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The AVID program at Riles is an elective class that uses a college readiness system designed to increase school wide learning and performance. Along with daily coursework, the AVID class at Riles exposes students to local colleges by taking field trips to schools such as Stanford, UC Davis, UC Berkeley and Sonoma State University. Arianna Cox, in her second year in the AVID program, feels the class has been invaluable, “(AVID) has helped me get better grades and get organized. We’ve also been exposed to all kinds of colleges and learned how to set goals and how to achieve them.”
The Gifted Academy is a program at Riles designed to challenge gifted students in the classroom on a daily basis. Students take GATE English and Social Studies classes. GATE classes cover the current standards, but in a different way using strategies such as compacting, depth and complexity, differentiation and questioning based on Bloom’s Taxonomy in order to provide students with a deeper understanding of the material.
The Geometry class at Riles is an above grade level course that allows students the opportunity to advance to Honors Algebra II at Center High School. The course covers the topics of geometric structure, congruence, similarity, plus two and three dimensional measurement. Teacher Allison Kent explains, “Geometry is special because it challenges students to think outside of their normal comfort zone and explain their complex thoughts. It teaches students to think critically and logically while defending their reasons. It is a different way of doing math than the normal algorithm-based traditions.”
The Riles Music Program, under the direction of Dave Myers, offers courses in Beginning Band, Advanced Band, Choir and Guitar. The Band classes recently travelled to the “Music in the Parks” competition at Six Flags and were rewarded with the first place prize in the Junior High School Parade division.
The Honors English Course at Riles offers advanced instruction in English Language Arts with an emphasis on reading and writing. Reading lessons equip students with strategies to help them better understand not only stories, poetry, and essays, but also informational materials, such as newspapers, magazines, and textbooks. For writing, Honors English provides instruction in effective sentence and paragraph structures as well as in composing longer essays and research presentations. 8th Grade Honors Student Michael Carey says, “We have a lot of great projects. Extension projects (like the Snapple Cap Project) make English a lot more interesting and challenging.”
English and Math Support Class
The Math and English Support Classes at Riles offer additional support to students who require assistance in the basic skills necessary to succeed in their core class as well as on standardized tests. The support classes offer small class sizes, peer instruction, and test taking strategies to help students whose CST scores indicate a need for reinforcing basic abilities.