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ACE Academy launches new gifted program for socio-economically challenged kids

Karen Langdon and Donna Hulsey
Karen Langdon and Donna Hulsey
Callie Richmond

ACE Academy in Austin, Texas announces a new sister program to its award winning summer camp, Summer Wonders. This one, Saturday Wonders, is exclusively designed to reach and inspire socio-economically challenged gifted children ages eight through ten.

The program is scheduled to begin Saturday January 19 and will be held two Saturdays per month during the Spring and Fall. All classes will be held 9 AM through 2:30 PM at Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St., Austin, TX 78702.

There will be an orientation this Saturday, January 12, 2013, 1–2 PM, at Agard-Lovinggood Lecture Hall at Huston-Tillotson University.

There will be a limit of 75 students. The first class is free; however, tuition is $30 per semester, based on need. Lunch is free.

Hands-on, stimulating, innovative classes are unique, multi-disciplinary with creative curriculum by gifted-experienced teachers. Classes are small with individual attention for all students. Student evaluations of impact and learning will be conducted at conclusion of each of the sessions. Classes will be conducted in English. Online or paper registration is available in English or Spanish.

Classes will be held in the Spring (1/19, 2/2, 2/16, 3/2, 3/23, 4/6, 4/27) and in the Fall (9/21, 10/5, 10/19, 11/2,11/16) semesters.

Summer Wonders was founded by Karen Langdon, M.Ed., a trained psychologist, in 1999. Last Summer 450 students from Pre-K through tenth grade absorbed the wonders of Summer World in over 30 courses that were offered. The program has been voted “Best Summer Camp in Austin” by the readers of the Austin Chronicle five times, including each of the last four years.

Every year the feedback from families included comments such as "Why can't school be like Summer Wonders?!" and "Why can't we have fall, winter, and spring wonders?" In 2005, the founders answered those questions by forming ACE Academy.

So it was Summer Wonders that spawned ACE Academy, the fastest growing gifted and talented education school in the country, in 2005. Donna Hulsey, now Head of School and co-founder of ACE Academy, signed on as a teacher in the Summer Wonders program and in time she and Langdon planned and initiated the ACE Academy.

What had they done to achieve this phenomenal growth? Well, pretty much what academicians in gifted education have been saying for years, but generally ignored by public educators, who have the power to implement programs and state politicians, who have the money to do fund them.

So what is Ace Academy doing? “ACE classes are multi-age, interdisciplinary, and hands-on whenever possible. There are no standardized tests. There are few textbooks, but many resources. Incoming students are pre-tested to determine their starting levels in math and language arts, and those groupings may change during the year to match asynchronous “surges” in individual students. Every child has an independent, constantly changing curriculum. “Classes are capped at 10 because we can not have a discussion with more than that“, said Hulsey.

For questions and additional information about Ace Academy, Summer Wonders, or Saturday Wonders please contact Karen Langdon and/or Donna Hulsey at (512) 206-4070 or email

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Dick Kantenberger
Gifted Education Writer
(713) 206-9343


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