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College readiness program set to launch at four Killeen ISD high schools

All four schools serve military-connected students
Posted at 5:53 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 18:53:08-05

KILLEEN, TX — The U.S. Department of Defense is funding a two-year College Readiness Program from the National Math and Science Initiative to ensure students at four Killeen ISD high schools are successful beyond the classroom.

Most of us can remember that nervous pit in the bottom of your stomach you felt walking to your first college class freshman year. Getting into college is an accomplishment itself, but a new KISD program aims to ensure students are successful with all their future endeavors.

The program will be launched at Ellison, Harker Heights, Killeen and Shoemaker High Schools, all schools that serve military-connected students near Fort Hood.

“I have four kids that graduated from four different high schools across three states,” said Dr. Elizabeth Casey.

Being a military-dependent spouse, Dr. Casey knows the strain constant moving can have on a student.

“Some schools provide more support, but just moving from different states, each state has different benchmarks that they set for the students," she said.

As a professor of education at A&M Central Texas, Dr. Casey says the curriculum provided in the College Readiness Program can do nothing but benefit the student.

“Students who go through AP classes are more prepared. They know what to expect. They know the demands,” she said.

“A lot of times people miss that. They think we’re just trying to get them to graduate. No, these are life skills,” said John Jackson.

As the Advanced Academic Specialist for KISD, Jackson explains students will have the opportunity to take AP English, math and science classes.

“So as they go through this, they’re learning all the skill sets, not only for the content but also life skills. It's about perseverance, about how to do time management and plan their next move," he said.

While they can't control when a student may be pulled from school, Jackson and Dr. Casey agree it's important to have a program like this place.

“What students who are dependents of the military, they already face so much. They’re already moving schools constantly. It’s important that high schools provide that information,” said Dr. Casey.

“We want children to walk out with confidence to attack what challenges come in their way,” said Jackson.

No matter which path a student decides to take, Johnson says the skills they will learn in the program will be useful anywhere they go. But if the students do choose the path to college, they have the potential to gain college credit if the get a three or higher on an AP exam.

Killeen ISD says it is grateful for the additional training and support provided to educators, and in turn over 450 students will benefit from these programs.