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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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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.
These past few months, many people avoided 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!
“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.”
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 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 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.
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.
“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.
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 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 NEOgifted@outlook.com. 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.
I 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.
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:
1) 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 to 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!
Register by September 10 for $10 discount on conference + membership!
Have you been wondering why your gifted child is so different academically and emotionally? Have you been struggling to meet your child’s needs in these areas?
The Michigan Association for Gifted Children Fall Conference has answers! Covering both the academic and emotional needs of gifted learners, these experts have solutions and information for parents just finding their child is gifted, advocates working to make changes at the school and district level, and educators with gifted students.
Join us on October 15 at the remarkable University Prep Science & Math Academy in Detroit! Meet parents and educators advocating for gifted children! Chat with experts! Visit vendors with books, programs, and games aimed at gifted learners! Earn SCECHs while gaining great info on gifted students!
More details and registration is at m90212.wixsite.com/magc
P.S. I’ll be wearing an MAGC name tag and look forward to meeting you!