Advanced Academics

  • children thinking graphic Hays CISD is committed to an educational program that recognizes the special needs and talents of the individual student. Hays CISD provides appropriate educational services for identified gifted and talented students as part of its overall K-12 program.


    click here   Click here to learn more about Gifted & Talented (GT) Services

Key Department Functions

  • The Advanced Academics Department serves to support the following district programs and services:

    Gifted and Talented

    Gifted and talented services at Hays CISD takes a multidisciplinary approach at the elementary level. Students are provided services through differentiation in the cluster classroom.

    Gifted and talented services at the middle and high school levels serves students in core content areas of science, social studies, math, and language arts through differentiation in the classroom including Pre-Advanced Placement classes and Advanced Placement classes.

    Hays CISD G/T Handbook


    STEAM education refers to the integrations of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in real-world, applicable problems and contexts. STEAM activities allow students to use multiple problem solving models and display their knowledge in a variety of manners. STEAM education incorporates the arts and design – recognizing that to be successful in technical fields, individuals must also be creative and use critical thinking skills which are best developed through exposure to the arts.  STEAM initiatives are means to encourage, educate and prepare today’s youth to pursue careers in STEAM-related fields.

    Hays CISD provides STEAM opportunities for students through STEAM labs located at Camino Real Elementary, Blanco Vista Elementary, Hemphill Elementary, Wallace Middle and Dahlstrom Middle Schools.

    Additionally, the district provides STEAM scopes at the Pre-K level, STEAM in the Gym for grades K-5, designated STEAM courses at all Middle and High School campuses, Makerspaces in the libraries, and Library STEAM kits/Challenge boxes.

    The district also offers a STEAM-based magnet program, Saturn V, at the 4th and 5th grade levels at Carpenter Hill Elementary, Pfluger Elementary, Tobias Elementary, and Kyle Elementary Schools.

    For more information, please visit the Saturn V program website, or contact the district’s STEAM Coordinator Katie Campbell at

    Advanced Math

    Students with strength in Math are eligible in Middle School to participate in advanced Math services utilizing a compacted curriculum. Four years of math instruction are compacted into three years with students completing Algebra I in their eighth grade year. Identified students are offered differentiated learning opportunities within the classroom.  Flexible grouping and acceleration opportunities are prescribed by the classroom teacher.

    Pre-Advanced Placement (Middle and High Schools)

    Pre-AP classes are offered in Math, Reading/ Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies by educators who are trained in advanced curriculum and in gifted and talented education for students in 7th & 8th grades.  Identified students are offered differentiated learning opportunities within the classroom.  Flexible grouping and acceleration opportunities are prescribed by the classroom teacher.

    Advanced Placement (High School)

    This program enables colleges and secondary students to work together to provide students with the opportunity to complete college level studies during their high school years.

    Students entering the AP program in Hays CISD must be prepared for the accelerated and rigorous study of college-level content. They must have demonstrated above average skills in the chosen content area because the depth and scope of the material does not allow class time for remediation.

    Each AP class requires a personal commitment of time and effort outside the classroom. AP students must be independent learners, ready to take responsibility for the quantity and frequency of rigorous assignments. A commitment to excellence is essential to a student’s success. The AP program makes examinations for introductory college-level courses available to high school students. The results of these examinations are then sent to colleges and universities of the student’s choice. Participating colleges and universities grant college credit and/or placement in advanced courses to students who perform at a qualifying level on the AP examinations. The emphasis of teaching and learning experiences in AP classes is directed toward the AP test.

    Tests are administered in May and scored by the College Board. Results are returned to the school in late July. A score of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 is possible. Students making a grade of 3, 4, or 5 may meet the qualifying level established by their college or university. However, each individual college or university makes college credit or advanced placement decisions.

    Dual Credit and Dual Credit+

    Through a partnership with Austin Community College (ACC), the Hays CISD Dual Credit and Dual Credit+ programs provide paths by which students may earn college credit prior to High School graduation.  Students may take courses which earn them both high school and college credit, as well as courses for which they receive college credit only. These courses are provided at a reduced cost. Presently, students and families are only required to cover the cost of course materials, such as textbooks.

    In order to enroll in dual credit courses, students must qualify. Scores on the ACT, SAT or TSI exams may be used to qualify for dual credit enrollment. Without qualifying scores, students are not able to enroll in dual credit courses.

    Dual Credit through Hays CISD and ACC is possible through the following structures:

    • 2 year ACC Dual Credit cohort model, which require a 2-year commitment and is for 11th and 12 grade students
    • 1 year ACC Dual Credit cohort model, which is a 1-year commitment and is for seniors
    • AC Dual Credit+; a four year commitment that begins at 9th grade
    • AC courses taken outside of the school day and school year

    The Dual Credit programs are a great chance to both get a head start on postsecondary education, and to save money on college tuition. Students in the Dual Credit+ program have the potential to graduate High School having earned an Associates degree.

    University of Texas OnRamps Program

    An additional route to earning college credit while in High School is the University of Texas OnRamps program. Offered at both Hays and Lehman High Schools, the UT OnRamps program is an innovative dual-enrollment program that combines rigorous, college-level course work and assessments, graded by University of Texas faculty, with face to face instruction by a highly trained Hays CISD teacher.

    Presently, there is no tuition cost to Hays CISD students or families for the University of Texas OnRamps program.

    For more information, please visit the University of Texas OnRamps webpage at

    Additionally, Advanced Academics services, in collaboration with campuses and the Director of College and Career Readiness, offers several opportunities for students to measure their college readiness through College Board exams.

    On January 9, 2018, at the district’s Navigate Your Future Night, Dr. Odum presented on “Using the PSAT 8”.

    A copy of this presentation is provided here.

Department Staff