What can we say about social norms in our poor amalgamation, America? What can we cling to in this place that was built from nothing but fractured ideologies? Do we ever know how to behave properly or do we have a sense of shaky awkwardness imbued in us from our first playground mistakes?
Tumblr awhile and you’ll see what I mean. There are blogs, run mainly by girls in their 20s, dedicated entirely to pictures of an idealized “bohemian” lifestyle. Apparently, the perfect life for a young, fashionable person these days involves owning lots of books, a guitar, some indiscriminate art, and a bunch of hippie clothes.
I had never heard of the AVID program before I started AmeriCorps this year. Now that I serve in a school where more than half of students are on free or reduced lunch in a district near Seattle, I see how a program like AVID can work. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) takes middle-of-the-road students—first generation college students, students who do poorly in school, but have a willingness to work hard, students who are from poor or minority families—and put them on a path to attend college.
AVID is an elective for students in elementary school through seniors in high school. It works because students want to take it (at least in theory). At most schools, students are interviewed to make sure that their college and academic interests match with those that AVID wants to foster. The AVID curriculum is based on the idea of the WICR—Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration and Reading—method. In class, students learn study skills, note-taking, organization, as well as critical thinking skills and how to ask questions in the form of tutorials, in which they bring in questions they are struggling with in their other classes. Students take the skills they learn and apply them to other classes.