As part of its efforts to continually meet the need of gifted learners, GCISD has conducted a program evaluation for the ASPIRE Academy. Founded in 2013, the ASPIRE Academy is designed to meet the unique needs of highly gifted students. Currently serving nearly 450 students in first through tenth-grade, ASPIRE engages students with an advanced academic curriculum, allowing them to accelerate several years in core subjects while equipping them with the skills needed to ensure their well-being and success.
Dr. Todd Kettler, an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology in the School of Education at Baylor University, conducted the audit during the Fall of 2019. He currently serves as Chair of both the Texas Commissioner of Education’s Advisory Council for Gifted Education and the National Association for Gifted Children’s Conceptual Foundations Network. He has been honored as the Advocate of the Year for Gifted Education in Texas and has consulted with school districts and conducted gifted and talented program evaluations in Texas, Ohio, and Arkansas.
“The ASPIRE Academy is arguably the best gifted and talented program in Texas,” Dr. Kettler said. “The combination of grouping, acceleration, and differentiated curriculum as well as the talented teachers assigned to the program are contributing to a host of exceptional student achievement outcomes. The ASPIRE Academy was intentionally designed to meet and exceed the highest standards in the nation for gifted education, and I would recommend any gifted education professional to pay attention and learn from this example.”
As part of the evaluation, Dr. Kettler reviewed program documents including curriculum, program descriptions and student achievement data, conducted surveys and focus groups and interviews with students, staff and parents and made classroom observations for every ASPIRE class.
The program evaluation is complete and an executive summary of the findings may be found here. For parents and community members that are interested in learning more about the audit, the District is partnering with GC SAGE (Supporting and Advocating for Gifted Education) for an in-depth presentation from Dr. Kettler on Monday, March 16 at 6 p.m. at the Professional Development Education Center.