The AVID Summer Institute is over and I’m home, tired but satisfied. I had the opportunity this summer to present with two amazing women to a crowd of 60 high school administrators and AVID coordinators. They were a great group, and my co-presenters were amazing. Gloria was the author of the curriculum we were presenting, and she was able to offer lots of insight about the intention behind the design of the work. Denise is an assistant superintendent in Wichita Kansas and is absolutely dynamic. I was honored to work with the two of them.
Having said that, I will also say that the week was exhausting! We began each day at 7:00 A.M. and it didn’t let up for a second until at least 5:30 P.M., workwise. Then off into the 112 degree heat and smoky skies to dinner. That was always fun as well. I went out with friends from my old school and my new school and sometimes with Denise, and I like them all very much. It was a case of cognitive overload, for me. I never slept before 11:00 P.M., but was up by 5:30 each morning. I felt like I never even noticed that famous Sheraton bed.
I was quite disappointed by the number of people who had signed up for our strand that didn’t show up at all. This institute costs $725 per person to attend, and 35 administrators who signed up did not attend even one session. To my way of thinking that is unconscionable. We have such budget constraints today, and kids and classroom teachers are denied many things because of a lack of money, yet administrators can throw that amount of money away without a thought? Both of the assistant administrators from my district who were signed up failed to show up at our strand. The AVID coordinator from one of those schools told me that she was not having her gas or lunch paid, and she had to go home each night, not stay in a hotel as everyone else does because of the cost! I do know there are constraints on an administrator’s time, I’ve spent a few minutes in that chair. But I also know that those constraints can be predicted to some degree. I think they should have to pay that money back out of their own pockets, donate it to their school’s AVID program. $700 would pay for a decent field trip, or tickets to an interesting cultural or theatrical presentation for an entire AVID class. But those classes will have to sell candy or nachos to raise money for anything they want to do outside of class, for all those things that are so necessary to the full AVID experience and nothing will be said to their administrators about having wasted so much school money. What do you think? Am I overreacting?