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Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD

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Advanced Academics

What is Advanced Academics?

The PSJA ISD Advanced Academics Department provides guidance and support to all K-12 campuses in the district.  The Advanced Academics Department serves all advanced learners as well as the gifted and talented identified students.

The main purpose of the Advanced Academics Department and Gifted and Talented program is to provide an enhanced academic environment for students with advanced learning abilities in order to strengthen their knowledge, skills, and experiences. We endeavor to stress the development of independent learners by encouraging and supporting in-depth learning and creative thinking.

The Advanced Academics Department coordinates and oversees a multitude of programs for PSJA ISD.

  • UIL Academics: Elementary, Middle School, and High School
  • Texas High School Mock Trial Competition
  • Capstone – High School
  • Scripps National Spelling Bee
  • MS Robotics - First Robotics
  • Advance Placement Testing
  • Pre-AP


High School Senior Capstone Project

A Capstone Project is a long term, in-depth investigative project about a real-world issue (career focus) culminating with a final Product, Paper, Portfolio and Presentation.


Students develop a question or idea that is significant to the specified field of study for the student.  Grounded in the context of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the project will develop an important content area question or idea in depth and may not necessarily reflect broad contest knowledge of the field.  Additionally, the project will demonstrate the use of sophisticated and advanced research methods and the use of technology appropriate to the field of study.  The project will result in learning that is demonstrated through products or performances appropriate to and comparable in quality to those of a professional who works in the field of study.  A capstone project consists of a project portfolio: proposal, research paper, physical artifact or product, and a presentation with a question-and-answer session.

Texas High School Mock Trial Competition

Thousands of high school students from across the state participate each year in this highly motivating, energetic, and challenging academic competition! The program provides a great way for students to gain an “insider’s view” of our judicial system, plus, they gain confidence speaking in front of others and have a lot of fun at the same time.

The Dallas Bar Association Mock Trial Committee is responsible for the organization and administration of the statewide high school mock trial program, which was established in 1979. Each calendar year, over 160 schools across the state and approximately 2000+ students participate in this exciting advocacy competition. In addition, there are hundreds of attorneys and judges involved in the judging of each trial of the competition. 

PSJA ISD has its five High Schools compete each year.  Our Mock Trial teams participate in Mock Trial classes each Friday on a rotation basis as well as a PSJA ISD Mock Trial Clinic each year.

Scripps Spelling Bee

Every year, students from all walks of life have the opportunity to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. They progress from classroom to cafeteria, from auditorium to civic center, just as millions of other students have done before them.

The National Spelling Bee began in 1925 when nine newspapers joined together to host a spelling bee. Little did they know that 90 years later their literacy effort would reach 11 million students each year.

PSJA ISD currently has studnets in grades 1 - 5 participate in the Scripps Spelling Bee Programs.  Our PSJA ISD District Spelling Bee is tentatively scheduled for February 2022.

Contact us:

Michael Murray, Director

Phone: (956) 354-2012
Fax: (956) 354-3015

Address: 601 E. Kelly Ave. Pharr 78577