AVID motivates Marysville students to turn their lives around

TULALIP – Katherine Jordan’s sophomore AVID class at Mountain View Arts & Tech High School is made up of students who failed almost every class in middle school.

Now they are passing 88 percent of their classes. They told us why.

•Wyatt Pentz said in middle school he didn’t think the teachers cared. As a result, he didn’t care. He didn’t do much work and when he did it was at the last second. At big schools, he felt more like a number – “not as personal” as at MVAT. He, and many of the other students, said the Tutorial Request Forms have been huge. A couple times a week they gather in small groups and discuss class work that is confusing to them. Those group sessions have helped them solve problems they wouldn’t have otherwise and given them all more confidence. Like many of the students, Wyatt gave his teacher a lot of credit. “Ms. Jordan cares about us. She’ll bug you to do work. I’m more motivated.”

•Colin Combis said he drifted in middle school because there wasn’t as much personal interaction with teachers. “They really didn’t help someone who needed time and attention.” Like Pentz, he likes the TRF process. It helps them understand and come up with solutions for problems in any class. “It’s a fun way to learn, interacting with peers. It gives me a reason to ask questions, instead of just being there quiet.” •Jillian Collier said unlike some of the other students she knew she wanted to go to college. But she had learning difficulties because of ADHD. She said she tried hard to keep up because she didn’t want to disappoint herself or her parents. But she couldn’t so she went into depression. Grades improved when she went on medication, but she was so far behind and in a hole because she didn’t have good study habits. She took AVID last year and said then she had the resources to succeed. She said people tell you to “Believe in yourself,” but they don’t tell you how to do that. “It’s like a kid wanting to be an astronaut,” but not knowing how to reach that goal. She said now her goals are real. “I want to go to college and work with people and kids.” She said this week they researched which colleges they should go to that would match their career plans. “I would never had known” how to do that.

•Jazzlyn Reeves said she had trouble paying attention and keeping up with homework. She fell behind because she didn’t know what was happening and was too shy to ask the teachers. She said Ms. Jordan made all the difference. “She’ll bug you until you get it done. That’s what I love about her. She’s our school mom. She won’t give up on you, even if you give her attitude.” She said in middle school she didn’t have that kind of support. •Cyrus Lamb said he didn’t even know what credits were, so he didn’t understand how important school was. “I was just there, goofing off,” he said. He did even worse when he had a “mean teacher” that resulted in his “craziness.” Things changed in high school. “This school cares a lot more than any other.” He said he was helped to get his grades up until the last day of school. He said the school’s small so teachers have more time to help students. He said he knew many of the skills being taught, but he lacked motivation. Being organized helps. “My backpack’s all neat, no jumbled papers.” Two other students said they only wanted to go by their first names.

•Amber said she did poorly in middle school because of all the pressure from her teachers and her mom. “It was overwhelming.” She said she’s doing much better because she’s been allowed to take “baby steps.” She said the TRF’s have helped her greatly, along with Ms. Jordan. “I needed time to get the work done, and she’s provided that.”

•Logan found school boring so he wasn’t motivated and didn’t turn in work. He said learning note-taking has helped him in all of his classes. “It’s faster and easier.” He said MVAT is a small school so it can focus on every student. Teachers push him to get work done. “They remind me same as my mom. That shows they care.”