A+ Academics Elementary and Middle School UIL

2017 – 2018 marked a record year for Elementary and Middle School students’ participation in the SAISD A+ Academics UIL district tournaments.  1,362 students participated in academic contests including Art, Calculator Applications, Chess Puzzles, Creative Writing, Dictionary Skills, Maps/Graphs/Charts, Ready Writing in both English and Spanish, Number Sense, Modern Oratory, Spelling in both English and Spanish, Music Memory, Science, and Oral Reading in both English and Spanish.

Students competed by preparing in their events in advance and then on tournament day by performing, taking tests and speaking to earn medals and ribbons for 1st – 6th places.  Students also earned points for their schools for each place earned.  Points were totaled to award the top three point earning schools with sweepstakes trophies.

Below are photos of our Sweepstakes Schools for each tournament.  We can’t wait for next year’s contests!

Zone 1 1st Place: Bonham Academy
Zone 1 2nd Place: Highland Hills Elementary
Zone 1 3rd Place: Kate Schenck Elementary
Zone 2 1st Place: Hawthorne Academy
Zone 2 2nd Place: Arnold Elementary
Zone 2 3rd Place: Maverick Elementary
Middle School 1st Place: Young Women’s Leadership Academy
Middle School 2nd Place: Harris Middle School
Middle School 3rd Place: Bonham Academy

Chembridge- Dr. Biberdorf visits with SAISD students March 23, 2018 at ACC

UT Chembridge professor demonstrates chemical reactions for SAISD students. Students from Burbank, Edison, Highlands, Houston, Jefferson, and Lanier all gathered at the  Alamo Convocation Center to learn from their online Chembridge professor, Dr. Biberdorf, for a face to face class.

Dry ice and colored water

Hot water and dry ice.

District AVID Student Essay Winners

AVID students in 6th – 12th grades had the opportunity to participate in an essay writing contest as part of their semester final for their AVID elective classes.  One student at each grade level was recognized from across the district for creating an outstanding piece of work expressing their response to the prompt: What makes AVID unique? How has AVID helped you?
Cynthia Martinez, SAISD AVID Coordinator recognized the following students for their essays along with the AVID teachers and administrators who support them:
6th Grade Winner from Longfellow Emily Velasquez with Dr. Terry (principal), Mr. Bermea (AVID Teacher), Ms. Martinez (District AVID Coordinator) and Mrs. Rodriguez (Campus AVID Coordinator)
7th grade winner from Longfellow Erick Salas with Mr. Reyna (AVID Teacher) and Ms. Martinez (District AVID Coordinator)
8th grade winner from Harris Aiden Garcia with Ms. Martinez (District AVID Coordinator), Dr. Velasquez (principal) and Mrs. Castillo (AVID Teacher)
Students from Travis – 9th Grade Winner Nathan Paredes, 10th grade Winner Rozlyn Olivas, 11th grade Winner Armando Hernandez and Mrs. Arredondo (principal)
12th Grade Winner Lesly Hernandez and Coach Beresford (AVID Teacher)

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.


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. 

World Languages: SAISD Launches The AP with WE International Service Program at Edison HS & Rogers Academy

The AP Spanish Language and Culture class at Edison High School was selected by College Board to join the AP with WE Service Pilot Program for the 2017-2018 School Year.  The AP students from Edison will be working with the students from Rogers to build a community of collaboration and mentorship via tutoring services that seek to support younger students to sucessfully transition into high school.  “The AP with WE Service program provides teaching modules that align to AP course content and can be directly implemented into an AP course curriculum. Each module focuses on an actionable topic, such as hunger or education, and incorporates WE’s service-based learning framework and resources. The WE model helps teachers and students to identify local priorities and translate classroom learning into hands-on innovation and problem solving.”