Student Journalism at San Rafael High School

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Mr. Gordon Hits the Right Notes

A music teacher steps in to prepare senior AVID students for the next chapter.

After former AVID teacher Kristen Wright left at the end of last school year, Kevin Gordon, a passionate music teacher, put some of his music-teaching time aside to help guide AVID students in the class of 2024 into their next chapter: adulthood. 

AVID is an in-school program that helps middle school and high school students prepare themselves for college. It helps students become familiar with taking neat notes. It teaches students to follow a rubric to allow them to maintain a neat binder and work space. AVID teachers assist students in applying to colleges and universities, helping them write their Personal Insight Questions for UC applications and helping them pay for their college applications. 

Gabby Alvarado, a senior in Mr. Gordan’s AVID class, said that, even though he has never taught AVID before, Gordon has provided thoughtful guidance and a positive environment for his students. Mr. Gordon’s commitment to our academic and personal growth was amazing since the first day,” she said.

Kevin Gordon grew up in Mill Valley and then later moved to the East Coast when he was 14 up until his late twenties, first in Boston and then in New York. During his childhood in Marin, he would like to spend his time exploring Mount Tam. He also liked painting tiny models in his free time. During his teenage years, he attended school in Andover, Massachusetts and graduated in 2004. To take his music career further, he studied at Bard College in New York. 

“School was hard for me growing up because it was challenging for me to stay focused. It was also difficult for me to socialize with others because I was really shy,” said Mr. Gordon.

It wasn’t until college, when he learned how to properly read textbooks in an efficient and timely manner and socialize with classmates on certain topics. 

The first day I came into Mr. Gordon’s class, his personality quickly filled the room. He made his character known to the class with his joyful voice and big smile. The students in class had little to no response to his charismatic personality, but that did not stop him from continuing to try to connect with the class. He let the class know that he was new to AVID but that he was going to do his best to get us to the colleges we wanted to and he would work with us to get us where we wanted to be at. 

Mike Lopez, a senior student in his AVID class, said, “Knowing that he was new to AVID made me nervous because I didn’t know if I would get the help needed. However, Mr. Gordon has helped me a lot when applying to colleges, like reaching out to organizations like College Dream Team, in order to get the help we needed. He also helped me in revising every body of written work and how to improve it in order to stand out.” This comes to show how much impact Mr. Gordon took on these AVID students very quickly. It also shows his commitment to learning what AVID students needed, and made sure it was accessible to all his AVID students. 

Now, he teaches his AVID students the methods and skills he used to get through college, so his AVID students can use them during their time in college. Every Tuesday and Thursdays students read for fifteen minutes at the beginning of class to build up their reading skills to prepare for college reading assignments. Also, in class he makes his students do community circles, where he grades his AVID seniors on contributing to a student’s topic of discussion to prepare them for socialization with their peers in college. 

As mentioned, the AVID teacher before Mr. Gordon was Kristen Wright. During the 2023-2024 school year, Spanish teacher Kristen Wright sadly left San Rafael High School to take a better work opportunity. AVID teachers would usually start brand new with freshman students and be their teacher all the way through senior year. However, Ms. Wright picked out AVID students from the class of 2024 that she had known well during high school to take the role of their prior AVID teachers Ms. Livingston, Mr. Chapman, Mr. Allen, Mr. Brunet, and Mr. DeMello, because they no longer wanted to take the responsibility of an AVID teacher. 

Before Ms. Wright’s AVID students came back to school for their final year of high school, they got an email from Ms. Wright saying she would no longer be working at SRHS. Ms. Wright’s former students were concerned  how their final AVID year would go, since this was the year they’d have to be applying to colleges. However, Mr. Gordon’s attentiveness to the class has taken that worry off of them, and they have learned to trust his process. 

Mr. Gordon has played a crucial role in the college application process by providing valuable guidance and offering advice on understanding admissions requirements,”  Gabby Alvarado added when speaking on Mr. Gordon. 

These AVID students’ opinions on him shows how much positivity Mr. Gordon has had in their process of applying to colleges. It means a lot for this AVID class because AVID, for the most part, is for first generation students who need guidance getting into colleges. Their parents or other family members never attended college and they don’t have a lot of information about what  schools expect from them. 

Having a teacher like Mr. Gordon may prepare these AVID students for a new chapter in their lives.

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