MERCED — Golden Valley High School in Merced is being recognized nationally once again for its role in a program that helps students do better in their studies and enhances their chances of getting into college and receiving scholarships.
Golden Valley has been renewed as a Demonstration School through the AVID program. Principal Constantino Aguilar said Advancement Via Individual Determination is a great program that directly affects student achievement.
Participation in AVID virtually guarantees students will get into a four-year college and receive a substantial amount of scholarship money, Aguilar said.
The results of AVID participation are seen right away.
The demonstration ranking lasts through fall 2015 and can be renewed, James Nelson, AVID chief executive director, wrote to Aguilar.
He said Golden Valley joins an elite category of more than 4,800 AVID schools in 49 states, the District of Columbia and 16 countries.
Melissa Silva, AVID coordinator at Golden Valley, said the program started in 1994 when the school first opened.
Nearly 200 students take part in the program now.
"Students in AVID are taught skills needed to be successful in high school and in college, such as Cornell notes, test-taking strategies, organizational and study skills," Silva said. "The school's program first was recognized as a Demonstration School back in October of 2006."
AVID began in 1980 at San Diego's Clairemont High School. Now there are more than 700,000 students enrolled in AVID in more than 4,900 schools, said Tammie Calzadillas, executive director of educational services with the Merced Union High School District.
All five MUHSD campuses have AVID programs, Calzadillas said.
As of May 2011, there were only 118 National Demonstration Schools throughout the United States.
Silva said a team of San Diego educators visited Golden Valley's AVID classes and liked what they saw, talking to students and staff members.
"We focus on strategies to be successful in high school and in a four-year college setting," Silva said.
"It's a really neat program. I love teaching it. It helps students learn how to study and get the help they need. It's exciting to get them through," he added.
Silva said AVID focuses on students in the academic middle. In the senior year, the focus is mainly on students applying for college.
Calzadillas said AVID is an important program for the district.
AVID students are ones who will be the first generation of college students in their families and will receive the skills needed to be successful in college, he said.