USA teacher of the year visits VU

America's 2014 teacher of the year is visiting Victoria University to spread the word about a university preparation program now helping students at 5000 high schools across the USA.

Sean McComb, an English teacher from Baltimore, Maryland, is a strong supporter of the Advancement via Individual Determination program, or AVID.

First developed in the US in the 1980s, AVID offers additional support and encouragement to disadvantaged students who might not otherwise go to university.

VU's Victoria Institute is about to secure the first license to run the program in Australia after testing it in Melbourne's west through a $1.4 million Higher Education Participation Program grant it received in 2011.

From a single pilot school, AVID now serves about 10,000 students at 25 schools across Australia.

McComb, who received his award personally from President Barak Obama, is the keynote speaker at AVID's annual three-day Summer Institute conference now being attended by 350 educators from across Australia.

The teachers and principals are participating in interactive workshops to introduce them to the knowledge, skills and techniques that have helped over 700,000 American AVID students succeed.

AVID's explicit teaching framework generates a nurturing learning environment that pays equal attention to students' academic, social and emotional development.

This allows every student, particularly low socioeconomic and under-achieving learners, to build their learning capabilities so they're successful academically and beyond.

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