Iowa City Community School District Receives $310,000 Commitment from ACT to Implement AVID Program
The Iowa City Community School District announced a three-year, $310,000 commitment from ACT to introduce an innovative, classroom-focused program designed to improve college readiness for all students, particularly low-income, minority, and first-generation students pursuing higher education. ACT is introducing the initiative within Iowa City, its hometown headquarters, to celebrate its 60th anniversary as a nonprofit focused on improving global educational outcomes.
The program, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), offers teaching techniques and activities that educators can incorporate into their classrooms. Instructional practices focus on how material is taught, while aligning to individual school district goals.
In addition, AVID helps schools by providing customized support, instructional technology, and data tracking best practices, planning guides, and self-assessments to measure their success and enable them to refine their approach.
The District began incorporating AVID programming at Kirkwood Elementary School during the 2016–17 school year. This was the first elementary school in the state of Iowa to have the college prep program. From there, the program was expanded to Alexander and Weber elementary schools and Northwest Junior High School. In addition to future expansion at the elementary and junior high levels, the program will be fully implemented at the high school level beginning with the 2019–20 school year.
“We are incredibly grateful for the commitment that ACT has made to the students in our District,” said Superintendent Stephen Murley. “This commitment will allow us to sustain the AVID programming currently in our schools and expand the programming to reach even more students. We have already seen incredible results, and now we can continue our work to close the opportunity gap, while increasing the college and career readiness of all students.”
“ACT has been an incredible partner to the Iowa City area schools and has helped us initiate some of our most innovative programming,” said Executive Director of the ICCSD Foundation Susan Brennan. “We simply would not be able to move forward affecting as many students as quickly as possible without support like theirs. Our deepest gratitude to ACT for helping us implement the AVID programming so we can continue to make progress on one of the most important goals we have, closing the achievement gap amongst our learners.”
The AVID program is currently operated by 6,800 schools nationwide, reaching two million students. It serves elementary, secondary, and higher education by teaching age-appropriate academic skills, with the goal of supporting students’ educational paths to college and career readiness. Teachers shift from the traditional approach of delivering content to facilitating learning, resulting in an inquiry-based, student-centric classroom.
“ACT’s support of AVID provides an effective and sizeable program that can roll out in all ICCSD schools and serve all students,” said ACT CEO Marten Roorda. “ACT is proud to support the schools in the region where we are headquartered, with a program that is consistent with our mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success.”
The District serves more than 14,000 students and is the fifth largest school district in the state of Iowa. The district provides 17 preschool sites, 20 elementary schools, three junior high schools, three high schools, and one alternative high school.
ACT is active in bettering the local community, including support of the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County, and the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, headquartered in Iowa City.
“We believe that community collaboration between employers and local organizations is essential for local economic and social well-being,” said Roorda. “The quality of local education is one of the factors attracting talent to work and live in the area.”
AVID CEO Dr. Sandy Husk agreed. “AVID’s proven achievement in helping students attain and persist in college is one of the very best gifts an organization can give back to its home community,” said Husk. “AVID students outpace the national average for college enrollment, even though 85 percent of our students are minorities and 74 percent have low socioeconomic status. ACT understands the AVID Effect, and we are thrilled they are so generously supporting our work in Iowa City.”