The flagship group at the high school includes about 20 incoming ninth-grade students who were selected for the program through an application and interview process. Many of these participants will be first-generation college students. While not all students will be direct members of the AVID program, the intention is that all students will benefit from AVID strategies and techniques. At this time there are seven WSHS teachers directly trained in the AVID program, representing math, science, social studies, language arts, and world language.
There are five key areas of focus in the AVID program: Writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading. The development of these critical skill areas is the heart of the AVID philosophy, and is intended to help students learn at increasingly complex levels both in the classroom and beyond.
Students who are enrolled in the full program will also benefit from a daily course called "AVID Elective," which will be facilitated by teacher Shannon Helgeson. According to Helgeson, AVID is not so much a program to be implemented as it is a shift in academic culture. "In my experience, the thing that keeps some students from achieving all they would like is not a lack of intelligence, but rather the lack of what I like to call school tools," she explained. "It will be my job to help students fill their toolboxes with the things they need to be successful in high school and college coursework."
AVID, which was founded in 1980, is currently used in 6000 schools in 16 countries, and is considered one of the premiere college-readiness programs. It was implemented in the Winona Middle School in the 2016-2017 school year.