In her classroom Wednesday at Newport Harbor High School, teacher Jennifer Thompson asked sophomores to suggest ways of overcoming a hot temper. Around the room, students offered up ideas -- some with their hands raised, some without.
"For temper, you can just use it in a sport."
"You can always think of what you say before you say it."
The final response got the biggest laugh: "You could go in front of the mirror and yell at yourself."
The class may have looked like an anger management session, but in fact it was the Advancement Via Individual Determination program -- better known as AVID -- that targets students at risk of failing school and prepares them for standardized tests, college and careers. For the Wednesday lesson, students had filled out journals in which they cited personal flaws, and now they sought ways to fix them.