SOUTH WHITTIER – South Whittier’s Monte Vista Elementary School is setting the foundation for student achievement as the District’s only elementary school to incorporate instructional and learning strategies at the core of one of the country’s foremost college readiness programs – AVID.
This is the second year Monte Vista, a fourth- through sixth-grade elementary school, has been using strategies developed by the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, including notetaking and academic organizational skills, to promote a college-ready culture.
“AVID has reinvigorated our teachers who are learning new ways to instruct and provided students the necessary skills to continue to grow and learn,” Principal Andrea Larios said. “When students move on to Graves Middle School, an AVID National Demonstration site, they are foundationally stronger because they are familiar with the program’s expectations. This means they not only excel personally, but they go on to be mentors for other students and teach the strategies that made them successful.”
More than half of Monte Vista teachers are trained in AVID strategies, which are designed to help students improve their critical thinking skills and learn time management, organization and goal-setting as they prepare for the rigors of higher education.
“With students who struggle the most, it is often a case of disorganization – not being able to find paper or a pencil, for example,” said sixth-grade teacher Olegario Acosta. “With the organization and structure that AVID provides, students are able to build a plan for the week to help them stay on track. It is a great feeling for the students when they can find everything they need and know what’s happening in class.”
Teachers regularly use instructional techniques that promote inquiry, critical thinking and in-class discussions, ensuring students, including English learners, gain a thorough understanding of assignments, homework and projects.
As part of notetaking, students are required to take copious, detailed notes to be used as study guides. Students also have binders, an organizational tool that is checked weekly.
Administrators hope to incorporate the program at Los Altos Elementary School, a TK-3 campus that is adjacent to Monte Vista. Plans also include having sixth-graders serve as mentors to the younger learners.
“By incorporating AVID at the elementary level, we are setting the foundation for our students’ success in middle school, high school and higher education,” Superintendent Gail Baxter said. “Our educators are constantly finding ways to improve the quality of education we offer and we are excited to continue incorporating programs that result in increased academic excellence for all students.”