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.

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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 Advanced (formerly Pre-AP) classes and Advanced Placement classes.

    Hays CISD G/T Handbook

Department Staff Contacts

  • STEM

    STEM education refers to the integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in real-world, applicable problems and contexts. STEM activities allow students to use multiple problem solving models and display their knowledge in a variety of manners. STEM education incorporates engineering activities along with 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.  STEM initiatives in Hays CISD are a means to encourage, educate and prepare today’s youth to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.

    Hays CISD provides STEM opportunities for students through STEM labs in their specials rotations located at Blanco Vista, Buda, Camino Real, Elm Grove, Hemphill, Negley, and Uhland Elementary Schools.

    Additionally, the district provides STEMscopes from Pre-K to eighth grade, designated STEM courses at all Middle and High School campuses, Makerspaces in the libraries, and Library STEAM kits/Challenge boxes present students with many additional STEM opportunities.

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

    For more information regarding Saturn V, please visit the Saturn V program website, 

    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.  For more information on advanced Math pathways, please see our Advanced Mathmatics Policy Manual.

    Advanced courses (Middle and High Schools)

    Advanced (formerly 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 beginning in 7th grade.  The purpose of these courses is to prepare students to be successful in college-aligned courses—Advanced Placement, Dual Credit through Austin Community College (ACC), and Dual Enrollment OnRamps through the University of Texas.

    College-aligned Coursework

    Hays CISD students have the opportunity to gain college credit while still in high school through Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, and Dual Enrollment Courses.  For a comparison of the programs and courses offered, please see this chart.  For more information, please see the descriptions and explore the links below.

    Advanced Placement (High School)

    College Board’s Advanced Placement program gives students the opportunity to challenge college-level coursework while still in high school. 

    Students entering the AP program should be prepared for the accelerated and rigorous study of college-level content. They should have demonstrated above average skills in the chosen content area as 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 should 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 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.  A tool to explore what scores are accepted for credit by different colleges and universities is available here.  This information is also on the websites of individual colleges and universities.

    Dual Credit

    Through a partnership with Austin Community College (ACC), the Hays CISD Dual Credit program provides opportunities for students to earn college credit prior to High School graduation.  Students may take courses which earn both high school and college credit as well as courses that bear college credit only. Up to 12 Dual Credit courses are free to Hays CISD students providing the student is meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  After 12 classes, students pay tuition.  Students and families are required to cover the cost of course materials, such as textbooks, for Dual Credit Courses.

    In order to enroll in dual credit courses, students must qualify. Scores on the PSAT, ACT, SAT or TSIA(2) 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 classes are a great chance to both get a head start on postsecondary education, and to save money on college tuition. Students have the potential to graduate High School having earned an Associate’s Degree.

    University of Texas OnRamps Program

    An additional route to earning college credit while in High School is the University of Texas OnRamps program. UT OnRamps 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.

    Tuition for OnRamps courses is $149 per course ($99 for students who qualify for the free/reduced meal program).

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