Students in the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and the Boys & Girls Club’s Teens of Promise (TOPS) programs are graduating high school and attending college at higher rates, enrolling in more AP and honors courses and missing less days of school, according to new analysis of the program completed by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab.
“As we work to ensure that every child graduates ready for college, career and community, AVID/TOPS positions many of our students for success,” Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “We are so grateful to all of our AVID staff and the Boys and Girls Club for this partnership, which continues to show consistently positive results for our students.”
New this year, the HOPE Lab’s analysis also included college attendance data. Districtwide, 73% of students who had any exposure to AVID/TOPS in high school attended college, compared to 62% of students who did not. Of students who were in AVID/TOPS for all four years of high school, 83% attended college.
“Through our partnership with MMSD, we have worked to ensure students of color and those from low-income households are college-ready, enroll in college and graduate from college at the same rates as white students. AVID/TOPS is making a difference in the lives of students by putting them on a path to realize their greatest potential,” said Michael Johnson, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County.
AVID is a college readiness system that includes an elective course focused on organizational strategies, study skills, critical thinking, tutorial support, and career and college awareness. In MMSD, AVID is partnered with the TOPS program through the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. TOPS provides full-time student coordinators in each of the four high schools, summer internships, after-school mentors, funding for more than 40 tutors during the elective course, and a variety of college and career field trips.
The program started in 2007 at East High School with 28 students. It is now in 11 of the district’s middle schools and the four traditional high schools, serving more than 1200 students. As the program has expanded, there have been consistently positive results.
“Improving college-going rates among marginalized students is difficult work. We are pleased that the AVID/TOPS program appears to be an effective approach and that the team is committed to rigorously and consistently evaluating it for improvement,” said Sara Goldrick-Rab, Founding Director of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab.