The First AVID Summer Institute
In 1986, when AVID founder Mary Catherine Swanson was asked to share her teaching methodologies with San Diego county-wide schools, she codified and organized the curriculum she had developed over the years. This notebook became the basis for the on-site professional development she conducted at the six high schools then implementing AVID. In February of 1987, with the addition of eleven more high schools, she gathered the AVID coordinators from all the high schools for monthly professional development meetings.In 1987-1989 the state of California provided professional development monies for Mary Catherine to pull together monthly AVID site teams from 17 high schools for subject specific training in AVID pedagogy. By the fall of 1988, site professional development monies were declining, and Mary Catherine could no longer hold the monthly AVID and subject area sessions she had conducted in the past. This situation was the impetus for the first AVID Summer Institute of 1989.
The institute would cost less money, since sites would not have to hire substitutes in order for teachers to participate. Mary Catherine was able to obtain money from the California Department of Education to partially support the institute, the San Diego County Office of Education provided some funds, and teachers were asked to pay a registration fee of $45. The staff developers for the first institute were those who had been conducting the previous monthly trainings. Most were district level curriculum specialists and had taught AVID. This group attended monthly after-school preparation for the institute and helped with the logistics of the conference. They were paid a stipend of $1,200 for the conference week and were responsible for providing high quality materials for their strands.
The staff development strands offered were: Collegial Leadership for those who had already gone through one or two years of AVID coordinator training, New-to-AVID for coordinators without prior training, and subject area strands in English, history, science, mathematics, and foreign language. The first institute, available only to San Diego County educators, was held at the University of San Diego, with a seating capacity of 258 for general group sessions. Mary Catherine required that all participants submit an application to attend, outlining their interest in the training, the demographics of their school sites, and their capacity for leadership following the training. Each participant was provided with a binder of materials specific to his or her school and subject. Notes from the institute indicate that the materials cost $100 per person to produce.
In addition to the strands, the institute featured two general sessions with keynote speakers, including former AVID students who were now teachers in area schools. Four break-out afternoon sessions were offered, demonstrating writing-for-learning strategies across the curriculum. Other afternoon sessions were site team meetings, during which interdisciplinary school teams used specific site disaggregated student performance data as the impetus to create action plans for the coming school year.
The institute began Monday morning and closed at noon on Saturday when the participants presented skits regarding what they had learned during the week. Following the institute, quarterly after-school sessions were held during which the institute trainers facilitated follow-up opportunities. Summer participants reflected about how the institute strategies were being carried out, and they developed new AVID strategies for their classrooms. These "lessons" were added to the AVID Handbook and Curriculum Guide.