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Letter of Reference
from Jenny Zornes

June 10, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter in regard to the fabulous work that Peter Ferrito has provided for my students this year. At Scott Johnson Middle School, AVID is an essential part of our school being successful. AVID is a nationwide program that focuses on the "middle student." The middle student doesn't have perfect grades and needs a little extra motivation. In AVID, our goal is to not only help motivate but to instruct these students in how to become leaders, how to become confident, and how to make the right decisions. Many kids in AVID don't have adult figures that are able to give them the amount of support and guidance that other students at their age are receiving.

The work that Mr. Ferrito provided for my AVID students is irreplaceable.

Before Mr. Ferrito arrived at our school, he asked me to write 2-3 sentence bios on each student. Upon arrival Mr. Ferrito had particular students pointed out and focused on to make sure that he really gets through to those individuals. The students had to complete a questionnaire prior to the first workshop to help me learn how to proceed with them, then Mr. Ferrito quantified the results and shared them with the students. The preparation Mr. Ferrito put into the workshop before arriving was impressive in itself.

Mr. Ferrito led the 8th graders here at Scott Johnson Middle School on a Friday during the month of January. In this 8-hour day, I was able to see first hand my students writing down quotes that were verbally spoken and all he had to say was, "Write this down." Without hesitation, these students were listening, doing, and performing on a level that I hadn't seen prior to this date. The students not only evaluated their own strengths, but those of their classmates as well. As a group of leaders within our school, they were required to learn how to really work together and learn how to benefit from each other's differences.

Later in the year, Mr. Ferrito again visited with these students. As the students arrived and listened so intently to what he was saying, it was proven through their eyes that they valued his thoughts and actions. The respect, honesty, and genuine responses that Mr. Ferrito was able to acquire from these students was incredible. In the second workshop, the students learned through games how to work as a team, take charge, give instructions, and see how effective their instructions were while they were playing the games. They then learned how to respectfully critique the peer who was in charge of each game and also how to generate ideas to make the game better each successive time.

I am looking forward to working with Mr. Ferrito again this next year. I know how much I value his guidance for these students. As he stated in his workshop, he's "planting little seeds to watch them grow." I feel that having Mr. Ferrito working with these kids can really change lives. With his experience and expertise, he really can help Scott Johnson Middle School make a difference.


Jenny Zornes
AVID Coordinator
Basketball/Cross Country Coach
Scott Johnson Middle School
McKinney Texas

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