Martinsville Middle School hosts AVID Showcase

December 5, 2022

State and national AVID representatives and regional educators at Martinsville Middle School recently to learn about how MMS is implementing AVID learning strategies school-wide to improve student success.

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is an academic support program designed to increase school-wide 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 MMS 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 small groups.

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 affected them.

“AVID is like a second home to me,” one student said, speaking to 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 remarked on how impressed AVID staff were with what they saw at MMS. “You can see the passion, the accountability, as well as the (AVID) system,” he said.

“Being successful is never surprising,” MCPS Superintendent Dr. Zebedee Talley, who sits on AVID’s National Superintendents Executive Board, remarked at the meeting. “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 we do.”

“In our district, we have seen the positive impact that AVID strategies have on individual students and entire buildings,” said MCPS Director of Humanities and Advanced Programs Cary Wright. “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 pandemic.

“We were thrilled to share our middle school successes with regional colleagues so they could see that AVID really works,” Wright continued.

"Our Martinsville City Public Schools family is excited about being a part of the National AVID Organization,” Talley remarked 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."