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GISD ACE Snags Three State Awards

The Greenville ISD Afterschool Centers ofEducation (ACE) Program won three Golden ACE Awards at a ceremony held inAustin, Texas this month. The group walked away with the “PRIME” Award, “Most InnovativeActivity” award for Academic Assistance and “Most Innovative Activity” awardfor College and Workforce Readiness.

The prestigious PRIME Award is determined by the TexasEducation Agency and outside consultants based upon the program’s execution ofthe ACE initiative and the resulting data reports. In the 2012-2013 schoolyear, 100% of campuses achieved the grant requirement of participating studentsattending 30 or more days. In addition, 100% of Bowie, Lamar, and Travis, 84%of Crockett students, 87% of The Sixth Grade Center, 61% of the Middle Schooland 48% of the High School students attended more than 60 days.

The innovation awards were presented to GISD ACEbased upon pioneering student mentorship and staff training programsimplemented over the past year. One of these programs is VoiceThread, a virtualmentorship program piloted at the Greenville Sixth Grade Center site. Theprogram allows students insight into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathfields by interfacing with individuals working in those fields.

VoiceThread is a cloud application and web-based programwhere users can upload and discuss documents, presentations, images, audiofiles and videos. The pilot program increased overall membership numbers byeleven percent and allowed Greenville ISD students windows into hundreds ofcareer options not readily found in our community.

ACE has even more planned for the future. 2013-2014school year plans include revamping academic assistance time to compliment newlydevised individualized learning plans. In addition, several new ProductOriented Education (POE) activities have been developed by ACE ProjectDirector, Johanna Friedel, and her staff. One of these is labeled geocaching. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoortreasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to aspecific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache hidden atthat location. This will be integrated into Civics and STEM-based activities.

Although theoriginal ACE grant was written for 650 students, over 1,000 students inGreenville ISD participated in ACE last year, with over 768 studentsattending regularly. ACE students, when compared to non-ACE students, hadhigher subject grades, higher attendance rates, lower discipline removals andhigher promotion rates.

Greenville ACE is strengthened through relationships withgenerous community partners. During the 2012-2013 school year, ACE benefitedfrom fourteen partnerships including those with DrugFree Greenville, The MasterGardeners of Hunt County, The Boys & Girls Club, and the YMCA.

For every child registered in ACE, 685 hours are dedicated to work with that individual student. Forthe 650 state required students,there are a total of 445,250hours available for ACE staff, community volunteers and mentors to work withGISD ACE students.