Speaking of AVID Rockstar, we definitely have one in the studio with us this morning. In order to have a truly successful AVID system that is district wide, you need to have some key players, you need strong avid teachers, coordinators, admin, tutors and students. But to really make it work you need a strong and passionate district liaison. In our region we have some outstanding DL's, but none more passionate about AVID than our guest today. Charlene Guerra is the powerful force behind AVID in the Ontario Montclair School District. In the six years she's been at the helm and her district, AVID has expanded and blossomed. She is so dedicated to AVID that it was actually the subject of her dissertation. We are so excited for her to share some of the brilliant strategies and support she's implemented throughout the district. Welcome to the podcast. Dr. Charlene Guerra.
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Well, like right now we're talking about MTSS. So we're talking about PBIS. And we're talking about SEL. And we're talking about all these things and I'm like, wait, we even Common Core I'm like, wait, that was AVID was all of that stuff before we coined those phrases right?
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'll tell their story and explain what makes them an AVID Rockstar. They'll share their ideas, best practices and strategies that they've learned along the way.
Speaking of AVID Rockstar, we definitely have one in the studio with us this morning. In order to have a truly successful AVID system that is district wide, you need to have some key players, you need strong AVID teachers, coordinators, admin, tutors and students. But to really make it work you need a strong and passionate district liaison. In our region we have some outstanding DL's, but none more passionate about AVID than our guest today. Charlene Guerra is the powerful force behind AVID in the Ontario Montclair School District. In the six years she's been at the helm and her district, AVID has expanded and blossomed. She is so dedicated to AVID that it was actually the subject of her dissertation. We are so excited for her to share some of the brilliant strategies and support she's implemented throughout the district. Welcome to the podcast. Dr. Charlene Guerra.
Thank you for having me.
We are so excited.
So excited to have you today.
So am I thank you. I appreciate being here.
So we start every episode with our icebreaker question. So Dr. Charlene, where did you go to school? And what do you have in common with your college mascot,
I spent the majority of my time at Cal State LA, earning my teaching degree. And my master's in educational foundations on our mascot was a golden eagle. And I also spent a majority of my time at Cal Poly Pomona with the Broncos. But I'm going to select the eagle because the eagle has that bird's eye view and can see everything from the tip top. And that's kind of what I do for my districts, I kind of look at everything from the big picture and see how AVID can be linked to other strategies and other curriculum other just district wide and just looking at it from that bird's eye perspective, and how can we make AVID stronger by just integrating more into AVID?
That's very good. So tell us about your history of AVID. So share how it started how it's going.
So we were
Start from the beginning.
Okay, so from the very beginning, we were asked to select a distinction that would serve our community. And in that we decided to become an AVID Elementary School in 2010, when AVID Elementary, barely rolled out. And I was the second cohort of teachers to be trained in 2011. And so that was really awesome, because then I learned all these AVID elementary strategies. And when we were taught to AVID elementary strategies, it was like this is the hidden curriculum. These are the things that students are not taught. And I was like, Oh my gosh, no wonder why my kids don't know how to organize. No wonder why my kids don't write in their agendas. Like they really need to be taught. And this needs to be modeled like you just as a fourth grade teacher, you think like, oh, they could just do this. And it wasn't the case. And so going to AVID and learning about Socratic seminars and inside outside fishbowl and getting kids to talk and collaborate. I had all the collaboration structures in class, but it was it like it didn't come together. It wasn't wicker arised it was like talk to your elbow partner. Okay, back to me talk to do this. Now back to me. And it wasn't like in depth. And so when I went to have it, and I learned like, oh, no, that should be like a level three question. And I should have them you know, do a round robin. But then let's build on it and add it to a one pager and like, do all of these things. I was like, oh my god, this is it. My kids were so engaged. Right? They were just so engaged. It changed the momentum of the class to like, we got to do that again, too. Like, do we get to do a one pager? Are we going to add two levels? Three questions. Are you going to have us to an exit ticket? Because I know what the answer is. And it was just like, amazing. It just totally changed the dynamic of the classroom year after year. And as I got better my practices, I saw the students being more motivated,
Right. So it's one of the things we talk about all the time is that wicker is just good teaching. And that the more you add, the more your students just develop and and grow and become these amazing little learners. was like, Wow, all I needed to do was just tweak it a tiny bit or add some different things. So. So I love that. So that's how it started. So how's it going?
Well, after being an AVID elementary teacher and being an OMSD spotlight teacher, which I was doing professional development from my classroom, and teachers were coming in and seeing my strategies, and they're like, how are you getting your kids to engage? Like, do you have the gate class? You know, is everybody in here like that? The tip top of, you know, your, your school? Is that why our spotlight teacher? And I'm like, No, I have eight RSP students in here. I have, you know, half of my classes EL's. You know, most of them are our FEPS been they've been reclassified. But we're still watching them. And all of the this, the students and the dynamics within the classroom, everybody was like, amazed and shocked, like, wait, the student presenting that could possibly be an RSP student. And I'm like, Absolutely, like, our kids have grown so much. And they're so confident, they became to advocate for themselves so much that they said, you know, Miss Guerra why are you giving us rubrics? Why can't we make our own rubrics, and I was like, wow, fourth graders, or whatever, let's do a writing rubric that seemed like that was easy to do. And since we were already doing peer editing, it seemed like it would go along with it. Sure. And so the kiddos were like, well, as they're editing, they're like, Well, if I was Miss Guerra, I'm looking at this, I will give you a three, because you didn't do X, Y, and Z, in order to get a four, you have to do this and that you didn't. So I will go back and revise my paper and do that if you want to four and I was like, wow, this is exactly what it should be. Because instead of me sitting here and finding time to kind of counsel and talk to all of these students and conference with them, one on one, they were being able to conference with each other. And it just changed the dynamic of the class. And because I was, you know, a veteran teacher at the time, I had already had, you know, 12 years in the class, I had a lot of students that were being pushed in from our programs and RSP. And they were also, you know, had other issues, and I was happy to have them. But it was amazing to see them blossom. With that confidence of being in class. And just having like that AVID elementary family, we always talk about that AVID family and that community. But seeing it like in an elementary class where nobody was afraid to like this is my paper, this is what I did. You know, they really want it to share, and they wanted that peer feedback, because they want it to grow and improve. And they knew I was going to allow them that time to go back and edit
I feel like we always, people think of AVID just so much secondary, because it's a bulk of what it still is. But if people could see what AVID elementary looks like and what it does for those kids the same things it does for the older kids, and just being able to start that from the beginning and see them go all the way through. You know, it's just, it's just amazing getting them to seeing how it benefits them at any age. right and teaching
R ight and teaching them those skills to, you know, the self advocacy, and even having those conversations where they're where they're using their academic language and talking about, you know, doing that, that peer review and saying, Oh, well, if you had done this, you would got you would have gotten a four. But those are tools that kids don't, we don't we don't give kids those tools. Right. You know, when you think about you know, so I think so often, I don't know, if elementary school kids are given, I don't know, given the credit that they deserve, you know, or the opportunities because they feel like well, they're too little to do this. And with AVID, it really is it starts from starts from TK. It's like you're gonna miss it, you're gonna speak the academic language. And you're gonna be you're bringing your things and you're going to learn how to organize and you're going to learn how to, you know how to speak in class, and then they're, you know, in the, in the elementary schools that we've seen, you know, it's been amazing. It's like, how can they? How can they do that? And it's because there's a system in place.
You know, we have we have TK teachers that the kiddos are, are beyond organized. They have their little agendas. They have their little checkoff sheet with their homework on a daily basis. Parents sign because they read with them every night. They have their classes so structured that they have like literally painters tape dividing their carpet, so kids can have red light green light immediately or would you rather immediately without any prep for TK teachers? And it was just that little thing of like separating out with painters tape having yes no are red light green light. And bam, they can ask any question during wanders any question during math, and the kids can go ahead and make a judgement and calling on them using equity sticks and they can support their judgment and why they went there. And it was just that little tweak for our TK teachers that made that equitable for all students and with no prep and no setup.
Because it isn't, you know, it's not that it's not that difficult. You know, because, like we said, it's just good teach Seeing, but sometimes it needs just a little bit of a boost. And then it goes from good teaching to great teaching. And that's what we're looking for. So, if we're talking about what you do every day, so what? What is your current AVID work look like as as a district liaison? What does that look like?
That I think is the part that I love so much is that every day is so different. But I do have to say I would the the thing that is, is, I'm a people person, and I love working with people. So there are days that I work with my AVID tutors, there's days I work with my coordinators, my principals, AVID Elementary, AVID secondary principals, you know, I've worked with the director's Director for Curriculum and Instruction, I'm working with our director for the El department so we can hopefully get AVID Excel off of the ground and get a pilot program going, you know, I'm working with the directors from, you know, all all the different parts of our of our district, because we want to strengthen the east side, the west side, we want to integrate and partner and like, if you have any guest speakers, let us know, because we have our AVID, you know, classes that they can go visit or if you have any, any community service, let me know. And so it's really constantly working with everybody. But the biggest shift, especially since the pandemic has, how can we make AVID resources digital and available to everybody. So we've created an AVID website that houses all of our resources digitally. So if we had a DLA queue, we went ahead and digitized it if we had, you know, one pagers, we went ahead and digitize them, and then created those. What do I want to say created examples for everybody so that not only do they have the template, but they have the examples of what a digital one pager looks like. And so we made sure that everything is available to teachers on the Omis D AVID website. But right now I'm in summer institute land, just registering everybody for Summer Institute, I tell them I'm their summer institute tour guide. You know, just whatever our staff needs, I kind of fulfill those needs. And it's just really good to make sure that all of the AVID needs are taken care of and I'm like your one stop shop to make sure that everything is is good. But it also leads to long hours and a lot of extra responsibilities. But I do appreciate building those responses, those relationships and having that responsibility, because I think it's important work.
Oh, it's definitely, definitely important work. And, you know, and we know is at the rims, RIMS AVID team, we know that whenever we need. It's like, oh, we need an example of something we'll call Charlene and let's see what Charlene is doing. And so I love that you said, Oh, we created a little website, you have so many resources, so many things that are provided to your teachers and your coordinators. You know, where does that come from?
Well, there's, I tell my boss, these ideas just pop in my head at the middle of the night. Like I can't help it. So I woke up last week. And I'm like, Man, I gotta create it and have it handbook, like oh my gosh, if I created have AVID handbook, and it's separated by each and every stakeholder, and they just click on their like identity, and then it would have all the resources for them for 2020 2023, then they don't have to, like look for what are what do I need for goals for this month? What do I need for like, you know, it would just all be there. So that's my next thing that I'm working on is really working on that. But actually my my boss, who is Ricky Ramirez, and he's very supportive for curriculum and instruction, he went ahead and we said that we really need to sit down and have an OMSD AVID five year plan. And we want to really strategize and look at what we want for OMSD five years down the line, and backwards plan and see what that looks like from today and every year forward. So that we can go ahead and we can, you know, reflect annually, and figure out what our work looks like and what we need to do in order to support that five year plan. One of the biggest supports that we have this year is we have 13, 13 team members besides myself in the curriculum and instruction department, and all of us will be attending summer institute this year. So every TOA in our department will be AVID trained. And whether they're a tech TOA, whether they're, you know, ela, history, science, everybody's going to be AVID trained. So we can infuse some of those AVID strategies when we're providing professional development for our staff.
And that that's great.
Let's say I think that a lot of times that so much is put on the coordinators for developing a lot of these things and I don't know if districts really realize how much more programs can grow. When there's things like what you're doing is happening on that and that people are probably doing see a lot of what you're doing or the planning you guys are doing. Are you and Mr. Ramirez working together? You know, so I just think it's awesome. I feel like I wish more would see how that can work at a district level to kind of trickle down to everyone else. So it's not just put on the site or the AVID teachers like it really does take like a whole community to really make it grow. And to make it just a district wide thing.
The other issue we've been having is AVID recruitment, like post pandemic, or recruitment numbers are not the same as they were in the past. And we did really well last year because I felt like everything was online, and everybody was at home with their devices. But we've had like this hybrid where some kids are taking their devices home, and some kids are not. And we did 100% Recruitment online. And we felt like we missed a whole batch of kids. And so we've been trying to revamp, and so we decided all ready for next year, a deliberate decision is that we're going to have 50% of our recruitment online, but 50% of it will go back to the old paper pencil, and we have to meet kids where they are, you know, we have to provide them the resources and break down those barriers. And that was one thing that we already came up with. But in addition, Ricky also said, Hey, we have banners for like, preschool enrollment for this and that why don't we make banners for AVID recruitment. So Tammy lipschultz, who is our assistant superintendent said, go for it, we went ahead and used some of the AVID budget that we didn't use for professional development this year due to a lack of subs. And we use some of that money. And we created banners for every single school in our district. And we're just adding this online academy, which will be our 33rd school in our district. And the Online Academy will have five teachers or the principal, the coach and three teachers will be AVID trained this summer. So we're going ahead and we're expanding it to our online academy because we know that AVID is good for all kids. And we created those banners, in addition to everything else, but we have a QR code on there to meet people and their digital needs. And we have, you know, a sign on there saying, you know, you can get paper and pencil applications in the office, because we just want to break down barriers for kids. And then I've been really trying to entice our AVID coordinators into making a fourth goal, which is for them to adopt a local AVID elementary site, where they could go ahead and create a mentorship and go ahead and really reach out to the community and have our advocates do community service in that aspect, where they can either meet with them after school or you know, during a period and build those relationships and recruitment shouldn't be one and done. It can't be like, you know, I'm gonna go recruit for you guys, and fall or spring. And then hopefully all these kids sign up for AVID. So we've really strategically thought about like, what does AVID recruitment look like? How can I incorporate all of our sites? And how can we strengthen it by using our kids who are the best advocates for AVID. So we decided that we're going to have like us fall recruitment, where we bring the kids and they talk about AVID, and then we're going to have like a spring recruitment of like, this is how you apply to AVID. And then we're going to have coffee with the principals at all the school sites, whoever will have me, and we're going to talk about financial aid and how to invest in your child's education and tell them like, this is what AVID does for your kid, make sure they stay an AVID all the way through 12th grade because this is when they're going to need the most help. And we're hoping that that that will bring up our numbers in addition to having field trips again, and fun field trips are hoping to have a district wide field trip to Knott's Berry Farm and other fun events. Nice.
That is nice. So you are the DL extraordinaire. So if you were to give advice to a first year AVID district liaison, like what would you advise them
Get to know your people get to know your people get to know your site, every site is different, every site is going to have unique needs. And just like we UDL, our classrooms, and we have that Universal Design for Learning and everything has to be different and you have to take on different approaches. You have to do the same thing for your sites. And for coming from OMSD, I have three sites that are AVID site of distinctions AVID national demonstration schools, and I have three sites that are not, but most importantly, we have new principals all the time. We have new coordinators, we have new stakeholders, new AVID elective teachers. So just knowing that and really meeting them where they're at and meeting their needs, and really scaffolding like we would for students in our classrooms and providing them the resources that they need without overwhelming them is really important and listening to what they have to say. And just having those conversations and building those relationships. But I'm also like on call AVID, you know, they could call me in the middle of the night they could text me at 5am and that's okay, you know, and it's just really important for us to build our relationships because they may not have the time when when after school or before school. So I have to really meet them where they're at.
And I love that idea of, you know, scaffolding your principles to success, you know, because it's not just for kids scaffolds aren't just for kids there are, you know, the grownups need scaffolds, too. If you're new to a position, you need help getting to where you need to go. And even that five year plan you talked about, is what we tell the kids to do all the time. You know, if you're an AVID teacher, you make your kids make a five year plan, and then backwards map. So naturally, why wouldn't you do that with your sites, and just say, okay, as a district, this is where we want to be, what do we need to do in order to get there. And so it's really kind of modeling and practicing what we preach?
Well, just like for AVID secondary, they always want you to collect that secondary data from the kids and from the teachers. We do that from our principals, we send out all of those Google Forms, and we collect all the data to see what they need to support their programs. And then that's how we allocate our budget our funds for the abbot budget, because if you know, they really want professional development, well, then that's where the funds should be allocated. So we really look at what what they tell us, but we've broken it down to like, do you want to hours of PD after school? Do you want to timecard your teachers do you want release time, because not a lot of teachers right now, they don't want to be leaving their students with a substitute. So it's really important to figure out what teachers are comfortable with. And then also meet them where they're at in order to get them to AVID trained. And since I'm an AVID DL, and I'm an AVID staff developer, I can provide the AVID training and, and use those modules that are available from my AVID on at the AVID website. And so it's really, really strategic planning. And one school may want it after school, one school may want all day PD, and me being 100% AVID and that being my only job, it allows me the flexibility to do so.
It shows it definitely shows it shows him what your district is able to do what your sights are able to do. It really is. It really is a system. And an impressive system. Also, I have to say,
Well, like right now, right? We're talking about MTSS. And we're talking about PBIS. And we're talking about SEL, and we're talking about all these things when I'm like, wait, wait even common core, I'm like wait that was AVID was all of that stuff, before we coined those phrases, right? Like when we talk about college readiness that was AVID from like, what was it? 1980. Right, it was college readiness and Common Core and making sure we WICORize. And it was very rigorous. And then when we talked about you know, SEL, and we're like wait, that's the whole AVID family thing going on that we've been doing forever. And when we talk about, you know, PBIS that's integrated into that SEL because half of kids have really good behavior because they want to be part of the program. And so when I hear about MTSS, I'm like, wait, they have culture, they have systems, they they have all of our four domains. I'm like, this is just a revamp of what AVID is, and then I saw that their their whole, what is it called? Their whole conceptual framework is a triangle and like, we had a triangle too. I'm like we it just, AVID marries everything so well, when they talk about UDL, and all of these things I'm like, that is really what we do in AVID, when you come to a tutorial, and you're having an issue with math or with science that's UDL because we're helping you break down those barriers. And like, look at it conceptually and figure out what you didn't know, in order to overcome that process. And we don't help you by giving you everything you need. But we help you by asking you the correct questions. So you can have that metacognitive aha moment that now I get this and I can redo this again and again. And so when people are talking, I'm like, wait, we already do that. Okay, AVID already has that like and it's just like my aha moment is like, AVID covers so many bases. And that's why when you have a really good AVID program, you are hitting so many of the other strategies that make education so powerful and important,
Right? It really is it just and I love that whenever they bring in, you know, a new, a new program comes along and it's like, Wait, isn't that just AVID with a different spin on it? So, definitely. So one of the things especially right now in the in the current climate with education, we are so focused on what's going wrong and how difficult things are in OMSD what's what's going right, right now?
I think we I think we have the knack for putting the right people in On the bus and the right seats, like our superintendent is amazing, our assistant supe, she's amazing. And they just have a really good way of, of selecting and appointing, and, you know, putting directors, our board is very strong and supportive. And I just feel like, you know, even down to my department, all of our AV, all of our teacher on assignments in the district office, we really are very strong in what we focus in. But we also have this amazing ability to collaborate. And I feel like that collaboration is really unique to our district, because that's what really makes us better. Even our AVID certification, it was like, amazing. It was like the synergy again, that we didn't have when we were virtual, and everybody was just collaborating and sharing best practices. And, and I just really feel like that is probably the strength for our district is we have the right people in the right seats on the bus. And we have a synergy going,
I got to see the elementary certification, it was really good. I was I feel like I got so many ideas, even of how to run my next year from just seeing what you were doing with yours. And they were all engaged, and they were doing your activities and sharing. And so it was really cool to see what they were doing. And kind of feeding off each other. And just your whole presentation for them. Like everything was just so laid out. And it was just really good. And so it was great to get to see especially as the new RIMS Coach, what different people are doing and getting to get some great ideas from you and just watching you and Rick even work together and kind of have your plan and everything's all you know, just it was great.
One of my one of my favorite things about Charlene is that when she does something and it's like, hey, that's cool. How did that and she's like, let me send it to you. You have any like, you can use that. Okay? And so, you know, we're always and we do when we need someone to present something. It's like, Charlene, can you come and talk to administrators? Charlene Can you come and talk to coordinators, and you are very generous with those ideas you come up with in the middle of the night. And we appreciate that because it you come up with good stuff.
So you're obviously very passionate about AVID, it's super obvious, which is a big reason why you're here, right? Um, so where does that come from? What's your AVID legacy? Like? What are you hoping to come from it?
Well, not only am I an AVID district liaison, but I'm an AVID parent. And that says a lot when you have your kids in a program, right? So once our school was AVID Elementary, both of my girls were in AVID since elementary school. And my oldest just graduated from Cal Poly Pomona on Sunday, with her degree in kinesiology. And she had some struggles, you know, throughout college, it was you know, being a science major, it's really difficult with all those labs rigorous schedule, but she used her AVID strategies to the very last final. And my little one, she will be graduating from Claremont high school, she is an AVID student. And so I am not only like an AVID parents, but you know, I'm getting, I'm recruiting them to be my AVID tutors like, you know, I come on be an AVID tutor and all of my former students that were an AVID I'm like it, let me know, if you want to be an AVID tutor, because they know the strategies they can they can attest to the program. And it's really important to have that. So my legacy is really just building our community, building our community that you know, I live in that, that I serve to make sure that we go out and those kids know that they can go to college, right? We want to make sure that they're aware of the their abilities that they possess, because I don't want them to ever have a counselor or a teacher or somebody else tell them, you know, like, oh, no, don't don't don't go to college or you know, go go find a job or go to a community college, I want them to be strong in their convictions to go to college and aware of their talents that they have in order to be successful and really have their lifelong dreams. And I believe that that starts with elementary school, and that starts with us believing in them and showing them our commitment. Like if people knew how much extra we paid for AVID, just like my position and you know, paying coordinator stipends, paying tutors, paying all of the things that we do, and we get that tenfold, when our students go out and they get their scholarships, and they get their, you know, their full ride to this private college. You know, it comes back to them. And it's it's not, it's not a payment, it's an investment. And that's what we really have to see is that this is an investment. So when we say oh, we have all of these competing electives. No, we're not competing with other electives. We're competing with remediation. We have to make sure that our kids are not remediated and we have to give them the tools and stratigies that they can have to electives, because we offer every student in our schools zero period when they're in secondary schools. And it's really important that they know that if they work hard, they can be an AVID and they can still have band or they can be an AVID and they can still have, you know, computer science in a way that we're trying to, to again, just collaborate and bring everything in is we're trying to have our AVID tutors be trained to teach them coding on Fridays. So while we have two AVID tutors, doing binder checks in the back of a classroom, we're hoping that we can have a third teaching the rest of the kiddos coding. And as they're pulling kids to conference over binders, we can have coding for AVID on Fridays. And that's one way that we can go ahead and eliminate, you know, some of that competition to be an other to be an other electives is if we can combine as much as possible into our AVID programs. That's awesome.
Like they need to be like a tagline, that it's not a payment. It's an investment, right? That's like a bumper sticker for AVID. That's true. I mean, it is I mean, there is a lot of costs that's involved with it. But the reward is so huge. Like we care about kids, and we want kids to learning we want kids to grow like, those are the things we have to do. And we have to work together and figure out how to grow all of that, you know, and so I I love that how you worded that?
I'm still reeling at the fact that your daughter graduated from college. It just is because I trained her to be a tutor four years ago. Seems like yesterday. Yeah. AVID, family is strong. It is strong. So you talk about all of the things that you do and all your hard work, but the payoff really is in those experiences. And so what what's your favorite, AVID memory AVID experience, your greatest AVID success story? What do you got?
Well, I like to go on campuses and be called the AVID lady. When I go into the middle schools, after I do all my sixth grade presentations, I go into the middle schools, and they're like, hey, there's the AVID lady. I'm like hi guys, that's pretty cool. But the other thing is, I really do love the fact that most of our AVID tutors are former OMSD students. So they were at our schools either like K through eight, some through some part of their education, and then they come back and they work for us. And after they work as an AVID tutor, many of them are being matriculated up to substitute teachers and up to teachers. And I this just this, this year, I had an induction teacher who was a former OMSD AVID teacher, and I was his mentor for induction. So that was pretty cool. I don't have one favorite moment, because there are just so many. And, you know, it's just AVID just changes lives, AVID creates relationships, AVID builds, you know, kids up to have a belief that they can, you know, just be more than what they ever imagined they could be.
Which is true, I mean, that that's the goal. You know, we want them to leave better than they came to us. And that is something that, you know, you clearly work work diligently to achieve.
I think also to training them up in that way to have them come and give back to the community coming back to be a tutor, being a substitute wanting to get an education, a lot of them sometimes, I found in the past with tutors, they're like they realize that it's something they want to do because they love working with the kids. And so we're like continuing the cycle of bringing people back in to serve the students years later, you know, through tutoring and teaching. And so it's just there's just this huge, just wide net that AVID reaches, and it's just this circular thing. I feel like that doesn't end because we're just constantly bringing people back in. And it's clear at your district that that's what's happening.
Yeah, we had Ted Alejandre visit oaks recently, and he was in the AVID tutorial. And Dr. Hammond was in there with us as well. And I counted on we had six AVID tutors in there. And five of the six were former OMSD students. So that just says that that's a that's a testament to me that, you know, these kids believed in AVID so much that they want to go and be role models for kids who used to be in their seats, you know, and how powerful that is.
And you started as a substitute teacher in that district, didn't you?
Yes, I did start in 2004 2003. Yeah, substitute teaching. And then I was hired at Marino and as a was that Marino where you became the Marino AVID Academy, and fell in love with AVID and the only reason I went left is because I wanted this job, right? Yes. I was working on my dissertation, and I realized that the strongest effect that a kid had regardless of education, parental involvement, and all the other all the other attributes to their life was really AVID, it had the highest effect size when I was doing my multiple linear regression. And then I went ahead and I did my focus groups and all the AVID coordinators and all the AVID students really said, the one thing that helped them survive mom having cancer, right? Dad having to work multiple jobs, you know, everything else was that AVID family.
Love that. So can you share some of your AVID best practices or strategies, things that you've seen things that you tried, I know, you get to go around to a lot of different schools. So I'm sure you just see great things all the time so it can be hard to narrow down, but are there some that you'd like to share that?
Yeah, I think I think the biggest bang for our buck is when teachers do really, really great job planning. And when teachers can plan an awesome lesson, and then allow the students to do the heavy lifting, and then then facilitate the work. It's really, really important. So some of the things I'm really working on for our district is for them to allow, align the five phases of focus note taking, with the Gradual Release of Responsibility. And knowing that phase one is like the teacher does it and Phase Two are kind of working together. Phase three, you know, you guys are working together. And phase four students are working independently. And Phase Five, they're applying that learning. And so when teachers start seeing like that gradual release of responsibility, they can see that students need to have those multiple interactions with the notes , but also including that tend to to process into it and how important it is to break up that lecture or that direct instruction and give kids the opportunity to chunk and process the information is so important. But the biggest bang for our buck. And what I've always heard AVID students say is AVID was the class that helped me find my voice, whether it was like the tutorial process, whether it was because Socratic seminars, collaborative structures, philosophical chairs, you know, AVID was a class that let me have my voice, because so much students tell me like, when I'm sitting in class, it's the teacher talking, I'm listening, I'm not participating, you know, but in AVID, that's where I was allowed to participate. That's where I was allowed to share my opinion. That's where I was allowed to, you know, work with my classmates. And I feel like that is so important for students. Yeah, that was the class that made them want to go to school every day. And I'd collect our AVID data, I look at that data and AVID students by far have the best attendance in our district at the secondary schools, then non AVID students,
They want to be there,
They want to be there.
I don't think it can be downplayed, either how much like the whole AVID family thing relates back to that, you know, because then they feel comfortable sharing with each other, they don't feel like they're gonna be judged by their peers, if they, you know, say something wrong, or if they share a different opinion. And I think that's, there's so many components to AVID and they all kind of just work together to create these opportunities for students, right, where they feel that they can do those things so they can share that they can, because I feel I found the same thing that the students just that's where they feel comfortable, that feels like home, it's their family. And I feel like that's where you see a lot of growth because they can be themselves and they can kind of expand who they are around people they're comfortable with.
It's theirsafe place. And you know, kids when they say that all the time, I mean, that is, you know, it when you start taking your teacher prep classes, it's one of the first things that they say is that you, you want to build relationships, and you want to have it be a safe place for your students. But that, I feel like, they don't ever say this is how you do it.
No, not at all.
And the way you do it is through AVID, because you're doing that you're building that relational capacity. And, you know, giving the kids the tools that they need. And Charlene, like you said, meeting them where they are, and then suddenly,
they do and they do every time. So um
AVID should be like a class in your credential program and be like, this is AVID, right? I think you would save a lot of things later, but it's just there's so much good stuff there that I wish even when I was a brand new teacher, I knew, you know, so it'd be nice to have some of those things being put out there just for schools to give their new teachers some type of AVID background, you know, as they're coming through, not necessarily always teach the elective, you know, but just to have those few little things, in their back pockets to use.
Many places do that in there. I was gonna say Bitsa, but it's cuz I'm old. It's an induction. In their induction, it's true. Yeah, definitely. And a lot of a lot of sites do that.
Well, two things. So first off when I provide AVID professional development in our district, a lot of our veteran teachers actually come up to me and say, I wish I would have known this. I would have been using this a long time ago. And then the amazing things is they'll send me like one pagers after the fact or in science or history or whatever the case may be. But then the second part is, we have like 145 teachers going to Summer Institute, or DSP this summer. So it's like amazing, because we haven't been able to attend, we have a whole bunch of new staff members, everybody's eager to, you know, get back into AVID and to have those best practices because we know that that's what's great for kids. So it is really amazing that we have so many people wanting to join, but we have supportive principals and supportive directors and support all the way up to our superintendent and our board to allow us that opportunity. Because going to Summer Institute, it's it's not cheap.
It's not a payment. It's an investment.
Yes, exactly. And, but we know what's what's best for kids in our district is very, very focused on what's best for kids.
So producer Dave, we need to get a little duller the whole cha ching. Every time we say it's not a payment, it's an investment. Cha Ching. Okay, got it. We're gonna add that in later. Okay. Charlene, this is the segment of the podcast, we call the one thing, okay, so give our listeners your best piece of AVID advice. So to be successful in AVID, you need to do this one thing, what is the one thing that you recommend.
To be successful in AVID the one thing you really need is to, really, back to what I said, build the relationships, you need to focus on the people, whether the people you're working with is our students, you need to focus on those students, if you're working with teachers, you need to focus on those teachers. If you're working with principals, you need to focus on those principles. It is so important because if you don't have those people on board, the work won't get done. Coming down to the students, if you don't have those students on board, if those students are not filling the assignment, they're not enjoying the class, if they're, you know, nothing, no, it won't move forward, there's not going to be any momentum, right. But you, once you, once you have them on board, you build that relationship, they'll do anything for you, kids will do anything, when you see that kiddo that's running sprints for their soccer coach, or doing push ups for football. It's not because they're doing it for the sport, they're doing it for that coach, they're doing it for that person, because that person has, you know, bonded with them, or that person has engaged them in some way to make them physically hurt, until they cannot do it any more. But like how do we get our kids to do that, to be mentally engaged, to be mentally motivated to do the things that they need to do and to create a passion around education. You build relationships with them, I have my third grade students from my first or second class and they still reach out to me why? Because I built relationships with them. And they some of them have become substitute teachers in our in our district. They reach out to me for advice on credential programs, you know, and they'll be forever my students because we have that bond and that relationship. And that to me is so important.
Well, AVID families forever. Yes
That is true. So that's it for this episode of the RIMS AVID Roundtable. I'm Stephanie
And I'm Kelly.
If you have questions, feedback on today's episode or an idea for a future show, please tweet us @rimsavid or email email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you. And be sure to check out our website RIMSAVID.org For all the latest news and events.
Thank you Charlene for taking time out to spend with us today and sharing your AVID excellence. And just that shout out to you for helping hundredsand hundreds of kids find their voice. We are so grateful that you are part of the rims AVID family. And thanks to all of you for listening. Don't forget to follow us in your favorite podcast app so you don't miss a single episode. Join us again next time for more rims AVID roundtable will save you a seat.