Herald/CATRINA RAWSON - Audeince members look on as they receive their certificates of AVID validation Thursday at Killeen Learning Support Services.

By Andy Ross

Killeen Daily Herald

A Killeen Independent School District college readiness program had a moment in the spotlight this week.

In a presentation ceremony Thursday afternoon, more than a dozen KISD professionals involved with Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) received certificates validating their particular campus' implementation of courses last school year.

The certification process takes place annually and gives KISD administrators like Pam Carter Kirschner a chance to review the AVID instruction and whether or not students are absorbing the material.

Judging by the fact that all 11 middle schools and all four high schools were once again validated, the system appears to be in good shape at KISD.

"If you are striving each year to get certified, then you are ensuring that whatever is happening in the AVID classroom is going to be better than if you weren't having that report card," said Kirschner, an advanced academic specialist in charge of KISD's review process.

For Kirschner, the AVID system is all about giving students confidence to achieve their maximum educational potential, or "learning to learn." The curriculum students take

varies, but generally emphasizes specific skills such as effective note taking, organization and how to apply to college. With the knowledge and extra attention from teachers, students who are typically considered average or below-average achievers can hopefully rise to the level of excellence.

"They are good kids, not troublemakers," Kirschner said. "They are kids making average grades or just below-average, but they have capabilities and potential that's untapped so we want to make sure we are serving those kids and make sure they have choices for education beyond high school."

KISD's most visible example of AVID implementation is at Killeen High School. Under principal Michael Sibberson and program director Christina Harris, the school has maintained a more than six-year streak as a demonstration campus. The designation means AVID leaders from around the state and country regularly observe KHS classrooms.

During Thursday's ceremony, Harris said 289 KHS students are currently enrolled in the college readiness program courses. The figure, representing 13 percent of the total student body, is a record for the school, she said.

"It's been a big deal for us this year," Harris said. "I have applications sitting in my classroom right now."

Contact Andy Ross at aross@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468. Follow him on Twitter at KDHeducation.

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