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A Letter from the Wauwatosa School District Regarding AVID

Dear Wauwatosa School District Community, 

 

Over the past several weeks, there has been significant discussion about the manner by which the Wauwatosa School District adopted AVID, a program that provides professional development and other support to raise student achievement.

 

Specifically, there are questions regarding whether the district’s procurement process was properly followed in adopting and approving AVID contracts. Our preliminary internal review indicates that district officials failed to adhere to district policy in the procurement and initial adoption of AVID. Additionally, although AVID is a research-proven program, the district failed to develop internal benchmarks to measure the program's efficacy. Establishing monitoring and measurement for success is best practice when adopting any new program or course of study. 

 

Finally, there have been questions concerning the effectiveness of the program and if AVID truly addresses the district’s equity goals. 

 

To ensure consistency of practice, the ability to measure progress toward meeting district goals, and provide a positive return on investment to our taxpayers, it is critical that any questions concerning AVID are formally addressed. We also must ensure that when errors are made, the district will go to great lengths to address them.

 

With that in mind, under the direction of Superintendent Demond Means, the Wauwatosa School District has launched a review of the AVID procurement and implementation process. An exploration of how the district missed important implementation steps with AVID will be an important aspect of the review. Dr. Means will secure the services of educational experts and a financial auditing firm to analyze the situation. A written report will be provided to the board and shared with the district community upon completion. 

 

While the district acknowledges that we have erred, by engaging in a review to correct structures and install quality control measures, we can help avoid this type of situation from ever happening again. The community can be assured that the district will function more efficiently in the future.

 

In light of our current challenges with AVID, the district has elected to pause the implementation of AVID Schoolwide at our secondary schools. AVID Elementary will be placed on hold, as well. In addition, we will begin phasing out the AVID Elective courses at the high school level, while allowing current students to complete the cycle of courses. At the middle school level, the AVID 8 Elective has been placed on hold. The successful implementation of the AVID 7 Elective, along with an evaluation and student/family feedback, will determine whether the AVID 8 Elective will be considered in the future.

 

In short, the district acknowledges that we need time to learn from our missteps and refine our practices before reconsidering the implementation of any new academic programs. 

 

As a district, we hold ourselves to a very high standard. The adoption of AVID has been challenged with numerous oversights. We have fallen short of our professional standard and that to which the community should hold us. For that, we are deeply sorry. 

 

We are committed to ensuring that the findings of the review provide a pathway to improved practices, restored trust in the district, and strict compliance with Board policies moving forward. Thank you for your support as we engage in this important effort.

 

Sincerely,

Wauwatosa School District