We're better together: Melanie Grunde
Melanie Grunde is very passionate about student learning. As a young girl, she was diagnosed with dyslexia in her early elementary years and struggled with reading. With the support of her parents and phenomenal teachers, Melanie was able to learn strategies to support her learning within the classroom setting. She graduated at the top of her class and earned a full-ride scholarship where she majored in Molecular Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Upon graduation, she realized she belonged in a classroom working with students. She volunteered with nonprofits serving students with disabilities, and quickly became an advocate for equal access and inclusion of all kids.
Today Melanie is currently serving as our district AVID Coordinator. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a secondary program that reaches out and supports students in obtaining the skills necessary to go to college. Melanie has a passion for working with students and pushing them to meet their full potential. She has worked as a special education teacher in MPUSD advocating for students to have equal access to core curriculum. Melanie has also served as our special education academic coach K-12, where she worked with both special education and general education teachers on differentiating instruction and supporting all students in the classroom. She knows MPUSD must create a collaborative culture that includes ongoing communication and working together to improve college readiness for all students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in higher education.
We're better together is the MPUSD value that rises to the top for Melanie. And this past summer, she assembled the AVID coordinators to plan for the future of the district's AVID program. The team overwhelming responded to her leadership as they developed SMART goals for the program. As a result 40 members of the MPUSD family headed to an AVID summer institute to learn how to better serve MPUSD's diverse student population and set higher expectations of themselves and the district wide program.
Melanie loves the direction that MPUSD is headed, particularly when it comes to alignment. The shift toward working together, specific to AVID, she envisions providing consistent articulation across all sites, including hiring tutors, offering solid training, pairing them with a partner, and ultimately retaining them because of the creation of a collaborative culture.
Ultimately it comes down to the students. Part of her charge is exposing students to higher education through college visits. "I work with a lot of students that say 'I can't," she says. "I think giving all of our students the support and access to a high quality learning environment is critical."