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Nicollet Middle School teacher, AVID coordinator Amy Smalley: How AVID imparts skills students use to be successful

Nicollet Middle School teacher, AVID coordinator Amy Smalley: How AVID imparts skills students use to be successful


amy smalley

District 191 is dedicated to ensuring student success, and one way we achieve this is through our schoolwide AVID programs. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, allows students to move forward and succeed to their fullest potential. Success is not just about talent, but about determination, hard work and a willingness to reach for your goals.

The AVID schoolwide program is designed to help all students achieve their academic potential, regardless of socio-economic background or previous learning difficulties. 

We aim to equip students with the tools and strategies needed to excel in their studies and develop strong reading and writing skills. We teach students:

  • how to organize ideas, time and materials, 
  • how to set goals with action steps,
  • how to ask questions and always be open to new learning, 
  • how to work well with others,
  • how to write to learn and also learn to write with a purpose and audience in mind, 
  • and how to read to learn in a variety of texts.

In addition to the AVID schoolwide program, District 191 offers an AVID elective class, which provides students with an opportunity to go even further in their academic pursuits. Students interested in this program can apply through an application process that takes into account their grades, behavior, attendance and test scores, as well as a teacher recommendation.

Students in the AVID elective class benefit from a strong sense of community within the classroom. They learn a range of team-building activities, work collaboratively with their peers and overcome obstacles that may have otherwise impeded their progress. They are also provided with many leadership opportunities, including being selected to attend the AVID Summer Institute as student ambassadors or giving tours to groups or families visiting our schools.

Our AVID program has been widely recognized for its exceptional achievements. All our schools have been recognized as Sites of Distinction by AVID, and Nicollet Middle School has been acknowledged as a National Demonstration School – one of only ten in the entire state.

As a district, we are invested in helping all our students achieve their full potential and are proud of the outstanding progress our AVID program has made. So whether your child is part of our AVID schoolwide program or joins the AVID elective class, we are confident they will thrive in a learning environment that values determination, hard work, and academic excellence.