Educational Institutions

Austin Gifted

  • Austin, TX
  • www.austingifted.org

Mission Statement

Our Mission is to teach, support, affirm, and nurture individuals in realizing their intellectual, emotional, social, and creative potential.

Our Vision is to provide a learning environment in which gifted learners can explore their passions, push their limits, celebrate their talents, and truly become citizens of the world.

Our Purpose is to bring gifted students together with one another and with teachers who are passionate about giftedness and creativity. We provide classroom flexibility, inquiry-based learning, and innovative, cross-curricular alignment. We encourage holistic development through formal emotional intelligence courses.

Main Programs

  1. ACE Academy
  2. Summer Wonders
  3. Saturday Wonders
  4. Assessment Services
  5. Parent and teacher education
Service Areas

Self-reported

Texas

Austin Gifted serves gifted students ages 3 through 19 throughout Austin, TX and its surrounding areas.

ruling year

2000

Chief Executive Officer, Head of School

Self-reported

Mrs. Donna B. Hulsey

Director of Admissions and Assessment, Director of Saturday/Summer Wonders

Self-reported

Mrs. Karen Sims Langdon

Keywords

Self-reported

gifted, primary, middle school, high school, private school, outreach, enrichment, ESL, education, GT, G/T, research, advocacy, special education

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EIN

74-2913554

 Number

7851104820

Physical Address

3901 Shoal Creek Blvd

Austin, TX 78756

Also Known As

Ace Academy

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Specialized Education Institutions/Schools for Visually or Hearing Impaired, Learning Disabled (B28)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Austin Gifted, through its independent school, ACE Academy, testing services, teacher training, parent/teacher resources, and research seeks to identify and educate intellectually gifted students serving their specific learning and development styles. Even though a strict “no running” policy in the halls of Austin Gifted, the teachers haven’t yet found a way to keep students from running from their parents’ cars into their classes; the kids are just too excited to learn. The excitement is a dramatic change for the transfer students to ACE; typically, they left their former schools bored, burdened by busy work, or bullied. All of the students at Austin Gifted are intellectually gifted (the top 5% of IQ tests) and every class is tailored to the specific needs of gifted students. The result is a campus of 3-17 year olds engaged in their education process, taught by enthusiastic and expert staff, encouraged by like-leveled peers.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

ACE Academy

ACE Academy addresses the needs of gifted learners, providing a specialized learning environment for this underserved population that will help them achieve their full potential and contribute to the next generation of leaders and innovators in industry, science, literature, the arts, research, theory, and government. As of 2013, it educates upwards of 150 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade while maintaining a teacher to student ratio of 1:12. ACE Academy offers a flexible curriculum in which students are placed in classes by performance and ability rather than grade-level or age. In order to meet the unique emotional and social needs of gifted learners, ACE Academy integrates Emotional Intelligence courses into its core curriculum, encouraging students to participate in self-reflexivity, perspective-taking, and constructive conflict resolution.

Category

Gifted Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

None

Budget

Program 2

Summer Wonders

Summer Wonders is an enrichment program for gifted learners where they feel secure in exploring topics deeply with committed, knowledgeable instructors and like-leveled peers. As of 2013, Summer Wonders hosts nearly 400 students each June and July. Offered as both a full-day and half-day program, students select classes reflecting their interests and engage in hands-on learning under the supervision of passionate expert teachers.

Category

Gifted Education

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

None

None

Budget

Program 3

Saturday Wonders

Saturday Wonders provides programs for underserved, low-SES gifted students in Central Texas. In January 2013, the Saturday Wonders program was launched on the Huston-Tillotson campus. Provided free of charge to students qualifying on the basis of giftedness and financial need, the weekend program brought these students into contact with educators specializing in gifted education in classes similar to those found at Summer Wonders.

Category

Gifted Education

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Budget

Program 4

Assessment Services

Intelligence quotient assessments are performed on-site by a specialist in giftedness.

Category

Educational Testing

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

None

Budget

Program 5

Parent and teacher education

Austin Gifted provides professional development for educators of gifted and talented students as well as seminars and information sessions that are open to the public.

Category

Adult Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Austin Gifted strives to provide gifted students with the academic, social, and emotional resources that they need to become tomorrow's leaders. Currently co-located with Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, TX, the size of the facility prevents us from accommodating all of the students who come to us seeking a quality education specializing in their unique needs. In acquiring a permanent home for Austin Gifted, we will be able to provide access to pre-kindergarten through 12th grade classes for 300% more students, and will be able to offer enrichment programs to thousands of gifted students throughout Central Texas each year. We aim to become a landmark professional development site to cultivate expertise in educating gifted youth nationwide. Engendering a passion for learning in all gifted students, regardless of socio-economic background, drives Austin Gifted to engage in advocacy, research, and outreach that ensures that no gifted child will drop-out of their education mentally or physically. We believe that learning should have no limits, and that, with the right resources, there is no limit to what a student can do.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Our bipartite strategy consists of best practices in gifted pedagogy and our business model. Austin Gifted has created a strong learning environment that focuses heavily on knowledge acquisition, critical thinking development, and application opportunity. We foster this learning environment through a significant, if simple, strategy: we keep our class sizes small at no more that 12 students to 1 teacher. ACE Academy students are assessed through methods that encourage faculty and department heads to continuously improve our curricula. We foster a healthy school climate for self-esteem through our Emotional Intelligence program, by encouraging peer mediation, and by participating in the No Place for Hate program. We recruit excellent educators with distinguished backgrounds, and much of our faculty boasts advanced degrees in their fields.

    Our business strategy involves community outreach and education--both in terms of cultivating corporate partnerships to further the education of our students and educating the community about the needs of gifted youth. Individualized attention to parent and student needs places our stakeholders at the forefront of our actions. Identifying underserved gifted students and offering enrichment programs that meet their needs guides our strategic expansion. Austin Gifted routinely assesses its programs and surveys its stakeholders to ensure the quality of its programs.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Austin Gifted's faculty is of the highest quality in terms of teaching experience and expertise in their respective fields. 38% of our full-time staff possess graduate degrees (28% of primary teachers, 60% of core elementary teachers, 85% of core middle school teachers, and 100% of core high school teachers). Each year Austin Gifted programs see more demand than can be accommodated within its current facility; while this allows us to keep admissions standards high (25% of applicants are declined each year), the number of prospective service users is in no short supply in Austin. Past corporate sponsors of Austin Gifted events include National Instruments, Revolve Solar, Google+, and Target. While Austin Gifted currently rents its facilities, equipment--including furniture, technology, and instructional materials--are owned by the school in excess of what may be held in the building. Austin Gifted possesses a wide variety of contacts, connections, high-profile individuals, and skill-sets among its stakeholders. The organization will launch its first capital campaign, with the hopes of securing a permanent facility, in 2015.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The first indicator of our success if our growth. ACE Academy--Austin Gifted's private school--experienced an average of 30% increase in attendance during each year of its operation. Current goals include expanding our high school program by 200%. This goal is expected to be fulfilled beginning in September 2013. Students are assessed annually through the Education Records Bureau CTP4, an exam that measures student success against private and public schools nationwide. Austin Gifted boasts a 3 percentile boost in performance for each year that a student attends ACE Academy. In coming years, our goal is to increase this number to 5 percentile points per year of attendance. We aim to expand our enrichment activities, namely Summer Wonders and Saturday Wonders, by adding additional sessions to accommodate need; Austin Gifted aims to increase Summer Wonders participation by 50%, and Saturday Wonders participation by 400% by 2014. We will expand our efforts in community education and professional development by creating a lunch lecture series and instructional materials for educators of gifted and talented students; these projects will be launched in 2014. Austin Gifted students are surveyed and tracked to monitor the impact of their educational experience and where their educational and professional pursuits take them after they complete our programs. Stakeholders are routinely surveyed to determine satisfaction and to ascertain how best to meet the needs of the individuals involved with Austin Gifted.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Austin Gifted's long-term goals include establishing a permanent facility designed to meet the needs of its stakeholders. The current level of interest in our programs indicates that as many as 1000 students may seek to be enrolled at ACE Academy each year, and thousands more will participate in enrichment or education programs. While generous in their giving, Austin Gifted's donor community has not yet generated enough surplus funds to finance land for a new facility, let alone the building itself. At present, it is clear that increasing enrollment in Austin Gifted programs by raising the student to teacher ratio would serve only to diminish the quality of the educational experience for all involved. New stakeholders, therefore, are not necessarily those with children currently enrolled in our programs, but those who are passionate about our mission and our successes. Engaging in Austin Gifted's first capital campaign signifies a new direction, and may initially impact donations to the Annual Fund which covers operating costs. New fundraising efforts emphasize building new bridges with members of the Austin community as well as internal efforts comprised of small or passive fundraising efforts to eliminate fundraising fatigue by our existing stakeholders. In forging these connections and spreading the word about our mission and efforts, Austin Gifted will be able to reach thousands of gifted students each year and nurture a love of learning in our city's best and brightest.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Texas

Austin Gifted serves gifted students ages 3 through 19 throughout Austin, TX and its surrounding areas.

Social Media

Accreditations

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

AUSTIN GIFTED INC
Fiscal year: Sep 01-Aug 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Austin Gifted

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Chief Executive Officer, Head of School

Mrs. Donna B. Hulsey

Director of Admissions and Assessment, Director of Saturday/Summer Wonders

Mrs. Karen Sims Langdon

BIO

As an undergraduate at Rhodes College and a graduate student at the College of William and Mary, Mrs. Hulsey pursued a strong foundation in the classical liberal arts, linguistics, literary analysis, rhetoric, and composition. Mrs. Hulsey has worked as a senior technical writer, publication editor, and project manager in business; a freelance writer in banking and healthcare; and an instructor in writing in elementary and college classrooms. Outside academics, she has enjoyed teaching in several realms, but her favorite challenge has been coaching teams in creative problem solving (Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination) since 1990. Led by the needs of her own children into advocacy for gifted children, Mrs. Hulsey has trained in best methods for teaching gifted learners; she regularly authors articles on gifted education and speaks to professional and parent groups. A veteran of several startups, Mrs. Hulsey has been a founding member of several professional organizations and publications.

STATEMENT FROM THE Chief Executive Officer, Head of School

"Austin Gifted offers an environment that nurtures intellectual inquiry and challenges gifted students; an environment that embraces the gifted student holistically. We combine accepted pedagogical principles with research-based knowledge about the characteristics of gifted learners and a dedication to flexibility in curriculum planning and design. The end result is a school that is ultimately responsive to student needs, engaging and rigorous. Our students look forward to learning; for Austin Gifted students, learning is a constantly evolving opportunity to dig deeply, think critically, and apply knowledge. Austin Gifted has grown to encompass five major projects—ACE Academy, Summer Wonders/Saturday Wonders, assessment services, professional development and research, and parent/community education. ACE Academy, our private school, educates children from age 3 through 12th grade with an emphasis on critical and creative thinking, and a hands-on approach to learning. Summer Wonders, our award-winning summer enrichment program for gifted students, and its sister program Saturday Wonders—our outreach program for underserved gifted students from low-SES families—allow us to reach hundreds of students each year. We are committed to advocacy for gifted children, and work to foster understanding and teach best practices in gifted education."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Dr. Peggy A Kruger

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?