ACE Program expands school day

The Texas ACE 21st Century Program is expanding an academic day for hundreds of Harlandale ISD students.

Campuses benefitting from the program are Adams Elementary, Carroll Bell, Collier, Columbia Heights, Gillette, Stone Wall Flanders, Terrell Wells Middle School and STEM Early College High School. 

The program operates on four core components: academic assistance, enrichment, family and parental support as well as college and workforce readiness.

The goals are to improve student attendance, support students to be successful at school, decrease behavior issues, provide academic assistance to increase promotion rates and to help students and families access information about college and career readiness.

On any given day, ACE students could be participating in yoga, art, percussion, culinary arts, robotics, coding and a variety of other clubs.  

ACE touches on academics by hiring certified teachers to assist with homework and teach activities. The program clubs are focused on voice and choice, which means that the clubs are catered to students’ interests.

“The students are going to be happier in an area that they want,” ACE Project Director Danielle Grant said. “They feel like they have input on what they want to do.” 

For STEM Early College High School students, the clubs have a special meaning.

“We don’t have sports, art or other extracurricular activities at STEM, so ACE is a good opportunity for students to be involved in other things,” STEM ECHS junior Leticia Delgado said. “We only have robotics here so students get to try other stuff through ACE.”

STEM ECHS students have flag football, basketball, volleyball, intramural sports, Zen and running clubs thanks to the ACE Program.

The program recently offered a Zumba class at the campus that was open to students, their parents and community members. 

That was one of the many ways that ACE Family Engagement Specialist Maria Ayon provides opportunities for parents to engage.  

Since the beginning of the school year, the program has helped close to 500 parents in different capacities, whether it’s guiding them through discipline issues or helping knock down language barriers.

The program has serviced about 1000 students across the district and about 800 students have fulfilled a 45 day commitment. 

“This is year one and if we’ve accomplished so much in year one, wait for us in year five,” Grant said.

The program came to fruition after Harlandale ISD was awarded the Texas 21st Century Community Learning Centers five grant last year.

 ACE Program


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