The Tucson Country Day School ACE program (Academic Champion Excellence) got a major face lift, literally!
ACE is TCDS’s version of a gifted program. Students take an assessment to qualify. Once they are in, they stay until they leave TCDS. ACE students love the program so much they NEVER want to leave!
The ACE program is taught by the amazing, inspiring and brilliant Brian Kievit. This year, the TCDS ACE students came back to a big surprise—their classroom had tripled in size! The year before, students met in a room about the size of a large school bus. Kievit and his students asked for more space and they got it. ACE now has one of the largest classrooms on the TCDS campus and they love it! While they love their new classroom, ACE students will tell you that learning isn’t about the room, it’s all about the teacher.
Kievet brought the idea of starting a gifted program to the school’s administration five years ago and since then, the program has grown to 81 students in 1st through 8th grade. When asked why he wanted to be the ACE teacher, Kievit said he tested into the gifted program when he was in fifth grade. He knew first hand the challenges that come with being gifted – and bored – in class. When asked what his favorite thing about being the ACE teacher is, Mr. Kievit said since gifted kids have some of the highest drop out rates in the nation, getting them to see that school can be fun and that it’s okay not to know everything is super rewarding.
For middle school students, the ACE class takes the place of their regular social studies class. Jyotie and Anthony, both 8th grade ACE students, have only good things to say about the program. According to Anthony, the ACE program is “more suited” to him and his needs than his regular classes.
Jyotie said she prefers her ACE class because “It’s a smaller class and we don’t stick strictly to social studies all the time. It definitely helps accommodate our differences.”
Thank you, Mr. Kievit, for recognizing the needs of your students and bringing ACE to TCDS.