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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.

Also, please visit the "How to Help" link in the upper right.

Help Needed: 2014 MAGC Conference Fliers

September 18, 2014

MAGCConference

  • Do you want the teachers at your school to understand the needs of your gifted children better? 
  • Are you concerned about how the Common Core State Standards will affect differentiated instruction for gifted learners?
  • Would some great, proven techniques for teaching gifted students be helpful to the educators at your school?
  • Do you want to help people see through the eyes of a gifted child, twice-exceptional learner, or gifted adult?

If these are important to you and your children, please help get the word to parents and educators about the MAGC Fall Conference 2014: Excelling with the Common Core!

The full-size flier at 2014 FallConferenceFlier is perfect for hanging in the Teachers’ Lounge.  Great principals and learning consultants are always willing to help with that!  Hang it up at the library or bookstore.  Stick a Post-it on it and put it in your child’s take-home folder for his teacher to read.  They can use the SCECHs from the conference towards their required continuing education hours.

The quarter page leaflet at quarter pg Fall 2014 flier is great for having in your purse or pocket for when you run into other parents of gifted children.  Chances are they are dealing with the same issues you are!  Carpool to Lansing with a few of them and your favorite teachers for great discussions on partnering in your child’s education and to save gas money.

Advocacy for gifted learners begins with the parents!  If you won’t speak up for your children, who will?

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

Excelling with the Common Core – MAGC Conference

September 16, 2014

MAGCConferenceRochester SAGE would like to invite educators and parents in the Rochester Community Schools to the Michigan Association for Gifted Children’s Annual Conference.

The conference is on October 11 at MSU’s Eli Broad School of Business.

This year’s theme is Excelling with the Common Core.  Participants will take away strategies for identifying, raising, and educating gifted kids, as well as tips and techniques that ensure the Common Core State Standards are presented at the high levels of thinking and deep, rigorous levels of content required for ALL students, including the gifted.

Some great speakers are scheduled, including Dr. Art Costa, founder of the Art Costa Centre for Thinking and author of Habits of Mind, and gifted education expert Dr. Ellen Fiedler.  Come enjoy helpful talks on Differentiation in the Classroom, Parenting Gifted Children, and Challenges of Teaching Gifted Children!

SCECHs are available!

I was delighted to see several educators and parents from the RCS community there last year and hope to see even more this year!

More information is available at http://m90212.wix.com/magc or http://migiftedchild.org/

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

One of the Best Educators I Ever Knew

September 15, 2014

 

DavidMoutrie

A personal remembrance from September 2012.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life” – Henry David Thoreau

There are people that you meet that change your lives.  They may not be trying to, but the wisdom they impart transforms you little by little and you become a better person.   Many of these are educators.  They may or may not be teachers in the traditional sense, but that is the life they live.

One of these was David Moutrie.  I never had him for a class.  He taught at Frasier High School and I was already well past college years when I met him.  I knew him as a friend and neighbor.  We moved into our house about 10 years ago and God blessed us with great neighbors in David and Kristina Moutrie.  They were very welcoming and David and I began to have long talks, usually when one or both of us was supposed to be working.  I would go to take out the trash or be mowing the lawn and half an hour later my wife or his would poke a head out and tell us to get back to work.  But I think he was working.  To him, being a friend and talking about life was more important than household chores.  Helping others was his life’s work.
Read more…

Questionnaire: MI State Senate District 13 – Ethan Baker (R)

August 1, 2014

Rochester SAGE sent a questionnaire to each candidate for State Senate District #13. Here are Ethan Baker’s responses.
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1)      Currently most gifted students in Michigan’s public schools are not being taught at their academic level. As a legislator, what bills would you draft or support to increase gifted education?

 

It is a shame that gifted students often cannot get the academic support and challenging curriculum they need. I would be supportive of legislation that works to find solutions to this problem. Our public schools are faced with so many different types of students, but we must make sure all students are getting the tools and resources they need.  Gifted students should be no exception.

 

2)      Gifted students make up about 5-7% of the population. Should taking a class in teaching gifted students be part of becoming a Highly Qualified Teacher? Why or why not?

 

I think there should be a mandatory class, as it is important to have teachers that can recognize and understand the needs of gifted students.

 

3)      Schools often claim lack of funding is the primary reason they can’t provide gifted education. Should the state allocate funds for gifted education? Why or why not?

 

I believe funds could be allocated.  There is a lot of waste and bureaucracy that can and should be streamlined. Doing this will provide more money to the schools and children and I’d like to see some of that used specifically for gifted education.

 

4)      Should the state mandate identification or services for gifted and talented education in public schools? Why or why not?

 

No, I think this should be done at the local level only. Local school districts and administrators know the needs of their students better than the state does.

 

5)      Many parents of gifted children believe gifted charter schools are the best option for properly educating gifted learners. Would you support gifted charter schools? Why or why not?

 

I would support gifted charter schools if there is proper and adequate oversight and transparency.

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Publication of this questionnaire and responses does not imply an endorsement of a candidate.

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

 

Questionnaire: MI State Senate District 13 – AL Gui (R)

August 1, 2014

Rochester SAGE sent a questionnaire to each candidate for State Senate District #13. Here are AL Gui’s responses.
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1)      Currently most gifted students in Michigan’s public schools are not being taught at their academic level.  As a legislator, what bills would you draft or support to increase gifted education?

Yes absolutely !  I’m a mathematics instructor who taught AP Calculus and college physics in a High school in Bloomfield Hills before teaching college. Of all  the candidates in the state senate race in district 13, I’m the only one who spent 16 years in the classroom.  So I clearly understand what you mean. I  had a female student who took AP calculus with when she was in 11th grade, she did great . Then I recommended at Oakland university  where she top Calculus II and calculus III.

 

2)      Gifted students make up about 5-7% of the population.  Should taking a class in teaching gifted students be part of becoming a Highly Qualified Teacher?  Why or why not?

I really do not mind that at least in mathematics, but I don’t  know what other teachers would think. I would need to hear forom them to have a more objective approach.
I taught in some high schools in Wayne county and have always encouraged principals to have at least  a calculus I  class or  an AP calculus class because Algebra II is kind of boring for some gifted students. Did they do it ?  the answer is NO. The sad part of all this  is in many schools (where students are failing, some principals would keep their buddy teachers on the school improvement team for years, when nothing is improving. This is a matter of concern. (and I’m not talking about our school  districts).

 

It even looks like the situation we are now facing in this election.

Our roads are bad, retirees pensions are being  taxed, college tuition is increasing at an increasing rate, and nobody did nothing in Lansing about it.  So why would someone send back to Lansing the very same people who created this failing status quo ?  That is why I say, it is time we send new people with new ideas to Lansing to make a real positive change. Let’s forget about those establishment politicians and elected someone new.

I ,  AL Gui     am the new guy.

 

3)      Schools often claim lack of funding is the primary reason they can’t provide gifted education.  Should the state allocate funds for gifted education?  Why or why not?

I’m for allocating funds and there must be a permanent oversight and accountability. We do not want  to see this money being diverted to some shadowy canals ( even if this does not happen in our schools in this senate district  13 it does not mean It can’t happen elsewhere in this state).

Also the lack of funding can  be related to the fact that  many students are  leaving a district due to an environment that is not conducive to learning.  Funding is not a panacea, and  school  administrators  need to support teachers instead  of threatening to get rid of a teacher when students with discipline issues are preventing other from learning.Let’s keep in mind  students should also be taught they are responsible for their own success and failure. I know it for having spent more than 16 years teaching mathematics , statistics and physics.

I’m for teaching moral values and personal responsibilities in K-12 .

 

 

4)      Should the state mandate identification or services for gifted and talented education in public schools?  Why or why not?

Yes, it could push other students to do better. If someone else has another opinion about that I’m willing to discuss.

I’m even for financially  incentivizing students success.  See  http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20140716/NEWS02/307200006/Al-Gui-Financially-incentivize-student-performance-high-school

 

 

5)      Many parents of gifted children believe gifted charter schools are the best option for properly educating gifted learners.  Would you support gifted charter schools?  Why or why not?

It is always good to raise the standards without forgetting that different people have diverse abilities. People have different gifts. For this reason, yes  I’m for opening more opportunities to everybody  so that each student can excel.

A student may not be good when it comes to mathematics ,but he/she  can be an excellent writer or an excellent  drama  student.

My brother is great in literature but he does not like mathematics.

One of my daughters loves studio arts.She graduated from MSU last fall.

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Publication of this questionnaire and responses does not imply an endorsement of a candidate.

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

Questionnaire: MI State Representative District #45 – Michael Webber (R)

July 28, 2014

Rochester SAGE sent a questionnaire to each candidate for State Representative District #45. Here are Michael Webber’s responses.
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1) Currently most gifted students in Michigan’s public schools are not being taught at their academic level. As a legislator, what bills would you draft or support to increase gifted education?
Every student needs to feel challenged in school, whether they are gifted or learn at a slower pace. We have to realize that one size does not fit all and that children learn at different levels. We should not hold back the children who are learning at a faster pace. I think some ways that we can address this is is through offering more AP classes and also continuing to partner with colleges and universities to offer college level courses for high school students.
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2) Gifted students make up about 5-7% of the population. Should taking a class in teaching gifted students be part of becoming a Highly Qualified Teacher? Why or why not?

I would leave that up to our colleges and universities who are training teachers at that level. Certainly I would not seek a state mandate for that type of class. I think teachers strive to be ready to teach all students across the spectrum. That would be my expectation.

 

3) Schools often claim lack of funding is the primary reason they can’t provide gifted education. Should the state allocate funds for gifted education? Why or why not?

Certainly the state can and should continue to look at how we fund public education. Currently it is done on a Per Pupil basis. I am open to looking at alternatives, but under the current Per Pupil formula I would not support additional funding towards these programs.

 

4) Should the state mandate identification or services for gifted and talented education in public schools? Why or why not?

I don’t think that the state should mandate identification in that I fear it would be too tied to a particular test and some students test better than others. The service part of it I think the state can work with local schools with regard to what services are being offered like AP courses and partnerships with colleges/universities.

 

5) Many parents of gifted children believe gifted charter schools are the best option for properly educating gifted learners. Would you support gifted charter schools? Why or why not?

I do support charter schools, home schools, online schools, etc. I am a product of our public schools, but again I do not like a one size fits all approach. I am proud to be endorsed by the Great Lakes Education Project who promotes many of these different alternatives along with pushing for rigorous standards in public schools.

 

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Publication of this questionnaire and responses does not imply an endorsement of a candidate.

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

Questionnaire: MI State Representative District #45 – Joanna VanRaaphorst (D)

July 28, 2014

Rochester SAGE sent a questionnaire to each candidate for State Representative District #45. Here are Joanna VanRaaphorst’s responses.

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Joanna VanRaaphorst – Candidate for State Representative District #45 – Mother of two children who attended Rochester Community Schools and graduated 2008 and 2010.

 

SAGE

Thank you for the opportunity to share with you again my views on Special and Gifted Education. First, I must share that coming from an educator’s family (my late father was a middle school counselor, my late mother-in-law taught advanced high school science and my twin sister currently teaches 5th grade) I feel that ALL children are special and gifted each in their own way. Case in point would be my own two children. One excelled in math and science while the other’s English and social skills were always off the charts!

Two years ago, I spoke with the following people to answer your questions: Dr. John Schultz, former school supt., Barb Cenko, former RCS School Board member, Beth Talbert, current school board member, Dr. Zumsteg, the interim RCS Supt. and Carolyn Matzinger, 5th grade teacher.

Since then I have meet with Irene Larson, Assessment Director for RCS and Michael Berhmann, Director of Curriculum. I’ve also attended 12 various PTA/PTSA meetings.

1)    Currently most gifted students in Michigan’s public schools are not being taught at their academic level.  As a legislator, what bills would you support to increase gifted education?

I would be supportive of any bill, which help schools meet the individual needs of our children. This would include special needs children, children in poverty, and gifted and talented children.

 

2)    Gifted students make up about 5-7% of the population.  Should taking a class in teaching gifted students be part of becoming a Highly Qualified Teacher?  Why or why not?

 

Highly qualified teachers are teachers who teach in their specific area of study. My understanding is a part of all current teaching training is being able to differentiate for children of various ability levels, including those with higher abilities.

 

 

3)    Schools often claim lack of funding is the primary reason they can’t provide gifted education.  Should the state allocate funds for gifted education?  Why or why not?

 

I am extremely concerned about school funding. I would like to protect the funding sources for all of our students. If we were able to increase overall funding for schools, I would support providing some monies to increase the teaching and learning of academically high ability students. However, I do not want to allocate funding for one group of students at the expense of another group of students. I think we need a stable and continuous source of funding for all students. More funding would enable class sizes to decrease, giving every teacher more time to address the needs of all her/his students.

 

Case in point was the recent REDUCTION of funding from the State (in June 2014) to RCS of over $500,000.

 

4)    Should the state mandate identification or services for gifted and talented education in public schools?  Why or why not?

 

I understand from my numerous education friends that identification of gifted and talented children needs to have a multifaceted approach. I would rather local school districts determine research-based identification and services for gifted and talented students rather than leaving this up to the state.

 

5)    Many parents of gifted children believe gifted charter schools are the best option for properly educating gifted learners.  Would you support gifted charter schools?  Why or why not?

I am supportive of a limited number of charter schools in low achieving and high poverty areas. I have five concerns with a charter school that only accepted children of a certain ability level. One, it is unconstitutional for a public school to turn away students based on ability. Two, as we have witness with the recent slew of articles about charter schools, I do not want any more created until there is better accountability of how our tax payers dollars are being spent. Three, I would worry that this type of school in a high achieving district like Rochester would siphon already limited dollars to our Rochester Community Schools. Four, I object to for-profit charter schools such as those supported by the DeVos family. Finally, I would be concerned that the identification process would be so narrow that a child who is both a special needs child and gifted would not be allowed in the school.

I know from my own children’s experience in our public schools here in Rochester that their education was enhanced greatly from interacting with children of all abilities. For example, my son was captain of the Stoney Creek Swim team and their members included two young men with Downs Syndrome who contributed to the team in their own special way. My son and his team learned valuable lessons from these teammates and built his appreciation for those who differed from him.

In addition, my children were able to take advanced classes (AP or Honors) in numerous subjects, as did many of their peers. Many of our students start college with quite a few college credits under their belt, including my own.   To me, this interaction with a whole host of children it is the best of all possible learning environment.

Finally, it is incumbent on parents of all students, to augment their child’s education. Just like many parents, my husband and I have taken our children to dozens of art and science museums, had them do homework and reading over the summer, traveled to many places to learn about other cultures, hosted an exchange student from France and in general supplemented their education.

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Publication of this questionnaire and responses does not imply an endorsement of a candidate.

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

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