MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014;  6:30 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
Special Speaker: Andy Mahoney, MS, LCPC
Andy is a nationally recognized expert anPreview Changesd pioneer in the field of counseling the gifted and talented. His expertise spans nearly 30 years as a counselor, family therapist and trainer of mental health professionals. Click HERE (pdf) for a flyer with details for this event.
August 2014 – Parents for Gifted Education (PGE)

2014-15 School Year Student Directory Registration Form for
Washington 1-5, Marshall School 6-8, West CAPA 6 – 8
Auburn Renaissance and CAPA 9-12

Each year PGE (Parents for Gifted Education), an advocacy parent’s group for the gifted program in the Rockford Public Schools, publishes a Gifted Program Student Directory that is distributed or available free to all families in the program who fill out the form. This directory serves as an important networking and informational tool for parents and PGE, and as a class directory for your child.
Attention: You must fill out this form to receive a directory. Due to costs of mailing, we use email addresses for almost all communication. Click HERE to download the form (.pdf). Click HERE to download “What We Do” which highlights some of important functions of PGE.

August 2014 – The Renaissance Gifted Academy Homework Guidelines and Policies

Click HERE for a .pdf discussing the Homework Guidelines and HERE for an outline of Homework Policies.

July 2014 – News From the Gifted Office

Click HERE (.pdf) to read the Stay Current newsletter from the Gifted Office.

Rock Valley College’s Running Start Program and the Gifted Program

Click HERE for a document discussing this topic

PGE thanks . . . three of our Renaissance teachers
for their inspiring and energizing presentation about our Renaissance Gifted Academy and its place in the 21st Century
and in the National Educational Climate . . . on Feb. 18, 2014John Rauh, Auburn, Renaissance AP English Gr. 11 & Renaissance Gr. 12,
Megan Andreasen, Marshall Middle School, Science, Grade 6
Stacy Wallace, Washington Renaissance Gifted Academy, Grade 2PGE parent attendees said:“This meeting was fantastic.”
“Can you take this presentation on the road?”
“More parents need to hear this!”Due to short notice, widespread illnesses, and a widespread power outage on Feb. 18—
And, because we believe more parents will want to hear this energizing presentation—
we hope to reschedule this presentation for April or May 2014We want more parents, guardians, students, families, and community members to hear our Renaissance teachers’ insightful perspectives on what the Renaissance Gifted Program offers for identifying students’ gifted characteristics and meeting the needs of our gifted students:

  • asynchronous development;
  • intensities of all kinds – emotional, intellectual, interpersonal, social;
  • perfectionism;
  • how to help parents and students relax and have patience as kids develop to meet their potentials
  • how the Renaissance Gifted Program philosophy is fostered at tier level

At a future meeting:
Come learn how
the Renaissance Gifted Academy staffs are nurturing your children. 

Engineering Academy

This opportunity is Free.

The Rockford Public School District is partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation to offer high school students this exciting engineering experience.

This year’s Engineering Academy provides students with a realistic engineering experience in the area of highway development with an emphasis on the environment.  Along with engineering, students learn about career opportunities while problem-solving as part of a team.  For more information, see the attached handout and registration form.
The goal is to provide realistic engineering experience through projects that encourage teamwork, problem-solving and practical application while exposing students to exciting and challenging career opportunities in the transportation industry.

Click Here for Sign Up packet:  2014 IDOT Student Sign-up Packet 

Registration Deadline:  January 15, 2014 to Marsha Sisney
or to
your high school’s guidance counselor’s office.

Questions can be directed to:
Marsha Sisney
Parent & Community Empowerment Department or 815-966-3271.

The above information was sent out at the request of Mrs. Michele Beach, Director of Gifted, Honors, and Advanced Placement for the Rockford Public Schools

PGE Board

Auburn High School’s College and Career Academies
In preparation for the 2014-2015 academic year, RPS205 district leaders are working on College and Career Pathway offerings at each high school. The overall plan is moving forward in three stages. Clickhere for a pdf explaining the plan in detail.
Parents for Gifted Education (PGE) Announcements: 9/15/2013

Dear Auburn PGE families,
As we leap into the 2013-2014 school year, opportunities for parent, guardian, and community member involvement abound. See our bulleted list below. Attend a meeting; join a committee.  Now is the time toprovide your input and contribute your energies.

Opportunities for Parent Involvement:

Auburn High School Academy Support Team (AST)

  • Urgent: Auburn High School Academy Support Team – There is a tight timeline for you to contribute to the Academy Support Team at Auburn High School. Parents/guardians, and community members are invited to become charter members of this team. Each high school in Rockford Public School District 205 is planning for the new high school academy model. Next year (2014-2015), our sophomores will choose their career-study pathway for course selection at Auburn.
  • To help with planning for the Academies at Auburn, Mrs. Michele Beach (Renaissance) and Mrs. Lu Ann Widergren (CAPA) scheduled important discussions regarding the Renaissance and CAPA academies for the next few weeks – the first being held this Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 5:30 P.M. in the Auburn High School library.
  • Options for discussions became available this week.  For more information, andto complete a brief survey for the Renaissance Academy, please read the attached document, Welcome to the World of College and Career Academies. A document for CAPA will be sent when available.
  • Alignment Rockford’s website home page link’s to the Invitation to Participate (ITP) page for Auburn’s Academy Support Team .  Please click here and complete a response form today. Responses will help direct your energies to an area of interest.  The deadline for responses was extended.

Parents for Gifted Education (PGE) Board Members needed:

  • Secretary
  • Auburn High School Liaison
  • Marshall Middle School Liaison
  • Fundraising Chairperson
  • Web Designer

PGE Additional needs:

  • Data-entry Specialist
  • Marketing Specialists, Graphic Designers, Artists
  • Internet Technology Specialist

PGE Project: Renaissance/CAPA (Marketing Committee)

  • Members now forming (contact Jeannē Westholder) at; 815-963-9654.
  • Seed idea: PGE members collaborating with staff will design a plan to market Renaissance/CAPA by creating a magazine style book/booklet, and/or a slide show, and/or a tri-fold flyer focusing on our program graduates’ successes in colleges attended, scholarships, and careers.
  • Fundraising – we will seek additional funding to support this project

Attachments: Please read all attachments.

See PGE’s website: for updates, too. We are working to improve the site.

Please contact PGE (, Mrs. Michele Beach (Director of Gifted, Honors, and Advanced Placement) 815-986-5601;, or Mrs. Lu Ann Widergren (Director of Fine Arts and CAPA) 815-720-4856; with any questions.

PGE Board

A Huge “Thank You”

PGE sends a “Huge!” thank you to all school PTOs that coordinated with us and volunteers that helped with PGE Registration.  PGE raised just over $5,000. Some of those dollars will go directly to school PTOs. Donations continue to be submitted. We will provide a full report once most registration forms are collected (by the first week of September). The Directory is “in process” and we are contacting those who want to continue to volunteer throughout the year. To view the full story with all the volunteers names and other details click here.

Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted Information

To view information about PGE’s support newest project: Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) Model Parent Group click here. Our fall group registration is full but we are currently developing a waiting list for a future group.

May 13, 2014: PGE Letter Facilities Plan & School Closures

By now, we hope you heard this past week about proposed and promoted changes to Rockford District 205’s facilities’ and student assignment plans including relocation of the Washington Renaissance Gifted Academy students to the current location of the Maria Montessori Program on N. Rockton Avenue and to Marshall Middle School on N. Rockton Avenue in Northwest Rockford. In the proposal, Washington Elementary students will be split between the two schools.
PGE has prepared a letter in response and to supply futher information for PGE parents and students. ClickHERE to view the complete letter in printable pdf format.
The 2012-2013 Ruth Harris Scholarship Winners

The 2012-2013 Ruth Harris Scholarship senior award winners from Auburn High School were Jessica Beard and Jake Brekelbaum. We are honored to know these two students. Below are the remarks–regarding the achievements and character of our winners–made by PGE President Jeanne Westholder at the Auburn High School Senior Awards Night for Class of 2013:

Jake Brekelbaum

In our first recipient’s application essay, he demonstrated that he embodies the spirit of this scholarship—the pursuit of knowledge itself—by mentioning that he appreciates the Renaissance Program’s “challenge to think outside my default schema” and how the program has “pushed those of us who were willing to go above and beyond what was required”.  A teacher described how he “takes advantage of every opportunity to learn, whether or not it’s within his areas of strength and comfort.”  Last summer, he pursued other educational experiences through an engineering internship with Austin Westran balancing this 24-hour per week commitment with summer homework, a part-time job, and church and youth group activities.

Additionally, he has shown commitment to the Auburn community: he is co-captain of the Golf and Baseball this year, and is involved in countless extracurricular activities here at Auburn. He credits his teachers who “have grown our minds by challenging us to reach conclusions on our own. This method and the rigorof the program have made us all better writers, readers, and thinkers.”

Jessica Beard

 Our second recipient wrote that she has embraced the idea “the unexamined life is not worth living since childhood, when I would question everything (and occasionally break things open) just to understand the world around me.”  She went on to say that, “I want to spend my life in a lab trying to work out the mysteries of chemistry.”   One of her teachers explained that this recipient “is not just satisfied to meet the requirements of the subject.  She always wants to probe deeper.  She understands the commitment it takes to truly understand a subject and the time and energy needed to gain mastery.”  Another teacher wrote, “she enjoys learning and will be a life-long learner because she looks for opportunities to learn new things and is willing to take risks to do so.” She wrote herself, “a variety of class –at Auburn—have allowed me to peer into many topics, and for each question I have answered I seem to find another dozen in its place . . . teachers have been willing to entertain my questions, and that has made all the difference in my life . . . I plan to carry on much the same way in college: leave no stone unturned and no club untried, and I have the Academy to thank for that approach to the world.”

The Ruth Harris Scholarship award is given by the Parents for Gifted Education in remembrance of Ruth Harris, -a dedicated administrator for the gifted program in the Rockford Public Schools for many years. She passed away while in the position of director of the gifted program.

In 1975, Ruth Harris began working for the Rockford Public Schools as the psychologist of its nascent gifted program. In the subsequent years, Ruth became the mainstay of the program, weathering many changes in district and school administrations, student populations, and definitions of “giftedness.” She showed a special sincere interest in keeping the gifted program strong.

Those who knew her well often have remarked how much she cared for the students. In her conversations she showed a special interest in students who showed a passion and energy for learning.

This scholarship is targeted towards those students who best embody the creativity, drive, intellectual intensity, and leadership the gifted program seeks to nurture in gifted students; but not singularly for success in a career, but more importantly for the joy in the pursuit of knowledge itself.

Scholarship Opportunity for Auburn High School Seniors in
CAPA and/or Renaissance AcademiesPGE Ruth Harris Book Scholarship
Application Period:
Mon. March 31 – Fri. May 2, 2014
Parents for Gifted Education (PGE) is seeking applicants for the 2013-2014 PGE Ruth Harris Book Scholarship. Applicants must be Seniors at Auburn High School in the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) or Renaissance Academies.Application forms and instructions are available via the document links on the PGE website, or in the Auburn High School counseling office (see Mrs. Nicole Joyner – Counselor, or Mrs. Canfield – Counseling Receptionist.)One or two $500 scholarships will be awarded to recipients at the Auburn High School Senior Awards night on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.Please share this information and opportunity with any senior that you know in one of our two Gifted academies at Auburn High School. Their time to act is now.Here are links to pdf files for Instructions and an Application:PGE Ruth Harris Scholarship ApplicationPGE Ruth Harris Scholarship Instructions

Parents met December 12 to discuss the results of seperate surveys sent out to parents, teachers, and past and present students. The full results are presented as links below:

Comparison of responses by various survey participants

Roundtable summary of all tables

Volunteer blank form

Survey Issues: Parents

Survey Issues: Students

Survey Issues: Teachers

Written comments in survey summary

PGE Survey Results

Click here to view some of the comments from the Proposal on Grades 7-12 to Auburn Freshman Campus Survey

Subject: Gifted move analysis PGE

In order to help you discuss the gifted program more productively with the administration and with each other in your meetings, we have put some information together for you.
1. An analysis and action recommendations based on discussions and meetings we have had with parents, students, teachers, and Michele Beach, curriculum gifted administrator.
2. Summary of parents’ written comments from our most recent forum at Washington which we did in co-operation with Michele Beach.
3. Statistics recently compiled with help from Auburn teachers on AP results at Auburn.
4. A well constructed argument in favor of the move put together by a parent after discussions with many parents of similar opinions.

You can download the complete information here (ANALYSIS FOR MOVING GIFTED PROGRAM GRADES 7-12 TO AUBURN FRESHMAN CAMPUS) and here (Auburn AP Scores for School Year Ending 2010).

We also still have a public forum scheduled at Auburn this Thursday night to get more public input.

Since you have many issues to discuss at your board meeting tomorrow night, we hope that you will take advantage of this concise compiled information. Many parents from Washington will not be able to be at the board meeting tomorrow because of the music concert and three basketball games at the school tomorrow night.

Thank you for your public service and for taking the pro-active stance to ensure that the gifted program fulfills its valuable mission to the community.

John Torrence
Parents for Gifted Education

Download the PGE Survey

You can download the Parents for Gifted Education Survey:
Proposal on Grades 7-12 to Auburn Freshman Campus here (pdf)

PGE To Sponsor Public Forums on Administration’s
Proposal to Move Gifted Program to Freshman Campus
Public Forums:
Tuesday, November 30, 6:00pm til 8:00pm, Washington Academy Auditorium
Thursday, Dec. 9, 7:00pm- 8:30pm, Auburn Freshman Campus Auditorium
The superintendent, Lavonne Sheffield, has asked administrators to look into moving the gifted program grades 7 thru 12 to the Freshman Campus. Michele Beach, the administrator in charge of gifted curriculum, is looking for input from teachers, students, and parents as well as the general public.The genesis of this idea evidently comes from the superintendent’s interest in expanding the gifted program. Moving grades 6 thru 8 to Auburn Freshman Campus(AFC) opens up spots at Washington. Moving grades 10 through 12 to AFC also is intended to open up more spots at all higher grades as well.
In a meeting this week Michele Beach said this proposal is at its earliest stages with adequate analysis and input from all stakeholders required. With a large budget deficit facing the district, cost considerations are a large part of the analysis.We have been told that all input is welcome; including the time frame, costs, curriculum, arts offerings, foreign lanquages,class size considerations, staff needs, facility concerns (such as number of adequate labs and rooms, room for expansion, library and supplies needs),extracurriculars, sports teams(seperate or as part of Auburn) , safety, discipline, grading scales, measuring performance, commitment to adequate course offerings, gifted program growth, college placement, counseling, teacher selection, relationship to the Auburn main campus, forecasted student numbers in the first few years, displacement of current programs at AFC, teacher schedules and courses to teach, and effect on recruitment to the gifted program.
Come to the PGE Meetings to learn what is happening and to offer and listen to other’s input on this issue.Directories Have Been Delivered and Handed Out to StudentsIf you filled out a directory form at registration for a free directory and do not get a directory in the next few days, please notify us at .If you want an extra directory or did not fill out a directory form, you can purchase one for $10.00. Just let us know of your interest.
Visit and Bookmark Auburn’s New Web Site: Click here
U.S. News & World Report magazine names Auburn High School one of America’s best public high schools (2008)

Date / Day Exec Board Time Gen. Meeting Time Place Theme
June 13, 2006: Academy Word Paper Survey Results

Click here to view the results of a survey regarding the Word Paper assignment for Academy Junior English.

December 2, 2005: Auburn Student Survey Results

The results of the Auburn Academy Student Survey regarding school workload are in and tallied. Click hereto see a spreadsheet summary of the results. Click here to see a complete summary of student comments.

Why Gifted?

Click here to read an updated version of a concise but thorough explanation of the benefits and advantages of choosing the Gifted Program for your child’s education. (pdf format)

PGE Meeting Minutes for 2000-2002 are now available in the PGE Archives. Click the button or clickhere to go to the Archives Page.
Welcome to the web site for PGE. PGE is an organization dedicated to students in theRockford , Illinois public school system who have opted to participate in the differentiated Centralized Academic, Creative and Performing Arts Gifted Program of Rockford Public Schools District 205.

PGE Purpose:

  • To support and promote gifted education in District 205; involving parents, faculty members and administrators.PGE Goals:
  • To advocate for continuation and expansion of the District 205 Academic and CAPA Gifted Program.
  • To provide speakers and develop programs pertinent to the education and parenting of gifted children.
  • To provide an opportunity for networking with parents who have children in the Program.

PGE has a printed newsletter covering the program as well as events and issues concerning gifted education outside of Rockford . Minutes from past meetings available.
Click here or on the button marked Newsletters to view the current and past newsletters as well as minutes from prior PGE meetings.

Join PGE: Click here to download the Registration form for PGE (pdf format – click hereto learn about pdf files.) You can contact a PGE board member if you have any questions. Click here for contact information.

Click here or on the button marked State News to view information Terry James Mohaupt, Chairman, ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION FOR GIFTED CHILDREN Parent Affiliates; IAGC Liaison, and Past President, PARENTS FOR GIFTED EDUCATION.

Click here or the button marked Articles for articles and stories about Gifted Education.

Click here or the button marked FAQs for Frequently Asked Questions.

Click here or the button marked Contact / Links for Contact Information as well as a listing of useful links.

PGE Meeting Minutes Archive:

April 3, 2006 Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes from 2001-2002 School Year

Meeting Minutes from 2000-2001 School Year

PGE Fall 2007 Newsletter (PDF*)

Spring 2007 PGE Newsletter (PDF*)

Fall 2006 PGE Newsletter (PDF*)

Fall 2005 PGE – West Edition (PDF*)
Fall 2005 PGE – General (PDF*)

Spring 2005 PGE Newsletter (PDF*)

Fall 2004 PGE Newsletter (PDF*)

Spring 2004 PGE Newsletter (PDF*)

November 2003 PGE Newsletter (PDF*)

September 2003 PGE Newsletter (PDF*)

October 2004: Why is taking the PSAT a good idea?Here are some reasons from Mr. Allan Gibbs. (Auburn Counselor)