GT Academy Newsletter

September 2020

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Back to School 2020... We've Got This!

Wow! What an eventful first four weeks it has been. In addition to our "phase in" approach to starting school this year due to Covid-19, the weather decided to add to the entertainment giving us Topical Storm Beta. To say it has been different is quite the understatement. The good news is that students are learning the importance of flexibility, time management, and a growth mindset.

We are so appreciative of the support and patience parents have shown as students and teachers adjust to using Canvas. Parents can help students as they learn at home by teaching time awareness, guiding them to avoid distractions, helping them to get organized, and encouraging them to advocate for themselves. As teachers have mentioned in parent Zoom and Teams meetings, here are a few tips for students to ensure a successful year:

  • Ask Questions. We are all learning together. Ask for help if you do not understand, and ask for more information when you are interested.
  • Be a Problem Solver. There are often many ways to solve a problem. If your first attempt doesn't work, try something else, and if that doesn't work, try again. Don't give up.
  • Act with Integrity. Be mindful of conversations in chats. Do your own work. Do the right thing even when it's not easy.
  • Respect Teams Time: Show up on time. Always join the class muted. Be aware of your background. Make sure you are in a quiet space with no distractions. Pay attention. Turn your camera on when possible.
  • Learn to Navigate Canvas: We are getting better each week! Remember to do the assignments in the order they are assigned by teachers. Relying on the "To Do" list is not advisable. Read instructions carefully in each module. If students skip around, there will be gaps in learning. Don't forget to check your inbox for messages from teachers.
  • Keep up with ALEKS: Students complete ten topics each week. Create a schedule that works best for you. Waiting until the last minute is not the best plan.
  • Practice Knowsys Words: Students are encouraged to practice using Knowsys words in conversation and writing to develop a strong vocabulary.
  • Avoid 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.
  • Connect. Whether it is chatting with friends at lunch or meeting someone new through a club or group project, find ways to connect with your classmates.

Speaking of successful students, we are so proud of our five GTA alumni who have been recognized as finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program this year. Read more about them here.

Have a question about Canvas?

Clicking this button will take you to several "How To" videos. Learn how to view Modules, submit assignments, upload a file from Office 365, and more.

Be Bold, Go Gold!

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. ♥ Every September, the GT Academy donates at least $800 to the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance. We adore this organization because they have positively impacted the lives of some of our former and current students.

We will continue to have our Penny War between TCU and Purdue! However, this year, the team that raises the most money wins (20 minute recess and bragging rights)! Don’t worry, virtual learners will be rewarded, too!

To donate, on campus learners can bring their donations to Ms. Hart’s room OR anyone can contribute by donating at the following link: In the notes section, please specify which team (Purdue or TCU) your child is on, so that funds can be accounted for accordingly.

Wednesday, September 30, is our Go Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Day! We want to see all students, on campus AND virtual learners showing their support by wearing yellow or gold! We will be taking pictures of on campus AND virtual learners in their yellow/gold to show that although we cannot all be together on campus, we are still united and will always show our support for children fighting cancer!

Thank you in advance for your support of this cause! ♥


GTA math instruction is enhanced through the use of ALEKS, a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. Students are expected to complete ten "topics" each week.

After a brief tutorial shows students how to use the ALEKS answer input tools, they take an initial assessment. Each question is chosen on the basis of the student's answers to all the previous questions. Each student, and therefore each set of assessment questions, is unique.

ALEKS develops a precise picture of a student's knowledge of the course, knowing which topics have been mastered and which topics have not. The student's knowledge is represented by a multicolor pie chart.

In the Learning Mode, students have a choice of topics that they are ready to learn. When a student chooses a topic, ALEKS gives practice problems that teach the topic. These problems have enough variability that a student can only get them consistently correct on understanding the core principle defining the topic. If a student doesn't understand a particular problem, he/she can always access a complete explanation.

To ensure that topics learned are retained in long term memory, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student, using the results to adjust the student's knowledge of the course.

The information above has been adapted from the ALEKS website.

You can view this 3 minute video about how ALEKS works for more information.

Sablatura Clubs Are Starting Soon!

One of the most exciting aspects of middle school is exploring interests and getting involved in clubs. Students have been signing up for clubs using Microsoft Forms that were sent out through their Social Studies class. Students interested in FPS have already started meeting and those interested in Robotics have submitted their applications. TMSCA will start September 30th and Quiz Bowl will start October 5th. Chess Club will begin soon too! Students should pay attention to club announcements through their Social Studies teacher. They will be added to a Team so that they can meet virtually with the sponsor on their designated day and time each week.

Drive Through T-Shirt Pick Up

What a fun way to end our first week of phase in! GTAB board members and teachers distributed new GTA t-shirts and masks "drive through style" at Independence Park. It was great so see all the smiling faces and decorated cars.

To learn more about how GTAB supports the GT Academy, take a look at the video link below.

GTAB Membership Video

If you are interested in serving on a new GTAB committee to plan this year's "GTAB Online Auction & Drive Thru Dinner BBQ Hootenanny" contact Beth Reed ( )or join the GroupMe group . The committee will hold their initial meeting on October 5th via Zoom.

What does it mean to be gifted?

Not all gifted students are the same. Some might excel in a specific subject area such as math or writing. Some might have strong problem solving or leadership skills. Others may be very creative, exceptionally inquisitive, or have an outstanding vocabulary. Gifted kids can sometimes have a hard time finding friends that "get" them, can get overwhelmed with all the things they want to do, can struggle with perfectionism, be extra sensitive, or more keenly aware of issues in our world.

It is important to remember that being gifted does not mean that you are great at everything. Often times, parents, teachers and even friends can expect gifted students to be perfect and that can be frustrating. That is one reason it is important to learn what it means (and what it doesn't mean) to be gifted.

Through a series of activities presented by Mrs. Mueller, students explored their gifted characteristics. They learned about Renzulli's Three Ring Conception of Giftedness and the importance of each ring (Above Average Ability, Creativity and Task Commitment). After reviewing characteristics of giftedness from NAGC and Mensa, each student created a final product to share with classmates. Some of the resources used are included below. Take a look!

3️⃣3-Ring Conception of Giftedness, Joseph Renzulli
Joseph Renzulli - What is Giftedness?

GTA Spotlight

Let's celebrate teachers, students and parents who are making a difference! GT Academy - Where Bright Minds Shine.