by Brian Schulte
AVID Tutor, Ramona High School
I first heard of AVID when I was in 1st grade and my brother John joined the program at Sierra Middle School. The following year my sister Jennifer joined too, followed by Kelly two years later. In this way, I felt as though I was already a part of the AVID family. In elementary school, I saw them work on their Cornell-style notes before they had to turn in their AVID binders. I saw the dedication my siblings had to AVID, and I wanted to follow suit. When I joined in 7th grade, I felt as though I belonged, partially due to my family ties to the program and teachers, but also because I knew that AVID was a group of people striving to achieve a common goal.
As I transitioned from grade to grade, and into Ramona High School’s program, I grew in my academic and social life. I felt I was a part of something, bigger than myself, that I could not let down - something I knew would not let me down. My organization had slowly progressed to the point where I knew that every week my folder would be ready, notes would be pertinent, and my tutorials would be extremely productive. I found myself engaged in a stiff but healthy competition with a number of other students at my grade level, while having the comfort of knowing that we all had each other, AVID teachers, and AVID tutors to rely on.
When I started at the University of California Riverside, I submitted my application to become an AVID tutor without hesitation. I knew the lasting impact my tutors had on me and found myself yearning to make the same difference in the lives of students. I thought I knew everything about AVID already, but when I began tutoring, I was introduced to a whole new side of AVID. I saw what the teachers do to prepare their AVID lessons, and I entered into a community of tutors who all cared for each other and the students.
As AVID tutors, our duties include everything from supporting each other’s college achievement, to facilitating smooth tutorials, to refereeing debates about whether pudding or Jello is better. These interactions boost the morale of each tutor, which is paramount in the way the students interact with each other in the group.
Our AVID office currently has 20 college tutors, all of whom are former Ramona AVID students. Each of us brings something different to the table, and when choosing groups for tutorials in AVID, we always feel a sense of pride in our groups, and want to create an environment that is not only comfortable for the students and ourselves, but allows the AVID tutorial process to thrive. Our tutors are all fully capable of tutoring any subject, and if said subject hits a roadblock, there is no shame in asking for help. This is where our program proves our strength. We have a great mix of expertise in subjects and with so many different students to tutor, we learn and grow just as we assist the students in doing the same.
I have wanted to be a math teacher since the 5th grade, and seeing the level of dedication the teachers at Ramona High School share is truly inspiring. Being an AVID tutor has prepared me well for numerous teaching styles and student personalities, which I know will be reflected in my methods and strategies as a teacher. I can only hope the school I teach at in the future has a college readiness system like Ramona’s AVID system.
AVID has impacted the outlook of the school as a whole. The college preparation and college acceptance rates are astounding. The hope that AVID inspires and the strong AVID family environment are reflected in every individual. There is no doubt in my mind that AVID has and always will have a lasting impact on my life. I know that whether I remain a teacher or follow my aspiration to become an administrator, I will ensure that ALL students are prepared for college readiness and success in a global society.
Brian Schulte began AVID at Sierra Middle School in 7th grade and then continued to Ramona High School for a total of 6 years in AVID. He graduated a salutatorian (ranked 4th in his class) and continued on to University of California Riverside. He was hired to be an AVID tutor in 2011 and plans to work at Ramona until he graduates from college; he will then become a Math teacher and also aspires to teach AVID one day. Though neither of his parents have college degrees, he and his three siblings, who were also AVID students, were accepted to 4-year universities.