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Renaissance Gifted Academy

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                                                                                                         Michele Beach

Director of Gifted, Honors, and Advanced Placement

Office of Learning Support Services

Thurgood Marshall School

4664 N. Rockton Ave.

Rockford, IL  61103

(815) 986-5601

FAX (815) 972-3443

Email Contact

The Renaissance Gifted Academy is one of many specialized programs in the Rockford Public Schools.  We recognize that gifted students, like other groups in the general school population, possess unique potential and needs which can only be addressed through modification of the regular curriculum. The goal of our program is to identify and nurture potential through the development of specialized curriculum offerings modified and adapted to meet the unique learning styles, learning rates, interests, abilities and needs of gifted students.

Every child has the right to learn something new every day.

- Gifted Children's Bill of Rights

What's New? 

PSAT - It's time to start thinking about the PSAT/NMSQT.  All Renaissance Academy sophomores and juniors are expected to participate in the Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  Freshmen are eligible to take the test for practice.  

For more information, see our informational handout​.  

Eligibility Testing

All news and information about our testing can be found on our Renaissance Testing Page.  

Wonderful Websites 

Students in fifth grade at Washington Academy are now published poets!  Students participated in the National Schools Project, which is designed to share students' talents with others.  Teachers and librarians across the country submitted poetry that best represented students' creative abilities.  The 2014 submissions were all haiku poems.  Congratulations to Logan Brown, Gia Patel, and Charles Kang!
Societe Honoraire de Francais
Congratulations to the 11 new initiates into the French National Honor Society: Sara Blomgren, Nina Cuca, Camille Garvida, Jacob Higgins, Justyn Higgins, Kaylin Janicke, Aymun Khalid, Fatima Nizamuddin, Colleen Rylatt, Melissa Rubio, Tina Trinh.  These students and their advisor, Doreen Hartz, have rechartered and instituted the Socity at Auburn and are hard at work creating new traditions.  Felicitations!
Quiz Bowl
On April 29, 2014, Washington Academy's fifth grade quiz bowl team participated in the America Answers competition sponsored by Thinking Cap. Our fifth grade team finished in 8th place out of 92 teams from throughout the U.S.  Congratulations to our quiz bowl participants: Justin Abel, Isaac Bernsten, Ayush Bhalavat, Jeremiah Davis, Jacob Kobayashi, Sophia Lemonholm, Chris Park, Phuong Pham, Tristan Ramos, Griffen Ridley, Kodai Speich, Nasir Suliman, Beniamin Twardowski, Eleanor Waldorf, and Rhys Weyrauch.

State Honor Roll - Academic Excellence Award 9 Years in a Row!
Congratulations to Washington Academy!  Washington Academy is among 177 schools the Illinois State Board of Education has recognized for academic excellence.  Only 22 other schools in Illinois have sustained high performance over at least three years.  To read the full article, click here
Science Olympiad State Championship
Auburn joined 50 teams at the University of Illinois to compete in 23 different Science and Engineering events at the Science Olympiad State Championship on Saturday, April 12, 2014.  Congratulations Nate Asbury, coach, and to our team on their strong performance and our individual winners who finished:

  • Lily Li and Jessica Trinh (5th place in Water Quality)
  • Alex Day and Daniel Li (4th place in Anatomy/Physiology)
  • Mohammad Nizamuddin and Steven Vo (4th place in Green Generation)
  • Logan Gorsuch and Reagan Gorman (3rd place in Astronomy)
  • Peter Ju and Chen Lin (3rd place in Geocaching)
  • Jon Silignavong and Katehrine Waldorf (2nd place in Scrambler)
IHSA Music 

The Auburn Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble performed for the second time in 30 years on Friday, April 11, 2014, at the IHSA Music contest.  Congratulations to both ensembles who received Division I ratings from all judges and to Lynn Olson, Auburn's Band and Orchestra instructor.


Congratulations to Auburn students who competed in the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Academic Challenge at the University of Illinois on April 10, 2014.  Our team finished in 8th place out of 500 teams.  Evan Pandya finished 4th and Camille Sanchez finished 6th in English. Josh Day finished 4th in Computer Science.  Daniel Li and Rayo Tata tied for 6th place in Physics. 

The WYSE Academic Challenge is a competitive series of tests given to students in Illinois and Missouri.  Test material is written by teams of college and university faculty and consist of subjects including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering graphics, English, mathematics, and physics. 

Peace Poster Contest

Melanie Parangalan, Marshall 6th grader, is the district winner of the Lions International Peace Poster Contest.  The theme of this year's contest is "Our World, Our Future".  The contest is international and encourages children ages 11-13 to creatively express what peace means to them.  Melanie worked with Mrs. Normoyle, Marshall's art teacher, and the Rockford Noon Lions Club on her poster.


Thurgood Marshall School is excited and proud to announce The Oceania Tile Mural community art installation.  Oceania is poised to be among the most significant community art installations in Rockford in decades. It is based on cutting edge art/ science integration and received tile contributions from almost 1000 people connected with the two academic programs co-housed in the Marshall building. The leverage and sponsorship we gained from the IAC grant award for this project was crucial in making Oceania a reality. We ran the first successful major Internet crowd-sourced fundraiser for a local arts education project, opening future fund pathways. The mural is emblematic of what is possible through the arts under the best of circumstances and has surpassed our wildest dreams.  The dedication and VIP reception will be held at Marshall School on April 17 at 1:30.

Congratulations Logan!

Logan Gorsuch, Renaissance Academy Senior, has been selected to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Logan has been recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction and is the National Honor Society President.  He is also Auburn's JROTC Battalion Commander.  Check out Logan on our Facebook page.

History Bee
Four Marshall students, Zane Clevenger, Ty Kiathathikom, Ethan Strombeck, and Yusuf Zahurullah, participated in the National History Bee Regionals in Chicago on March 24, 2014.  Ethan placed in the Top 10!  Based on their performance, Zane, Ethan, and Yusuf qualified for the finals which will be held in Atlanta on June 8, 2014.  Good luck!

Thespian Playworks Program
Derick Edgren, Auburn senior, has been selected as one of the four winning finalists in the 2014 National Thespian Playworks Program.  His play, Skin, will be cast, rehearsed, and performed at the Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska the week of June 23.  Way to go, Derick!  Skin also qualified for the state IHSA Drama and Group Interpretation contest.

Geography Bee

Congratulations to 7th grader, Ethan Strombeck.  He has qualified for the state competition.  State winners move on to the National Geographic Geography Bee.  He competes on Friday, April 4, 2014.  Good luck, Ethan!

Money Smart

We have two winners for the Money Smart Essay contest.  David Fumo won first prize and Logan Kolkey won second prize.  Congratulations!

National Merit

Three Auburn High School students are now finalists for two national awards for their academic achievement: Sarah E. Bliss and Haseeb Haroon were named Finalists for the National Merit Award and Precious S. Nwaoha was named a finalist for the National Achievement Award.

To become a Finalist, these students submitted a detailed scholarship application that included each student's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards.  Students needed to demonstrate high academic performance throughout high school, be endorsed by a high school official, write an essay, and earn strong SAT scores.

These students will be recognized at the Academic All-Star event on May 22, 2014. To learn more, visit

Spelling Bee
Kodai Speich, Washington 5th grader, is headed to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.  Kodai competed in the regional Spelling Bee on March 18, 2014.  He lasted through 25 rounds and finally won by spelling ameliorate!  His week-long, all expenses paid trip was a part of his winnings along with $400 and a dictionary so he can continue his exploration of words.  For the Rockford Register Star article, click here.

Golden Apple
Congratulations to Joshua Rollins!  Joshua was awarded the Golden Apple Award in his classroom on Friday, March 14, 2014!  He was surrounded by his students, administrators, family, and School Board members.  Joshua is an outstanding teacher.  He is constantly challenging his students and looking for ways to make learning fun.  He is one of 5 Golden Apple finalists.  To read more about Joshua and the other award recipients, see the Rockford Register Star article.   

Amongst several Washington teachers who were nominated, the Renaissance Academy had another finalist: Erin Klaren, 4th grade.  In addition to Joshua, there were finalists that are graduates of our program.  They are Sarah Christensen Shaw, Windsor Elementary, and Jackie Schumaker Weerda, Ledgewood School. 

Scholastic Bowl
The Auburn Knights finished in fourth place at the IHSA Scholastic Bowl State Championship Tournament!  They made it to state, for the 13th year in a row, by winning the regional tournament on March 10, 2014 and soundly defeating Cary Grove, Woodstock Marian, and Kaneland at the IHSA Sectional Tournament on Saturday, March 15!  Team members Evan Pandya and Cole Timmerwilke were chosen for Team Illinois, the All-Star Team that will represent our state at the National All-Star Academic Tournament in mid-June.

The Marshall Mustangs came in a very close second at the IESA State Championship tournament at Northwestern University on March 8, 2014.  They finished only 15 points behind Barrington Station, who also won last year.    Ethan Strombeck and Cadin Hines were among the top 10 individuals.  Three Scholastic Bowl members won All-Star status in their divisions:  Ethan Strombeck, Championship Division, Will Snedegar, Standard Division, and Greydon Westin, B Division.  Other Team A members were Zane Clevenger, Lilly Chavez, Jack Snedegar, Ellen Chidley, and Yusuf Zaharullah.  Other Team B members were Morad Suliman, Anshu Goral, Ahmad Kady, and Elie Shiro.

Art News
Camille Sanchez is a National Silver Key medalist with the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  This competition, adjudicated in New York by artists, teachers, and professors, is highly competitive nationally.  Regional winners included Jake Rotta, Ling Chou, Benji Bear, and Sabrina Tassoni.  A complete list of national winners can be viewed here:

Emma Lai won the Jurors Choice Award at the Rockford Art Museum Young Artist Show.  Also representing Auburn High School are Benji Bear and Ling Chou. 

Prudential Spirit of Community Award Winner

Misha Ahmad, Auburn High School senior, is one of the eight Distinguished Finalists in Illinois for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.  This awards program, a partnership between Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, honors students for outstanding volunteer service.  Misha was recognized for her work with UNICEF, raising funds to support the installation of clean water wells in underserved countries.  For more information, see:

Congratulations to our Top Illinois Schools
   Washington Academy - Seventh highest ranked elementary school in Illinois!
Thurgood Marshall School - Ninth highest ranked middle school in Illinois!

Each year, the State Board of Education releases school report cards for each public school in the state.  The Chicago Sun-Times analyzes these scores using a statistical method called standardizing to analyze the “scale score” of every reading and math test statewide.  Then, schools are ranked based on average scores on state achievement tests - not on the percentage who meet state standards.  When several schools, such as ours, have 100% of their students who meet or exceed state standards, this statistical analysis yields more accurate rankings.

For more information, click here.​

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