Education in Burleson is strong
Beaming with pride, Burleson ISD Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson addressed the Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday during its chambers State of Education luncheon.
A full house was on hand at First Baptist Church Burleson to hear just how far the Burleson ISD has come since Jimerson addressed the group last year.
Jimerson first addressed the new scoreboard at the BISD Stadium.
“The scoreboard, which was funded entirely by local businesses, provided AV students with a community canvas to display their digital works of art,”Jimerson said. “We want to thank those business sponsors for their generous investment in the students of BISD, and our AV Production students for transforming Friday nights into a powerful event experience for athletes, band, drill team, and fans of all ages.”
In May 2017, voters funded four bond projects: the new Kerr Middle School, collaboration space at Burleson High School, a multipurpose facility at Burleson High School and renovations and additions at Hughes Middle School.
“Four projects in BISD will have gone from concept to completion in 2 ½ years since voters approved the bond,” Jimerson said. “We have a remarkable, dedicated group of people working on these projects.”
The collaboration space at Burleson High School was completed in December.
“Steel framing and the roof is installed, and the masonry will soon be visible,” Jimerson said of the multipurpose center. “BISD broke ground on this facility in October, and construction crews are working tirelessly for this facility to be ready this fall.”
Progress is being made at Hughes Middle School and is around 50 percent complete.
According to Jimerson, the new construction enables the BISD to accommodate student growth and increase capacity for fine arts and athletics programs.
“When students break for the summer, our construction crews will complete the remaining interior renovation projects and focus on the façade,” Jimerson said. “I have no doubt parents and students will be amazed by the transformation of Hughes when they arrive for the first day of school in August.
Kerr will be complete and ready to welcome students on the first day of school this August according to Jimerson.
“Again, BISD will have four facility projects completed in two-and-half years since voters approved the bond,” Jimerson said.
The BISD is one of five state finalists for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award. The results will be announced in May.
In 2018, BISD graduates received more than $11.5 million dollars in scholarship offers. Jimerson added that an increased number of students are taking AP tests and enrolling in dual credit, with students earning 2,554 dual credit hours.
Burleson Collegiate High School continues to be a great success as 15 students were inducted to Phi Theta Kappa at Hill College.
The BISD is one of 14 Google for Education Reference Districts in the State.
“BISD is recognized for demonstrating vision and thought leadership through strong adoption of technology, positive learning outcomes, and sharing best practices,” Jimerson said.
Students within the district are also excelling at schools and programs of choice.
This year, drone programs were started at Frazier Elementary and Hughes Middle School.
Students at Frazier are being taught basic drone handling techniques and programming of drones. They are also learning how to pilot drones indoors.
The students at Hughes Middle School are working with the drones in outdoor competitions and also learning advanced drone programming.
“This program feeds into the BHS Rocketry Program for skill development for students seeking careers in unmanned aerial or military vehicles,” Jimerson said.
Some students at Burleson Collegiate High School are about to complete their junior year.
“Next year, we will celebrate the first class of Burleson Collegiate High School graduates,” Jimerson said. “These students will graduate with their high school diploma and associate’s degree, entering college as juniors.”
The Career and Technical Education in the BISD has made great strides in the past year. This year for the first time, students earned CTE certification in floral design and veterinary medicine. Next school year, Level One welding certification will be offered to high school students.
Jimerson said that virtual reality has come to the BISD.
“Students can now visually study adaptations of shark fins as 3D sharks float above their desk, or measure the perimeter, area, and volume of the Roman Colosseum in math class,” Jimerson said. “We are testing immersive virtual reality that will allow our students to move, learn, and create in a VR environment.”
Jimerson added that students at REALM, the middle school of game design and development, are completing year three and designing their own video games.
REALM students will the present the videos games they created to SMU Guildhall, the top video game design and production graduate program in the country. REALM students will also be mentored by Guildhall students on career development opportunities.
“In a major boost to prepare students for technological careers of the future, BISD is expanding REALM to high school,” Jimerson said. “REALM will add a graduating class each year, transforming it into a choice secondary school for grades six through 12.”
Jimerson might have saved the best for last as he extolled the virtues of eSports.
“I’m really excited about eSports,” Jimerson said. “We tapped into the interests and talents of our students and we’ve spent a great deal of time learning about eSports.”
ESports are organized multiplayer video game competitions.
ESports is expected to be a $1.5 billion dollar industry by next year. As an entertainment industry, eSports has surpassed the music and movie industries combined, Jimerson said.
“It’s not just “playing” video games,” Jimerson said. “These competitions involve the use of virtual reality, some artificial intelligence, and technology. Currently, more than 200 universities offer eSports as a competitive sport with the opportunity for students to earn scholarships much like football, baseball, and track.”
This year, BISD partnered with Microsoft stores to host DFW’s Largest Educational sSports Tournament, bringing 400 students in grades K-12 together in live competition.
The tournament garnered attention from eSports teams from Texas-Arlington and Guildhall. The players from those teams discussed college scholarships and career opportunities with the students participating in the tournament.
“As a district, we will continue to focus on the ever-changing options for students so they are equipped to take advantage of complex challenges in careers that exist now, and those they will define in the future,” Jimerson said.