RIMS AVID Roundtable

Kelli and Stephanie Part 1

June 06, 2022 Kelly Hogan-Flowers and Stephanie Downey Season 1 Episode 8
Kelli and Stephanie Part 1
RIMS AVID Roundtable
More Info
RIMS AVID Roundtable
Kelli and Stephanie Part 1
Jun 06, 2022 Season 1 Episode 8
Kelly Hogan-Flowers and Stephanie Downey

The hosts of the RIMS AVID Roundtable talk about their AVID journey.

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

The hosts of the RIMS AVID Roundtable talk about their AVID journey.

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


Kelli and Steph Part 1


AVID, kids, teacher, district, year, class, important, teach, high school, notes, people, feel, val verde, curriculum, tutorials, strategies, classroom, districts, coordinator, happening


Kelli, Stephanie


Kelli  00:00

And the first AVID class I ever saw was at Montclair High School in Tina's class. And you know, and I always say that so many lives were changed that moment when we sat in that class


Stephanie  00:12

Hey AVID family this is Stephanie Downy and 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'll tell us their story and explain what makes them an AVID Rockstar. They'll share their ideas, best practices and strategies that they learned along the way.


Kelli  00:45

So this episode, we're changing it up a bit. Today, my wonderful co-host and I are the ones in the roundtable hotseat will be answering a few of the questions that we ask our guests each week and sharing our own AVID journeys. So starting with Stephanie, Stephanie has been in education for 11 years, and started her educational journey at the Abbott National Demonstration School, Rancho Verde High School in the Val Verde Unified School District. She started as an English teacher, and quickly fell in love with AVID and began teaching the elective during her third year. In 2016, she was offered the position of AVID coordinator for the brand new Orange Vista High School, also in Val Verde District. And she started their AVID program from the ground up, where she learned how close an AVID family really can be. Stephanie has the most recent addition to the RIMS AVID team, and has already brought her creativity and expertise to our work. She's a wife, a mom, a published author, a breeder of adorable goats, and above all else, she is an AVID Rockstar.


Stephanie  01:52

And then there's Kelli, Kelli has been in education for a whopping 32 years. She taught Spanish and English for 27 years at Upland High School, Kelli learned about AVID fell in love with it and brought AVID to her school site in 2011. Then over the next few years and upland unified she worked to bring it to the entire district. Kelly is such a firm believer in the concept of an AVID family that she has an AVID family at home as well. Her husband is an AVID teacher and her daughter is an AVID student. When she says AVID fam, she is not kidding around. She has been a member of the room's AVID team since 2017. And has loved every minute. But on our team, our running joke is that she's been in education longer than some of us have been alive. But we all appreciate any opportunity to dip into her experience and expertise. You'll certainly understand what I mean by the end of this interview.


Kelli  02:40

Thanks, Stephanie. Alright, so our first question that we start off each episode. I'll ask you. So Stephanie, where did you go to school? And what do you have in common with your college mascot?


Stephanie  02:52

So I have a few schools. So I started at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. But then I got my bachelor's degree at Cal State San Bernardino, and then my master's from Arkansas State. I'm gonna go with San Bernardino because that feels like the most home. And I know we've had a lot of coyotes on our podcast already. Um, but that's who I'm going with. And so I feel like with a coyote, which was also our Orange Vista mascot so, coyote for life, is that they're really scrappy. I feel like I can be scrappy, like when I need to get stuff done. Like, I'll figure out how to get it done. If there's something in my way, I will go around it and figure out how to go over it under it. Just to make sure I get it done. And so I feel like that's how I identify with them. Right? Because they're gonna have a job done when they need to get something done. And they'll figure out a way. And so I feel like that's me. What about you?


Kelli  03:43

So I went to Cal State Fullerton. And the mascot is a Titan. So elephants never forget, which used to be the case. But now with age, I think I really can't say elephants. I can't say don't forget anything. But the other thing is that elephants are very slow to anger. But then once they're angry, look out. And I think that you're nodding, I didn't know and to have a little bit of a temper. But also elephants are all about family and community. And I think that in that way that I'm the most like, like the mascot because it's family first.


Stephanie  04:21

I love that. I can see that. That's very you.


Kelli  04:25

Alright, so let's talk about our AVID histories and our AVID journeys. So Stephanie, about how did you start with AVID how it started, and then how it's going.


Stephanie  04:38

Alright, so I was lucky enough to start at an AVID demo school though I had no idea what that meant when I became a teacher and what AVID was, I mean, they were just out there doing their AVID thing and I was trying to survive as a new teacher. I started as well I was an English teacher, but I taught like the remedial classes because they love to throw those classes of the brand new teachers um And so what I taught was with a co teacher, and so she did the writing portion with the kids that was totally separate class. And I did reading with them. So, they had to have two English classes. And so that was the bulk of what I had my first two years. And I feel like that taught me more about education and how to be a teacher than probably anything else, I could have done it. Like if I would have the easiest kids and easiest classes, I don't think I would have grown in the same way. The first year with them, we I did the curriculum they gave us which was called Edge. And it was this textbook, and it was very, just minimal. The stories were terrible, they were very watered down like the kids because they weren't great readers, they didn't need great stories. And I just I hated that about it. And the kids too, would be like, Oh, we're stupid. We're in this class, because we're stupid. We don't know how to read, we're just, you know, a lot of them were in foster care, or they're being moved around. So they have low reading levels, because reading is not always your priority when you're trying to survive, and you're being moved from house to house. And so it was heartbreaking like listening to them say that all the time. And like I'm giving them this curriculum that doesn't help them feel like they, they're smart, when the other English kids are doing very different things. And so the next year, my co teacher, and I decided we're not going to teach this Edge curriculum, I was only in year two, but we made this decision for the kids and we just jumped in, like I just like, I'm gonna teach them Of Mice and Men, like, the other kids are reading Of Mice and Men, then we're gonna read Of Mice and Men And you know, we talked about it the other day, that's my favorite book to teach. And they loved it. And they were able to do it. You know, there were scaffolds and all those things. But like, I realized, like, they didn't need this watered-down curriculum to learn. They needed just good stuff and stuff that was going to keep them interested and they loved Of Mice and Men and not one kid that entire year said I'm stupid. And that's why I'm in this class. They didn't feel like they were different than the other kids. And you know, maybe it just didn't hear but and they were it was good. It was a good year. And I even remember my, um, our superintendent coming in, they came in and always come into these walks and see what we're doing. And he walked in, and my kids were doing these, like sonnet puzzles that I made where I separated some Shakespeare sonnets, and they had already learned about the format. And so they had to put them together in groups. And he walked in, and he was looking at them just they were into it, they were doing it, they're running around putting it together. And he's like, this is an edge class. Like he was shocked that they were doing right here kids were doing. And even at the end of that year, they asked me about the curriculum. And I was like, I didn't use it. And they ended up scrapping it after that, because we just decided like, this isn't good for kids. And I realized what I was doing then was AVID strategies, a lot of stuff that I was doing, because I was doing one pagers and just different things I got sent to a right path training. I think it was my second year and I loved it. And again, I still had no idea really what AVID was. But the AVID coordinator heard that I was doing those things for my instructional coach. And that was when it got prompted to me like do you want to do this? Do you want to be an AVID teacher, and then I got sent to Summer Institute and kind of was history from there. And I fell into this AVID world, and I just absolutely love it. But I feel like those first two years really put me on the right path of how to do the right thing for kids.


Kelli  08:06

Well it's like we always say is that WICOR is just good teaching. Yeah. And so when you talk about AVID to to teachers, and it's like, I don't want to try something new. And I don't want to do it's like, you're already doing it. Yeah. We just want to teach you how to elevate it a little bit. But good teaching is WICOR hmm. And so thinking about, you know, your SONNET lesson that you were doing, I mean, there's collaboration, and there's higher level thinking or, you know, reading and writing, it's, it's got everything, even the organization because they're putting it together. 


Stephanie  08:36

And I had no idea. I was just like, I'm just gonna do something fun. I knew that they were coming around, and I was like, they need to show I wanted to show what they were able to do. And like, look, these kids, some of them have like fourth grade reading levels, but like, look at their putting sonnets together, right? They're working together. They're paying attention, you know, they're engaged. And so I feel like and again, I'd had no idea that you said that that was really like AVID, but it was it was like that span the whole WICOR universe. I don't know if it worked. But it was, you know, and so I think that's, and that's just what kicked off the AVID thing for me, and it just, I loved it. And then I end up getting to teach AVID and English as a block. So I had that same kids for two hours. And that was just amazing. Because we could really dive into a text, and then move into AVID and still kind of connect those things. I got to know those kids so well, that I feel like that's when I really started to learn like oh, this is like the AVID family that everyone talks about, like look at us, like these kids are growing together that their little ninth graders and they're learning and the second set I had moved with me to OV when I went to Orange Vista and so I had a lot of them come with me and so that really just kind of continued that AVID family and it was just it was an amazing experience.


Kelli  09:47

Well I'm that's a great way to a great way to start off because you know, it's like, there are some AVID teachers who are you know, who are we train them to do things but most AVID teachers They are born. They're born AVID teachers. I mean, that's who they are they put their kids first. They try anything to make the situation better for them. So you were an AVID teacher before you were an AVID teacher.


Stephanie  10:15

I love that. So what about you? Tell me about your AVID journey.


Kelli  10:20

So mine started, obviously a lot before yours. But I think that for me, you know, I didn't know what AVID was, I wasn't at an AVID school, I had never heard of AVID. But I noticed that there were always so many programs and interventions. And we would try things, and it didn't work. 


Stephanie  10:46

And then they go out the window, 


Kelli  10:47

it would go out the window, we try something new. And it's like, oh, we're all gonna get on board with this. And we're gonna try it for a year, and then we're going to do something different. But there were so many interventions, but no systems. And so, you know, I used to say that it was like, like, we were doing triage. So there were kids that were failing in this group. So we're gonna jump on that. And, you know, rally around this group of kids. And then the next year, try something else for someone else. And there were so many, you know, so much triage, but no preparation and no prevention. And that was the thing. It's like, our focus is on helping kids once they've gotten themselves into academic trouble, and not trying to figure out okay, let's prepare for that. Let's do some prevention. Let's have some systems and teach kids and strategies to help them and so I knew I wanted to do that. And so I started doing some research and looking around, and I thought, Oh, what's this AVID? Let me find out.


Stephanie  11:46

Oh, so you didn't get sent to an AVID thing? This is totally on your own.


Kelli  11:50

Right. So I looked it up. And I thought, okay, well, there's this thing called AVID. Let me find out. So I called AVID center, and they said, Well, there's a national demonstration school near you. And so we're gonna hook you up with their team 


Stephanie  12:04

was it Montclair, 


Kelli  12:05

it was Montclair High School. And so might one of my work besties Cheryl Johnson, shout out to Johnson. She and I decided we were going to start AVID. So we went we drove down the street to Montclair and Tina Barhorst met us at the office, and took us in and showed us around campus. And the first AVID class I ever saw was at Montclair High School in Tina's class. And you know, and I always say that, so many lives were changed that moment when we sat in that class, because we were in there, maybe five minutes, and I turned to Cheryl, and I said, Oh, my gosh, this is it. This is what we were looking for.


Stephanie  12:46

And that's all it takes, like, honestly, I think that's always one of the things too, when I first realized I wanted to do ABA before I was invited, I subbed one. And so I think it was my second year. And again, I didn't know what it was, I knew we were demo school, I didn't really know what that meant. But I sat there and I was like, What are these kids doing? Like, they just jumped into tutorials. And I was just sitting there and I didn't have to do anything. I was getting paid to watch them work, right. And I was like, who are these kids that they just know what to do? It was very different from what I was doing in my class, so I could see how for you to that five minutes, that's all you need. When you see an AVID kid, you're like, I need to be part of that.


Kelli  13:20

And that's what happened was we said, okay, you know, we left, we went to lunch, matter of fact we went to lunch at Souplantation. And map that doesn't even exist anymore. But we've mapped it all out until okay, this is what we want. This is what we want to do. This is what we're going to ask for. And at the time, we had really good administration, and we went and said look at this is what we want to do. And we didn't know what we were doing. You know, and they said okay, we have to go to summer institute. We said great, what's that? But we started in 2011. And there our team was there were four of us on our team, our site team. We had Gerlan Malcolm who was a math teacher, and then Janelle Avon who was a counselor. And so, the four of us went to summer institute, and came back and said, Okay, we're going to start and so that was our first group. We made 1000s of mistakes. But, you know, we love those kids to success. And so, our first our first kids graduated in 2015. Matter of fact, on my desk, I still have my picture of my first AVID graduates, my AVID babies,


Stephanie  14:29

I have my first picture of my first graduates too.


Kelli  14:32

I think we all do. But that really was that was how it started. And it just became one of those things where I thought okay, it's, I want it for all kids. I don't just want it for, you know, for my AVID babies, why can't we use this for everyone? And so my mission was really to get it to the junior high's and then to the elementary schools, and there was a lot of resistance in upland because people felt like well, that's not for our kids. Our kids don't need that. And it's like, all kids need that. First of all, you know, it's not just for specific groups of kids’ AVID strategies work for everybody. And so why we really wanted to get it at the junior highs. And we went and presented it. And the junior highs wanted to see how it went with us. It's like, well, we'll wait for a couple years and see how it goes. And not taking no for an answer as I do. I said, alright, well, I have I have a plan. So every time I went to a training, my husband who was teaching at the junior high, I would come home from the training and teach him. And so I said, you know, these are focused notes, and this is how you do it. And this is, and so then he went back and used him in his class. And so, then his admin, whether like, what, what do you do with his notes? You know, and he teaches special ed, and so his, like your kids take better notes and anybody else on campus, what's happening? And he was like, oh, well, this is an AVID strategy. And so then he taught his staff. And then his principal reached out and said, alright, we're willing to try it. And so I got both Junior High's. And that's really how I did it was, you know, using my using my resources as we teach the kids use your resources. And mine was, you know, my husband was my resource, but and so now they have it at both Junior High's, and then at the elementary schools. And so that's how my journey with AVID and our district starting with them it started. 


Stephanie  16:33

I love that. That's a good origin story.


Kelli  16:37

It is and you know, and the crazy thing is that, you know, the way I got here was Tina Barhorst. And so it's just kind of a full circle. It was really a very full circle circle moment, because when I became a coach, one of my schools was Montclair High School. Yeah. And so I went, and it didn't get me the first time I went to visit. But I think the second time I went to visit, and I was sitting there, and I remember, this is where it all started. And it was like overwhelming. And I started to cry. And I called Tina from her class was like, I'm in your classroom right now. sobbing and her kids. Why is the lady crying? And so I told them, I told him the story. And I said, you know, my whole life changed in this classroom. And they were like, Oh, and of course because they're epic kids. Oh, bring it in? Yeah. So we had a group hug with someone they had just met. That's still good for you, though. Haven't families have a family? Oh, go ahead.


Stephanie  17:35

No, as I say, let's talk about AVID them through our lens while we're talking about AVID and how it started with us and kind of our beliefs of AVID, just kind of what it does or what it should look school wide. I know not every school has it school wide. And there's a lot that don't, but they have their programs, and they're trying to move it school wide. So what does that for you? What do you look for? What do you think it should look like?


Kelli  17:55

Um, AVID school wide for me is at you knoiw it's that saying that all means all. Because what happens I think on every campus is you have little pockets of excellence. And to there's no this, this teacher is doing really amazing things. And this department has really great things. But it needs to be consistent. And so we're talking about AVID, all means all. And so if we know that the strategies work, we know that WICOR works, we know that it leads kids to success. Why aren't we doing it for all kids? And, you know, one of the things that makes me just really lose my mind is when people say, Well, it's good for this group, but not for this group. Yeah. Or, you know, we're not going to do this group, because these kids aren't going to go to college. Or the it's like, how do we who are we to make those decisions for other people's children? Yeah, you know, which is really the big thing for me. It's like, you know, if somebody said that about my kid, oh, we'd be fighting for sure. 


Stephanie  18:55

The elephant. 


Kelli  18:57

Yeah, no, I wouldn't I would not play that. And so if we know it works, why withhold what works from kids. And so for me, AVID school wide would be those strategies in every classroom, you know, not necessarily teaching AVID in every classroom, but using AVID strategies, using WICOR, you know, higher level thinking higher expectations. And I think that's it is consistent expectations, regardless of which class. So in every class across campus, there'd be those consistent expectations 


Stephanie  19:34

And that common language. 


Kelli  19:35

definitely the common language. Yes. How about for you?


Stephanie  19:38

I think really similar. I think that there still needs to be obviously like the separate AVID class. I think those kids need that and I know you believe that to that class to grow and kind of get what they need because an AVID kid I feel like it's a certain type of kid. But those strategies school wide link said that it's good teaching and it's you know, when you look at the focus notes when you look at how you can use Those five phases. And, uh, you know, critical thinking and critical reading critical writing, like all of those things should be done in all content areas that should be, you know, science and everything else should be any of those same things. And I feel like, if maybe we took off the AVID label, people sometimes are a little more receptive to it, because they, Oh, it's a program. Oh, it's right. You know, instead of it being strategies, but I think with AVID, like seeing is believing and when people see they go to summer institute when they walk around the campus and see things, you know, I feel like that makes a big difference for them. But I think it's just that support of students’ school wide. And if we could take that, the way we kind of develop the AVID family and like those connections, I feel like if kids had that in every class, they would be more successful. They're connecting with each other; they're connecting with their teacher. And I think that's one of the biggest things of with learning is they're going to want to learn from the people that they care about, and that they think care about them, you know, they're standing at the door, they're greeting them, asking them about something that you know, the sport they played the night before, or what's going on and getting to know them. I know, it's hard when you have hundreds of kids, but it's still doable. It is you know, to just do those, those little things to make it seem like they matter. And I feel like that's a big part of being in the AVID classroom and having the AVID kids like beyond the curriculum, because you touched on that. But the relationships that are built through AVID, I think are super important. And even through teachers, like the AVID family isn't just the kids and the teacher, I mean, is it the other teachers, it's the site team, it's the admin, it's everybody that's coming together for these kids. And to me, that's what I kind of picture when I see school wide is that those things are happening in all the classrooms, that kids feel safe, that they feel valued, that they're willing to, like, take a risk and answer a question, because there's not going to be some sort of, you know, they're not being made fun of, or they don't feel like they're dumb, or you know, anything else. Because that supports already in place, and they trust the people around them. And so to me, that's a big part of AVID.


Kelli  21:57

Definitely taking that time to build the relational capacity. Because and. and as a, you know, when I first started teaching long before AVID, that was one of the things I worked on was building relationships with my kids, because I wanted to know them, you know, they knew what I liked that, you know, I knew what they liked, we would talk you know, talk about sports, talk about, you know, whatever the kids were interested in, and you build those relationships, and then there's nothing that you can ask your kids to do, that they won't do. Yeah. And that's, that's a biggie. And so when one of the first things with AVID, you know, there were all those things where I thought all these pillars, and I thought, okay, that I'm gonna have to learn, I'm going to have to learn to do this one. But it was like, Oh, the relationships that part, I got that one. But there are so many that don't have that. But I was thinking when you were talking about, you know, spreading the strategy school wide, and just needing to see it. And one of the greatest tools that I had recruiting tools, and I didn't even realize it was happening at the time. But when my kids would do tutorials, and they would get stuck. It's like, okay, well, I'm not really sure. And at the tutors didn't know, and I would call, you know, other teachers. And so I had sophomores, and my kids were really struggling with chemistry. And so one of the chemistry teachers had his prep was that period. And so I would call and say, Is there any way you could come over? We're struggling with this. And he would come over. And it came over the first time and the kids were all working through and ask him the questions. And he said to one of them will do know the answer. And she said, well, yes, I know the answer. But I need to be able to guide her and ask questions to help her get the answer. If I just give her the answer. She's not learning. And it kind of looked at me like, wait, what? And I said, Yeah, so when you come in, I said, you can't just come in and give the answer. And so, it came in and asked some questions. And so when he would come in once a week, and just, you know, when he was walking by, and he would come by some days, it's like, oh, it's not tutorial day. No. But little by little, you know, he would come in and say, oh, tell me about the Summer Institute. And so, I sent him to Summer Institute. And so the next year, guess who was an AVID elective teacher. And that's, you know, we really how we kind of spread a lot of those ideas, school wide was people coming by and seeing what my kids were doing, or, you know, I taught across from quite a few math teachers, and the kids would get stuck. And I'd say, take your board, and they would walk across the hall with their board and stand outside the door and ask the teacher, the teacher would look out and say, Okay, well, I can. And then, you know, a few of the teachers said, hey, can we do tutorials in math with our with the regular classes? And I said, well sure that it's collaborative study groups, and here's how it works. Yeah. And my kids would come over and help with that. And so, we were able to start spreading those strategies. But because those are things that work, you know, color ration works, focus notetaking works. And so when they see you, when other teachers saw also kids doing it, I was like, Can I get your notes? Oh, your notes are really good. And that's how, you know, that's how you spread at school wide. Because people see it. It's, it's working for this kid. So, I wonder if it'll work for, you know, the 36 other kids in that class. So that's what I think about school wide. I think that, you know, a lot of it is baby steps, for sure. And not forcing things down people's throats because they don't want to do that. And but just letting them see it. And when they see there may see kids doing it's like, wait a minute, oh, tell me about this, right, or


Stephanie  25:41

that kid doesn't work in my class. But right here running this tutorial, you know, that inquiry piece, I think is so huge, that that's what we want kids to do. Right is build ask questions until as you work through things and not necessarily to get the right answer. But just to understand that process. And I think people who haven't seen tutorials, haven't seen that piece that's so important of the kids are asking questions of each other, helping each other guiding each other and doing things that a teacher normally would do. And so, they're building those skills that you're not getting necessarily in other classes and less inquiry is a focus, right? You know, and I think that's such a, what I've always loved about tutorials.


Kelli  26:18

Tutorials are magic 


Stephanie  26:19

they are 


Kelli  26:20

they, when they're done, right, there's just nothing better. 


Stephanie  26:24

I agree. 


Kelli  26:25

You know, you sit back and watch and it's like, oh, look at my kids go


Stephanie  26:28

that's the warm and fuzzy watching tutorials.


Kelli  26:31

So if you haven't had a tutorial lately, get in there. Check it out. 


Stephanie  26:36

And go, like I said, for people to take other people is just huge. We did a lot of vertical and horizontal walks in Val Verde where we went with the elementary and middle school and the highs, and we got to see all those things. But we didn't always bring AVID teachers sometimes with other teachers, and they're getting to see those things. And I think that's, you know, the Socratic seminars, you know, all that stuff that's really student led. It's just so important to see that the kids can do it, you know, with just even just a little bit of scaffolding, and they just kind of build on it. And I think that like Socratic seminar is one of those things that were just like, chills as a teacher watching the kids talk about things and go deeper than I even expected them to go with the text. Yes, I didn't even think of that myself. Like I was telling her talking about Of Mice and Men and they connected it to the metamorphosis. And I was like, I we read those texts, so separately, right for them to do that on their own, and, you know, talk about isolation and all these other things. And I was like, wow, you guys are and these are ninth graders. You know, and so it's just they they can do it. They just need that the scaffolding the the push the belief that they can do it, you know,


Kelli  27:36

And that's when the magic happens. All right. Oh, let's talk about first year, the first year of AVID. So if we're talking about first year, let's do first year students. So if you're giving advice to a first year AVID student, a kid who's brand new to AVID, what do you think what would be your best advice for them?


Stephanie  27:56

For a student to just absorb what is happening around them. Like I know, it may seem like tedious and like they're doing these repetitive things that maybe don't seem super important. But like when they get it down, and they realize why they're organizing their binder, why they're filling out their planner, why they're doing tutorials, I think that's so important just to be open minded, and for them just to just take a risk, jump in there and do it. Notice what your other AVID students are doing. I feel like connecting with other AVID students is huge, so important. And so, to make friends with other kids in the AVID classes, they have the same I always tell my kids like these kids around, you all have the same goals as you do, they may not be trying to do the exact same thing. But they have the same drive, they're trying to get somewhere like these are the kids you want to hang out with. And I always noticed my kids that were with close with other AVID students got in less trouble than the ones who didn't connect to always other AVID kids, right? See them with kids who weren't AVID students, and I was like, and they be the ones that sometimes were getting in trouble or getting into stuff they shouldn't, or not as focused in class. But the other AVID kids drive each other. You know, so find that friend, even just one to connect with an AVID and just just enjoy the process of it, I guess, and just really get involved. You know, there's so many clubs and their sports and their things and like, that's what's gonna make their high school experience. And I think to get the most out of AVID is just to kind of dip your toe on all those things. 


Kelli  29:22



Stephanie  29:22

you know, 


Kelli  29:23

And I love that hanging out with the rest of your AVID family because it is true. I mean, those are kids who are on the same path that you're on. And I think for me, my advice would be, like you said, embrace the process, first of all, but also make it work for you. And so, it's like, I look at the kids who have the planners, and they have their full system of how they're keeping their agenda. And it's like, you've made it work for you. Because I think about, you know, on our team, when we first started, we get these little planners that we get. And my planner is way too small. Because I have the gigantic planner that I can add pages to, and I can color code and put stickers in it. And it's this huge planner, because that's what works for me. But I'm still, I still have my system. And so I'm still keeping my agenda, I still have my planner. And so, when I go to schools, I show the kids it's like look at, I have I have a planner, I write stuff down, I check things off when I've done it. And so, finding a system that works within the system. And so, if I'm expected to keep a planner, I can keep it my own way and make it my own and personalize it. And same with the notes. I'm taking the notes, but I can make them look the way I want. And I can use my own system. For every time I go back and touch my notes. Again, I may do things a little bit differently, but that my system now works for me. And I know how to take my notes, which I think is one of the biggest skills that I didn't realize kids didn't know how to take notes. And if you say, okay, I'm gonna lecture take notes. And it's like, Wait, why are you writing down every single thing that I said, you know, I told you what my dog did yesterday, you don't need to write that down. That was just kind of a little aside. But they don't know how to do that. Yeah. And so teaching them those systems for the notes. And you see the pride that kids have in their notes, that I love. And so I would definitely say embrace, focus note taking. Because it is a life skill, I think about my nephew was an AVID student, of course, because AVID fam. And, you know, he would take his notes. And he's like, you know, we take too many notes. I don't, I don't get the whole focus note taking process. And so you're going to, and then first year of college came, and everybody wanted to borrow his notes. And he said, no, my notes, don't leave my hands. Right, you know, but you can make copies. And then he said, well, you know, I so people wanted my notes. So, I made copies. And then I was like, please don't tell me that you're selling your notes. Don't tell me you're selling your notes. And he's like, well, and I was like, I respect the hustle. Right? But but let's not let's not sell our notes. And I don't want to get expelled about college your first year. But he was his notes were the you know, in his study groups, everyone was like, Oh, my gosh, your notes are so great. And I remember he called me and said, all right, I get it. Now with the notes. I said I knew that you would. And so that's I think for AVID students, especially your first year, things that don't maybe make sense to you. That if you can keep yourself organized and organize your time, your thoughts and your materials. Every door is open to you. So that's my first-year student advice.


Stephanie  33:00

I agree. I think too, with, especially if we're thinking like, let's, we both did high school. So, ninth grade, those ninth graders don't always see what they're working towards, you know, they're trying to just figure out how to survive high school. And that was always one of the things we did, we did like this workshop or of like, surviving high school 101 and the parents would come, and we talked about those things, because they didn't realize like all these little things we're doing are leading up to your senior year. And I think that's important to see kind of what you're doing now is going to affect what you can who you can apply to when you're a senior, like you don't start your junior year, it's too late, then like you need really not that you need to decide where you're going or what your major is going to be. But you need to know that, okay, I want to be able to apply to certain colleges, or I want to have a lot of options. So, I need to do the things I need to do, and not kind of just wait around until, you know, their second semester junior year. And they're like, oh, I really want to go to college. Figure out what I'm going to do this. And so, it's just ninth grade is important to for that like for building those little blocks and getting them to that level. Right? They can't just, you know, it's not a throwaway year,


Kelli  34:03

right? And even, you know, it's like I always say that it's not just these aren't just school skills. These are life skills. And so if you do decide, you know that I'm not going to maybe college isn't for me, but what are you going to do? Guaranteed you can still take notes, and whatever that is speak and write and read all the things. So, it works. Regardless of what your particular path is. It's the best way to get there. Alright, so how about for a first-year AVID teacher?


Stephanie  34:34

That first year is so hard. And it feels like it shouldn't be that I remember when I started. I was like, Oh, this is gonna be so much fun. I was like, this is hard. Like and I think it's hard because it's not anything like what you were doing in your content. You know, they're like, here's all your weeks at a glance and everything's done for you and I'm like, okay, but how do I put this all together? And I had sophomores my first year were sophomores and it's the only time I until I got to OV that I had sophomore AVID, AVID 10 And it was a huge learning experience. And really, it was just developing that family and just loving on these kids and helping them get their notes together or learning to work collaboratively and doing fun projects and keeping them interested. I think it's such a big thing, I think sometimes the work can get in the way of what we're trying to do, where people are so focused on the curriculum, and not that it's not important. But the kids often want to enjoy being there, they're taking a harder elective than probably a lot of the other kids, I know, they're taking more notes, they're doing more work, they're doing really hard, sometimes academic stuff in these classes. And so we need to have that piece where they feel like they belong, that there's some fun that there's reward. Because I'm not that the curriculum is not important. But I think we lose some of those AVID kids, when they don't see the why. Because again, in ninth grade, 10th grade, they don't quite see it yet. So just making it fun. And it's not that it's always fun, and the kids are messing around, but like it's structured fun, right? You know, and you can do assignments that are super important, that still have that level of interest that the kids need to stay focused in it. I think that's really important this year, especially too, because everyone's kind of are all over the place after virtual learning. So, like, how can we re-connect them with what we're supposed to be doing? How do we make the stuff important, but also make them want to be in the elective, because again, they could be taking something different. But they're choosing to spend four years, six years sometimes with us as an elective. And so what can we do as teachers to have that high level of interest for them, but also make them feel welcome and figure out how that AVID family works within your own classroom. And so, to me, that's, there's a lot of survival. I feel like the first year is AVID teacher. I know that's true for probably any subject, but there's just something different. And I tell new teachers all time, like I know, it's gonna be really hard and kind of bumpy. But it's so worth it. And I think towards the end, the year you're like, I get it, like, the next year, now I can do this, you know, but there's still all those little victories that you can have, even if it doesn't feel perfect. And I think that's thing, you don't have to do all the things, you know, have a few things that these kids need to know to be able to make it into AVID 10. And do those things and then find some fun to with them. And I felt that's always kind of my go to with the first year of AVID.


Kelli  37:19

Well, I like that. And I like but you know, it's gonna be bumpy, because it is, and it's going to be messy. And I think for a lot of people, for a lot of teachers, that is a difficult concept. Because I mean, you think about the fact that when I discovered AVID, I'd already been teaching for 20 years. And you know, I was pretty set in my ways. And then here's this completely new idea. And I decided I'm going to do all the things. Everything I'm going to do it, I'm trying everything, which was a mistake, because it was way too much. So, my advice would be baby steps. You know, don't try to do everything all at once. And to try everything twice. Because I remember the first Socratic seminar, I went to a training and I saw Socratic seminar and I said, Oh my gosh, I love it. It's going to be great. I'm going back tomorrow, and went back to my classroom. And I said, today we're doing Socratic seminar, let's move our desks in the circles. Here's what we're gonna do. And five minutes in, they still weren't in the circle. It was just, it was one kid sitting in the mosh pot. You know, it's just like, you guys know, the vision. I saw it yesterday. It wasn't that difficult to do.


Stephanie  38:38



Kelli  38:39

And I thought that's it. I'm never trying it again.


Stephanie  38:41

Yeah. So that could probably happen with a lot of teachers. Because there wasn't that preparation.


Kelli  38:43

Yes. And even when you do the preparation, it's still not going to be perfect the first time. So the first time you try all these strategies, it's not going to be perfect. It's not like it not gonna look like it says on the videos. Not the first time. You know, you'll build into that. And then also, I think, probably the best advice is that anybody who teaches AVID sees somebody else teach AVID first and so you go and you observe someone's class, and it's like, okay, that's what I want to do. So the best advice I think would be to be your best whatever your best is. And because when I went back to class, I couldn't go back to my class and be Tina Barhorst because no one else can luckily nobody else can only one Tina, but I had to go back and be the best me that I could be. And so I think that advice and then also keep some sort of journal or record of what is happening your first few years. You know, the kids names you know, a scrapbook with their pictures just so you remember. Especially those your first baby because it's very, it's very different. You know, it's a very different relationship than you have with other classes. And I think about my, my AVID babies graduated in 2015. And so when they started getting those acceptance letters, I didn't have the seniors. But they all made copies of their acceptance letters and brought them to me. And, of course, I sobbed the entire time, but I still have those. And so, they're going to be things that as a first year AVID teacher that you're doing, that are going to change the entire trajectory of the lives of the kids in your classes that you don't realize right now, just like we said that kids don't realize in AVID nine what that's gonna mean an AVID 12. And as a first-year teacher, first year AVID teacher, you don't realize what you're doing in AVID your first year, how that's going to affect these kids four years down the line. So, I think keeping some sort of record just of your process, and of what happens, and you know, where your kids go, because that's, that's part of that relationship. And I think about you know, I was always proud at graduations, you know, 20, 20 something years of graduations, I was always proud of the kids. But when my AVID kids graduated, it was different. It was a different kind of pride. It was like a personal pride, like my own children. And as a as a new teacher, I think keeping your eyes on that's one of the prizes to keep your eyes on, you know, it's like what's gonna, what happens to them afterward. And so, and also, even your first year thinking about, okay this kid's really good. I want to keep an eye on this one, because this one would be a really good tutor once they graduate and trying to start recruiting. So, I know it's a lot for first year teacher


Stephanie  41:57

just survive, but I'm trying to do all these things


Kelli  42:01

and have some fun. Yeah, that too.


Stephanie  42:02

And to make a little RIMS AVID plug here honestly, doing the Neato Courses. I mean, when I was brand new, when I went we did it back then it was the to where you did one tutorial one, he did a WICOR one. But getting to go and sit with other brand new AVID teachers, getting to hear from the RIMS coaches about what works and how to kind of navigate this, and then getting to walk in the classrooms. You know, like, I can still remember doing that, I think mine was at FoHigh for tutorials, and just getting to see what people are doing in their classes and seeing what a tutorial looks like. That's a little I mean, I came from a demo school. But I it's sometimes things are run a little differently. And it works that way too. You know, and just seeing all the different things and how it works. I think those Neato Classes, especially now that we have kind of a longer one to where it's virtual, and they get to have just about an hour and a half, you know, once a month and really one just kind of share what's going on in your class and get to share that with other people who are going through the same thing, getting some feedback from your coaches, and it's kind of a part from your school. So you don't feel like you have to someone sees you floundering you know, you just you can reach out to the coaches. And so I thought Neato is just such a great, it's Neato.


Kelli  43:11

It is Neato. And it is it's one of the one of the best ones I think, that I ever attended. I always say that Neato saved me and new coordinator saved me. Because, you know, it's hard to, especially as teachers, because we are the experts at all things. And it's tough to be in a situation where it's like, I have no idea what I'm doing. I, you know, I tried this, it was awful. You know, I don't know what to do. And that networking is so important. And because, like you said, the way it looks at a demo school is not the way it looks, you know, at a first year school. And so being able to see the differences and talk to other people, I think is is huge. So definitely anybody who is a new AVID elective teacher or a new AVID elective coordinator, you definitely want to take one of those two so good. Good little plug for out workshops.


Stephanie  44:12

Year two AVID like still take Neato if you need to, you know, just it's there's so many good things in it. I just, I just love it. 


Kelli  44:20

I do too. 


Stephanie  44:21

And maybe I'm doing it next year. So come join me and tell me.


Kelli  44:28

Alright, so let's talk about we talked about AVID at a site, but what about a district? Because as a coach, now you're working with entire districts. And so we're talking about a TK- 12 system. In a perfect world. What would it look like?


Stephanie  44:48

I think, again, I may be a little biased because I came from a K through a K 12. District. It's just that support at the district level that it's it can’t be underestimated how important it is. Because I know you can have a great, the most amazing coordinator who's just like really trying to run this program. But if your admins not on board, if your district's not on board, like you're not really getting that support that you need to grow your program. So I think it's important that the DL or the district that they're involved, that they don't need to be in at, they can't be at every school and doing everything and knowing everything that's going on. But I think having a pulse on what the schools are doing, having meetings we had a lot of for a while, their monthly and then they moved to like quarterly meetings, where we met with the other coordinators, we met with our DL's, we you know, and we have that time, kind of like Neato where you get to kind of talk about what's going on and how it's working. And what are you doing and sharing and figuring out? How can we make this work like, Oh, you're doing that in your school, I totally need to try that. Or, you know, we'd go like, so we'd go into each other's classrooms to see what they're doing. Sometimes it was just the high schools would go look at each other times, it was all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade. And I think it's important to have that community. And I see that at some districts that I've gone to, and I don't and others where they don't even know each other where I'm surprised that they don't know the neighboring schools’ coordinators name. And so that always throws me off a little bit, then I remember that not every district has that district support, where AVID is a priority. And so even if it's not at the district level, I think connecting with those other coordinators is huge within your district. But I think if a district is going to spend money on AVID and AVID cost money, it's a program, you know, there's a lot of training, and there's just the fees that go with that. I think if you're gonna invest the money, you need to invest the time in the people that are doing it nice, you know, and make sure that they're really a priority for you. Because I feel like, again, when you're doing it at the district level, and it's trickling down, and then you can move it from those asset classes to school wide. And you're just seeing those changes across the board and the benefits to all the kids by just pouring some energy into the AVID program.


Kelli  46:55

Well, and now as a coach, you realize how really lucky you were


Stephanie  46:58

Oh, yeah, I, I told some people in my district the other day, I was just like, you guys have no idea like, and not that there's not great things going on. But there's stuff that I just thought was normal, right? That we did as a district, like I didn't know, all schools didn't have print shops, like I would just send stuff off, and I would get posters, and I would get buttons. And I would get, you know, whatever I was trying to do as a coordinator, I was like, Oh, let me just send this off. And I had a print shop budget, you know, and we had Val Verde graphics. And so we had T-shirts whenever we needed T-shirts, and it was, you know, and then the district support for AVID and with my admin. And so I didn't, didn't realize as I went, I was like, Well, we had a lot really, yeah, that go that works for us. And I could see, that's why we've been pretty successful with AVID across the board at that district because the supports there, the superintendent supports it, our deals are all in they go to trainings they want, it's an important part of what we do, because they see the benefit for graduation rates for I mean, we were the first district to do FASFA as a requirement for seniors. And so you know, because we see the benefit of kids doing those things, you know, when they have options, they can do almost anything, right? When you say like, look, here's some money, like you can go to college. And so yeah, you're right, when I look at things, I'm like, Oh, this is a not again, not that there's other things that are great or better in certain aspects or whatnot, but it's, it's different. And everyone kind of operates their own way. And it's kind of like a how you have to meet people where they are. So, when I'm going to those districts that don't have that support, those teachers are like, you know, my admin doesn't support this, I don't know, you know, I have to kind of adjust my method with them than I would with one that's just flowing out and just doing what they need to do. And so it's been interesting in and I like it, because I feel like I really get to really serve certain areas that really need that, that help that they're not getting from maybe their district or from their admin and,


Kelli  48:44

and that is that is huge. And, again, you were super lucky because most districts don't have that. And so it makes it a little tougher to have that, you know, district wide, you know, TK 12 system, it just makes it really difficult in a lot of places where they have AVID at, well, like we had a get a guest earlier, they have a strong AVID program and elementary one in high school. Nothing in the middle schools 


Stephanie  49:14

That just kills me too, because and so what is happening those kids in the middle. 


Kelli  49:18

right, you know, and so thinking about as a district, I think, for me is a common set of expectations. And then WICOR everywhere. You know, wherever you go, you should see WICOR and even if you don't want to call it AVID, you want to see those AVID strategies, district wide. And, you know, my, my big push, as you've heard a million times, is, you know, we send these people to trainings, but now what, what do we do after that? And so is there any follow up or follow through? And I think in order to really be successful TK 12 A whole district That's what needs to happen. It's not enough just to send people to training to check off boxes. You know, we want to make sure there's follow up, and that people are being supported in their use of the strategies. And I think that as a first step, so we have, you know, Val Verde, which is on one end of the spectrum. And then we have districts, you know, that are just starting, that are on the other end. And so how do we help, you know, these early districts? How do we help them get to where they have everyone working together? Because, again, that doesn't, it doesn't happen often. Yeah. And there are a lot of people who are trying to get to that point. And they are having those district workshops, where all the coordinators, you know, meet and talk about things. And that is just that is huge. And we think about what we talked about earlier, the relational capacity, you need to have relationships between your sites as well. Because why am I over at the high school reinventing the wheel? When, you know, Abbott elementary has done something that's very similar. And if we had a chance to talk, we could say, oh, my gosh, we can combine those, maybe I could have my kids come to you, you could have your kids come, you know, just all the different things to to do. So I think for, in my opinion, that's what we would see if it was district wide, was really everybody working together and that your AVID family is not just in your classroom. But it extends to your staff as well.


Stephanie  51:34

I agree. And I think for districts, like you say, it's important for those walkthroughs. So we did those kindergarten through 12th grade walks, and one for the elementary school teachers to go into the high school classes and see their kids. Yeah, that was huge. They haven't seen these kids in years. And so they get a walk in and they're like, oh, my gosh, like, what are you doing? Where are you going? Where do you apply? And so that even getting to see them that excitement of what they did here? And where that led that kid? Yes, you know, and so we did, we did a lot of those when we could before the you know, everything shut down, like we were doing at least twice a year that we'd be either going horizontal, we're going to the high schools, or we're doing a vertical, sometimes not even our own feeder schools, just what are the schools doing. And I think it's important for that articulation, too, that this is what elementary looks like this is Middle School in the south, we support the high school, because obviously the ultimate goal is getting them to college, right? Or getting them prepared at least make that decision. And so, if we're seeing what everyone's doing, like we can put those pieces together. So, I think districts really it's worth the cost of subs, it's worth the time and the effort, to get your teachers out of the classroom, your admin out of a class or out of the school, and seeing what is everyone else doing? How can we connect all these things together? How can we like said network and get to know each other? And so I feel like that's such a big, big benefit to doing that.


Kelli  52:53

And that's, it's huge. You know, I think about the fact that, you know, I taught AVID for years, and I knew what it looked like at the high school. But I did not see an AVID elementary school class until I came to this job. Yeah, amazing. And that would have been really helpful as a high school teacher to be able to look at where they're starting, you know, to see the see the babies with their sight team or with their, with their sight word folders, you know, and just seeing what they're being taught all the way up. And that common language, yes,


Stephanie  53:31

that they're used to using those same things. You know, like at Shannon school, when we did that, you know, just those kids are using the vocabulary, the academic language that they'll be carrying through middle school and high school, you know, not too young to learn it.


Kelli  53:43

Yep. That's a great, a great little bit of advice is to do those, do those walks, you know, see what's happening with all throughout your district, I think is at all levels.  


Stephanie  53:56

I agree. 


Kelli  53:57

So clearly, Stephanie and I are passionate about what we do. Once we get started talking about AVID, there's just no stopping us. So that's it for part one of our conversation. Join us next time as we continue talking about all things AVID.