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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.

Dear Teacher, What I Want to Tell You About My Gifted Child

August 24, 2015

dear-teacherDear Teacher,

My gifted child is going to be in your class.  And here is what I want to tell you, but I probably won’t.  I want an open dialogue, but I know your time is valuable and, frankly, I’m a bit scared.

1) I feel like you are already skeptical.  I’m worried when I use the term gifted or say that my child is academically advanced or high ability, you’ll think I’m seeing through rose-colored glasses or believe my kid is special.  I’ve already met educators who don’t believe any student is gifted or believe all children are gifted. I probably don’t know you very well and I don’t want to start off the year damaging our relationship – or the relationship you have with my child. I might not tell you even though this could be very helpful information.  You might have to initiate the conversation, but the email of “Your child is ahead and I want to help her learn at her level” will probably be the best email we get this year and an immense relief.
Read more…

October 10, 2015 will be an amazing day!

April 29, 2015

be-excitedAdd October 10, 2015 to your calendar right now!  You will not want to miss this!  Something exciting is happening in East Lansing!  (It’s better than football!)

Only on that date can you participate in the Michigan Association for Gifted Children conference with one of the leaders in gifted education, a member of the Columbus Group, and the CEO of one of the most innovative STEM companies.  That’s right!  You get three amazing national speakers in one day!

I’m excited because this really is amazing!  Usually you have to go to a national convention to get presenters of this caliber!

Dr. Jim Delisle has authored over 15 books on gifted children and served on the board of NAGC, Roeper School, and several other gifted organizations.  He has taught gifted kids and spends two weeks each summer at Yunasa helping gifted learners understand themselves.  If you have a question on how to raise your gifted child, he has the answer!  In addition to an over two hour session on Parenting Precocious Kids, he is leading two other sessions.  Usually I would suggest attending all of his sessions, but it is going to be so hard to choose!

That is because Dr. Ellen Fiedler is an amazing speaker as well!  She is a member of the Columbus Group, a team of gifted experts and advocates that revolutionized the field of gifted education with their definition of giftedness.  The asynchronous gifted child is many ages at once and all of these ages need to be understood and supported.  The Columbus Group recently had a symposium in New Zealand, but, lucky for you, you only need to head to East Lansing to hear Dr. Fielder.  She is talking about the journey for the gifted adult.  Giftedness doesn’t end at graduation, so come find out what it means for your daily life.

But wait!  There’s more!  Richard Sheridan is the CEO of Menlo Innovations, the Ann Arbor STEM company everyone wants to work for.  Over 2000 people visited Menlo last year to find out about their radically different corporate culture – one centered around joy.  Mr. Sheridan’s ideas are creating the environments for your kids’ passions to be expressed.  He is one of the hottest speakers right now and you can see him at the MAGC Conference!  Bring your boss along and make your company better too.

Several other excellent speakers are presenting on stress management for gifted families and gifted children in a digital world.  The MAGC Conference is also a great place to meet other gifted families and for teachers to learn about gifted students.  Start your day with free continental breakfast, hang out with other gifted parents, educators, and advocates during a great free lunch, and then end it with a trip with your new friends to the MSU Dairy (sorry, not free).

Register now to travel to East Lansing to hear amazing ideas from Ann Arbor and Columbus, OH!  It will be one amazing day!

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

Shh! Don’t tell your kids!

April 16, 2015

telling-secretsIt’s a secret.  You might whisper about it behind closed doors.  Maybe you’ll talk – carefully – with parents of other kids with the same condition.  Maybe you even have the condition.  Maybe their teachers know – but they’ll never say anything to you.  You wanted your kids to be normal, to fit in, to not face the same issues you did.  You’ve seen these kids before and maybe felt sorry for them.  On TV, they are often outcasts.  And now you know that your kids have this diagnosis.  But do you tell them??? Someone said it would ruin their mindset!


Nerd.  Brainiac.  Quirky.  Unique.  Gifted.
Read more…

M-STEP Parent Information Night

March 30, 2015

Do you have questions about M-STEP, the state standardized test adopted for the next three years and probably longer?  Are you wondering how this test will measure your children’s academic growth?  Are you considering opting out?

Bring your questions and concerns tonight, Monday, March 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Harrison Room, RCS Administration Building, 501 W. University Drive, for the M-STEP Parent Information Night.  Michael Behrmann and Carrie Lawler, Executive Directors of Elementary and Secondary Curriculum in RCS, will present on the M-STEP and should be available to answer your questions.

More information on the M-STEP is available at these sites:

Parent communication from RCS:

MDE M-STEP information:,4615,7-140-22709_70117—,00.html

M-STEP Parent letter from State Superintendent Mike Flanagan:

MDE letter to superintendents about opt-out:

Previous communications from Rochester Community Schools regarding this meeting have additional details.

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

Lies, Damned Lies, and Averages

March 12, 2015

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Statistics are misleading, harmful, and destructive.  They obscure the data and the actions taken based on them are often detrimental to a significant portion of society.

Statistics are often used in education.  We’ll use them to compare students, teachers, schools, types of schools, demographics, states, and nations.  We use them to simplify data down to something easy to graph through a common measurement to quickly view how each entity is performing.  We attempt to derive meaning from something that has been reduced so significantly that it becomes relatively meaningless.

I do like data and statistics.  Data can be extremely helpful for analyzing issues.  Statistics used properly can provide insight into the data.  They can give us information about our world.

But they can also be used to distort, oversimplify, omit important information, overlook disparate groups, or make invalid comparisons.  Sometimes this is intentional and sometimes accidental.  Either way, incorrect conclusions made on these facts and statistics can be harmful.  In schools, they can affect funding for schools, evaluations for teachers, and education provided to students.

Read more…

Northeast Oakland Gifted Academy Interest Meeting – Nov. 23

November 6, 2014

We are excited!  Are you?

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: November 23, 2014, 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Where: Rochester Hills Public Library, Multi-purpose Room, First Floor
Who: Interested parents and educators
Questions: Comment on this post or 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.

Help Needed: 2014 MAGC Conference Fliers

September 18, 2014


  • 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 or

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



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.


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.


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!