From the February 2018 issue

A Gifted Education Goes Beyond the Typical School Experience

Gifted kids see the world a bit differently. An education at The Roeper School caters to each gifted child's learning needs to set them up for success in all facets of life.

Brought to you by The Roeper School

Is your child one of those kids who just isn’t satisfied with simple explanations of the world? Then you might have a gifted kid on your hands.

“Gifted children tend to be bored in traditional school,” says Lori Zinser, the Director of Admissions at The Roeper School. In fact, gifted kids like to immerse themselves in their passions and engage in their learning, which is why it’s really important that parents seek out a school that can meet their unique educational needs.

If you’re unfamiliar with gifted education, it can be difficult to imagine how teaching these kids is any different than traditional education – perhaps with lessons a few steps above grade level or a fast-moving curriculum, but in fact, the way in which Roeper kids are taught is totally different.

“We look at our gifted population as having an abundance of precocity, complexity and intensity,” explains Leslie Hosey, the Roeper School Lower School Director. “(Gifted kids) crave more than memorized information. They really need to understand and address real world topics. We provide an advanced curriculum and opportunities to explore topics that have meaning and relevance and deeply explore areas of interest.”

But that freedom to explore doesn’t mean students can ignore the skills they haven’t yet mastered. Skill development is an important part of the curriculum and, thanks to small class sizes, teachers are able to assess each student for what they know and how they know it and develop skills in a much more individualized way.

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“Right now, many schools are focused on ensuring that students reach minimum competency standards in math, reading and writing,” Hosey says. “All of our classrooms have multiple levels in the classroom to reach well beyond grade level standards. We match our children’s needs (because) we’re not satisfied with minimum competency.”

And this personalized approach keeps the kids engaged in their schoolwork, Zinser says.

“(Gifted kids) need to learn at a pace that is right for them,” Zinser adds. “The right pace keeps the child connected to their learning, sparking their curiosity and continued thirst for knowledge.”

Couple that with an excellent staff that aims to bond with their students and it’s a winning combination for gifted kids.

“They need to feel understood, listened to and respected in an educational setting that celebrates who they are and allows them to grow and develop in healthy ways,” Zinser explains. “A meaningful student-teacher relationship will create overall positive excitement about school and foster a life-long love of learning.”

But The Roeper School doesn’t stop there. Because gifted learners thrive with other like-minded learners, they also offer a robust specialist program for their students. Students are encouraged to participate in subject areas that may be outside of their comfort level or area of strength.

“Our children are exposed to art, music, science, physical education, World Languages, electives in humanities and other disciplines,” Hosey says. “At the Lower School, we have sports, such as soccer and basketball, that run during the day (with) a no-cut policy.”

That no-cut policy extends to the Middle & Upper School and even beyond athletics, to their Fine and Performing Arts program, which produces annual musicals, band concerts, dance performances and art shows.

“We aim to have our curriculum as interdisciplinary as possible, (and) our specialist work is as important as the academics,” Hosey adds.

But it’s still not enough for this school to churn out well-rounded and educated kids. What they truly aim for is to graduate compassionate kids that see the world from a different viewpoint and are citizens of the world.

“George and Annemarie Roeper founded this school after they fled Nazi Germany, where they saw brilliant people using their intellect to destroy the world,” Hosey says. “If our students’ time here doesn’t result in a sense of inner empathy and connection, then we have failed.”

If you suspect your child is gifted and would like to learn more about The Roeper School and what it offers gifted kids, visit roeper.org.

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