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Metro Detroit parents have many excellent options for schools, but for gifted children, none matches the education offered by The Roeper School. Founded in 1941, the school has an international reputation for its approach to educating gifted children.
The approach pioneered by the Roepers, which continues today, focuses on the whole child while uniquely accommodating the complexity of gifted children. Educationally, it offers the intellectual rigor gifted children crave and allows them to explore personal passions deeply and imaginatively. Emotionally, it embraces the complicated path gifted children travel to maturity as they juggle cognitive and emotional stages that are frequently out of sync. Developmentally, it teaches gifted children, who have a fierce desire to control their own learning, how to do so constructively and responsibly.
The philosophy of the school was shaped by the Roepers’ experience as refugees from Nazi persecution. Once in the United States, they vowed to establish a school that would educate children to participate in the world as caring, humane adults.
Another principle was to nurture the students’ ability to think independently by giving them control over their learning. Roeper students are encouraged to take risks, innovate, ask questions, experiment, collaborate, assume responsibility and learn from consequences.
Relationships are also a key element of a Roeper education. The informal and strong relationships that develop between the students and their teachers are the very heart of the school. Roeper students enjoy the freedom to engage in open intellectual exchanges, which allows them to build authentic and energetic relationships with their peers, teachers and other adults. A guest director in the theatre department once commented, “If anyone thinks working with Roeper students will be a one-way street, let them be prepared to be crushed by on-coming traffic!”
And so it is that a 75-year-old educational philosophy is exactly in tune with the most current ideas in education. A report published in December 2006 by the National Center on Education and the Economy calls for an educational system that develops graduates who are “comfortable with ideas and abstractions, good at both analysis and synthesis, creative and innovative, self-disciplined and well-organized, able to learn very quickly and work well as a member of a team and have the flexibility to adapt quickly.”
George and Annemarie valued creativity, initiative and adaptability as signs that a student was developing a strong sense of self and learning how to be engaged responsibly in the world. In the fast-changing, globalized culture and economy that awaits our graduates, these skills will serve them well.
The Roeper School is an independent, co-educational day school for gifted students, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, with campuses in Bloomfield Hills (pre-K through 5th grade) and Birmingham (grades 6-12). Decision-making, problem-solving, social responsibility and leadership are interwoven throughout the school’s curriculum. Roeper students receive local and national recognition on a regular basis. Roeper has a strong college preparatory program, with early access to many advanced placement courses, as well as highly regarded fine arts, drama, robotics and athletic departments.