GT Academy Newsletter

Back to School 2021

Big picture

Welcome back! We are so excited about the 2021-2022 school year and are off to a great start. Students have adjusted to their new schedules, mastered lockers, and are settling in for an amazing year of learning and growing. The theme for Sablatura Middle School this year is "Be the Change" based on the famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi. We are encouraged to BE Positive, BE Persistent, BE Curious, and BE Compassionate.


Here are a few tips to help students *BE SUCCESSFUL this school year:


  • Schedules: Although the first few days were tricky, students should now know their daily schedule. Take time to plan for each day, making sure you have all necessary supplies and assignments. Use your team folder, a planner, your Canvas calendar, and sticky notes to help keep you organized and on track. (See the Seth Perler video link below for team folder tips.)
  • ALEKS: Students will take an initial assessment in class, then complete ten topics each week. Create a schedule that works best for you. Waiting until the last minute is not the best plan. (For an introduction to ALEKS, see the video below.)
  • Knowsys: Study and use your Knowsys words to be college ready! Students are encouraged to practice using Knowsys words in conversation and writing to develop an extensive vocabulary.
  • Soft Skills: When students are given the tools to succeed, self-confidence increases. Soft Skills instruction is integrated in projects, lessons and activities and are taught directly during the year with Soft Skills Rotations. Students will develop skills in time management, organization, mindfulness, study skills, conflict resolution, project management and active listening, among others.
  • ECC: Students will have opportunities throughout the year to choose a topic of interest to Explore in depth, Create projects to apply what they have learned, and Connect with others who share their interests.
  • Late Work: Unless otherwise stated, assignments are due the day they are given. Assignments not submitted on time will receive a zero in the gradebook. Students have up to three days to turn in / correct work for a maximum grade of 70. Students are encouraged to communicate with teachers when circumstances beyond their control interfere with the ability to complete assignments in a timely manner.
  • Laptops: Bring laptops to school fully charged each day. Technology is integrated into lessons in every class. Students will use Canvas and Office 365 extensively, as well as many other tech applications.


*Speaking of being successful, keep reading to learn about three GTA alumni who have taken the initiative to continue studying topics they were introduced to in middle school. We are proud of you Nathan, J.P., and Andy!

GTAB Skate NIght

Thank you to our GT Academy Booster Club (GTAB) for hosting a fun Skate Night! Students enjoyed skating with new classmates and playing games, and parents had a chance to connect too. As we start this year, it is important to remember to find balance. With increasing responsibilities and rigorous coursework, students need time to play and connect with friends. Skate Night was a great way to do that.

GTA Summer Boot Camp

GTA Boot Camp was a fun way to kick off summer! Forty awesome students spent two weeks learning and playing together. Each student participated in a morning session - Stop Motion Animation, Python programming, EV3 Robotics, Game Maker Studio or Roblox - and an afternoon session - Photography, Zoology, TMSCA Skills, Public Speaking, Instant Challenge, Comics, or Sewing.


During the lunch hour, we played chess and learned from special guest speakers. J.P. Jewell explained how he started the Drone Club, Nathan Bui shared "The Adventures of Brandon and Gigabit", a book he wrote about the human hunger hormone, and a docent from the Houston Museum of Natural Science shared a few cool fossils and paleontology artifacts with us. On the last day, students in the Zoology class were visited by a variety of reptiles and an interesting amphibian!


Let's do it again next summer!

Eagle Scout Project

Sablatura Robotics is starting the year off strong thanks to Andy Swafford! Before heading off to high school, Andy was very active in the GT Academy robotics program. He started with the TCEA challenge as a fifth grader and led his team to the state competition. In sixth. seventh and eighth grades Andy was part of our award winning First Lego League team. He is currently expanding his robotics skills with the Pearadox Robotics team and is continuing to code in PAP Computer Science, which he says is awesome! In addition to robotics, Andy is a member of the Dawson High School marching band and is currently working towards his Eagle Scout designation. His Eagle Scout project includes the construction of a new practice board for Sab Robotics, a traveling board to take to competitions, newly organized kits, a rolling cart that houses organized bins of robot parts, and a series of instructional videos created by Andy. His project will help support Sablatura Robotics for years to come!

Sablatura Clubs

There are many ways for students to get involved at Sablatura! Students who enjoy academic competition may want to explore Math Club (TMSCA), Quiz Bowl, Robotics or Future Problem Solving (FPS). Students who enjoy helping their community may want to try PAWS, Act Pack or Student Council. Some students are looking forward to joining with others who enjoy Book Club, Chess, or Running. This year, we are kicking off another club - Destination Imagination! After a year of virtual clubs, students and teachers are eager to get clubs started on campus.


Math Club, Book Club, and Chess Club have already started and the rest will be starting soon. Students need to listen closely to morning announcements to hear club updates. An overview of all our Sablatura clubs can be found on the "Clubs and Activities" tab on the Sablatura website.

Congratulations Mrs. Beicker!

Mrs. Beicker was recently recognized for her innovative classroom design! The PISD Education Foundation surprised her with a with a gift card and certificate of recognition for her fun Harry Potter themed classroom. Read more about it here!

How ALEKS Works

Mark Your Calendar!


  • September 1 – Future Problem Solving (FPS) first meeting 4:15-5:00 p.m.
  • September 1 - Sablatura GTA Meet the Teacher Night 6:30 p.m. (5th Grade @ Sablatura Gym & Cafeteria / 6th Grade @ PJHW Auditorium)
  • September 3 – Robotics applications are due.
  • September 6 - Labor Day Holiday
  • September 7 - Staff Development - No school for students.
  • September 9 – Destination Imagination (DI) informational meeting for parents and students after school @ 4:15 in the cafeteria.
  • September 13 - Quiz Bowl interest meeting 4:00-5:00 in cafeteria
  • October 11 - STEM Day Camp (Stay tuned!)