By Rebecca LaFlure

Killeen Daily Herald

The Killeen Independent School Disrtict recently received a three-year, $330,800 grant to enhance its Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, particularly in the areas of math in science.

The KISD board of trustees approved a memorandum of understanding between the district and the AVID Central Division Tuesday – a necessary step to accept the funding.

KISD will match the grant with an additional $57,660, based on the agreement.

"The grant's focus is on math and science, which is absolutely what our focus is going to be throughout the school year," said KISD Superintendent Robert Muller.

"This is a great opportunity to increase our achievement in those subjects."

The AVID program prepares students in the academic middle for entrance into a four-year college.

Awarded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, KISD was one of three Texas school districts selected for the grant. The other two project districts are Leander ISD and Pflugerville ISD.

"We were chosen because we have we have the right population, the right diversity, we have the high mobility, the right student scale scores. We have all the right elements to make this successful. ? We're a good testing ground," said Rachel Cervantes, KISD instructional leader for content and engagement.

Objectives of the grant project are to increase the number of teachers in each school who are highly trained to help low-income and English Learner students succeed in academically rigorous math and science courses and to improve AVID student performance in math and science at the targeted schools.

It will fund a summer bridge support program for middle school and high school students as well as professional development training for all KISD math and science teachers, grades six to 12.

The 15-day summer bridge support program, essentially a condensed summer school course, will begin this year for seventh- and eighth-graders July 6 to 24. The program will expand to ninth- to 10th-graders the following summer.

Also as a portion of the project, KISD and the other selected districts will participate in the development of a new AVID curriculum in math and science. This curriculum is going to be used in other school districts and AVID programs throughout the nation, Cervantes said.

Contact Rebecca LaFlure at or (254) 501-7548.

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