AVID is an elective course that provides students with direct instruction in the writing process, inquiry method and collaborative learning. Academic survival skills such as time management, note taking and study and test preparation skills are also emphasized. Not only are students enrolled in rigorous classes, but also in the AVID elective. For one period a day, they learn organizational and study skills, work on critical thinking and ask probing questions, get academic help from their peers and college tutors, and participate in enrichment and motivational activities that make college seem attainable. Their self-images improve, and they become academically successful leaders and role models for other students. The AVID curriculum, based on rigorous standards, was developed by middle and senior high school teachers in collaboration with college professors. It is driven by the WICR method, which stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading. AVID targets students in the academic middle – 2.2-3.5 GPA – who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These are student who are capable of completing rigorous curriculum, but are falling short of their potential. Typically, they will be the first in their families to attend college and are from a group traditionally underrepresented in college. AVID pulls these students out of their unchallenging courses and puts them on the college track: acceleration instead of remediation. There is no prerequisite, but parental permission, the student’s choice to be in the class, and an interview process is necessary.
The XCEED program was designed in the 2006-2007 academic school year to assist ninth graders who experienced difficulties in maintaining above a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) in 8th grade. This program does not service Special Education or EL students. Once designated by the district to participate in the program, students are enrolled in 3 core subject classes (English, Math, and Science) and a student skills class that instructs students on the best methods for studying and test taking. Currently there are eight teachers instructing the program of approximately 150 ninth graders. In addition to receiving instruction from a team of teachers that meet weekly for collaboration and lesson planning, the students benefit from the XCEED before/after school Tutoring Program. Different from the school wide tutoring, the XCEED teachers hold one hour sessions each day to support our students with assignment completion and/or clarification. To encourage Downey High School’s goal of preparing all students for college, XCEED student are taken on college tours of local community colleges and universities. Our students are given a blueprint for graduating high school and matriculating onto higher education.