AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) was developed by Mary Catherine Swanson at Clairemont High School in 1980 in response to San Diego Unified School District's court-ordered integration of the city’s schools. The program began as an elective class taken during the regular school day. Mary Catherine held her students accountable to the highest standards and provided them with academic and social support. She believed they would rise to the challenge. And have they ever!

In 1992 AVID Center was established as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization and the program has evolved into a fourth through twelfth-grade system that successfully prepares students in the academic middle for four-year college eligibility. Beginning with one high school and 32 students the AVID system is now on the march toward 4,369 schools in 2010