Academic Enrichment


Academic Enrichment
Additional Science and Engineering Academy Requirements

The curriculum of the Science & Engineering Academy is designed for students interested in pursuing a career in science, math, technology or engineering. Students must meet a number of specific qualifications in order to attend the Science & Engineering Academy, and satisfactory behavior, conduct, attendance and academic progress is mandatory for continued enrollment. Due to outside contact with engineering and scientific professionals, future employers, and the general public, a higher standard of appearance is expected for all Science & Engineering Academy students than what may be expected at a traditional high school. The Science & Engineering Academy has additional academic requirements including earning three credits of the same international language, taking additional academic electives and completing a qualified academic research project every school year.

Academic Research Requirement

All SEA students complete at least one academic research project each year. Freshmen and sophomores are required to do a science or engineering project for competition at the annual school-wide fair. Students have additional choices as juniors and seniors. Rather than a science or engineering project, students may elect to submit a history fair project for competition, complete the ACE Mentor program, or successfully complete an Independent Study Mentorship (ISM) class. In all cases the work of the students is evaluated by a panel of experts in the field of study.

Developing, implementing, and presenting original research is a demanding task. SEA teachers support students in producing an excellent project and give feedback. Although academic research can be challenging, it provides students with tremendous benefits.

ACE Mentor Program

Will there be enough architects, construction managers and engineers to fill the industry's needs ten years from now? The ACE Mentor Program of America, Inc. is working hard to make sure there are. ACE is an acronym for architecture, construction, and engineering.


The program's mission is to enlighten and increase the awareness of high school students to career opportunities in architecture, construction and engineering and related areas of the design and construction industry through mentoring; and to provide scholarship opportunities for students in an inclusive manner reflective of the diverse school population.

ACE is a unique partnership among industry professionals — architects, interior designers, engineers, construction managers, college and university representatives, and other professionals from related corporations and professional organizations — who work together to attract young people to their professions. Industry professionals volunteer to become mentors to high school students in order to introduce them to the professions and encourage them to pursue studies and careers in these fields. In return, the industry get a much-needed boost of new talent.

- ACE Mentor Program Website, January 12, 2009

The Science and Engineering Academy was one of the founding schools for the ACE Mentor Program in San Antonio and has been involved in the program since 2006.

Gifted and Talented Program

Approximately 500 students on the Jay / SEA campus have been identified as Gifted and talented. This accounts for over 17% of the total population. This is the largest population of gifted and talented students in Northside. Several components of the Gifted and Talented program are described below. Click here to access the district web page dedicated to the Gifted/Talented and Enrichment programs.

Advanced Learning Programs for High Achievers (ALPHA)

The High School GT program is one part of Northside ISD's ALPHA program. ALPHA, Advanced Learning Programs for High Achievers, is an acronym that labels the NISD program across all grade levels. The program to service gifted students aims to provide enrichment that stimulates talents and to provide an atmosphere where students interact with their intellectual peers. The Enrichment Center is one location on campus to give GT students a sense of community. At the Science and Engineering Academy, we service GT students by providing a transition program from middle school to high school, an optional class called Independent Study Mentorship, and Gifted and Talented seminars.


Middle School to High School Transition

Unlike the TIPS program in middle school, students are not placed in gifted classes. There are no GT pull-out classes at the high school level. Instead, GT students take pre-AP classes during their 9th and 10th grade years and Advanced Placement and/or Dual Credit classes during their 10th, 11th, and 12th grade years. These rigorous classes stimulate higher level thinking skills and provide gifted students opportunities for academic advancement. These rigorous courses are also favored by college admissions committees.


ISM: Independent Study Mentorship

The gifted program offers Independent Study Mentorship Honors for Juniors & Seniors. This class counts as an advanced measure for the advanced diploma, and it can count for the required speech credit if the student opts for this choice. Applications for ISM are accepted every January for the following school year.

Through this unique course, ISM students conduct a year-long, in-depth study of an area of special interest under the guidance of an expert in that field. The expert is usually a community professional who not only guides the ISM student with content information but is also willing to advise the student on college and career goals. The student narrows his or her focus to an appropriate area of study, does in depth research, and produces a real-world product, and presents the product and his or her ISM learning process to an audience at the end of the year. The student can receive a speech credit for the second semester of this course. 


GT Seminars

Each GT student is encouraged to attend at least one or two seminars during his or her high school career. Seminars are located off-campus and are held about four times a year, usually every nine weeks. These seminars cover a myriad of topics such as leadership, the arts, law, medicine, environmental issues, and cultural / diversity issues. Attending students get involved in hands-on, experiential learning and listen to presenters who deal with contemporary issues provoking a student's curiosity and inquiry. Students may see Ms. Asbell in A208 to sign-up to attend one or more of the seminars offered during the year. Attendance is voluntary and the number of students who can attend each seminar is restricted. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Information about upcoming seminars is listed in the fall and spring newsletters. Reminder post-cards are also distributed prior to registration dates.


GT Screening Information

Nominations and testing for entrance into the GT program are accepted every fall and spring. Any parent, teacher, friend or student may nominate other students for screening. Students may also nominate themselves. Parents or guardians must sign giving permission to test, and if qualified, parent permission for admission into the GT program is required.

National Honor Society
The National Honor Society (NHS) and National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) are the nation's premier organizations established to recognize outstanding high school and middle level students. More than just an honor roll, NHS and NJHS serve to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since their beginnings in 1921 and 1929.

- The National Honor Society and The National Junior Honor Society Website, January 19, 2009

Click here for more details about the John Jay National Honor Society

SA Best
The SA BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) competition is a contest held annually to inspire and interest students in the fields of science and engineering. With guidance from adult mentors, local teams of students design and build a remote controlled machine to accomplish a specific task. The students are given a box of raw materials from which to build the machine and 6 weeks to design and construct it. The task of the robot is kept secret until Kick-off Day, when all the teams are told what the robot is required to do. On Competition Day, all schools will compete head-on with each other in a thrilling science-fair-turned-sports-event.

- The SA Best Website, January 19, 2009
US First Robotics

The FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) stages short games played by robots. The robots are designed and built in six weeks (from a common set of parts) by a team of high-school-aged young people and a handful of engineers-Mentors. The students program and remotely control the robots in competition rounds on the field.

- The US First Website, April 18, 2011
Science Bowl
The National Science Bowl® is a highly visible educational event and academic competition among teams of high school students who attend science seminars and compete in a verbal forum to solve technical problems and answer questions in all branches of science and math. The regional and national events encourage student involvement in math and science activities, improve awareness of career options in science and technology, and provide an avenue of enrichment and reward for academic science achievement.

- The National Science Bowl Website, September 8, 2012