• Pre-AP, GT & Advanced Academics
    • Recognition & Honors -
    Awards Assemblies: All students who have earned all A's (in all classes) or an overall A-average each 9 weeks are recognized for their achievement at a quarterly awards ceremony.  At the same ceremony, all students with perfect attendance in all classes are also recognized.
    Academic Top 12 Banquet: Students in each grade level whose cumulative academic course average places them in the top 12 of their grade are recognized at the spring Top 12 Academic Honors Banquet.  Cumulative averages are calculated as follows using only their grades earned at Vela MS: 6th grade - 1st & 2nd Quarter grades; 7th grade - 6th grade and 1st & 2nd Quarter of 7th grade; 8th Grade - 6th & 7th Grade and 1st & 2nd Quarter of 8th Grade. Students are notified two to three weeks before the banquet.
    8th Grade Promotion Ceremony Awards: At the 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony each May, the Academic Top 10 students (based on their cumulative academic course grades earned at Vela MS from 6th grade through 3rd quarter of 8th grade) are recognized, as well as the class salutatorian and valedictorian. (Students are not notified beforehand.)  In the same ceremony, all 8th graders that are members of National Junior Honor Society and have completed their hours of service are acknowledged with certificates of completion. 
    Additional information regarding honors and recognitions is available in the Vela MS Student Handbook. 
     
    • Academic Competition - There are a variety of venues for students to broaden and practice their academic and critical thinking skills in a competitive environment. They may choose from Academic U.I.L., One Act Play, Pentathlon, Scripps Spelling Bee, and Chess.
     
    • Duke TIP Program - At Vela, 7th graders are invited to participate in Duke University's Talent Identification Program (TIP) based on the criteria established by Duke (TAKS/STAAR scores and/or GT status). This provides students (1) the opportunity to take the SAT or ACT exam and (2) the potential for participation in Duke-sponsored camps. This is not a free program.
     
    • Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test (IAAT) - At Vela, all 7th graders take the IAAT (also known as "the IOWA" or "ITBS") assessment to help determine their preparedness for 8th grade Algebra I the following year.  This short, 4-part timed assessment is administered in late Spring through their Math class.  Results are later shared with the students and their parents, along with their academic performace in mathematics, to assist with planning for future mathematics courses.
     
    • PSAT Information - At Vela, the PSAT is administered to all 8th Graders enrolled in Pre-AP classes or Algebra I as well as 8th Graders previously identified as GT. The test is administered according to the College Board's timeline (during October) and is free of charge.  Numerous PSAT preparation materials are available online from College Board as well as iOS and Android apps.  Preparation is strongly encouraged. 
    • Post-PSAT Resources: My College Quick Start
     

    Helpful Links 
    • Middle School Pre-AP & High School Course FAQs - Though all courses are rigorous and designed to prepare students for college and/or a career path after high school, Pre-AP courses and high school courses offered in middle school carry additional expectations. Visit this link to find out more.
    • Pre-AP Math P-S-T Compact
    • Hoagies' "All Things Gifted"
    • Khan Academy Online Lessons
    • SAT Question of the Day
    • Summer Reading Program
    • HCISD Advanced Academics Department
     
     Planning for the Future 
    • Achieve Texas
    • Advanced Academics Office
    • Career Choices
    • College Board's Middle School Parent Action Plan
    • Connecting Education to Careers
    • Kuder Assessment
    • Reality Check
    • Technology Academy
    • High School Counseling Departments:
      - Ninth Grade Academy
      - Early College High School
      - Harlingen High School
      - Harlingen High School South
      - Keys Academy