Model Program

Academy of Creative Education

3736 Perrin Central, Building 2
San Antonio, TX 78217

Is this your program? Update your listing here.

Contact Information:
Dr. Mary Jo McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Principal, Academy of Creative Education

Program Specification:






Strong Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

High School




Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities

Completer Program, 16 credits


The Academy of Creative Education (ACE) is a nationally recognized non-traditional non-punitive model high school that provides at-risk youth with varied options and opportunities to successfully graduate. Since 1991 (ACE) has assisted over 4,000 high school students in graduating. Educators use innovative teaching models and strategies and place each student on an academic plan designed to meet his/her individual learning style, with flexible hours allowing students to meet the demands of their employment, teen-parenting, etc. Unique graduation requirements include: taking a cap and gown photo on the first day enrolled, completing community service hours, writing a personal mission statement and student testimonial, completing a student exit survey, writing a resume, completing scholarship applications, and participating in a student-led conference with two faculty members of their choice. The Academy Advisory Corporate Council (AACC) is a non-profit community supported organization that assists ACE with students, staff and program needs. Through mentoring and sponsorships, AACC members teach ACE students character development, civic responsibility and community involvement. ACE students graduate, continue their education and become productive citizens - they are empowered to become tomorrow's thinkers, problem-solvers and leaders.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Alternative Education, Community Collaboration, Counseling/Advisories/Coaches, Credit Recovery, Extended-School/Summer Program, Family/Parental Involvement, Mentoring/Tutoring, Professional Development, Study Skills, Teen Pregnancy, Life Skills Training

Strategies for Locating Students:

Starting Date: 1991
Students Served Per Year: 250-500
Reenrolled Students with Disabilities: N/A
Last Verified: 2010

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • High number of work hours
  • Parenthood
  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Highly socially active outside of school
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • High family mobility
  • Low education level of parents
  • Large number of siblings
  • Not living with both natural parents
  • Family disruption
  • Sibling(s) has dropped out
  • Low contact with school

School factors

  • School size: too small/too large
  • School math achievement
  • School policies and practices
  • Student engagement

Community factors

  • Family composition/socioeconomic status
  • Local labor market/neighborhood stability
  • Youth social attitudes

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Clear social norms
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards
  • Positive/resilient temperament


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility


  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self
  • Optimistic

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is over $500,000 or over $2000 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

Federal Agencies
State Agencies
Local/City/County Agencies
School Districts

Graduation Coaches
School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals
Computer/Internet Based

Academy Advisory Corporate Council, Valero Energy Foundation, Tesoro Energy Foundation, Alamo Heights Rotary Club, Stone Oak Rotary Club, Brackenridge Foundation, Time Warner Cable

Evaluation Information:

Since its doors opened in 1991 the Academy of Creative Education has assisted over 4,000 high school students formerly at risk of dropping out in successfully graduating from high school. Base indicators used for alternative accountability ratings include the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills passing rate, dropout rate and student attendance. Performance objectives aligned with the special circumstances and population of the non-traditional campus are submitted for review. During 2008 the dropout rate was 0.3% and daily attendance was 92.5%. This exceptional data was obtained by offering an individualized, self-paced curriculum and one-on-one teacher driven assessments. Flexible hours, an extended year academic calendar, and two annual graduations allow students to meet their academic requirements while providing the necessary time for employment and/or personal family needs. As part of their graduation requirements students prepare a personal testimonial describing the impact the program had on them, and must also complete a student exit survey. The testimonials are presented at respective graduations and results of the student exit surveys are printed in the annual year end report.

How evaluation data was collected:
Data collected and analyzed at school/district level
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level