• What is ACE?

    The Academy of Creative Education (ACE) provides an innovative learning environment for at-risk high school students seeking to earn their diploma. By offering an academic model for students aged 16-21 in danger of dropping out, our dedicated staff utilizes creative teaching strategies to engage challenged learners. Our non-traditional educational model allows students to strive as thinkers and problem solvers because we invest in each student, providing the tools to become lifelong leaders and learners.

    Established in 1991 with a grant from the Texas Education Agency and the Education Economic Policy Center, our nationally recognized academy has since empowered over 5,280 students to graduate and succeed. Join us as we equip the next generation with the opportunity and skills they need to thrive.

  • Mission Statement

    The Academy of Creative Education is an innovative high school in North East Independent School District that provides non-traditional educational opportunities to students who are at-risk, empowering them to become thinkers, problem solvers, and leaders.

    Highlighted History 

    ACE first opened our doors over 30 years ago on September 16, 1991 as a product of creative collaboration between NEISD and a Texas Education Agency grant. Between this partnership, ACE was designed as a robust learning environment that gives students multiple pathways to gain and demonstrate knowledge. With a flexible approach, it allows our school to have the freedom to evolve as we consistently develop new instructional methods for our students.

    Alongside our modern academics, ACE has accumulated multiple state, national, and international recognitions, including the 2003 Crystal Star Award from the National Dropout Prevention Network and the Reaching At-Promise Students Association’s Best Practice Award. Our former principal, Dr. Mary Jo McLaufhlin, was honored as a Top Finalist for Time Warner Cable’s National Champion Principal Award. Today, ACE is led by Principal Dr. Patrick J. Valdez, who is building on our proud accoladed past to ensure we remain as an icon of hope and promise for our students and their futures.

  • What Makes Us Special

    ACE takes immense pride in creating an inspiring learning environment that caters to the unique needs of students. Our non-traditional high school goes beyond academics; it's a place where passion, curiosity, and creativity converge to provide a second chance at success. 

  • Logical Learning

    Student-centered learning is at the core of ACE. Our teachers create personalized learning pathways using Project Based Learning (PBL) experiences to allow for increased student engagement. Our PBLs allow students to solve real world problems while making course connections among varied content areas. ACE students are given a voice and choice in their PBL focus, allowing them to tailor their projects to resonate with their chosen audience. This authentic approach fosters genuine engagement and skill development in our students.

    Additionally, ACE students are exposed to a minimum of six volunteer hours, gaining a direct, prideful experience addressing the local needs of our community. By reflecting on their impact, students can see first-hand the impact of the work they conduct and the change they bring. Through compassionate and creative activities, ACE prepares students to thrive beyond graduation, nurturing the next generation to follow their dreams.

  • Advanced ACE Goals

    Our core goals are to:

    • Graduate at-risk youth by equipping them with the tools to become thoughtful leaders and problem solvers.
    • Offer an encouraging environment that develops personal growth and academic success through individualized instruction.
    • Encourage and support enrollment by providing an alternative path to graduation.
    • Prepare students for post-secondary pathways through college and career planning.
    • Collaborate with our Academy Advisory Corporate Council, families, and community partners to evolve to continue to advance our student experience.
  • Community Connections

    To benefit our students, we maintain community connections such as our board of community stakeholders. The Academy Advisory Corporate Council (AACC) meets with ACE monthly to discuss any potential issues and innovations to our students, while also offering college scholarships twice a year and providing various community leaders at monthly student-led assemblies.

    In addition to the support by AACC, Alamo Colleges frequently has representatives available on campus at ACE, assisting with college applications, scholarship opportunities, and FAFSA. Military recruiters also visit to administer the ASVAB for career exploration and the NEISD CTEC building is a short walk for students to attend classes to earn industry certifications.