O. Henry Middle School



AVID is the acronym for Advancement Via individual Determination: AVID is a college preparatory course whose mission is “to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.”

At O. Henry, we offer 6th, 7th, and 8th grade AVID classes taught by Jessica Dillenberger and Macie Cohen. Students can take AVID all three years and have the option to continue into high school for further college readiness support, including standardized test preparation and application support.


· students who want to attend college (a four-year university) after high school

· students who are willing to learn new skills that will support their success

· students who would like support in organization, public speaking, leadership, taking effective notes, effectively studying, self-advocacy, and working collaboratively

· students who are motivated and care about their academic performance


We learn college readiness skills and strategies that will help us maintain success both now and throughout college using the AVID Curriculum (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading – referred to as WICOR). We embed higher order thinking skills in each activity. We use Socratic Seminars, Philosophical Chairs, Four Corner Debates, jigsaws, and many other best practice strategies to challenge and defend our thinking/learning.

Twice a week, we bring high-level questions that we have from any of our core classes. We use these questions to have in-class (free) tutorials/study groups with AVID trained college tutors who assist us in the process of finding solutions to our questions. We work together because that’s how learning happens best. We don’t give away answers, but rather pose more questions to help our peers solidify their own learning.

In AVID we focus on the ABCs of organization to help build good habits. The A is for Agenda. We use our agenda to set SMART goals, to reflect on our learning from each class, and to keep organized on what’s coming up and/or needs to be turned in. The B is for Binders and Backpacks. We take time to clean out our backpacks and file away loose papers to help stay organized and on top of our work – especially homework. The C is our class notes. We take notes in all our core classes and use AVID’s focused notes system to help find points of confusion, clarify understanding, and summarize main ideas.

We also incorporate a variety of college and career readiness activities including college campus visits, guest speakers, PSAT practice, community service, team building activities, and leadership opportunities.


· Every potential AVID student should complete the AVID application. Applications are accepted all year, but students are only enrolled in August and January. You can fill out the application online here: https://forms.gle/faDaoS2CxAh5J8d59

· In January and February, you will be selecting classes for the new school year. You can express your interest by selecting AVID as #1, #2, or #3 on your choice sheet. If you’ve already returned the choice sheet, step 1 still works.

· You will participate in an interview. Be sure to let the teacher or counselor know you’re genuinely interested and be able to explain why you want to be in the class.


AVID is more than a class. It is a family of achievers. We work together to help each other reach our aspirations. For more information about AVID, email the coordinator, Michael Shackelford at michael.shackelford@austinisd.org or visit the national website at www.avid.org.