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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.

Applying to Avondale Gifted Magnet Program

April 27, 2017

little boy watching the rain through the window

It’s that time! It’s the time that so many of us have been waiting for!

It is time to apply to the Avondale Gifted Magnet Program!

This fall, the Avondale Gifted Magnet Program launches third and fourth grade at Woodland Elementary in northern Troy. This program is open through School of Choice to students in Oakland County.

Using project-based learning, this program will provide a unique educational opportunity for gifted children. Students will be able to explore areas of interest in depth, discover the connection between subjects, and accelerate in their fields of strength. Surrounded by their gifted peers, they will receive acceptance and support for their academic, social, and emotional needs. This program is led by a teacher with an endorsement in gifted education and ten years of experience in teaching including three with gifted students. Backed by the support of the principal and the district, Avondale is committed to the success of this program and its students.

Registration for this program has already begun and goes through May 10. Details on this program are available at and the School of Choice application and information is at  You can watch a recorded Parent Information Night at or join our parent group at to learn more.

If you are interested in this program for your child, please call Hillary Olance at 248.537.6049 or email her at by Friday, April 28 to get more information and schedule any tests for entrance to the program. Registration is still open until May 10, but early applicants get first choice of testing dates.

Please pass this along to friends whose children would benefit from this program!

Thank you for reading Rochester SAGE. Together we ARE making a difference for gifted children!


Reminder: Avondale G/T School of Choice

May 8, 2017


Is your child in the top 5-7% of students and going into third or fourth grade next year? The great new gifted program in Avondale will provide the curriculum and instruction high ability students need!

Applications for the new Gifted Magnet Program in Avondale School District are due by 4 PM on Wednesday, May 10! More information on the program is at and the School of Choice application is at  Interested? Email Hillary Olance at

Thank you for reading Rochester SAGE! Together we are making a difference for gifted children!

A path for gifted students

February 14, 2017


My first op-ed in the Detroit News!

“District policy doesn’t allow us to teach next year’s math. And it wouldn’t be fair to teachers to require them to be able to teach it.”

This statement by my daughter’s teacher exemplified the struggle we were having in the classroom, school and district. And it told us that except for the rare bright spot — like a principal dedicated to academic growth for all learners, but who went on sabbatical a year after we changed to her school, and a teacher who volunteered to teach sixth-grade math in a fifth-grade classroom — we would not be getting the services needed for our children.

More at

Gifted articles you may have missed!

December 7, 2016

These past few months, many people avoidedhear_no_evil the insanity of the election, its news coverage, and the puerility on social media, but you may have also missed some great articles on giftedness! Here are a few hand-curated selections for you!

You can find additional interesting articles on the Rochester SAGE and Michigan Association for Gifted Children Facebook pages.

New Analysis Finds Two Measures Boost K-12 Academic Achievement

“After looking carefully at 100 years of research, it became clear that acceleration and most forms of ability grouping can be powerfully effective interventions,” said study co-author Matt Makel, research director at Duke TIP. “They help increase academic achievement for both lower- and higher-achieving students.

“Moreover, these practices can yield significant academic benefits without being expensive and can even save schools money.”

Getting Restless At The Head Of The Class

One day, a philanthropist asked one of Makel’s colleagues, Jonathan Plucker at Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth, what should have been a simple question, “How many students score above grade level on standardized tests each year?”

Makel and his co-authors found that, on the NWEA, 35 percent of beginning fifth-graders were already scoring at levels you might only expect by the end of the year. And, on the NAEP, the top 25 percent of fourth-graders outscored the bottom 25 percent of eighth-graders every year but one — for 26 years straight.

Dual enrollment grows in popularity, frustration

Dual enrollment has benefited thousands of Michigan students by giving them an early taste of college and, in many cases, allowed them to earn credits without paying tuition. But frustrations remain for students and families, who often find out later that the credits either aren’t accepted at the university they enroll in, or are counted only as general credits rather than applying toward a major.

Avondale School District prepares to launch classroom for gifted students

Avondale School District is getting ready to open the first gifted learning classroom in Oakland County next school year at Woodland Elementary in Troy.

The classroom will serve both third and fourth graders who are nominated and chosen for the program, with the nominations for Avondale students already closed. Between 25 and 28 students will be enrolled in the first year, working with their instructor and curriculum at their own pace and depth.

This is Us … Too: The Need for Gifted Education

I delight in the fact that the writers will introduce Randall as a gifted child in an upcoming episode.  When I heard Randall cry, “I don’t want to be different,” my heart sank because he, at that moment, became every child I have ever taught as a gifted education teacher.

The need for gifted education programs in our public schools for children like Randall far surpasses the need for our gifted children to just be challenged academically.

We grade-skipped our daughter. Here’s why you should consider doing it, too.

“I want to do harder math,” she told us, and she didn’t want it delivered online. She asked to participate in small math groups with friends. But that alone wasn’t why my husband, Matt, and I chose to accelerate her. We also wanted to give her the gift of believing in herself.

Boredom, school, and the gifted child: Challenging its inevitability

No one ever promised fun and games, but the amount of time spent waiting, daydreaming, and battling boredom is even greater for gifted children. In the recesses of their memory, most gifted children recall the joy of learning, their innate curiosity, the spark of discovery when learning was neither slow nor tedious. But that experience may seem far removed from life in mixed ability classrooms tailored to the needs of the average or at-risk student.


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

Avondale Gifted Magnet Information Nights!

December 2, 2016


Avondale is having two parent information nights regarding the gifted magnet school, available to Oakland County residents! Come find out about the magnet program and get your questions answered! The two nights are Dec 6 and Dec 13 at Woodland Elementary, the school hosting the program. The program will start in Fall 2017 for grades 3&4 and expand in the following years.

Please RSVP for one of the nights through the links below or to Pass this information on to friends! They may be wondering how to meet the needs of their children and don’t know about this school.

RCS Board of Education Candidate Responses

October 20, 2016

school_board_electionI sent each Rochester Community Schools Board of Education candidate questions about Advanced & Gifted Education. Candidates running opposed (Michelle Bueltel and Elizabeth Witten) and unopposed (Sandra Fiaschetti and Kevin Beers) had sufficient opportunity to respond, but only Mrs. Bueltel provided answers to the questions. Mrs. Bueltel’s responses are below.

1) Do you believe the opportunities and education that exist for advanced and gifted students in Rochester Community Schools are sufficient? Why or why not?

I do not believe that there are sufficient opportunities for advanced and gifted students.  In elementary school, the opportunities for advanced students are usually dependent upon the teacher.  Some do a great job of identifying ways to challenge students who already know the material such that a student is engaged and learning.  However, I believe that there should be a more formal process for identifying the students who already know the material and a game plan for how those students will learn more during the current year.  Every child should have at least one full year of academic growth during each school year in every subject.  At the secondary level we already have honors courses in English and math and I would like to see honors courses offered in science and social studies too.
Read more…

8 Reasons to Go to the MAGC Conference

September 26, 2016


Admit it. You haven’t been to an MAGC Conference and you are a bit apprehensive. You probably won’t know anyone and you don’t want to spend your Saturday hanging with a bunch of nerds. Yep, I’ve been there too. This is why you should go:

parent-groups1) You don’t know many parents of gifted kids. I remember first starting out parenting gifted daughters and wondering what was normal. She has imaginary friends. Is this normal? She talks about storing information in folders in her head. Is this normal? She read a book on cancer and is now petrified. Is this normal? I can’t get her to stop reading! Is this normal? Once I met parents of other gifted children, I found that gifted normal was a wide range. You need this conference to meet more parents of gifted children!

2) You can’t talk about giftedness.  I know that dance.  You think someone might have a gifted child. You ask indirect questions trying shh-dont-tell-sm11to find out because the g-word can shut down a conversation if their child isn’t. Eventually, you find out their child is gifted and have a nice chat – until someone else joins the conversation and you have to change the subject. At the MAGC Conference, there is no shame! No dance! Just nice chats with parents, teachers, experts, and other supporters of gifted learners!
Read more…