ATLAS Academy is a school of choice for middle school gifted and talented students that addresses student interest in the humanities, sciences and technology as the foundation for advanced learning in all content areas. Students who attend ATLAS in grades six to eight work closely with multi-talented, creative teachers who guide students in developing deep understanding of subject matter through direct instruction, problem-based learning, collaborative exploration, and discovery.
Instruction is research-based and interdisciplinary with a strong emphasis on technology across curriculum. Thematic Units focused on 21st century skills integrate with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Emphasis for all students is on applied learning experiences that help them function with increasing competency as researchers, creators, problem solvers, and practitioners. Problem-based study using a combination of group activities and independent work allows students to pursue their individual interests in depth.
It is a goal of ATLAS to instill in young people lifelong intellectual curiosity and commitment to learning based on students’ strengths and interests. With a dual emphasis on rigorous academic standards and creative productivity the ATLAS Academy creates a dynamic learning environment that inspires authentic learning, motivation, and innovation.
Students who are curious and who learn best in a creative educational setting will comprise the student body at ATLAS. Intrinsic motivation, resourcefulness, and a problem-solving disposition are characteristics that ATLAS students must possess. From revision of writing to completion of science experiments and creation of exhibits, students will learn from mistakes and overcome obstacles in order to be successful learners. ATLAS provides an environment conducive to the development of problem-solving skills while nurturing students’ motivation, resourcefulness, teamwork and organization. Daily “hands-on, minds-on” learning allows students to work through the intellectual dissonance they experience when presented with new information and skills. Students ask questions, conduct research, and consult with experts in order to make uncertainties more certain.
Through authentic, intellectual work, students grapple with important concepts that are important to them. They are engaged in sustained inquiry as they work with one another, with teachers and other adults. The Exhibition of Inspired Learning* is the heart of ATLAS because one outcome of integrated curriculum, such as creativity and technology, is spotlighted in their products.
The Exhibition of Inspired Learning offers students opportunities to research and create quality projects in art, science, mathematics, social studies and language arts.
Upon completion of an exhibit, students serve as docents in service to the entire community, sharing their findings with others. In this way, student learning expands beyond the classroom, leading to real-world applications and connections.
*The Exhibition of Inspired Learning will be an annual event in which students present the culmination of their year’s learning through innovative and creative products and/or performances