For the High School Graduation Initiative Program. Proposals are due on July 28, 2010



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AVID Center

Overview: The High School Graduation Initiative Program
On June 22, 2010 the U.S. Department of Education published the Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for the High School Graduation Initiative Program. Proposals are due on July 28, 2010.
The High School Graduation Initiative (HSGI) program awards five-year grants to State educational agencies (SEAs), school districts and other local educational agencies (LEAs) to support "scientifically based, sustainable, and widely replicated strategies for school dropout prevention and reentry." These may include effective early intervention programs designed to identify and serve students who are at-risk of dropping out and effective programs to identify and encourage youth who have already dropped out of school to reenter school and complete their secondary education. Grant funds also can be used for comprehensive reform approaches, creating alternative school programs, and developing clear linkages to career skills and employment. The program serves students in grades 6-12.
Each school included in an application must meet the following criteria:


  • It is a high school that, using data from the current or most recently completed school year, has an annual dropout rate that is higher than the State annual dropout rate, or




  • It is a middle school that feeds students into schools that have annual school dropout rates that are above the State average annual school dropout rate.

Applicants must identify the specific schools that will receive project services. There is no limit to the number of schools that can be included in an application.


Grants will be awarded for a period of up to 60 months. Funding is awarded on a yearly basis and is contingent upon the demonstration of substantial progress toward meeting project goals and objectives each year and the availability of future funding.
The maximum amount allowed for any grant is $3,000,000 per year. Estimated average size is $900,000 per year. No cost sharing or matching is required. However, HSGI grant funds must be used only to supplement, and not supplant, other non-Federal funds that are available to implement effective, sustainable, and coordinated dropout prevention and re-entry programs. The U.S. Department of Education anticipates awarding 35-50 new grant awards. The Department may fund down the slate from this competition for 2011 grants under this program.
The following pages include an overview of priorities and selection criteria for the HSGI program; how AVID can help you address the absolute priorities and selection criteria; background on AVID and its impact on students; and contact information to learn more about AVID.


HSGI Program Overview


Absolute Priorities: There are two absolute priorities that you must meet to get funded:


  • Absolute Priority 1: Effective Early Identification, Prevention, and Intervention Programs.

This priority supports projects that propose to establish, enhance, or expand effective early intervention programs designed to identify at-risk students and prevent such students from dropping out of school and effective programs to identify and encourage youth who have already dropped out of school to reenter school and complete their secondary education.


  • Absolute Priority 2: Collaboration with Other Agencies.

Under this priority, an applicant must include in its application evidence that other public or private entities will be involved in, or provide financial support for, the implementation of the activities described in the application. Applicants may involve such State agencies as those responsible for administering postsecondary education, Title I of the Workforce Investment Act, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, foster care, juvenile justice, and others. Applicants also may collaborate with business and industry, civic organizations, foundations, and community- and faith-based organizations, among other private-sector entities. Acceptable evidence of collaboration is a memorandum of understanding or other document signed by the principal officer of each participating agency that identifies (1) how the agency will be involved in the implementation of the project or (2) the financial resources (cash or in-kind) that it will contribute to support the project, or both.
There are no competitive priorities in this grant program.
The maximum score for a grant application under this program is 100 points. The grant selection criteria and points assigned to each include:


  1. Need for the Project: The extent to which the proposed project will target secondary schools serving students in grades 6 through 12 that have the highest annual school dropout rates or the middle schools that feed students into those secondary schools (10 points).




  1. Quality of Project Services: The quality and sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability (5 points).




  1. The likely effectiveness, based on research, data, and the needs of the target population, to implement the proposed project, of

    • The early intervention programs that the proposed project will implement to identify at-risk students, based on data; and

    • The dropout prevention programs that the proposed project will carry out (15 points);




  1. The extent to which the proposed project is likely to be effective, based on research, data, and the needs of the target population, in identifying and assisting youth who have already dropped out of school to reenter school and complete their secondary education (25 points);




  1. The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project are appropriate to the needs of the intended recipients or beneficiaries of those services (5 points);




  1. The extent to which the activities to be assisted conform with research knowledge about school dropout prevention and reentry (10 points); and




  1. The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project involve the collaboration and commitment of appropriate partners for maximizing the effectiveness of project services (7 points).




  1. Quality of the Management Plan.




    1. The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including the extent to which the plan clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of each agency and its key personnel and establishes detailed timelines and milestones for accomplishing each of the project tasks (15 points); and




    1. The extent to which the time commitments of the project director and principal investigator and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project (3 points).



  1. Quality of Assessment of Project Effectiveness. In determining the quality of the applicant’s plan to assess the project’s effectiveness, we consider the extent to which the methods proposed by the applicant are sufficiently rigorous to determine the effectiveness of the project (5 points).



AVID Can be a Strong Collaborative Partner for the HSGI Program


AVID can help districts and States meet the absolute priorities of the grant:


  • AVID is an extensive teacher and student support system that can be an important component of effective early intervention and dropout prevention programs (Absolute Priority 1). AVID targets B, C and even D students in grades 4 through 12 who want to go to college but are not achieving at the level needed to reach that goal. AVID places these students in college preparatory classes (including honors and advanced placements classes), and then provides them a scaffold of social and academic structures to help them succeed. These structures include an AVID elective that helps motivate students as they develop career and educational goals and that teaches them study skills and college preparation; inquiry-driven problem solving to support achievement in rigorous academic classes; curriculum and inquiry-based teaching and learning methodologies that stress writing, reading and collaboration; and extensive professional development that prepares teachers and school leaders to implement the program. AVID helps students understand why they need to be in school (by learning about career options), what they need to learn to achieve their goals, and how to study and learn. Most importantly, AVID helps at-risk students develop a vision of their future that includes success in college, careers and in life.




  • AVID Center will be a private-sector collaborator with SEAs and LEAs to implement their project activities (Absolute Priority 2). AVID Center will provide training to school site teachers and district and school staff members to prepare them to implement that AVID program, and will provide ongoing coaching in AVID implementation.


AVID is an effective way to prevent students from dropping out of school and can help support young people who have already dropped out as they return to their education. The project design for these grants must address two key activities: Dropout prevention (15 points, selection criterion 2a); and Dropout recovery (25 points, selection criterion 2b).
Dropout Prevention. The What Works Clearinghouse maintained by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences makes six recommendations to reduce dropout rates. AVID presents an excellent way for districts to address these recommendations:


  1. Utilize data systems that support a realistic diagnosis of the number of students who drop out and that help identify individual students at high risk of dropping out.

Schools participating in AVID establish site teams that include teachers, administrators and staff. These site teams learn to utilize the data they have to analyze student achievement and identify students who need the academic and social support that AVID provides. The grant can help districts improve data systems as needed; AVID can help schools and districts learn to analyze the data to improve student graduation rates.




  1. Assign adult advocates to students at risk of dropping out.

Each student in AVID has an advocate in their AVID Elective teacher, who works closely with each student in the class, gets to know them well, and is able to advocate for them with the school and the district. AVID Center trains teachers to teach the AVID Elective and serve in this advocate role.




  1. Provide academic support and enrichment to improve academic performance.

The key components of the AVID program improve academic performance by providing academic support and enrichment. These components include:




  • The AVID Elective. Each participating middle school or high school student enrolls in an AVID elective course, which is a part of the student’s regular schedule. The course meets daily (or less often for longer periods if the school is on an alternative schedule). Two of the five class periods per week focus on academic training and college entry skills. On these days, students learn study skills, notetaking, time management, critical reading, library research, test preparation, essay writing, test-taking strategies and how to write college entrance essays and prepare for entrance exams. One of the five class periods each week focuses on career exploration, understanding the academic preparation required for career choices, and researching colleges. The final two class periods per week are spent in AVID tutorials, collaborative inquiry groups conducted by college and peer tutors trained in inquiry-based collaborative coaching techniques. Students participate in these tutorial groups to both support their success in their college preparation courses and to help develop the social support that comes from intense studying with classmates.




  • AVID Teaching Methodology. “AVID Methodology” is not about changing curriculum – it is about providing most students access to a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, and providing professional development teachers who learn proven strategies to better serve the learning needs of all students. The teaching methodologies most effective in this quest include Writing as a Tool for Learning; an Emphasis on Inquiry; a Collaborative Approach; and Reading to Learn (WICR).




  • AVID Curriculum. To provide teachers with the tools needed to support students in their academic achievement, the AVID program provides rigorous, sequential curriculum materials and extensive professional development to teams of teachers from participating schools. AVID provides “Write Path” curriculum materials and professional development in English Language Arts, Mathematics, History/Social Science, and science. Curriculum materials are available for Advanced Placement courses in all of these content areas. AVID also provides curriculum designed to support the teaching of critical reading and writing strategies to English Language Learners. The AVID Tutorial Support Curriculum Resource Guide helps teachers enhance the skills of tutors by modeling and practicing effective group strategies, higher-order questioning techniques, writing review and collaborative problem solving.




    • AVID Professional Development for School Site Teams. Each participating school forms an interdisciplinary team of content-area teachers, counselors and administrators to lead the implementation of the AVID program. The team sets quantifiable goals for school improvement based on site data. Intensive professional development is provided to members of the school team to prepare them to implement and expand the AVID program. AVID professional development activities include the AVID Summer Institute, a weeklong intensive training event attended by the entire site team; school site-based training sessions that focus on using the AVID Path series curriculum in content area courses; web-based seminars and online training courses on AVID principles and implementation; monthly site team meetings to reinforce the AVID training and develop the team’s leadership; and ongoing and sustained monitoring and coaching for the school site.




  1. Implement programs to improve students’ classroom behavior and social skills.

The AVID Elective is designed to improve student behavior and skills. Each participating middle school or high school student enrolls in an AVID elective course, which is a part of the student’s regular schedule. The course meets daily (or less often for longer periods if the school is on an alternative schedule). Two of the five class periods per week focus on academic training and college entry skills. On these days, students learn study skills, notetaking, time management, critical reading, library research, test preparation, essay writing, test-taking strategies and how to write college entrance essays and prepare for entrance exams. One of the five class periods each week focuses on career exploration, understanding the academic preparation required for career choices, and researching colleges. The final two class periods per week are spent in AVID tutorials, collaborative inquiry groups conducted by college and peer tutors trained in inquiry-based collaborative coaching techniques. Students participate in these tutorial groups to both support their success in their college preparation courses and to help develop the social support that comes from intense studying with classmates.




  1. Personalize the learning environment and instructional process.

AVID students get to know their AVID Elective teacher and fellow AVID students very well. AVID students work together in both structured learning activities inside the AVID Elective class and outside the class in study groups they form in their core content area classes. Knowing teachers and fellow students fosters a sense of belonging and provides social support for learning.




  1. Provide rigorous and relevant instruction to better engage students in learning and provide the skills needed to graduate and to serve them after they leave school.

AVID places students in college preparatory classes (including honors and advanced placements classes), and then provides them a scaffold of social and academic structures to help them succeed. AVID students become more engaged in school as they progress through the program. They develop an understanding of their postsecondary options, explore careers and set goals, and learn what it takes to achieve those goals. They learn about colleges, the college entrance process, costs and financial aid. AVID students develop the academic skills they need to complete high school and success in college.


Dropout Recovery. The American Youth Policy Forum convened a Dropout Recovery Discussion Group to help build understanding of the field and inform policymakers at the national, state, and local levels about dropout recovery and alternative education. The Discussion Group concluded that “we need to develop well-lit pathways back into various forms of education and employment training.” i

The Dropout Recovery Discussion Group concluded that a variety of options, both conventional and non-conventional, are needed to address the wide range of needs of students who have dropped out of school. Students who dropped out because they were not engaged in school may respond well to the academic and social supports provided by the AVID program.


Other youth who have dropped out of school may need alternative education options such as schools that can award credit based on demonstrated competency rather than seat time, community college programs (particularly for older out of school youth), and intensive programs that combine learning and work skills development (for example, the Job Corps and the Youth Service and Conservation Corps). States and school districts need to form collaborations with local youth-serving organizations and systems to reach and serve these students. Other collaborative partners may include local community colleges or the state’s community college system, Workforce Investment Boards, juvenile justice authorities and service agencies, other social service agencies, and a range of community-based organizations serving youth.


Background: The AVID Program

AVID has supported student achievement for almost 30 years. The AVID program has been adopted by over 4,500 schools in 46 states and 16 countries and U.S. Territories. AVID Center provides staff development for over 19,000 educators each year and serves more than 320,000 students annually.


AVID has proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase the likelihood that a young person who comes from a low-income family will graduate from high school and go on to enroll in postsecondary education with no need for remediation. Most AVID students are underrepresented minorities – about 50% are Hispanic (only 20% of all school-age children nationally are Hispanic), and 19% are African-American (compared to the national average of 15.3% of school-age children).ii Many of these students do not have a college-going tradition in their families.
AVID significantly closes the achievement gaps between groups of students. About 90% of AVID students complete course requirements for admission to a four-year college or university, compared to 36% nationally, and 34% in California. The proportions of AVID students who completed these course loads were nearly consistent for each sub-group of students (see table below), with a gap of only 4 percentage points from the highest performing to the lowest. That gap nationally is 25 percentage points, and in California it is 36 points.
Percentage of Students Completing Four-Year College Admission Requirements




AVID

California Overall

U.S. Overall

Native American

89%

26%

21%

Asian

93%

59%

46%

African American

91%

23%

25%

Hispanic

89%

23%

22%

White

89%

40%

39%

Total

90%

34%

36%

Underrepresented students participating in AVID are much more likely to take Advanced Placement (AP) tests; while only 6% of African American students across the U.S. take AP tests, 16% of African American AVID students do so; while 12% of the nation’s Hispanic students take AP tests, 52% of Hispanic AVID students take them. AVID also increases student achievement through high school graduation. A project tracking AVID students in Texas found that 98% of the students who had completed three or more years of AVID graduated from high school with a recommended or distinguished diploma; only 81% of the students not in AVID graduated from high school with more than the minimum level diploma. Students with 3 or more years of AVID were more likely to enroll in higher education the fall after graduating high school (65% vs. 53% for students without AVID) and return for a second year of college (54% for AVID students, 46% for other students).iii


The academic success of AVID students helps close the achievement gap in other ways as well:iv


  • AVID students are much more likely to take algebra in eighth grade – 51% of grade 8 AVID students compared to 22% nationwide. Students who take algebra in eighth grade are prepared for more advanced coursework in math and science in high school. They also are more likely to attend and graduate from college than are eighth graders who do not take algebra.




  • AVID opens access to Advanced Placement courses for minority students. The proportion of Hispanic students taking AP exams is almost five times higher among AVID students (at 57%) than among U.S. students overall (12%).




  • AVID students are more likely to graduate from high school. In California, for example, 99.5% of high school seniors in AVID graduate from high school, compared to only 82.4% of all high school seniors statewide. In Texas, over 95% of high school seniors in AVID graduate, compared to 89.9% of all high school seniors statewide.




  • Minority students who participate in AVID are much more likely to enroll in a four-year college. Over half (55%) of the AVID African-American students who participated in AVID for three years enrolled in four-year colleges, compared to a national average of 33%, and 43% of the Latino students who participated in AVID enrolled in four-year colleges, compared to the national average of 29%.




  • AVID students are more likely to persist in their college studies. Once they enter college, most AVID students (80%) stay continuously enrolled, despite having to work as well as attend school. Their persistence is much higher than average for low-income and underrepresented college students in community colleges and universities nationwide – over 50% of public community college students drop out before completing a degree, and about 40% of public university students never complete their degrees. v


AVID creates a college-going culture that drives whole school reform and helps prevent dropouts. Although AVID was originally developed to meet the needs of underachieving ethnic and linguistic minority and low-income students, its implementation at a site often results in the complete transformation of the academic, college-going culture of the school. As AVID grows and becomes embedded in the school, teacher belief systems change. This supports whole school change. Students from all backgrounds begin attaining higher levels of achievement. AVID helps reform schools because it confronts a fundamental systemic issue: the de facto tracking that tends to keep low income and minority students out of college preparatory programs and which results in lower levels of academic achievement. AVID offers an effective way to address these challenges:


  1. AVID accelerates under-achieving students into more rigorous courses, instead of consigning them to remedial programs that do not fulfill the prerequisites for college.




  1. AVID incorporates the intensive support students need to succeed in rigorous courses. At the elementary level, it is an embedded sequential academic skills program intended for non-elective, multi-subject, self-contained classrooms, and starts the college-going culture early in the students’ academic life. At the middle and high school level, additional support is formally structured into the academic AVID elective and is intensive – AVID classes meet every day and students apply AVID study methods in every class. Support also is continuous: AVID students are required to participate for at least three years in high school, and the ideal is to remain in the AVID program from the upper elementary grades through high school.




  1. AVID addresses instructional methods as well as access. AVID classes incorporate a collegial approach and Socratic methods that specifically target the needs of underachieving students. AVID also incorporates practices such as inquiry-based, collaborative study groups that help students become independent learners. All AVID strategies are based on research on best practices and the influences of peer groups in student achievement.




  1. AVID trains content area teachers in instructional methodologies that meet the learning needs of a broad range of students in rigorous content classes. AVID provides ongoing teacher coaching and follow-up to embed the training in teachers’ classroom practices.




  1. AVID works to influence the college-ready culture of the entire school. AVID incorporates and gives life to an explicit belief system: that low income and minority students can achieve at high levels and succeed in college. This philosophical underpinning and the success of AVID help to change the expectations that teachers and students throughout a school have of disadvantaged and minority students. AVID makes the success of under-achieving students a schoolwide issue and leads to significant changes in course assignment policies, instructional methods, and school culture that contribute to their success.




  1. AVID is a schoolwide initiative, not a school within a school. AVID addresses many aspects of the education system. The role of teacher is redefined from lecturer to advocate and guide. The role of counselor changes from gatekeeper to facilitator. The school-based peer group for AVID students becomes one that values achievement. AVID provides the academic training necessary for success in rigorous curriculum.




  1. AVID incorporates something badly needed by schools and teachers engaged in the daunting task of reform: strong collegial support. Each AVID site team is based on the notion that the success of students is a shared responsibility. As staff work together throughout the year as well as at Summer Institutes and regional events, they encourage and inspire one another. National and regional AVID centers facilitate this network by sharing information about successful practices and sponsoring training.




  1. AVID promotes continuous improvement in schools. The AVID Certification program documents and recognizes schools that have fully and successfully implemented the AVID model, and serves as a continuous improvement process. The AVID Certification process includes a school site self-study followed by a site visit. Schools incorporate the findings of their self-study and certification site visit in their ongoing site development plan.


AVID has a positive impact on Leadership Effectiveness. Since AVID's inception in 1980, leadership training has been a key area of focus in order to promote college readiness across an entire campus. AVID Center provides professional development for site and district administrators, AVID Secondary and Elementary teachers, counselors, content area teachers, and administrators through a wide variety of training sessions throughout the school year and at AVID Center's Summer Institutes.
Current AVID Center Leadership efforts include:
AVID District Leadership (ADL): AVID Center works with over 800 school districts in 45 states. ADL training is required of the district leader who oversees AVID. ADL training offers on-site visits, training, and facilitation to help district leaders build local capacity for implementing, sustaining and constantly improving quality AVID programs in their schools. District leaders are supported in efforts to monitor the quality of AVID elective and elementary classes, implement the AVID Essentials, and promote schoolwide college readiness.
Principals' Leadership Academy: In partnership with the Flippen Learning Group, AVID Center offers a year-long (19 days) training focused at developing principals' relational capacity, understanding of college readiness factors, as well as the systems, tools and strategies to lead their schools to greatness. Principals participate as a cohort and maintain communication electronically between face-to-face sessions.
Leadership for College Readiness - Administrator Training: These two-day trainings are designed for participants to actively participate in assessing the structures, processes, and systems needed to create "Culturally Gifted Schools" and "College Ready" cultures on their campuses. Participants take a case study of a hypothetical school and begin the process of building a mission, vision, and core principles for that school. Participants begin the process of learning how to operationally define their campuses.
AVID National Conference: AVID Center will offer superintendents, district leaders, principals, teacher-leaders, counselors and school board members an opportunity to develop and craft a plan to close the achievement gap; a plan that is cost-effective, proven, and easy to replicate.
Participants engage in dialogue, presentations, and sessions from practitioners currently engaged in college-readiness efforts. They will hear from superintendents, site administrators, teachers, students, and researchers regarding:

  • Access to rigorous curriculum for all

  • Strategies to help African American male and English-language learner students navigate their educational path to college

  • Strategies for closing the gender gap

  • Schoolwide and districtwide tactics for closing the achievement gap and increasing college-readiness

  • Parent and community involvement in college-readiness efforts

  • Leveraging AVID strategies across the curriculum

Most jobs in the U.S. that offer earnings above a living wage require good English language and math skills and at least one year of postsecondary education. AVID provides preparation for any type of postsecondary education that requires strong academic foundations – a four-year college, a two-year college, or a shorter certificate or training program – without the need for academic remediation.


Once implemented, AVID can be sustained without significant ongoing expenditures. AVID Center’s structures and services are designed to support the sustainability of your district’s broader and deeper implementation of the program:


  • AVID Center provides a comprehensive training and support structure to prepare a district staff member to coordinate the AVID program.




  • AVID can be implemented by a school’s current staff members. AVID Center will train a school’s existing FTE teachers to implement the AVID instructional model and scaffold of supports.




  • AVID Center has the capacity to ramp up training quickly. With more than 500 experienced trainers, AVID Center is ready to conduct AVID Path training at your district sites.




  • AVID Center launches training through Summer Institutes across the nation. AVID Summer Institutes provide valuable collaboration time for district and school site teachers and staff.




  • AVID Center can support your district with comprehensive strategies to support students who are English Language Learners and African American male students in AVID.



AVID Center Contact Information

For more information, please contact:



California Division
Julie Elliott, California Director

9246 Lightwave Avenue, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92123


Phone: (858) 380-4778
Email: jelliott@avidcenter.org
Central Division
Rosemary Ellis, Central Division Director

8303 N. Mopac Expressway, Suite C250, Austin, TX 78759


Phone: (512) 669-5900
Email: rellis@avidcenter.org
Eastern Division
Ann Hart, Eastern Division Director

3 Corporate Boulevard, Suite 118, Atlanta, GA 30329


Phone: (404) 963-9300
Email: ahart@avidcenter.org
Western Division
Karen Lewis, Western Division Director

5889 Greenwood Plaza Blvd, Suite 210, Greenwood Village, CO 80111


Phone: (303) 436-2200
Email: klewis@avidcenter.org
AVID Center Headquarters
Granger Ward, Executive Vice President

9246 Lightwave Avenue, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92123


Phone: (858) 380-4781
Email: gward@avidcenter.org


References

i AYPF Dropout Recovery Discussion Group, Report and Policy Recommendations, page 2. Download from www.aypf.org/projects/dropoutrecovery.htm.


ii U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, October Supplement.


iii Stoever, C. (2010). Tracking Secondary AVID Students into Higher Education. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Presentation at AVID Postsecondary Informational Meeting, March 2, 2010.


iv AVID Center Data Collection System (2008). http://reports.avidcenter.org for AVID data

California Department of Education (2008) www.cde.ca.gov for statewide data.

CREATE (2000). Longitudinal Research on AVID 1999-2000. Burlingame, CA.

CREATE (2002). The Magnificent Eight: AVID Best Practices Study. Burlingame, CA.



Mehan, H. et. al, (1996). Constructing School Success: The Consequences of Untracking Low Achieving Students. New York: Cambridge University Press.


v U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1996/01 Beginning Postsecondary Longitudinal Study (BPS: 96/01).




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