School for the Talented and Gifted at Townview Magnet Center
The School for the Talented and Gifted (TAG) is one of six semi-independent schools within the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center in Dallas. TAG emphasizes its Advanced Placement program. The school’s overall AP pass rate is more than 60 percent. One hundred percent of students graduating in 2009 passed at least one AP exam. That same year, the school’s 49 graduating seniors earned $16.4 million in scholarships. In 2006, 2007 and 2009, Newsweek ranked TAG America’s best high school. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school fifth. In 2008, every TAG student met state standards in mathematics, social studies and science. TAG was named a Blue Ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education in 2003. The Texas Education Excellence Project ranked TAG as the number one high school in the state in 2005, as well as the number one school for Hispanic achievement and the number one school for African-American achievement.
Parents and teachers agree that their school deserves such accolades. More than 99 percent of parents who responded to a survey administered by the district agreed with the statement that they are “satisfied with the quality of education.” The school also boasts a 100 percent teacher retention rate. Still, Principal Michael Satarino believes that TAG can improve. His goal is for 60 percent of students to score at the commended level on every Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. The school graduates nearly 100 percent of its students each year.
Besides TAG’s emphasis on its AP program (it produces many AP Scholars each year), the school’s teachers ensure that students integrate knowledge and skills across disciplines. To that end, each grade level engages in its own interdisciplinary seminar, which helps to connect the different courses students are taking in a given year. Interdisciplinary instruction also is accomplished through the TAG TREK program, a three-day interdisciplinary seminar that is held place off campus. This annual program allows teachers and students to study a topic in depth and also acts as a community-building exercise.
Teachers further enrich learning through the TAG Interim Term (TAG-IT). Like the TAG TREK program, TAG-IT allows students and teachers to focus on a single topic in a concentrated two- or three-day period. For this program, teachers develop a topic based on their own interests so that students can delve into an area they otherwise might not study. Past topics include ballroom dancing, stained glass making, biomechanics of athletes, rock climbing, chemistry and the art of Raku. TAG’s rigorous academic program interspersed with in-depth studies and interdisciplinary seminars allow high-achieving students to thrive at this model school.
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