Innovation in Gifted Award

The TAGT Innovation in Gifted Award is given to a school district, campus, class, private group or individual to enhance and/or continue an exemplary project, program, or idea that addresses the unique needs of gifted students in innovative ways. The statewide recognition includes a $5,000 award to support the continued implementation or expansion of the efforts or the development of new innovations. In 2016, two recipients will be honored at the TAGT 2016 Annual Conference in Dallas. One designee from each award-winning entity will be provided with a complimentary two day registration to the conference and a two night hotel stay.

2016 Innovation in Gifted Recipients 

Alpha Digital Learning Commons

McKinney ISD/Alpha - ALPS
The McKinney ISD Alpha Parents Support Group (ALPS) will be launching an ALPHA Digital Learning Commons for McKinney ISD gifted and talented students. This gifted technology center would be the first of its kind, and would be a space where students can converge to deepen their technological skills in more engaging and meaningful ways. Through this center, students will have access to relevant programming, coding, computers, i-pads, and 3-D printers to help them develop their own technological innovations.

Ultimately, ALPHA Digital Learning Commons would provide McKinney ISD gifted students with a unique exposure to technology and allow for true depth and complexity in academic curriculum. The goal is to inspire future innovators to continue their exploration with various levels of technology both at school, and at home. 

“The ALPHA Digital Learning Commons is truly innovative space, as there are not any gifted technology centers like this in the North Texas Area,” said Jessica Fair, President of McKinney ALPS. “This award will allow us to provide 3-D printers, coding, programming, additional LEGO Mind Storm kits and other new technological innovations needed so that our students can pursue their passions.”

The Journey School of Houston
The Journey School of Houston provides inclusive education to meet the needs of the whole child. They provide a personalized curriculum to support individual growth to encourage each child to succeed and live with intention. By offering a therapeutic setting in which students can develop adaptive social practices and unique problem solving approaches, The Journey School is able to serve students academically, emotionally, and socially. 

Lessons are tailored based on the child’s preferred mode of learning and the curriculum is delivered by teachers trained to meet the social and emotion needs of each child. Teachers use journaling, mixed media art, technology and other engaging lessons to support students and help them build their social and emotional skills.

“Creative arts are an integral piece in our curriculum,” said Jeanette Salinas, Director of The Journey School of Houston. “These funds will help us continue to mix technology and art. More specifically, we want to integrate 3D printing and augmented reality into our learning platforms.”

Past Recipients


  • ASPIRE Academy: Grapevine-Colleyville ISD
  • Genius Hour: Ed White E-STEM Elementary, Clear Creek ISD

The TAGT Innovation in Gifted Award Application consists of the following questions/requirements: 
  • Provide a general summary of the project, program or idea.
  • What makes this project, program or idea unique and innovative?
  • Identify your key audience and provide examples of how this audience was or will be affected.
  • Describe the ways you have measured or plan to measure success.
  • Describe the process used to grow or implement this project, program or idea based on research and/or best practices in gifted education.
  • Provide a specific example of a positive outcome of this project or program.  If you are in early stages of implementation of an idea, then describe any noticeable positive changes of any of the involved elements, i.e. students, environment, etc. 
  • Describe a struggle or failure you had in the implementation of this project, program or idea and how you overcame it. 
  • Explain how this project, program or idea meets or will meet the needs of gifted students in both the cognitive and affective domains.
  • How will you use this financial award to enhance and continue the project or program?  If you have an idea, how will this financial award assist in further implementing this new innovation?
  • Provide 2 letters of recommendation describing the impact of this project, program or idea from the perspective of an educator (1) and a student or parent (1).