RIMS AVID Roundtable

Catalina Cifuentes Part 1 - Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for the Riverside County Office of Education.

March 25, 2022 Kelly Hogan-Flowers and Stephanie Downey Season 1 Episode 2
Catalina Cifuentes Part 1 - Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for the Riverside County Office of Education.
RIMS AVID Roundtable
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RIMS AVID Roundtable
Catalina Cifuentes Part 1 - Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for the Riverside County Office of Education.
Mar 25, 2022 Season 1 Episode 2
Kelly Hogan-Flowers and Stephanie Downey

Our guest today is an expert in all things AVID Catalina Cifuentes was an AVID student, an AVID teacher, an AVID counselor, and is now the Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for the Riverside County Office of Education. 

Tweet us @rimsavid
Just for our high school students @rims_avid
Email: rimsavid@sbcss.net
Check out our website rimsavid.org

Music by ItsWatR from Pixabay - Cali

Show Notes Transcript

Our guest today is an expert in all things AVID Catalina Cifuentes was an AVID student, an AVID teacher, an AVID counselor, and is now the Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for the Riverside County Office of Education. 

Tweet us @rimsavid
Just for our high school students @rims_avid
Email: rimsavid@sbcss.net
Check out our website rimsavid.org

Music by ItsWatR from Pixabay - Cali


Catalina Cifuentes_pt1


Kelli, Catalina, Stephanie


Catalina  00:00

And my mom was so upset cuz she thought oh my god there's her future there's her life and I remember she probably went crying to go go crying back to Mrs. Schneider I'm like leave that woman alone...


Stephanie  00:15

Hey AVID family this is Stephanie Downey and I'm Kelly Hogan Flowers from RIMS AVID and you're listening to the RIMS AVID Roundtable. The podcast where we discuss all things AVID. Twice each month on this podcast, we'll get together with a special guest to talk about their AVID journey. They will tell you their story and explain what makes them an AVID rock star. They will share their ideas, best practices and strategies that they learned along the way.


Kelli  00:39

Our guest today is an expert in all things AVID Catalina Cifuentes was an AVID student, an AVID teacher, an AVID counselor, and is now the Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for the Riverside County Office of Education. We could spend the whole show simply recapping the dozens and dozens of awards and accolades that Catalina has received. But for the sake of time, we'll just highlight a few. She was appointed by the California governor, as commissioner and chair for the California Student Aid Commission. She was also appointed Deputy Superintendent of the Performance Planning and Technology branch of the California Department of Education. She currently serves on multiple local, regional, state and national committees and serves as a voice in the decisions that affect our students access to a quality education and a promising future. She doesn't just talk the talk, she walks the walk every single day. We are so excited to hear her talk about her mission to make sure that every student, regardless of their background and situation has the opportunity to excel and achieve. So refill your coffee, settle in and buckle up because today's guest never disappoints. Please welcome the always inspiring Catalina Cifuentes welcome, Catalina. 


Catalina  01:58

Thank you, thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to be here. And I want to say hello, and thank you for your relentless commitment to our students, AVID family and just excited to share some thoughts on where we're at today and how you know how tough things have been, but how we're gonna continue like an AVID family like we always do.


Kelli  02:16

Awesome. We're so happy to have you. So we're going to start with an icebreaker question. And it's a question that we asked all of our guests. Where did you go to school? And what do you have in common with your college mascot?


Catalina  02:28

Wow. Okay, so I went to Ramona High School and Riverside Unified School District here in Riverside County, and I am graduated Ramon, and I was probably, I think one of the fourth graduating classes of the AVID program. So I was an AVID at Ramona High School for years with the wonderful Wanda Schneider was, I feel funny saying her name Wanda, Mrs. Schneider. Mrs. Schneider, my AVID, um, my AVID teacher, my AVID everything. Just it was an amazing experience with her and our mascot was a ram and I think when I think of the ram, God, I think sometimes you know, even if it leads to death, they're hard headed t hey have horns, they keep pushing, they keep pushing, and they don't stop. And even if it leads to maybe not the best outcome for them, they keep going. So I would say that's probably what I have in common is I you know, I don't I if it's what's best for our students, I don't usually take no for an answer. 


Kelli  03:20

And you don't give up that's for sure. 


Catalina  03:22

I don't give up there's there's a way if it's going to be what's best for students. There's always a way.


Stephanie  03:27

So tell us about your history with AVID. So share how it started, how it's going. And he gave us a little bit right now, but give us a little more.


Catalina  03:33

Okay, perfect. Okay, so I was probably an average student in middle school, I went to Sierra Middle School, so shout out to our Seirra Middle School family. There was an AVID middle school back then. And you know, my friends were hearing about a program called AVID and they were applying and I thought, Okay, well, I don't know what I want to do on both my parents came immigrated here from other countries. My dad's from Mexico, my mom's from El Salvador. So I was a first generation college student and I didn't understand what what would happen what is AVID so I kind of just, you know, kept going about my business, you know, getting the grades I was getting. But I think my mom she knew more, right. They came here for a reason. They came here for a better life for my my siblings and I. And she coincidentally, we used to be the house cleaner for the woman that was at the district office, in Riverside Unified. So my mom used to clean her house and my mom talked to her obviously, you know, not I was not there. And my mom said to her, you know, I want my girls to go to college. I want my kids to go to college where you helped me and AVID was coming about, you know, it was one of the like I said, one of the first few years of the AVID program, and the assistant I think at the time she was either director, assistant superintendent, I can't remember thing assistant superintendent. She said to my mom, don't worry, I'll get her taken care of. And she called Mrs. Schneider, and got they connected with me. And I mean, by that, I mean, just the fact that you know, your mom's cleaning somebody's house that they're helping to, you know, get into college, right. And so she connected with her And then they helped. She, you know, reached out to me and said, hey, you know, she she said you, you know, you'd be smart, you can handle it. And I didn't really, it was by chance. Right. And I think that's what happens a lot, many of our stories, many people listening, it's by chance this happens. And I think that's one thing I strive is I don't want it to be by chance, right? I want these opportunities to be available for all students, regardless of they're you know, if if they have straight A's or B's, or maybe they just weren't inspired. And I think that was me. I just didn't know what I wanted. I have when you're first generation, you don't have anyone in your family that has college degrees, you don't have anyone that, you know, the only people in my life that had an education were my teachers. Right, right. And so I didn't know what was out there. I wasn't I didn't have the will. So I applied, I was accepted. And then I was in AVID, like I said, for four years at Ramona, and it just really opened my eyes and were they were my safety net. And I think that's a lot of the ideas that are happening. And in our county or across the state, you know, through the California Student Aid Commission. They're just AVID it's just AVID school wide. And I think that's what people don't realize, like I'm just doing what we do an AVID right? We do all students, we do non negotiable, no, expect no reason for you to fail, you will not fail opportunities for all students. And so I think that's been a big part of who I am. And that whole experience and it was growing, you know, in high school was, Oh, you guys get to go because you're an AVID or you get to do this because you're an AVID and I thank you for that. And all the all the coordinators and educators listening for what you do, but thinking outside of why can't these opportunities be available for all students? And how do we build that, you know, piece by piece, and that has been the mission taking my experience from AVID taking my opportunities, and going from there. One thing, you know, so I ended up graduating high school, obviously, I went on to Cal State Long Beach. And then my freshman year I got pregnant with my daughter. And my mom was so upset because she thought oh my god, there's her future there's her life and I remember she probably went crying to go go crying back to Mrs. Schneider, I'm like leave that woman alone. As many of you listening, that probably happens, right? They're gone a year or two and they still come back. And so Mrs. Schneider said to my mom no she's she's gonna finish she will finish. And there was a little bit of guilt in me in that I was like, I have to do this for her. She invested so much. I have to finish my degree. I'm too committed to her. And so she um, so I transferred back I went to Cal State Long Beach, I'm sorry, from Cal State Long Beach to Cal State San Bernardino. And I still finished in four years, I still got my degree in four years at 21 with a baby single mom. And it was that like individual determination that kept you going right? So um, went on. And then I got my teaching credential. But I was fortunate enough, you know, we were similar to what we're in right now. We were in a teaching crisis. And I was hired at my old middle school back at Seirra Middle School as an English language arts teacher, I was 21 going to be 22. And they hired me on intern credential. So I started teaching at Sierra Middle School. But I was there about three, almost four years. And then an opportunity came to go on to Corona Norco Unified to be an AVID coordinator at Norco High School. And I just thought, okay, here we go. And so I moved on to be an AVID teacher and AVID coordinator, and then moved on, as you know, many of the coordinators listening, were really like school counselors. And I thought, okay, if I'm going to move up and get move over in the in the step and column, and I'm just going to get my PPS credential. And so I went back and got my masters in school counseling. And another opportunity came to move on. And I became an AVID, you know, school counselor, AVID counselor. And so it's been AVID has been, like I said, the foundation of whether it's, like I said, the individual determination, the the opportunity gap that I've seen that I saw from back then now, the equity gap, it's really been that, you know, the m y goal is a zip code should not define our students future. And that's the work we've I've been doing for the last over 20 years. It's been crazy. It's been over 20 years.


Kelli  09:06

But it's good work. It really is. It's good work. So one of the things you talked about was, you know, looking more towards school wide. And, you know, if it's good enough for the AVID kids, it needs to be good enough for all the students. So in your mind, what does that school wide AVID look like, you know, from, you know, from the teachers, to counselors to administration, what would that look like?


Catalina  09:32

So when I think of school wide, I think we sometimes we want student choice, and I'm a huge component of student choice and family choice. But how do you make a choice when you don't know what your choices are? Right? How do you how do you we too often, we're letting you let us you would have let a student like myself, first generation daughter of immigrants, I mean, my parents didn't get naturalized in United States till I was almost in high school, right. My parents were undocumented pretty much and I didn't know they didn't tell me So when I work with students now I understand what that's like. But I was fortunate my parents didn't tell us right that they were still trying to become US citizens up until I was in middle school. And it's how do you, like Catalina decide when she doesn't know what else is there? Right? And I think more of our teachers, administrators, counselors need to stop and say, Okay, who do I serve? What population of students do I serve? And when you're serving a school title one school that has, you know, 70% 80%, free reduced lunch, that is who you serve a bunch of Catalinas that don't know what else is out there. So with choice, you have to be careful what choices what's available. So our role is to give them all the opportunities available, educate them on all the opportunities available, and then let them from there the family the students can decide. So an example of that is you know, when I was in AVID and then when I became an AVID coordinators, probably my second year, there was a grant that came down to increase FASFA application completion and that was before the California Dream Act right before we had financial aid for our undocumented students. And there was a big grant in it was a two year and you know, they had stipend AVID coordinators to go around and and help other students are not AVID students complete FASFA. So I remember I was cycling in I was at Norco High and I was cycling in me and Laurie Reyes Bay was another AVID teacher at Norco High we were coordinating and cycling and other government econ classes do the FASFA. And it was that point after you know, two years, the numbers went up, of course, and then after the money went away, the numbers went back down. And I think we talked about it and I said, okay, that became a mission almost 20 years ago, I said, I will, every student deserves that opportunity. They just didn't know what was available. So now fast forward, you know, I'm super proud of our county and, you know, our two districts Val Verde Unified School District, Parris Union High School District for being the first in the state Val Verde was the first in the state to make it a requirement. And it's like they understood that vision. And it's not a requirement, please don't think of the requirement as okay, you have, you know, you have to it's a no, the students have an opportunity to opt out. But our role is to educate the student and the family, what they're opting out of what they're passing up, explain it to them that this you know, the process and what's available, and if they decide not to go the money's there. And so just super proud of the two districts. And now fast forward three years later, it is now a requirement for the state of California that kicks off next year. Right. So that's been a mission, something that, you know, we've been working on as a county and as district leaders. I know, Superintendent, Mike McCormack and as former assistant superintendent Charles Newman, they were going around town presenting and talking about this and the impact that has for students. And I know excited Rialto Unified here in San Bernardino County became another district that made it a requirement. It's a state requirement now. And so what that looks like is now we have to stop and explain it, we have to teach them we have to talk to parents, parents have to make the decision to not do it. But that's okay, but not by default. And that's what we've been doing. We've been letting them choose their post secondary plans by default and not by an educated choice. And I'm excited to see what will come from this I feel more students will understand the why of FASFA application or California Dream Act application. And, and that, to me is a school wide piece. You know, we all talk about equity and we have to address the equity gaps. But yet we don't make bold decisions like this. This is a bold decision, a bold legislation that says you know, no you know you're we're going to make sure we help you the system is here to help you. And so when I think of that next year, I said okay, that's AVID school wide, because that's what we've always said AVID coordinators that have been here for a while, you know, we've always thought all the students, all the students that student walks in my friend said that you would help me All right, come at lunch, and we were always the the go to groups to help everyone. And now you're not alone anymore. The entire state the entire school district everyone has to step in and help. 


Kelli  14:02

Right because it shouldn't rely on someone that I know. A friend told me it should be your right should be for all students. 


Catalina  14:10

Yep. Yep. It shouldn't be by chance that your mom's cleaning somebody's housing and you get to go to college.


Kelli  14:15

Because what would have happened? You know, what would have happened to you? Had that not been your situation? What happens to all the Catalinas?


Catalina  14:22

Mm hmm. Yeah, exactly. It's just and that's to me, providing opportunities for students to make decisions about the future, you know, providing parents we always say, you know, it's time for parents to exercise, you know, the custody and control their children, let them make the decision, but you have to educate them and, and we can't think they don't care. Right. But we also have to be realistic, especially in RIMS, our students, are institution dependent, our families are institution dependent. They're dependent on our schools on us. They trust us my mom knew my mom trusted the school she said you know, whatever it's in senora whatever you say whatever you say Ah, my daughter needs is what I'll do. And she didn't know how to help me she stopped, I think probably third, fourth grade, she, she wasn't able to help me anymore. But she would buy me what I needed if I needed a graphing calculator, you know, she went and cleaned two more houses, right? You know, she bought me what I needed, but she just didn't understand the system. And so I think that's what we have to accept, that's the community you work in, especially if you're in RIMS, that's the then they care, they just don't know. And it's our role. If you're gonna, if to me, I talk at our school counselors all the time, if you're gonna work in this county, you're gonna know who you serve, right? And you have to be willing to not necessarily step in and be the parent but be willing to provide that support because they are school dependent.


Kelli  15:39

Right. And we can't punish kids because their parents don't know. Yeah,


Catalina  15:43

They don't know they're children. And, and you can, you know, there's just it's not, it's not easy, especially right now. I mean, this has taken an emotional toll toll on all of us, all of us are, are stepping in and we're working with a student, you know, as part of our college comeback program, former graduates  enroll but want to go back, one meeting with a student led from not only getting their community college application done and their FASFA done, parent passed away. They weren't sure what to navigate on there. So I had to help them get a probate attorney. I'm fortunate enough. My sister who's also an AVID graduate, she's an attorney, family law attorney. So I call my sisters that Audrey, I need help I need I need a probate attorney for this family. Also got them on CalFresh. And also got them connected to other resources. So one appointment that was just going to help them get to college, what turned into almost like a community service counselor, but that's what we're up against right now more than ever, and rather than making excuses, I embrace it, and you know, this work is life changing? 


Stephanie  16:41

It is. I agree. I was gonna say to even with, you're talking about Val Verde like we would bring the parents in, that would say no, and my principal would sit down with them and say, This is why this is important to explain what the process was, because they were hesitant for whatever reasons, especially if this was an immigration issue, and they weren't sure with how all that would work if they were undocumented. But it was great that they came in and we gave them that education. I think that's like what you said the parents need to be involved in the process. So they know what to expect and what's going on. And we can't leave them out of the equation at all. 


Kelli  17:13

They don't know what they don't know.


Catalina  17:15

You're first hand, you were right there. I don't want to put you on the spot.


Stephanie  17:17

But since you Yes, I like a little Val Verde shout out so excited. 


Catalina  17:21

Yes, you know, you're there. And you saw the impact of what happens when you educate and you talk to them you explain and you give them options. And then if they opt out everyone who was listening, if they decide after you've educated them, you've talked to them, you've given them options, if they've opted out, go ahead, but I know they're not going to leave they're ever blaming my school didn't tell me. And that's what you told my AVID students, you're never gonna blame me that I didn't tell you that I didn't help you. You know, you're you're gonna look and self reflect that those are the choices you made.


Stephanie  17:51

So speaking of that, like administration and all that and helping people get the information that they need, what advice would you give to a first year AVID administrators trying to navigate all this for the first time?


Catalina  18:02

I think as a first year AVID administrator, I think definitely a lot of listening, learning trust, especially if you have veteran AVID leadership at your site, you don't really spend time on listening to them and understanding their you know, their their goals. That's one thing AVID the AVID program has that that's why it's you know, lasted it's not just the you know, the talk of the week or the latest educational highlight that we find out you know, we there's a new program out there and I'm like, Why, please stop. It's AVID stop. And you know, the only one that's loud, that's been true and true. Because it's grounded on goals, it's grounded on outcomes is grounded on outcome data, not process data, not we had a bunch of students come to an event, we had these students apply to college be admitted and enrolled. It's grounded on proces on outcome data. And I think as a new administrator, taking the time to understand that and spending time with the team on what are their goals, what were their goals, looking at their site that their plans or site team plans the last few years doing a little bit of homework, but I think supporting their role is to support the AVID's teams implementation of their site team plan of their of their metrics of improvement of expanding their program. And, you know, understanding the data I would say if there's anything a new administrator needs to do is spend time understanding that baseline data of the AVID program and really looking at the barriers are preventing for improvement right from whether it's a master schedule decision or it's a hiring decision. Sometimes you know, we did this activity and I do this a lot especially with our AVID programs, you know, right now there's over $500 million available to our district starting for next year. On one time funding to improve A - G so it's A - G improvement grant so those you listening Riverside County alone is getting over $35 million. So a lot of money to improve A - G 9-12 No one does A - G like AVID, right no one has a students that are on track for A - G completion like me the AVID program, so I'm hoping many listening are thinking how are we going to expand our AVID program, and we have these one time funding for those change ideas within AVID, but I think when, um, you know, when you look at those funds at that funding opportunity, we have to, we have to, not only just I say be creative, but that's not there's nothing like AVID that they can do that. And so one idea I share when you say, why AVID why why AVID and there's another program, I've heard about it a conference, you know, take your A - G data, take the number of students every A - G take out your AVID program, and tell me what that percentage looks like. I've done that with plenty of high schools in in RIMS, we're talking you're on A - G rate would have been 10%, if you didn't have AVID, right. And I would say that's the first step to understand how impactful has AVID been at your school site, and in your district, and something as simple as that helps showcase the power that happens within AVID.


Kelli  20:58

So you were talking earlier about, you know, the college and career readiness, and it really seems more of a calling than a job for you. Really seems like that's, that's what you're all about. And you touched briefly about where that passion comes from. But can you really can you share, you know, where does that passion come from? And how does it drive your work?


Catalina  21:21

Yeah, Kelly really wants me to tear over here, as I was already tearing up. 


Kelli  21:26

Don't start, because I'll start.


Catalina  21:28

Okay, we' re not gonna do that. Let's see if we say at every senior rec. So I think the passion really comes from you know, the, I see the byproducts of what happens when you push postsecondary, and, and, and plans and futures and just goals like, right, we all need hope we all need something to strive for. And when I've, whether it's my AVID students, when I was a teacher or a counselor or administrator now, there's multiple byproducts you get from pushing postsecondary, you know, and a plan after high school. So when you look at when you look at a student, you look at data, right? You know, for example, in Riverside County, when you look at juvenile felony arrest rates, I don't know if people realize, but as of 2019, the Riverside County has the lowest juvenile felony arrest rates in the state of California, lowest juvenile, so that's ages 10 to 17. That wasn't there seven, eight years ago, as we were pushing more post secondary, our goal wasn't just graduation, it was you're going to have a post secondary option, a post secondary plan, you're going to enroll certification program or a four year college, as we push rigor, which is what AVID stands for is rigor and students and show them that they can do more and that maybe maybe it's not a four year degree, maybe it's a two year maybe it's a certification program, maybe it's a military, but if we give them something to strive for, they don't have time to get in trouble, right, they don't have time to, to to get into any any anything that they shouldn't be getting into. There's actually experience and I can share with you know, I was actually in Val Verde Unified with a student, and an assistant principal called me and just so full of emotion that there was a student that had gone into, you know, an altercation after school of course, they had investigated and the student was, you know, gonna have almost a fight with the student and something that happened with a sibling. And when they asked us you know, well how come it didn't happen at school? He said, Well, I have an AP test and I don't want to get suspended that's what that does. That's what that writer does. Right? They you give them that hope you give them that opportunity. You say they can be more. I've actually done I you know, maybe I want to do this sooner on once you know, I think things get better with COVID put together a leadership opportunity, and I want to do it in our prisons. And I've toured some people tour national parks, I tour California prisons. So I've gone to multiple California prisons, not to tour to learn right to learn from what's happening to learn from this is what happens when I feel it's almost like a motivator for me when I feel when we what could we have done what changed for them, right? We had them in K-12, at some point, for the most part, most of them. And recently, I was at Norco prison and I got to meet with gentlemen who are in a program to finish a bachelor's degree with Pitts at Pitzer College. And so more of those opportunities are coming. And I just thank you too. I've made friends with you know, the superintendent of schools for the prison school system. Shannon Swain. And so we connect a lot because she's been a speaker before at different events for us. And so I you know, I get to sit there and I get to talk and we get to engage in conversation. And it's always the things what happened, right. You know, we talked about what they're working on and their futures and their goals and some amazing programs are our prison, our prisons, and our law enforcement in prison that they're doing for, for individuals and they're in, of course, you know, across the board, the number one thing I hear is no one believed in me. No one told me that I was smart. I always thought I was dumb. They didn't put me in those classes. It's never it's it's all things that I feel with the right tweaks and the right adjustments, not to say we have to take all of it on and in a K-12 Public Schools if we're not taking on enough, but it was always, it's always been that kind of answer something that could have been addressed problem with the school, it helped the school counselor, no one told me that I that I could do more. No one believed in me, no one noticed. And that's that equity piece. I think when you say Kelly about the passion, that's the passion for me. If they we don't set them up with a post second term, sub post secondary plan, what is what will happen to them? Right, right. It's death future. It's there. I mean, sorry, workforce, college, post secondary education, and prison. And I think those are those pieces if I can help proactively bring strategies now that prevents that happening to any future individually in future California, then that's the goal, right. And I think that's where the passion comes is I've seen too many successes to not know it doesn't work, right. And the data tells us it's worse. And so I encourage, you know, it's interesting, when you look meet with schools that their improved their graduation rate, and they've improved their college going rate, or they've improved other pieces.You know, sometimes they don't stop and realize the other byproducts that have happened, suspensions have reduced expulsions have reduced other positive community outcomes have happened because of it. And I truly believe that's why, you know, I can't help me as a school counselor. There's so many times where I'm like, it's borderline Child Protective Services. I know, it's not enough to get them taken away. I know, it's not enough for this. I know. And it's like, I felt helpless, right? Like, what can I do, I can't take them all home with me, believe me. Many of us probably have, right, I've taken students home or gotten in the safe house. And I couldn't do that. I said, Okay, I can't control their family environment, I can't control who their parents are the situation they're in sometimes. But I can control the one thing they have control over. And that's their education, right. And I tell the kids, that's the only thing you have control over is your education and what you can do. Maybe you don't like your house, you live in your like the apartment complex. But this is the one thing that no one can take away from you. So I think that's where the passion comes from. It's the one thing


Kelli  27:14

I mean, that's such a, such a huge kind of a ha moment, you know, thinking about, if we don't help them with their plan, then the cycle continues. And you're what would have happened to that student that didn't have the AP test if they hadn't had that, that test to keep them, you know, grounded and in line? You know, where would they have ended up?


Catalina  27:38

Exactly he couldn't he it wasn't, he didn't get to choose where he lived, or the environment he was growing up in, or his parents, you know, working two jobs to keep roof over their head. So he had to, you know, protect a sibling. That's the environment, right? That's he has to grow, he has to thrive and right, you know, it's almost you got to grow where you're planted. He had to grow where he was planted. But he made the decision that he wasn't going to affect what he had going on at school. And that's the power of what AVID does, in what I think there's so many lives saved, not just go to college, right? We always brag about UCR. And they got into UCLA and Stanford when we get those few, you know, scholars, those scholars, they get in and RIMS. But I think we never stopped to think about how many lives we've saved, saved from poverty, from gangs, from death from just a life of just not feeling fulfilled, and not finding purpose. And I think we never do that. I think like, that's the byproduct of the work we do that we don't, we don't celebrate enough as well.


Kelli  28:36

And we I don't think we do and we we need to because just providing that, that hope for the future is is huge. And they may get that from us. And it may be a situation that they've never had that before.


Stephanie  28:50

They have a family. And I think that makes such a big difference when just looking at the kids who don't have that outside. I always say my students who are friends with other AVID students always did better in school always stayed out of trouble because they had those other, there was an AVID family that they're gonna have to be accountable to, and it made them stick to the right path. You know, and I think like if they didn't have that at home, if they didn't have that family, AVID filled that gap for them. And I think that's so important to just keeping them moving forward.


Catalina  29:17

Yeah, I mean, that was me. I mean, I was teen I was a teen mother, you know, and it's like, I can't let Mrs. Schneider down. I  have to get my degree. It's like, Mom, I'm going to see her at the store and she's gonna be so disappointed because she did so much for me, right? helped me get navigate and pass math that I struggled with. I mean, you know, all those pieces. But that's, that's the goal is why, you know, how do we build those systems for all students? For sure.


Kelli  29:40

Right. And having someone invested in you? Yes. You know, you didn't want to let Mrs. Schneider  down. Yeah. And so you pushed because, you know, you are accountable to her. And for so many, for so many of our students. That's the role of the AVID community, the AVID coordinator is that we are, you know, we are that and I I'm sure every coordinator has had that student that came that was in trouble or pregnant and said, I was more afraid to tell you than I was to tell my parents. Yes, I knew you would be disappointed.


Catalina  30:11

Yes, yes, that's exactly that's what we do for students and we can't I feel it's amplified right now. So I know other coordinators and teachers listening you it's it's amplified. I know it is I saw firsthand as we were substitute teaching, as well side by side with all of you in the trenches. But that's that's what you do what you do. Like that's, they need us now more than ever, and of course, self care. Take care yourself, too. Sometimes I had to step away from that and, and just get my head right. But you get back in and like you said earlier, Kelli, it's a calling, this isn't work for me. I've I've plenty of opportunities, I've actually, you know, had like an opportunity to go to the state. And I came back because I realized I can do more here in my county, in my home, in the trenches with our leaders than I can sometimes at the state level, right. It's not always easy to navigate that. But I can do, I miss being with students, I miss having those opportunities to be with students and be with teachers and counselors and administrators. And so I think, like you said, it's not it's not work for me, it's a passion.


Kelli  31:13

And it's it's apparent, it's very easy to it's very easy to see that this is like I said, you know you don't just talk the talk. You definitely walk the walk every day.


Stephanie  31:24

That's it for part one of this episode of the RIMS AVID Roundtable. I'm Stephanie and I'm Kelly. If you have questions or feedback on today's episode or an idea for a future show, please tweet us @RIMSAVID or email RIMSAVID@sbcss.net. We'd love to hear from you. And be sure to check out our website RIMSAVID.org For all the latest news and events.


Kelli  31:47

Join us again next time for the second half of our conversation with Catalina on the RIMS AVID roundtable will save your seat.