Mindfulness Meets AVID

By Kristen Larson, AVID Elective Teacher

I am proud to say our school district has gone in a holistic direction by investing in our students and staff by hiring a mindfulness specialist. Having this resource has transformed how I approach the classroom, my students, and my life. I had heard of mindfulness and done a yoga class here and there, but I really had no idea what the term actually meant and how powerful it could be. So, I was curious and thought I would see how we, as an AVID class, could tap into this new resource.

At the beginning of the year, my AVID class also started doing something that we termed “Mindful Mondays” with our new mindfulness education specialist, Mary T. Schmitz. She explained to students that: “Mindfulness is approaching our thoughts with kindness and curiosity, so we can choose our behavior.”

Mindfulness allows us to hold space with our thoughts and observe them—to notice what we are thinking and feeling, and pause and wait for ourselves to react and to do things on purpose.

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Help Us Win March Madness - Share Your AVID Story!

Brackets For Good helps nonprofits activate new donors and increase awareness for their cause through "competitive giving." They've selected AVID Center as one of the 64 nonprofits competing in their nationwide March Madness style competition! The nonprofit that survives each round and raises the most money will go on to win an additional $100,000 from AT&T, the tournament sponsor.

All funds earned by AVID Center will go towards funding Summer Institute training scholarships for our amazing educators!

You and your students can help AVID Center advance to the finals by sharing your AVID stories and images on social media along with this link to donate:

There is no better testament to the power of AVID than our educator and student stories, so what better way to raise awareness and help us advance through each round of Brackets For Good?

Click here for a toolkit to help you tell your network about the competition!

Thank you in advance for helping us spread the word!


Hearts and Grades 

By Craig McKinney, AVID Staff Developer

Alternative Title: How My Valentine’s Day Craft Project Helped Me Clarify My Thinking About How Students Learn and How We Assess

This time last year, two of my new coworkers placed Valentine’s Day cards and candies on my desk. Generally oblivious to holiday gift-giving occasions at work, I had given little (actually, no) thought to providing any red-and-pink merriment for my teammates, so this took me by surprise. In the ensuing discussion with my officemates about how awful I am at this sort of thing, one of the bunch threw down the challenge that I make something for them. “We want a handmade card,” is what I believe she actually said.

The challenge of handmade Valentine cards seemed so unchallenging. A more miraculous feat, I thought, would be to learn to crochet tiny Valentine hearts. Wouldn’t that be a fun new skill to teach myself...

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5 Things Every School Counselor Wants You to Know

By Eric Blanco, CASC President 2016–2017, School Counselor, Ernest Righetti High School

Happy National School Counseling Week 2017! The goal of this week is to “focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems.” In the spirit of the week, here are the top 5 things that I believe every school counselor wants you to know—whether you’re a student, parent, or fellow educator.

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Change is hard, but we can make it fun!

By Tim Bugno, Curriculum Manager, AVID Center

So the old 2016 calendar is in the trash, and the new 2017 calendar of cats is nailed to the wall, encouraging you to “Hang in There!”—a grand time of renewal and starting again. Interestingly, January 1 became New Year’s Day when Julius Caesar reformed the calendar and used it to celebrate Janus, the Roman god of beginnings. Janus’ two faces allowed him a unique ability to look into the past, as well as the future. As a result of its origin, it makes sense that January became a time for us to reflect on past successes/failures and set goals about the future.

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