Sam Houston Takes First in Regional Academic Decathlon

January 20, 2018 was a special day for students on the Sam Houston Academic Decathlon team when all their hard work and studying paid off garnering them the 1st Place slot for medium schools. This Regional Tournament was hosted at Northside’s Warren High School and included teams from all SAISD high schools as well as Alamo Heights, Boerne, and Northside. This honor cleared the path for the Hurricane Scholars to compete at the state Decathlon tournament which will take place in Frisco, Texas in February.

Students who participate in Academic Decathlon are known as “decathletes” and they compete by deeply studying a topic designated annually. This year’s topic focused on the continent of Africa and found students exploring literature by reading the novel Things Fall Apart, while also studying the music and art of various African regions, and science with a focus on HIV and malaria. Students also study economics, mathematics, and social science.

Decathlon teams include nine students from each school who compete in three different divisions. Three students with “A” averages represent the Honors division, three students with “B” averages represent the Scholastic division, and 3 students with “C” averages represent the Varsity division.

Decathletes compete by writing a timed essay, delivering a prepared and impromptu speech, participating in an interview and taking exams over the core areas of study. Students accumulate points for their performances in each of these individual contests, and their individual points accumulate to create their team’s total point earnings. Students also compete as a team in an event called “Super Quiz.”

Sam Houston’s team, coached by Veronica Marines and Kathleen Sadler, included students who also earned top point totals in their divisions as well as the winning Super Quiz team.

Congratulations Hurricane Scholars!

Advanced Academics Scholar Celebration

On January 8, 2018, the SAISD Foundation in collaboration with the Department of Academics hosted its second annual celebration honoring academic student scholars. The event was hosted at the McNay Museum of Art and included student scholars, and the families, teachers, counselors and school administrators who have supported their academic success. SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez & Associate Superintendent Lisa Riggs congratulated students with the help of SAISD Board of Trustees President, Patti Radle and the members of the Advanced Academics team. Scholars in two areas were recognized.

Duke TIP 7th Grade Talent Search State Recognition Scholars

In February of 2017, 189 SAISD 7th grade students participated in the Duke TIP talent search program. This program helps gifted and high performing seventh graders develop their abilities and identify the extent of their academic talent through above-level testing. It is the entry point for many TIP educational programs, and benefits last through the end of high school.

One of the 7th Grade Talent Search’s most important benefits is recognition. This program celebrates academic achievement at a time in life when it’s essential to foster a love of learning and teach students to take pride in their scholastic accomplishments. Students are recognized for participating in the talent search with a certificate of merit, given opportunities to submit their work for publication, profiled in Insights for their state- and national-level achievements, and may be invited to special ceremonies in honor of their exceptionally high scores on the ACT or SAT.

Students qualify for the state ceremonies by earning scores that are approximately equal to the 50th national percentile rank for college-bound seniors taking the tests—about 35 percent of TIP students meet that criteria.  To qualify for the nationally hosted Grand Recognition Ceremony, students must earn scores that are approximately equal to the 90th national percentile rank for college-bound seniors taking the tests—that includes about 4 percent of TIP students.

In 2017, 14 SAISD students who are now 8th graders earned Duke TIP State Recognition. 29 students earned invitations to summer programs hosted at Tier 1 universities across the nation. 2017 marked the highest number of students meeting criteria and earning recognition and/or invitations for summer studies over the past five years. (2016 saw 5 students earning recognition and 7 students earning invitations to summer studies.)

Students who participate in the Duke TIP program and who meet recognition criteria are on track to earn standing as potential Merit Scholars when they take the PSAT test.

Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars

Since 1955, the AP Program ahs enabled millions of students to take college-level courses and earn college credit, advanced placement, or both while still in high school. AP has grown to offer 38 courses in multiple subject areas, each culminating in a college-level AP Exam recognized by colleges and universities across the United States.

Beginning as early as 8th grade, SAISD students have multiple opportunities to take one or more of 30 different AP course offerings. Each course culminates in a nationally sponsored AP Exam given in early May. Students may qualify with a score of 3, 4 or 5 points out of 5 points to earn college credit. In addition, College Board recognizes students who take and earn qualifying scores in multiple courses with special recognition. The AP Scholar Awards recognize high school students who have demonstrated exemplary college-level achievement on AP Exams.

In 2017, 58 students achieved this honor, the highest number of students to do so in the last 5 years. Recognition criteria are cumulative, so many of these students will rise to additional honors levels as they continue taking AP courses. (see criteria chart below).

Several scholars and their families shared their appreciation for the opportunity offered by SAISD’s generous support in paying for the exams, materials and other support resources. These programs assure that students will be well-prepared for post-secondary admission to Tier 1 universities. We are so very proud of our SAISD scholars!

SAISD Spanish Spelling Bee Winners Announced!

After a successful SAISD Spanish Spelling Bee held this week at Cooper Academy, we are pleased to announce that our 1st place winners will represent us in the annual Education Service Center, Region 20 Spanish Spelling Bee. This event will take place on Saturday February 3, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. We will have representation at this event in the following three categories: 3rd – 5th, 6th – 8th and 9th – 12th grade students.

Elementary

1st Place: Martha Flores -4th grade -Neal Elementary
2nd Place: Brenda Reyes -3rd grade -Margil Elem
3rd Place: Adrian Nunez -3rd grade- Sarah King
4th Place: Isel Garcia-5th grade -Highland Park
5th Place: Ruth Avila -5th grade-Bonham Academy

Middle School

1st Place: Paola Jauregui – 7th grade – YWLA
2nd Place: Kerany Barrera – 7th grade – Rogers Academy
3rd Place: Jesabel Llanas – 8th grade – Tafolla MS
4th Place: Luis Hernandez- 6th grade – Harris MS
5th Place: Zara Mendoza – 8th grade – Tafolla MS

High School

1st Place: Maria Garcia- 10th grade – YWLA
2nd Place: Paulina Rodriguez – 9th grade – Edison HS
3rd Place: Alizon Bernardez – 10th grade – YWLA
4th Place: Sofia Carrasco- 12th grade – Jefferson HS
5th Place: Javier Benitez – 9th grade – Lanier HS

AP/NMSi Parent Night

Superintendent Pedro Martinez addresses a crowd of about 150 students and parents at the Brackenridge Advanced Placement/ National Math Science Initiative Parent Night. This event was held to inform the community about the partnership between NMSi and Brackenridge to help support students so that they can find success in their courses and be ready to successfully attend top tier colleges and universities. 

Opportunities were covered for students to find help and support in after school and Saturday enrichment and tutorial options. Students will also be able to qualify for $100 subsidies for qualifying scores on AP Exams. 

Finally, links were made to these efforts and how they will impact student growth on SAT Exams. 

Full-Year Pilot

Advanced Placement teachers and administrators met at the Highlands High cafeteria on August 2nd to receive training on the College Board Full-Year Pilot.

The Pilot will provide additional support and resources during the 2017-18 school year, which will include access to a new system enabling year-long, college level practice and instruction in AP classrooms. Students will have an earlier sign-up for testing by Nov. 1, 2017. An early commitment from students to sit for an AP Exam, supports students’ academic confidence and ownership of their own learning.

Guest speaker Trevor Packer addresses district AP staff at Highlands.