The La Crosse School District said it's their goal to make sure their students are prepared to be successful in college. Now thanks to two generous community grants, its able to kick-start a program that will help with just that.
The AVID program, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, teaches students to be critical thinkers and boost reading, writing, inquiry and organization skills.
AVID costs about $200,000 to start up for the first three years, but educators said it has a proven track record to teach students the skills they need for success.
"Our investment today is a down-payment to help future generations in La Crosse have equal opportunity at the American dream,” said David Stoeffler, executive director for the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.
Thanks to two grants – $125,000 from the Otto Bremer Foundation and $30,000 from the La Crosse Community Foundation – the La Crosse School District is able to implement AVID.
"AVID will raise the achievement for all students and close the gaps,” said Central High School Principal Jeff Fleig.
A recent AVID study shows 93 percent of program students completed college entrance requirements, 76 percent were accepted into a four-year college and 89 percent of students who started college, were still in school two years later.
"The hidden middle in school. We sometimes have forgot about it in terms of really supporting them to make them college ready,” Fleig said.
"Getting into college is one thing,” Stoeffler said. “Succeeding in college is another thing.”
According to the La Crosse School District, 58 percent of students enrolled in college after the 2012-2013 school year. Educators are hoping that percentage increases once the AVID program is implemented.
Fleig said it takes about three years to see the effects of AVID, so freshman and sophomores will be the targets of the program.
Getting used to the heat of the classroom takes time, but educators hope AVID opens doors for La Crosse students.