district’s plan would be to expand to the entire school in a supportive and sustainable manner. All teachers at participating schools would be trained by their respective school’s site team to implement the WICOR instructional strategies, so that all students would obtain the benefits of the AVID system.
  12. How much does/will this cost the school district per year?
    1. Click here to see the five-year budget.
  13. If the aim is to close the achievement gap in Oxford School District, will AVID do so by leaving the lowest performing students behind? The program states that it focuses on “college readiness” for the “academic middle”, for instance. In short, does this program focus on the wrong group of students for Oxford?
    1. AVID is a college-readiness system for ALL students. The AVID Elective is a support system for students in the "academic middle" and is designed to accelerate their learning, open access to rigorous courses, and provide the skills and tools necessary to navigate school demands successfully. The AVID system, however, is designed for whole school implementation, wherein building leadership commits to adopting AVID methodologies and supporting staff implementation of best instructional practices across the campus, thereby exposing ALL students to the same strategies employed in the elective. With this, school sites begin to see their middle expanding and improved academic performance for all students. The Oxford School District already employs reading and math specialists and academic interventionists who focus on the students who struggle. This will continue.
  14. How certain are we about AVID’s effectiveness? The difference in college-retention rate, for example, could be due to the fact that the types of schools that use AVID are different than those that don’t (e.g. have more money).
    1. AVID has data to support its effectiveness with college readiness.
  15. Is the AVID class optional?
    1. The AVID Secondary College Readiness System requires an AVID Elective course that provides for those students who need additional support as they enter the most rigorous courses in the school. AVID student participation in the elective is voluntary.
  16. Will the student still be able to participate in sports, band, etc.?
    1. Certainly. The AVID Elective occurs during the regular school day and does not interfere with extracurricular activities.
  17. How does or would this program work for the elementary schools (1st & 2nd grade) if a child is already on the T.I.E.R. program provided by the district?
    1. AVID is currently not being considered lower than grade 5.
  18. How much would the daily schedule change if it’s on a block schedule?
    1. We are not considering a block schedule at this time.
  19. The meeting tonight is very beneficial, but it sounds as if it is centered around older children. Is this true?
    1. Although the AVID College Readiness System supports students in the K-12 educational setting, we are only considering AVID for grades 5-12 at this time.
  20. Is there a student selection process based on academic learning need?
    1. Yes. The student selection process for the elective course focuses on students in the academic middle. However, with the school-wide strategies available to educators, all students in the school are exposed to higher levels of engagement.
  21. How would this program assist my son who has dyslexia?
    1. AVID is not a program that is designed specifically for students with dyslexia. All students will benefit from the skills and strategies that are gained through AVID. Please reach out to your child’s principal about specifics regarding dyslexia. We have a number of professionals in the Oxford School District who can help.
  22. Is there a stigma attached to being in an AVID elective?
    1. Most of our student interviews indicate that students who participate in the AVID Elective course, evolve as leaders on their campuses. The Elective provides an opportunity for the development of key leadership skills that when coupled with academic skills result in student leaders.
  23. How are students selected for eligibility for electives?
    1. See the response to Question #1.
  24. What does the implementation at the intermediate school look like?
    1. See the response to Question #11.
  25. How are teachers held accountable?
    1. Teachers are held accountable by the school building-level leadership.
  26. How are students held accountable?
    1. Students are held accountable by parents and school staff.
  27. How will the parent piece look in the AVID training?
    1. AVID resources (College and Careers) provide school building leaders with ideas for parent workshops and/or opportunities for parent involvement (i.e. financial aid workshops).
  28. Who will be trained to implement this program? Will it be parents, nonprofits, community groups or just teachers? This sounds like something even the church can implement.
    1. People trained to implement include identified district leaders, site principals, assistant principals, counselors, teachers and instructional coaches.
  29. This program aims to address the achievement gap. At what grade level is the gap evident?
    1. The Oxford School District’s student achievement gap is evident from our first assessments, which are given during August in kindergarten.
  30. Does the gap diminish over time? Or grow?
    1. The Oxford School District’s student achievement gap remains steady in grades 3-10. It is also evident in our ACT scores and post-secondary enrollments and retention rates. AVID has data to support the narrowing of the achievement gap with students who participate in the AVID elective course. AVID seniors outpace the national average of enrollment in either a two- or four-year college, as well as the national persistence rate.
  31. Are grades 5 and 6 too late? Would it be better to start earlier?
    1. We are looking at ways and funding to expand our prekindergarten (pre-K) classes and looking to improve our response to intervention process. The combination of these will provide students a better opportunity for success in the later grades.
  32. How about Ole Miss School of Education? What do they think – college tutors? Are they on board?
    1. We have had many discussions with the University of Mississippi’s School of Education: they are committed to help in any way possible.
  33. I would like to make available to ALL parents some simple advice on how to raise a child to be academically successful. For example:
      • Get your child to bed without access to technology at the same time each night.
      • Disallow more than two hours per day on ANY “screen”.
      • Read to your child beginning at age one for at least 30 minutes per day.
      • When your child can read, let them read to you at least 30 minutes per day.
      • FORCE teachers to decrease the insane amount of homework, etc.
    1. This list could evolve from parents, teachers, and high school students.
  34. AVID sounds like a good program, but what about starting early with the educational research which states that children in the earlier grades can learn if given the opportunity to succeed?
    1. The Oxford School District will continue to offer valuable resources such as reading and math specialists and interventionists as well as other research-based interventions to our lowest-performing students.
  35. What is the comparison between Oxford students demographically, socially, and economically with students in other schools? Why is AVID needed here?
    1. The Oxford School District currently has the highest student achievement gap in the state of Mississippi. Our students compare with students in every school that we have visited.
  36. Why not get the University of Mississippi involved in closing the achievement gap?
    1. AVID strives to partner with local universities as well and a deeper partnership can be explored. The Oxford School District will attempt to expand already existing partnerships.
  37. How do you get teachers to reflect on their own attitudes and teaching strategies/practices if they do not believe that ALL students can learn?
    1. AVID offers reflective professional learning opportunities that support teachers' development of a growth mindset, which encourages them to examine their belief systems and foster paradigm shifts.
  38. How does AVID address low achievers? The presentation only addressed average achievers.
    1. Because AVID focuses on school-wide college readiness, all teachers are provided opportunities to add strategies to their toolbox that will impact learners at all levels. The Oxford School District will continue to offer personnel and curricular resources to help our lowest achieving students.
  39. Will students who are enrolled in the AVID program be segregated from high achievers or will they be integrated?
    1. Students enrolled in the AVID elective will have one class together. The remainder of their classes will be with all other students. The goal is for these students to be enrolled in advanced, dual-enrollment and Advanced Placement classes.
  40. NO student should be singled out, especially low achievers.
  41. This meeting was not functional because it did not allow parents to pose questions to the presenters.
    1. We need a questions/answers section for parents. It seems that this is being dismissed. Each person received a card at the beginning of each presentation. The answers to those questions are being submitted via this document.
  42. What happens to the current curriculum if it is replaced by AVID?
    1. The AVID curriculum supplements the current curriculum in use and offers strategies to be embedded across the content areas. There will be no change in the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards.
  43. Where are the AVID classes being taught?
    1. Oxford Intermediate, Oxford Middle and Oxford High School
  44. Who teaches the AVID classes?
    1. The AVID Elective class is taught by AVID-trained teachers.
  45. How do you plan to address the bottom 25 percent?
    1. See the response to Question #34.
  46. This program seems to address the bubble students. It has a focus on social skills.
    1. The AVID College Readiness System Curriculum Standards cover a variety of skills which include: character development, communication, writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, reading, and college preparedness.
  47. Is there evidence that the AVID program improves students’ reading comprehension?
    1. Because AVID is a college-readiness system, there are components that support improved student reading comprehension when used with fidelity. AVID is not a reading comprehension intervention.
  48. Is there evidence that AVID students are more likely to graduate from an accredited post-secondary institution?
    1. AVID has data to support that 85 percent of graduates persist into Year 2, which is higher than the national average.
  49. How do you remove the stigma (negative) that is associated with the AVID program?
    1. See the response to Question #11.
  50. How are the students identified and encouraged to participate in AVID?
    1. See Question #1 regarding how students are identified. Encouragement for application can be done through parent involvement meetings, staff meetings, awareness sessions, college nights, and by keeping applications readily available in key locations in the school.
  51. I always go to the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) for research on literacy components and I don’t see that there is any improvement in comprehension with a controlled study using AVID. I don’t see anything in the Path to Graduation category in WWC. Shouldn’t an AVID program be submitted to WWC?
    1. Further information and research is needed.

The mission of the Oxford School District is to challenge every student to reach his or her maximum potential, thereby
developing highly educated, responsible, college or career ready citizens who will take an active role in society.