GT Academy Newsletter

March 2023

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Hello Spring!

As we return to school after the break, students and teachers are looking forward to an exciting spring at the GT Academy. As you will see by the stories in this newsletter, we were busy before the break and have even more planned for April and May!

  • Students continue to excel in the classroom and in their extracurricular endeavors. Our PJHW Quiz Bowl team brought home the championship trophy this year, with the Sablatura team not far behind. More students than ever have qualified to compete at the state level for TMSCA and FPS. We will be cheering on Justin at the Scripps Spelling Bee as he represents Pearland ISD. Sablatura inventors will share their ideas in Houston in May and Mars Rover teams will travel to the University of Houston to present to judges at the end of this month.

  • We continue to explore interests and connect with engaging experiences outside the school walls. Students enjoy the depth of learning that comes from field experiences and unique mini courses. Fifth and sixth grade students in the Lights, Camera, Action mini course planned, prepared and presented Alice in Wonderland for us on February 28th. The talented cast and crew are pictured above.

  • The GT Academy Student Showcase is not far away. Students will present Texas Performance Standards Projects to parents and the community on May 11th & 12th.

You will definitely want to pay attention to the important dates at the end of the newsletter. I also recommend clicking the links for further reading about an upcoming parent webinar, GT Awareness Week, and an article about kids and social media.

So grab a coffee or your favorite soft drink, maybe a snack, and enjoy!

Stacy Mueller

GT Academy Specialist

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Quiz Bowl Champs

What a night! Our PJHW and Sab teams were on fire at the Pearland ISD Quiz Bowl competition at Turner High School on February 17. At the end of the night, it was the PJHW team that earned the championship trophy. Way to go West! Participation in Quiz Bowl prepares students for future success in the high school level Academic Decathlon. Students learn the value of developing study skills and persistence. Read more here.

Destination Imagination

Ten teams of Sablatura and PJHW creative problem solvers traveled to Mayde Creek High School February 25th to join over 200 teams for the Gulf Coast Regional Destination Imagination tournament. Nine teams presented solutions to the "Flip the Script" fine arts challenge and one team presented their solution to "Thrill Ride" engineering challenge. All teams began working together in October to study the challenge, plan and write a script, design props and costumes and practice Instant Challenges.

Each DI team is led by an adult volunteer who serves as the team manager. Thank you to our fearless 2022-2023 team managers Mrs. Katyal, Mr. Wang, Mrs. Floyd, Mrs. Russo, Mrs. Lanier, Mrs. Anderson, Mr. Shen, Mr. Lemuz, Mrs. Jayasuriyan, Ms. Hill, and Mrs. Briggs.

Take a look below at next year's challenge previews! Gather your creative friends, recruit a team manager, and we will start again in the fall.

Houston Young Inventors' Showcase

Fifty inventors shared their innovative ideas at the Sablatura Inventors' Showcase on February 10th. Each year, judges from the Houston community come to evaluate the prototypes students developed as their culminating project for the Inventions mini course. The top five inventions were:

  • Beach Buddy by Ashlyn Wiesepape
  • Porta Gamer by Justin Hirsh
  • Freggie Slicer by Stephen Robin
  • GERT by Yichen Liu
  • Solaris by Ashley Jiang

These students, along with our Honorable Mention inventors, will represent Pearland ISD at the upcoming Houston Young Inventors' Showcase finals which will be held at the The Ion Houston on May 6th. To support the Houston Young Inventors' Showcase, click here.

Math is our Vibe

The math vibe is alive! Sab students flock to Mrs. Needler's room before school starts to sharpen their general math skills and stay late working with Ms. Hart to learn the latest calculator tricks. Mrs. Venkat's room is always buzzing with students striving for excellence as she coaches and prepares for the next competition. Recently, several of her top students traveled to Austin for the Math Counts state competition. They finished in the top 40% which is quite an achievement.

Another successful TMSCA qualifier competition was held this year at PJHW. Led by the talented team of Mrs. Needler, Mrs. Venkataramanan, Mrs. Hart, Mrs. Kovach and Mr. Chang, over 350 students from Pearland, Fort Bend, and other surrounding districts came together to compete in General Math, Number Sense, Calculator, and Science for a spot at the state competition. Suya placed first in Number Sense! Thank you to all the parents and teachers who volunteered as graders, proctors and concession stand helpers.

This year, our Sab/West TMSCA team did incredibly well and a record 138 students have qualified for the state competition in San Antonio. We are very proud of these dedicated students and wish them the best of luck at state.

Texas Performance Standards Projects

Research papers have been written and now students are in the product development phase of their Texas Performance Standards Projects. Fifth graders began cutting squares of fabric for their quilts this week, sixth graders are finishing maps and working on scrapbooks, vlogs and interviews, and junior high students began meeting with their groups to plan and develop display boards, action plans and presentations.

Parents are encouraged to ask students about progress each week. Although 5th and 6th grade students have specific products to develop, junior high students were given much more "voice and choice" regarding their topics and products.

Junior High parents are invited to view group presentations on April 4th (8th grade) and April 5th (7th grade) in the PJHW library during their child's Language Arts period. The top PJHW group projects will be invited to present at the GT Academy Student Showcase at the Pearland ISD Education Support Center May 11th & 12th.

5th grade will present their quilts at the showcase on May 11th and 6th grade will present on May 12th.

For an overview of each grade level's TPSP expectations that was introduced at the TPSP parent information meetings, visit the links below:

Sign up to to be a quilting volunteer here!

Click this button to join in the quilting fun. Quilting begins March 22nd. 8:35 - 9:20 a.m. / 3:00-3:45 p.m.

Sign up to help 6th grade TPSP video recording here!

Parents are invited to help students record vlogs and interviews using green screen. Morning and afternoon times available.

Quilting Introduction

Students, click this button for quilting tips.

Robotics Exhibition

On Saturday, March 4th robotics teams from across the district gathered to share what they have learned about teamwork and the engineering design process this year. Shadycrest Elementary students demonstrated what they have learned about building and programming a robot. Sablatura teams tackled two different challenges this year, the TCEA "Go Go Cargo" challenge, and the First Lego League "Cargo Connect" challenge. The TCEA teams challenged Friendswood Junior High teams to a friendly competition and the "Prideful Parakeets" team was victorious. Sablatura FLL teams joined Alexander Middle School to show their skills on the mat and also research presentations. The PJHW teams have focused on building this year and shared their bots with the elementary and middle school students who are eager to advance to their level. Pearadox also showed up with their awesome bot. Thank you to all who came out to support Pearland ISD robotics.

Future Problem Solvers

Thirteen teams and three individuals from Sablatura and PJHW qualified to compete at the 2023 Future Problem Solving State Bowl. These hard working students, led by their dedicated sponsors Ms. Maldonado, Mr. Serrano, and Mrs. Shapiro, will travel to Waco, Texas to represent Pearland ISD. At the competition, students will use a seven step problem solving process to solve important issues on a given global topic. This year, one team decided to take on the challenge of Community Problem Solving and have already placed third in the state their first time attempting it. The future looks bright for this diligent group!

Good Luck Justin

Justin will represent Pearland ISD at the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee hosted by Houston Community College on March 25th. The top three spellers at the regional level will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. While he is not studying all the words to prepare for March 25th Justin is keeping his math and science skills sharp as he prepares for the TMSCA state competition. This amazing GTA student has received first place in science the past two years. We are so proud of your hard work, Justin. Thank you to Mrs. Fitts-Batts for supporting all our spellers as the Spelling Bee coordinator for PJHW.

More information about the Scripps Spelling Bee can be found here.

Rovers are Ready

Display boards are finished, rover guides are complete, skits have been practiced, and the rovers are ready! Ms. Singleton is proud of the work her students have put in during the Mars Rover mini course and several after school sessions. They are ready to present to the judges at the Mars Rover Celebration at the University of Houston on Saturday, March 25th.

Thank you GTAB

The GT Academy Booster Club has gone above and beyond to support students and teachers this year. From theatre tickets and a tour of Minute Maid Park to sheep brain and shark dissections; Mars Rover and Artemis models, GimKits, Quizziz, GTAB has supplied and supported many of our mini courses.

GTAB hospitality is always appreciated by teachers as they surprise us with breakfast tacos for a team meeting, soups on a winter day, or our favorite snacks. Fundraising and family events such as the Fall Family Picnic, Winter Hoopla, and Color Run are fun because of their dedication to the vision of the GT Academy. This year, the Winter Hoopla raised $6,500 through the basket auction, bake sale and teacher experiences. Thank you to all who attended.

Parents are encouraged to become members of GTAB so that this incredible support can continue. If you have not already, please consider joining. If you are interested in becoming more involved, please consider becoming a board member position (VP or Secretary) or serving on a committee (Spirit Wear, Color Run, Winter Hoopla). Our new incoming 5th grade parents are encouraged to jump in too! If interested, you can reach out on the GTAB website or email Melissa Bennett, GTAB president, at

Interested in GTAB membership? click here.

To order your GTA Yard Sign click here.

Texas Association for Gifted & Talented

Our team was featured on TAGT social media! In addition to offering excellent professional learning conferences for teachers and administrators, TAGT is a great source of information for students and parents. Take a look at the two links below. We will be celebrating GT Awareness Week in April and invite parents and students to share why gifted education is important to them. Also, take a look at the summer scholarship opportunity through TAGT. The deadline to submit is March 31. Finally, mark your calendar for the upcoming TAGT parent webinar about family passion projects.
Share your #whyGT story here!

G/T Awareness Week was created to increase awareness and encourage support of gifted education in Texas. Click here to share your story of #whyGT is important to you or your family and TAGT might feature your story of #whyGT matters in Texas.

Apply for a TAGT Summer Scholarship

If you plan on attending GTA Boot Camp, Pear Camp, or any other camp this summer, apply for a scholarship up to $400 through the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented.

Parent Webinar: Family Passion Projects

7th and 8th grade Texas Performance Standards Projects this year were centered around the Six P's, which come from Andi McNair's work. Join Andi for a parent webinar about extending this to a passion project for the family.

How to Keep Teens Safe on Social Media

Let's Go Outside

Sablatura students enjoyed some fun in the sun before Spring Break. Field Day fun included relay races, tug-o-war, inflatables, snow cones, and dancing.We enjoyed the good weather and connecting with friends.

The PJHW Color Run is this Friday, March 24th! This fundraiser is hosted by PJHW PTA & GTAB. Funds will be used to help support student activities such as end-of-year class field trips. Don't want to walk/run? You can still join the patio social! Students should bring a towel, shoes they can get dirty, sunglasses & athletic shorts for this fun, but messy event.

GTA Spotlight:

Mark Your Calendar:

March 22 - Sablatura FPS parent meeting @ 5:00

March 24 - PJHW Color Run

March 25 - Mars Rover Celebration @ UH

March 25 - Scripps Spelling Bee

March 30 - Sablatura STEM Night 6:30-8:00

March 30 - PISD FPS Parent Meeting 6:00-7:00 (PJHW cafeteria)

March 31-April 2 - TMSCA State @ UTSA

April 4 - 8th Grade TPSP Presentations (Library)

April 5 - 7th Grade TPSP Presentations (Library)

April 7-10 Easter Break

April 12 - PSAT for all PJHW 8th Grade GT students

April 14-16 FPS State @ Waco

April 20 - STAAR RLA 7th / 8th

April 20 - Sab Robotics to First Robotics World @ George R. Brown

April 21 - PJHW Robotics to First Robotics World @ George R. Brown

April 25 - STAAR RLA 5th /6th

April 27 - STAAR Science 8th

May 2 - STAAR Science 5th / Math 7th / SS 8th

May 3 - PJHW Birthday Celebration

May 4 - STAAR Math 5th / 6th / 8th

May 6 - Houston Young Inventors' Showcase @ Houston Ion

May 9 - Algebra EOC

May 11 - GTA Student Showcase (5th & 7th) @ ESC 6:00-7:30 p.m.

May 12 - GTA Student Showcase (6th & 8th) @ ESC 6:00-7:30 p.m.