Grant will help Burnet CISD prepare more students for college and careers

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET — Thanks to the Franklin I. Fickett Charitable Foundation, Burnet Middle School students are getting an additional dose life skills development.

Burnet Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees voted to accept a $100,015 grant from the foundation during its regular meeting Sept. 16 to fund the Advancement Via Individual Determination program and a Lego Robotics program.

BCISD administrators said foundation officials will fund the first two years and then evaluate where the foundation is financially.

Jim Connor, BCISD director of secondary curriculum, said business owners want more than employees who have skills to perform a job; they’re looking for people who have good work ethics, show up on time and take up leadership roles.

“How do you teach that?” he asked. “AVID.”

AVID is a college and career preparatory system and can be implemented from kindergarten through high school because of its school-wide approach, Connor said. It’s geared toward students who have average test scores and grade-point averages of 2.0 to 3.5.

“It develops readers and writers,” he said. “It develops deep content and knowledge. Ninety-one percent of AVID graduates enroll in universities or colleges.”

About 50 sixth- and seventh-graders and 25 eighth-graders already have been participating in AVID, Connor said. Two students recently gave a presentation to parents on the program.

“They have a strong desire to succeed and great determination,” he said.

He added that students who have low socioeconomic backgrounds have an 8 percent chance of going to a college.

“We have to do something for those kids,” he said. “AVID is the thing that will close the gap.”

Superintendent Keith McBurnett said he couldn’t leave the room after that parent meeting because so many of them stopped to tell him they believe their children will now have the skills to prepare them for the next phase of their lives.

“They’re going to be future ready,” he said. “There’s not anything else like it in any other school districts in this area offering what Burnet is offering.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com