A college-readiness program is proving beneficial in the La Crosse School District.
The program is called AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.
Implementing a new teaching and learning program has many costs that can cause challenges when schools want to fully incorporate the program. The La Crosse School District believed so much in this national program they began fundraising in mid-2014. The La Crosse Public Education Foundation has been helping.
Avid has proven itself already in its short time in the schools it has been started in. It is designed primarily for students from low income families, and others who are traditionally under-represented in college enrollment and graduation rates. After just one year students at Central and Logan in AVID classes were on track to graduate, had higher average GPA's and better attendance than non-AVID students and began looking into higher education..
At a press conference today where officials for the school district announced a huge financial fundraising achievement, staff and students gathered to thank donors and share why the AVID program means so much to them. Sally Manninger, a Junior at La Crosse Central High School said, "It builds confidence in us. I don't know if I have that superb confidence that everyone is talking about, but I feel like I'm getting better at it. It has started a fire in me. The question is no longer will we go to college, it's where we'll go to college. So i would just like to thank everyone here for allowing me to begin the journey to achieve my dreams."
Andrea Kramer, an AVID Elective Teacher at Logan High School shared her sentiments as well saying that the AVID environment creates an atmosphere of support for the students. She said that twice a week, "Students bring an academic problem that they have worked through to discover their point of confusion. They bring that point of confusion to class and they present it to their classmates, and the classmates can only ask them questions to help them find the answer, so it's not a typical, I need help, can you show me the answer?' It's I need help, can you help me find my own answer?' She continued, "That higher-level thinking skill is something absolutely critical to a 4-year college student, and as we teach them that as Freshman and Sophomores they internalize that skill and they are able to carry that into their other classes and into their everyday thinking. In fact sometimes we even do life-problems, like how can I apply this tutorial process to my life?"
The La Crosse school district estimated the cost of implementing AVID at around $200,000.
Fundraising began in 2014 with a $125,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation of St. Paul. The La Crosse Community Foundation provided a $30,000 grant and The Robert and Eleanor Franke Foundation pledged a gift of $25,000 if the Education Foundation raised $45,000 from other local sources including; Dahl Family Foundation, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Festival Foods, Fowler & Hammer Fund, Gundersen Health System, Kwik Trip, Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare, Rotary Works Foundation, Russell and Vera Smith Foundation, State Bank Financial, and nearly 50 other private individuals who made financial gifts..
The La Crosse Public Education Foundation announced that they have helped raise $230,000 for the AVID program.