BISD Advanced Academics

A monthly update on Advanced Academics programs at Bryan ISD

Great Things

Wonderful things are happening at Bryan ISD!

AP and IB season is soon upon us, and the final costs to students is being finalized as I type this sentence. I have been informed by TEA that the fee reductions for students who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch bring the total cost per exam for these students down to $7! For students who do not qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch, the cost per exam will be only $35. A great bargain for the opportunity to earn college credit.

Please encourage your AP students to sign up for the exams.

Other AP-related news. This summer Rice University will be holding their PreAP/ AP Summer Institutes in partnership with College Board. These summer institutes are a great opportunity to really hone your approach to teaching Pre-AP and AP courses. If you haven't attended one of these before, I HIGHLY encourage you to register before space runs out.

Rice is also holding some one-day AP exam prep workshops this Spring:

"These one-day AP Exam Prep Workshops are designed for teachers interested in acquiring strategies for preparing their students for the AP exam. The workshops, facilitated by master teachers, will provide a simulated AP reading along with exam prep strategies to help increase student achievement on AP exams."

On the IB front, BHS's IB program has produced a video (360p.mp4) that showcases some student experiences in the BHS IB program. I want to affirm Laura Wagner and the Media team here at BISD for putting this together.

Dates for Upcoming AP Exams

Week 1

May 2

Environmental Science


May 3

Computer Science A
Spanish Language and Culture

Art History
Physics 1: Algebra-Based

May 4

English Literature and Composition

Japanese Language and Culture
Physics 2: Algebra-Based

May 5

Calculus AB
Calculus BC

Chinese Language and Culture

May 6

German Language and Culture
United States History

European History

Studio Art—last day for Coordinators to submit digital portfolios (by 8 p.m. EDT) and to gather 2-D Design and Drawing students for physical portfolio assembly

Week 2

May 9

Music Theory

Physics C: Mechanics

Physics C:
Electricity and Magnetism

May 10

United States Government and Politics

French Language and Culture
Spanish Literature and Culture

May 11

English Language and Composition

Italian Language and Culture

May 12

Comparative Government and Politics
World History


May 13

Human Geography


ACT/SAT Prep Sessions

The district will be offering Saturday prep sessions for both the ACT and SAT in anticipation of the April 9 ACT and the May 7 SAT.

The sessions will serve as introductions to the structure and content of the exams, as well as offering strategies for exam success.

ACT Prep Session:

March 26 from 8-12

Location: TBD

SAT Prep Session:

April 23 from 8-12

Location: TBD

INQUIRE Spring 2016 Admissions Timeline

Applications to Students- February 9

School Day Tours- February 8-19

Deadline for Submission of Applications- Friday, March 4

Notification of Acceptance- Tuesday, March 8

Commitment Date- Wednesday, March 9

District Transfer Deadline- Friday, March 11

Branch Elementary's Destination Imagination Teams and TPSP Trainings

Branch elementary has twenty one students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades are competing in the Destination Imagination competition in Conroe, TX on February 20th.

One team is doing the "meme" - Service Project - and they are raising awareness and funds for the Aggieland Humane Society.

One team is doing the "mystery" - "Get a Clue".

One team is doing the "improv" - Close Encounters.

Branch also has two "Rising Stars teams" - students in 1st and 2nd grade - with a total of sixteen students. Both teams are doing the "Change in Direction" challenge.

Additionally, Branch is conducting TPSP training for all 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers on Wednesday, February 3rd with the plan that they will integrate and use the TPSP curriculum in all subject areas as the students travel from teacher to teacher.

TPSP training for all 1st and 2nd grade teachers will take place on Wednesday, February 17th. The plan is that the teachers will integrate and use the TPSP curriculum in their self-contained classroom settings.

GT Showcase Dates

I am attaching a form for elementary schools to add in the dates and locations of their GT Showcases. The GT Showcase is the opportunity for the students to demonstrate the hard work that they have put in on their TPSP projects, and to be celebrated for their efforts.

Teaching Kids about the Brain

Race car drivers have to know everything about their cars. They have to, it's their tool to do what they do. The brain is no different. Our GT and HA kids are race car drivers, and their brain is their car. It is important, therefore that we take somme time and focus on metacognition, thinking about thinking. Keeping a journal where students track their thought process as they move through a problem is an example of a great metacognitive tool. But what of our younger kids? Dr. Hazel Harrison offers a unique and useful strategy for teaching younger kids about how their brain operates.

The Best of Rimsky-Korsakov

Study Music Suggestion of the Month

For some reason, when the weather gets cold, I gravitate towards Russian composers if the Late-Romantic period. Perhaps it's the fond memories of my family's annual pilgrimage to Jones Hall to watch The Nutcracker (still the only ballet I can sit through); or maybe it's the recollection of how much I loved Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf when I was a child. Whatever the reason, it just seems appropriate. So, if you need some background music for those cold nights spent grading and making lesson plans. My suggestion for February is this compilation from Nikolai Risky-Korsakov (1844-1908).

"Mainly known for his symphonic works, especially the popular symphonic suite Sheherazade, as well as the Capriccio Espagnol and the Russian Easter Festival Overture, Rimsky-Korsakov left an oeuvre that also included operas, chamber works, and songs. Rimsky-Korsakov's music is accessible and engaging owing to his talent for tone-coloring and brilliant orchestration. Furthermore, his operas are masterful musical evocations of myths and legends."

Newsletter Submissions

If you have any Advanced Academics-related news, please add it to my submissions doc at:

Rick Odum

Advanced Academics Coordinator

Bryan Independent School District