Last week in Austin, Texas, I attended a high-powered meeting, the inaugural Forum on Productivity in Public Education. There, a panel of nationally recognized education experts discussed and debated what could and should be done to ease the budget woes for school districts across the country via “educational productivity.” Much of the talk centered on teachers –the largest percentage of any education budget – and the high probability that teaching positions would need to be cut, among other things, to balance budgets.
Someone said that AVID teachers are “secretly Chinese Mothers,” but as I was reading Amy Chua's “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” I kept thinking “AVID and I are so NOT Chinese Mothers.” After all, I named our program “Advancement Via Individual Determination,” not “via Mother's determination or AVID teacher's determination.”
Amy Chua, a law professor at Yale University, offers insights on parenting in her Wall Street Journal article, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" that have implications for educators. How about giving our students more classrooms that with a single-minded, no-excuses, relentless approaches to academics? How about leveraging the fear of letting down the “family?”
During AVID Center’s recent National Conference, I was quite abruptly reminded the power of note-taking and review. During the last day of the conference, I found myself sitting in a large auditorium eating breakfast and listening to a panel of student speakers addressing the 1500+ participants. One student panelist, Reginald Brown, was discussing Cornell Notes and quipped, “It hurts, but it works!” to the amusement of the crowd.
Cornell notes, Socratic Seminars, tutorials, organization skills – all are part of the AVID college readiness system; but the glue that keeps everything together and moving in the same direction for AVID students is the AVID elective teacher. And, as campuses develop and use AVID strategies schoolwide, it’s the AVID teacher(s) who plays the key role in creating systemic and lasting change for the benefit of ALL students. What is so special about the AVID elective teacher anyway? What role does the AVID teacher play in developing brain health? William (Billy) Madigan, AVID elective teacher at Steele Canyon High School in San Diego, California, gives his personal reflection on the impact AVID has on his teaching and how that translates into what his students experience.