Teachers of Prince Charles Secondary School’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program made a presentation at Tuesday’s School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) board of education meeting, held at the Creston Education Centre, to ask that the program be included as a line item in future budgets.
The program, an elective class that costs $171 per student for an annual total of $15,730, traditionally helps students who are from lower socioeconomic levels or families that are underrepresented in high school graduation and/or post-secondary education. It encourages students to improve in organization, study skills, public speaking skills, career and post-secondary research, and community involvement.
“It’s not a flash in the pan kind of thing,” said teacher Jeff Banman. “We’re creating long-term habits … that put power tools in the hands of these students.”
The program gives a lot of exposure to post-secondary opportunities, added principal Sharen Popoff, of particular importance in the Creston Valley, which generally has lower education and socioeconomic levels, resulting in lower post-secondary attendance.
For the last 10 years, the program has been funded through a Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation grant, and through fundraising and teachers’ professional development funds.
The program, which has 93 students, is vital to push the students toward higher education, Banman said.
“If they cannot see it, if they cannot touch it, they will not think of it later on,” he said.