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Together we can make a difference!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Meade

We are looking for parents, teachers, and students who support advanced and gifted education for Rochester Community Schools in Michigan. Please subscribe to Rochester SAGE to receive updates.

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Guest Post: Snappy Answers to Stupid Excuses (for Parents of Gifted Kids)

July 18, 2014

Joshua Raymond:

You won’t hear any of these excuses at the future Rochester-area charter school for gifted learners – – but until then, here are some great answers for when you don’t have Jim Delisle on speed dial!

Originally posted on Free Spirit Publishing Blog:

By Jim Delisle, coauthor ofThe Gifted Teen Survival Guide

Delisle_Jim_FSP AuthorWhen it comes to understanding and serving gifted kids, school administrators run the gamut from awful to awesome—and I’ve worked with both types. The awful ones may talk a good game about how every child’s needs are met through individualized instruction, but the follow-through is lacking (or nonexistent), and the commitment to gifted kids as an important subset of learners is given little more than lip service. The awesome school administrators can actually point to specific programs and classes where gifted kids are grouped with each other regularly and tout the fact that only teachers who have professional knowledge of and experience with gifted kids instruct these intellectually able learners.

When you find that your gifted child’s school is being led by an awesome school administrator, your job as a parent is easy: Mention how particular programs or projects benefit…

View original 1,042 more words

Northeast Oakland Gifted Academy Interest Meeting

July 17, 2014

New School Clip art_full

Are you a parent concerned that your gifted child is not having his or her needs met in the schools?

Are you an educator interested creating a classroom where high ability students learn at their own pace and level?

Come join other parents and educators as we explore interest in creating a K-8 gifted academy in the Rochester area!  This school will use proven methods to educate gifted learners and help them achieve their potential.  Through collaboration of educators, parents, and students, we will design a school built to serve the gifted population often overlooked in traditional schools.

This K-8 charter school will provide a free public education with a focus on gifted and twice exceptional students!

Your voice is vital to the creation and development of this school.  This is a school for you, by you, involving you!

When: July 31, 2014, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Where: Rochester Hills Public Library, Multi-purpose Room, First Floor
Who: Interested parents and educators
Questions: Email

Join our Facebook group at

Please pass this along to anyone you think would be interested!

This program is neither sponsored nor endorsed by the Rochester Hills Public Library.

The need for ability will be kept to a minimum.

May 27, 2014

You don’t have the moral right to hold one child back to make another child feel better. – Stephanie Tolan
Since we believe that all of our children are winners, the need for athletic ability and the competitive “urge to win” will be kept to a minimum.


Is this sentence, found in a flyer regarding Field Day at North Hill Elementary in Rochester Hills, MI, indicative of the reasoning that keeps gifted programs out of most public schools?  Have our schools adopted the mantra of “Since we believe that all of our children are gifted, the need for academic ability and the competitive ‘urge to excel’ will be kept to a minimum’?  Sadly, this appears to be the case and it is harming all children.

It is understandable how this attitude harms the child who is strong in an area.  We remove her chance to shine, explore her strengths, and understand her unique abilities.  We teach him that his natural ability doesn’t need to be accompanied by hard work and that succeeding beyond artificial standards is neither expected nor rewarded.  We actually rob her of one of the best chances to build self-esteem, because self-esteem is not built from easily succeeding where others struggle, but knowing that with struggle, you are able to overcome difficulty and succeed.

What is more insidious is the harm this attitude causes to all children.

Read more…

One Simple Reason YOU Should Care About Smarter Balanced Assessments

May 14, 2014

Measurement of Student Proficiency


You may be thrilled your state is moving to Common Core.  Or you might detest the Common Core State Standards.  Either way, if you are a parent of a gifted student or a struggling learner, you have an important reason to want the Smarter Balanced assessment implemented.

The Smarter Balanced assessment can help measure growth.

The Smarter Balanced test will adapt to your child’s academic level as she takes the test.  If she is answering correctly, the questions become tougher and rise in grade level.  If she is answering incorrectly, the test will pose questions from a lower grade level.  At the end, the student is provided two scores.  One measures proficiency in that subject.  One is the equivalent grade level in that subject.  Subtract last year’s equivalent grade level from this year’s and determine how much growth was made.

Your current assessment only provides proficiency and only in a narrow band.  A student who far exceeds expectations for that grade cannot be accurately measured as they are above the ceiling for standardized proficiency exams.  A student who is far below grade level also cannot be accurately measured as the test isn’t designed for him either.  A written standardized test by necessity cannot test outside a narrow band.  It is not adaptive. Read more…

Student Placement and Cluster Grouping

April 25, 2014


As principals begin preparing for next year, most meet with their teachers to determine student classroom placement for next year.  They begin selecting students for each classroom and figuring out the best way to allocate the students.  Many try to make sure each classroom has a variety of academic ability levels represented.  If this means that gifted students are spread equally among the classrooms, this usually creates difficulties for both the gifted students and the teachers.  Thankfully, there is a better way!

The Problems

Only one or two gifted students in each classroom can create numerous problems for the students and the teacher.

  • The gifted child does not have intellectual peers in the classroom.  This can cause social and emotional issues.  She may feel very isolated and lonely.  He may withdraw without friends who share common interests.  She may pretend to not be smart to find a group that accepts her.  He may act out or be disruptive.

Read more…

What Parents Need to Know about Early Entrance to Rochester Community Schools

March 27, 2014


Is your child ready for school but too young?  You need to know what Rochester Community Schools policy is on early admission to kindergarten and first grade.

Policy 5112 – Entrance Age is a gifted-friendly policy in Rochester Community Schools for both kindergarten and first grade and provides a structure regarding early entrance to these grades.

Policy regarding kindergarten admission allows for children who turn five on or before December 1 of the year they are beginning kindergarten to enroll at the discretion of the parent.  Recent changes to state law are pushing the birthday cut off date to September 1, so this allows an extra three months.  While even earlier admission for four-year-olds who are ready would be ideal, my understanding is that the state would not provide funding for these students.

Read more…

Opportunity: Online Classes for Gifted Students?

January 4, 2014

Online LearningMichigan has a new opportunity for gifted learners!  Students 5th grade and up can take up to two online classes in place of their standard classes.  While available to all students 5th grade and up, this opens the door for gifted students to take advanced classes through other districts or Michigan Virtual University that their district does not offer.  This new opportunity has been created through Section 21f of the Michigan State School Aid Act.

Students can find classes to enroll in via Michigan’s Online Course Catalog at, but need to enroll through their home district.  A very helpful F.A.Q. is available at

A student taking an online class may make some parents nervous.  However, all classes will be taught by certified teachers and the student’s home district is required to supply a teacher as a mentor for the class.

Gifted students in Michigan need your help!  As this opportunity is new, the courses listed thus far are limited.  It is expected that many districts will be adding courses in the next few months.  Please contact your district and districts near you to ask if they will be offering online classes for gifted learners under Section 21f and which courses they plan to offer.  By being out front in this, we have a chance to increase options for gifted learners.

When you hear back from other districts about their course offerings, please post a comment with their response.  Do not worry about overlapping.  The more parents that contact a district, the more likely they will be to offer these classes.

Thank you for reading Rochester SAGE.  Together we can make a difference for gifted children!


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