GTA Newsletter

Pearland ISD

November-December 2019 / January 2020

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It's Competition Season!

Academic competitions have long been a part of gifted programming, and can provide students with opportunities to develop productive attitudes and work habits, motivation, and a sense of belonging to a group. GT Academy students are encouraged to participate in some type of club or competition during middle school, and most do.


Classrooms are full of students coding, learning a new math skill for the next TMSCA competition, meeting with their FPS group or playing chess before the bell rings in the morning. They are also staying after school to study together for Quiz Bowl and are programming robots for the next task. Students are looking forward to qualifying for state TMSCA and FPS competitions held in April. Our next chess tournament in Pasadena is coming up in February, and of course our Robotics teams are advancing to the next level of competition this spring. And of course, we hope to hold on to the title of Quiz Bowl Champions again this year!


Sab GTA and PJHW GTA are hosting a qualifying TMSCA competition February 29th and are looking for volunteers. Take a look at the link below to sign up.

Robotics Teams Advance

January 11th was an exciting day for Sablatura Robotics! Our two First Lego League teams competed in Angleton. In addition to the teams placing first and second in the robot competition, Pearanauts placed first in Inspiration and Pearatech was the Grand Champion! Both teams will advance to the championship competition on March 7th at Stafford High School. At the same time, a few miles away, our TCEA teams were competing at Friendswood High School. The Bumble Bees took home the first place trophy, with the highest score out of over forty teams from the region. These three fifth grade students will advance to the TCEA State Robotics Competition in Austin in April.Thank you to sponsors Mrs. Medley, Mrs. MacPhail and Mrs. Hill; and our mentors Mrs. Sherman, and Mrs. Eble for supporting these hard-working students.


Friends and family are invited to celebrate these teams, along with other robotics teams and STEM clubs at the Sablatura Robotics Exhibition on Thursday, February 6th!

Sablatura Inventors' Showcase

Congratulations to our Sablatura inventors! Forty-six students presented their prototypes to judges on January 29th. Inventors worked for six weeks in the Inventions mini course to develop their ideas, created their display board on field experience day, then also worked after school to practice their presentation skills. The top five inventions were:


  • DforeigNA by Ethan R.
  • Pet Refresher by Lucy B.
  • Safe Fold Cook-N-Pan by Amadea B.
  • ACSE by Amudhan K.
  • Air Purifier by Trenton T.


The Inventors' Choice Award went to Smart Lock by Gregory S. and the Presenter's Award went to Melissa T. for the Anti-Slider.

Mrs. VanderWoude is Sab's Teacher of the Year!

We are so excited to announce that Mrs. V is our Sablatura Teacher of the Year! Not only is Mrs. V an outstanding sixth grade World Cultures teacher, she is our Chess Club and Quiz Bowl sponsor, and coordinates the sixth grade Texas Performance Standards Project. So, what do her students have to say about her?

  • " She pushes us to go above and beyond."
  • "She has fun with us."
  • "She explains things, and learns along with us."
  • "She is good at listening to what I'm into - not just school work."
  • "She is willing to do extra curricular things like chess, Quiz Bowl and inventions."
  • "She doesn't give us packets. We do interactive games and simulations."
  • "She doesn't like loud noises."
  • "She is always so friendly."

Holiday Fun

December was a month for caring for others. Everyone enjoyed the band and choir performances in the foyer, the cafeteria, and throughout the halls. As we walked down the hall, we were treated to an array of ugly science holiday sweaters made in Ms. Hart's class. Students learned in the comfort of their PJ's if they donated items for the animal shelter, which was organized by our PAWS club. It has become a tradition for Purdue students to make fleece blankets to donate to Texas Children's Hospital. This year they made 85! To top off the season of giving, PJHW and Sab GTA students filled 100 bags with essentials such as shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, and baby items for the Pearland Neighborhood Center.

Henna Artists

One of the most popular stops at the Sablatura International Festival is the henna station. Mrs. Tish Kuruppu, GT Academy alumni parent, started this tradition several years ago and it has become a special part of the Sablatura International Festival students look forward to each year. Mrs. Tish and other sweet women share stories as they apply the beautiful henna artwork. This year, we were honored to have Mrs. Swati and Mrs.Helen join us. We are very appreciative of these ladies sharing their time.

Ed Thompson Visits Sablatura

Two GTA students, Noah and Horia, were part of the panel who met with State Representative Ed Thompson when he visited Sablatura. Mr. Thompson is visiting many schools in District 29 to hear from students, teachers, counselors, and administrators.


Because Thompson helped to write a bill to transform the public school finance system in Texas, Noah asked how he planned to get and use the funding. Representative Thompson said that funding would be increased with House Bill 3, with money sent down to local districts, and this will provide mores services for students.


Horia expressed concern about testing and the stress it brings to students and asked "What are the problems you are most concerned with in education and how do you plan to fix them?" Thompson says we must be the very best we can be and not worry or compare ourselves to anyone else. He says to follow your passions. One concern he has is standardized testing, stating that he believes we must measure and be held accountable, but should focus on growth of each student.

TAGT Conference

Each year, GT Academy teachers look forward to learning from other gifted educators at the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented Conference. Ms. Singleton and Ms. Hart, along with Mrs. Mueller, travelled to San Antonio to learn more about the updated State Plan for Gifted Students, Social-Emotional Enrichment, Depth and Complexity, and Implementing Acceleration. Ms. Hart says "During the GiftED19 Conference, a session called P3: Partnering, Passion, and Philanthropy really spoke to me. This session centered around the idea of students developing their passions to benefit others. How can we use what we care most about to do good for others?" Ms. Hart teaches the Community Outreach mini course, and was interested in seeing what other schools are doing to help their community. Mrs. Mueller was excited to meet experts in acceleration practices, Susan Assouline and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik of University of Iowa's Belin-Blank Center.

Group Dynamics

Collaboration was the focus of our most recent soft skills rotations. Because students will begin working closely with their TPSP groups to produce final products and presentations that will be shared with the community at the GT Academy Student Showcase on April 22nd, direct instruction on skills such as attentive listening, conflict resolution, respecting differences and learning from others are taught.


Students engaged in several activities to apply what they learned about successful collaboration. One of the 5th grade favorites was The Maze, where students were challenged to find their way through a maze of dots first independently, then with help from friends, and lastly with encouragement. This taught the importance of paying attention, learning from others, and asking for help. Mrs. Needler introduced De Bono's Thinking Hats. "Group members can learn how to separate thinking into six clear functions and roles. Each thinking role is identified with a colored symbolic "thinking hat." By mentally wearing and switching "hats," you can easily focus or redirect thoughts, the conversation, or the meeting." Sixth graders enjoyed practicing metacognition and interpersonal intelligence as they discovered their True Colors.

Field Experiences

On December 12th we boarded busses and set off for more field experience adventures to the Museum of Fine Arts, Armand Bayou Nature Center, Turner High School, the Museum of Natural Science, Space Center Houston and the Pearland Public Library! It is always so much fun to apply what we learn in mini courses to real world situations. Who knows? One of these experiences just might be what ignites an interest that leads to a future career.

TPSP Update

6th Graders visited the Holocaust Museum and the Museum of Natural Science to learn what it means to be a docent. Sophie says "In the Holocaust Museum, the docent led us through the exhibits, explaining the different artifacts. One highlight of the trip was meeting a 102-year old veteran named Paul Ryan who lived through World War II!"


Now that students have ideas for artifacts, they are ready to CREATE!! Please begin gathering the needed supplies and bring them to school by February 3rd. We will work in class to create the artifacts and placards. Five artifacts and placards are due February 28th and ALL artifacts and placards are due March 30th.


5th Graders are putting the final touches on research papers and the final copies are due February 14th. The next step is to work collaboratively to plan and design their quilts. Sewing will begin after Spring Break!
Click Here to Volunteer: 5th Grade TPSP

Parents are invited to help as fifth grade students sew TPSP quilts.

Click Here to Volunteer: 6th Grade TPSP

Parents are invited to help as sixth grade students record TPSP interviews and newscasts.

Summer Opportunities

GTA Math Boot Camp

July 27-July 31

*Open to any incoming 5th - 8th GTA student. Led by GTA teachers and TMSCA sponsors Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Needler and Ms. Hart. More information coming in March!


Smart Core Labs

*Click link below for Spring/Summer schedule.


PEAR Camp

* A two week Pearland ISD STEM camp open to 2020-2021 6th-8th graders. More information coming soon and posted on the PISD Advanced Academics website.

July 13-24


Pitch Me This (Drama)

*This group works with our Drama mini course. See flyer below.


iDTech Camps

*Located at Rice University


TAGT Summer Enrichment Scholarship
Awarded to identified gifted students’ grades K- 12, who are currently participating in a gifted program and who want to enrich their learning experience during the summer months. The maximum summer scholarship award is $400. Students may use these scholarships to attend programs with academic, fine art, or performing arts focus. ** All applications are due February 28th. Click title link above to apply!

GTAB Spring Fest

Join your fellow GTA families for a wonderful evening of food and fellowship at the GTAB Spring Fest, which will be held on Friday, March 27th 6:00-8:00 p.m. This year's dinner will be a catered event with an Italian flair! There will be auction items and lots of other fun things going on. Make sure to save the date. More information coming soon!


Students interested in sharing a talent at this event are encouraged to submit a short video clip to Mrs. Mueller or Mrs. Bill. Notes were sent home in Tuesday Folders on January 28th and are due by February 18th.

GTA Spotlight

Mark Your Calendar!

February 1 - GTA Applications / Intent to Return Due for 2020-2021

February 5 - PISD Spelling Bee

February 6 - Sablatura Robotics Exhibition 5:30-7:00 p.m.

February 11-12 - 5th Grade STAAR Simulation

February 15 - Chess Tournament @ Pasadena

February 27 - Field Experiences !

February 28 - PISD Quiz Bowl @ Turner High School

February 29 - TMSCA Competition @ PJHW


March 6 - Sablatura Field Day

March 9-13 Spring Break

March 27- GTAB Spring Fest

March 28 - Mars Rover Competition @ UH


April 2 - Sablatura STEM Night

April 7 - STAAR 5th Math

April 8 - STAAR 5th Reading

April 22 - GTA Showcase @ ESC

April 25 - Highly Gifted Math Testing @ ESC


May 2 - Highly Gifted Math Testing @ ESC

May 12 - STAAR 6th & 7th Math

May 13 - STAAR 6th Reading

May 14 - STAAR 5th Science