WHITTIER – Santa Fe and Pioneer high schools are among 24 schools in California to earn the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Schoolwide Site of Distinction award, a new honor given to a select few AVID schools for their extensive commitment to providing students with college preparation resources.

Schoolwide Site of Distinction is the highest rating that a school can achieve on the AVID certification rating scale. Only 380 out of 5,000 AVID schools in the U.S. were eligible to apply for the honor. The Santa Fe Chiefs and Pioneer Titans are among 75 chosen.

“I am incredibly proud of our teachers and staff who constantly keep our students on track for college and careers,” Santa Fe Principal Kevin Jamero said. “Our AVID students are flourishing under our AVID curriculum, and this distinction just adds to our school’s ongoing determination to serve all students and help prepare them for their futures.”

Santa Fe has been an AVID campus for more than 20 years and a National Demonstration School since 2001, serving as a model to other schools wishing to implement the college preparation program. Pioneer has been an AVID site since 2001 and is currently designated as a “Highly Certified” site.

Whittier High School was named a “Highly Certified” AVID site last year and will be eligible to apply for the Schoolwide Site of Distinction honor next year.

“I am so excited that Pioneer has been honored with this distinction and can’t wait to see where our school will go from here,” Pioneer Principal Monica Oviedo said. “This honor acknowledges the dedication our teachers and staff have put forth to get every student closer to their lifetime goals — this is what we constantly strive for.”

Both Santa Fe and Pioneer had to meet specific metrics to be considered a Schoolwide Site of Distinction, which indicates excellence in instructional practice and promotes college readiness school-wide. Sixty percent of teachers must be AVID-trained, 70 percent of seniors must apply to a two- or four-year college and 70 percent of seniors must be accepted into college, among other criteria.

At Santa Fe, 64 percent of teachers are AVID-trained, 100 percent of Santa Fe’s AVID students are on target to graduate in four years and 97 percent of those students have completed the A-G courses required for college admission. Additionally, 98 percent of Santa Fe’s AVID seniors were enrolled in rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses.

Similarly, Pioneer has 80 percent AVID-trained teachers with 100 percent of its AVID students on target for graduation, 99 percent of those students have completed their A-G courses and 68 percent of the school’s AVID seniors have taken AP and honors courses.

The AVID program is designed to narrow the achievement gap between the lowest- and highest-performing students and increase the number who enroll in four-year colleges.

Santa Fe and Pioneer’s AVID students receive support in an AVID academic elective class taught within the school day by a trained AVID teacher. In the accelerated elective class, students receive support through a rigorous curriculum and ongoing, structured tutorials geared toward college and career preparation.

“Santa Fe and Pioneer continue to be exemplary models for all other schools who wish to join AVID or want to find more college-preparation resources for students,” Whittier Union High School District Superintendent Sandra Thorstenson said. “Getting our students ready for college is our top priority, and these opportunities strengthen our students’ understanding of what it takes to be successful. I’m proud of everyone who has been involved in making this program such a success on our campuses.”