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Kassandra Davila Chats with Mrs. Budenbender

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

Tell me a little bit about yourself. I'm from here in Sacramento. I went to Carnegie and Bella Vista, and then I went to college at BYU for a semester. Then I transferred to Sacramento State, I finished my Bachelor's degree there in 2001 and I got married during college. I also played volleyball in college on a full-ride volleyball scholarship. My bachelor's degree is in Audiology. When I graduated I was pregnant with my first daughter. I got married the summer of my junior year and I started having kids; now I have three kids. I worked as a financial advisor for ten years and then I decided to go back to school to get my Master's and my teaching credential. I got my teaching credential through the University of Phoenix and then I did my student teaching here. I came back here because I knew from Ms. Stewart that I could do my student teaching here. My Masters is actually just in education, with a focus in physical education. So I taught PE here for a couple of years and now I have my health credential. I've taught health here for nine years; this is the first year without teaching any health. I’ve been the director of AVID for about eight years but now I'm not because of Student Government. I still teach AVID but I am not the director of it.

For students in recent years would you say it is easier or harder to get into college lately? With doing away with SATs for right now and those two SAT waivers, I think it's easier right now to get into college. A lot of people are choosing not to go away to school because of COVID-19 so there are [a lot] more spots open. And a lot of people weren’t able to handle the challenges of COVID so their grades dropped big time, so if they stayed on track there are a lot more spots available for them. So I think it’s a lot easier for them to get into college.

As in an AVID teacher would you say AVID properly prepares a student for college and keep them on track? If they do the process, yes I would for sure. So like their study skills, note-taking, self-advocacy. They develop good study habits and good study skills.

Do you think monitoring their GPA helps them? One of the biggest issues is like denial. Like oh, I have bad grades but if I don’t look at them they don’t matter. So checking your grades every week is good.

Do you think the competition for getting into college would become easier since they got rid of the SAT? It’s more equal. The reason is one of the things that was developing during the Coronavirus time is that there wasn’t equality with the people who have money and wanted to do well on the SAT or ACT, they could afford an SAT prep class. Well, with someone with a low income, they just have to rely on what they learn in school. They can’t afford those high-end classes that cost 500 dollars for a Saturday. So wealthier more fluid people have a greater advantage. So now that no one has to take the SAT, it’s really about the equality of the playing field about what school you go to. Lower-income areas tend to have not as great as schools, so now that is the playing field they have to deal with. Kids can still get good grades there and it’s just more equal without that test.

What about with people who test very well but didn’t have the best grades? I would say, I think that is a bunch of crap. To be honest, testing well and not having good grades, mainly in high school, is mainly because you don’t do your classwork. So to me, that denotes laziness. I feel like the two things correlated to each other. For example, you’re not going to do well on the SAT if you have lower than Bs, because you’re not doing the classwork that’s going to help you know the material to do well on the SATs. I think the two are always correlated, what your grades are and how well you do. You have to retain the info to do well on the test.

How do you think the coronavirus has influenced students in their academics and their pursuit to go to college? It’s hard because I don’t know everyone’s situation, some people used it as a cop-out to go on cruise control for school. And now that they’re back and they’re feeling all this pressure, it is because they chose not to do anything for a while. It was easy to go under the radar during COVID, so you got into this year-long habit of being lazy by choice. Some people absolutely had hardships during it, but a lot of kids were like oh my gosh, I don’t have to turn my camera on, I can be in my pajamas, I can get away without needing to confront the teacher. And the pass/fail thing that they did, I thought was a way for kids to cop out. They could be like oh, I could just do the pass. I get why they offered it but I think that it was definitely abused by kids.

Do you have any advice for students applying for colleges during this weird time? I think the most important is to be aware of what your college is and isn’t offering. Like schools in California, you have to vaccinated, you have to wear a mask in class. Whereas out of state you don’t. So if it’s important to you, one way or the another you have to know what that campus offers. It’s kind of silly to me, to go away to school and have all of your classes be online. Then pay this ridiculous tuition for an online experience you could do from home at AR or Sierra College. So a lot of kids are choosing to leave the state so that they can actually choose to be sitting in class with professors. So know what you’re applying to, I would say, is my best advice. And apply to at least four or five colleges for sure.

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