"Study: AVID/TOPS students more likely to enroll in college than similar peers" (Capital Times, October 2019)
What it is
AVID/TOPS is a partnership between the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. The initiative works with high school students to prepare them for college. The program offers tutoring, mentorship and paid summer internships in addition to eligibility for college scholarships. It is modeled on two successful initiatives that produce college enrollment rates of over 95%.
AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination)
The classroom component, used in over 4,000 schools nationwide, is a four-year elective class with rigorous standards and strong academic support. AVID levels the playing field for minority, low-income and other students without a college tradition in their families. It is for all students, but targets those in the academic middle. It is a direct support structure for first-generation college-goers. With the AVID curriculum, students learn study skills, Cornell note-taking and other academic note taking strategies, time management, organization, test readiness, critical thinking, writing to learn and group study skills.
TOPS (Teens of Promise)
The outside-the-classroom component emphasizes college preparatory activities and real-world experiences.
Who it's for
First generation college students
Underrepresented minority students
Highly motivated students
Students in the academic middle with the potential to excel in rigorous curriculum
Students with positive behavior and good attendance
Students with fluctuating grades due to inconsistent study habits or poor study skills
Students who plan to attend a college or university upon graduation
have GPAs from 2.0-3.5
have the desire and willingness to go to college
are capable of completing a rigorous program, but fall short of their potential
will typically be the first in their family to go to college
many students are from low income or minority families
100% accepted to 2- or 4-year colleges
100% enter college immediately after high school graduation
AVID's mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.
"East High School’s AVID College Prep Program Recognized as National Model" (Madison 365, October 2016)
East High School has been validated as a National AVID Demonstration School, a distinction given only to the top 2% of schools implementing the college prep program across the country. East High serves as a national teaching and learning center for the implementation of AVID.
“Not only is East High’s AVID/TOPS program making a difference for our students, but it is also a national model for success,” Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “Congratulations to the staff and students at East and our partners at the Boys & Girls Club who have made this program successful.”
Students in the AVID/TOPS program in MMSD are achieving higher GPAs, enrolling in more advanced placement courses, and scoring higher on tests, according to a recent analysis of the programs provided by the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE).
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as a demonstration school,” East High Principal Mary Kelley said. “We are proud of our AVID/TOPS program and our school as a whole. Our mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and career, and AVID/TOPS has been critical in helping us move forward.”