Building Integrated Classrooms
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WATCH: How One Gifted and Talented Program in Texas Dropped Its Screening and Opened Up ‘Higher Order’ Learning to a Whole New Community

September 24, 2018

Advanced Learning Academy had a waiting list even before the first day it opened in August 2016.

It was the first school of choice created in San Antonio Independent School District by Superintendent Pedro Martinez, who saw offering a gifted and talented program that did not used screened admissions as a way to draw more affluent families from outside the district while providing the kind of “higher order” learning shown to be invaluable in raising academic achievement. Such approaches are typically not available to students of color because they are rarely screened for gifted and talented programs.

The other part of ALA’s winning formula: a teacher-training program with nearby Trinity University, whose school of education is one of the best in the nation, that has allowed San Antonio to grow its own top-flight talent pipeline. “Very exciting things are happening within San Antonio ISD,” ALA Principal Kathy Bieser said. “Our goal to become a national leader in urban education is happening, and I think we are on the right path to really transform this school district.” Read more about the district’s broader school integration effort and how it is raising student achievement. (Click right here to read The 74’s special report)

Video Produced by Heather Martino; Edited by James Fields