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Renaissance Gifted Program

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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

Eligibility Testing

We will have one final make-up testing session for entrance in the 2015-2016 school year.  All information about our testing, including online registration, can be found on our Renaissance Testing Page.  

New! There will be a make-up testing session for students currently in Grades K-9 on July 30, 2015.  New!


What's New? 

Outstanding Student Achievement at Auburn​

National Achievement Scholarship Winner

Jacob Higgins has won a National Achievement Scholarship. He was selected from an initial pool of 150,000.  Jacob is currently deciding amongst the schools that have accepted him and which include MIT, University of Chicago, and Yale University.  Jacob is considering Astrophysics as a major and/or career.

National Merit and National Achievement Finalists

Congratulations to Valerie Stenerson and Daniel Nielsen, our newest National Merit Finalists!  And, congratulations to Justyn and Jacob Higgins, our newest National Achievement Finalists.  These students learned of their semi-finalist status in the fall.  We will learn about our National Merit Scholars in the spring.

Every year, approximately 1.5 million students enter the National Merit Scholarship competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT).  Some 50,000 of these students, who have earned highest Selection Index scores, qualify for National Merit recognition as Commended Students. Of those, about 16,000 students qualify as Semifinalists.  Semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis, with Illinois being one of the most competitive states.  These students need to meet further requirements to become Finalists.  

Steps in the National Merit Scholarship Program

Perfect ACT!

Congratulations to Chen Lin at Auburn High School on his perfect ACT score of 36!  On average, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all test takers earn the top score. This exceptional score is evidence of Chen's readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.

Summer Programs

Summer is right around the corner and parents are thinking of ways to continue the learning into summer.  There are programs and camps both near and far.  For more information about camps or programs for gifted learners as well as some advice about choosing a summer program, see our Summer Programs page.   

​Parent Presentations

Social Emotional Development in Gifted Children: February 10, 2015, Washington Academy, 

Social Emotional Development in Gifted Children

Strengths and Possible Problems

Overexcitabilities and the Gifted Child

Developing a Feeling Vocabulary

Executive Function and Organization: March 3 2015, Marshall School & March 10, 2015, W​ashington Academy

Executive Function and Organization

Executive Functions

Strategies to Support Executive Function Skills

Parents Can Help Students Develop EF

Executive Functions Impaired in ADD/ADHD​ article

​Renaissance Gifted Academy Effectiveness Survey

Our Renaissance Gifted Academy Effectiveness Survey is now closed.  Thank you for your participation.  We value your input.  Survey results will be published here in early spring.


​We have launched our new Renaissance Gifted Academy Alumni Page​!  We are calling upon all Academy alumni to share "where they are now".  It is our hope to share information about our alumni with potential families so they see the exciting range of paths our alumni have taken in life and where those paths have led them. We are also hoping this page can help alumni learn more about their friends and classmates from the past.​

If you are an alumnus, please take part in our short survey found here​.  And, spread the word to your classmates.  We want to hear from everyone!


Wonderful Websites 

Spelling Bee
Sushi, Imperative, Boutique, Relevant, Chimichanga, Precipice, Bowery, Marzipan....and on this, his eighth word, Alex Ludington came in a very respectable 3rd place in the Regional Bee. Congratulations to Alex and his Washington Academy Spelling “coach”, Christine Flatt.  A great time was had by all in the spelling club. 

Scholastic Bowl - IHSA Regional and Sectional and State Winners!!

Congratulations go out again to Auburn's Scholastic Bowl Team!  They are the 2015 State Scholastic Bowl Champions!  On Friday, March 20, the Auburn Knights defeated Dunlop 400-240, Palatine Fremd 430-270, Carbondale 390-310, and Hinsdale 480-240 in the championship round to finish victorious!!

Team members include:

    • Hamza Zahurullah
    • Cole Timmerwilke
    • Steven Vo
    • Usman Haseeb
    • Mohammad Nizamuddin
    • Evan Pandya
    • Henry Roe
    • William Jiang
    • Brad McLain
    • Joshua Day

On Monday, March 9, Auburn won the Regional Tournament.  On Saturday, March 14, 2015, Auburn won the Sectional Tournament, held at home.  Way to go, Knights!  

​Rockford Register Star Editorial​

Science Olympiad

On Saturday, March 14, 2015, Auburn participated in the Regional Science Olympiad Competition at Rock Valley College.  There were 22 high school teams from 13 total schools.  Auburn's performance advanced them to the State Championship Tournament in April.

Varsity Awards:

First place:  

    • Cell Biology: Chen Lin and Brad Foster
    • Experimental Design: Tina Trinh, Camille Sanchez and Lily Li
    • Forensics: Camille Sanchez and Lily Li

Second Place 

    • Disease Detectives: Lily Li and Camille Sanchez
    • Green Generation: Chen Lin and Douglas Chan
    • Bungee Drop: Jessica Trinh and Katherine Waldorf

Third Place

    • Dynamic Planet: Jessica Trinh and Chen Lin
    • Entomology: Tina Trinh and Chau Pham
    • Protein Modeling: Jessica Trinh, Lily Li and Brad Foster 
    • Technical Problem Solving: Abdulkareem Harunani and Jacob Higgins

JV Awards:

First Place

    • Anatomy & Physiology: Emma Lai and Cassie Shriver
    • Cell Biology: Monay Zayed and Ellen Chidley
    • Chemistry Lab: Steven Do and Ellen Chidley
    • Disease Detectives: Reagan Gorman and Nick Chockalingam
    • Entomology: Paul White and Nguyen Pham
    • Experimental Design: Giacomo Lucchese, Blake Geisler and Steven Do
    • Geologic Mapping: Paul White and Nick Chockalingam
    • Green Generation: Monay Zayed and Ellen Chidley
    • It's About Time: Giacomo Lucchese and Alex Finley
    • Bungee Drop: Mat Vanbrocklin and Justyn Higgins

Second Place 

    • Astronomy: Harin Patel and Michael Lim
    • Cell Biology: Alex Finley and Steven Do
    • Disease Detectives: Harin Patel and Michael Lim
    • Fossils: Matt Vanbrocklin and Reagan Gorman
    • Green Generation: Harin Patel and Michael Lim
    • Protein Modeling: Monay Zayed and Cassie Shriver
    • Write It, Do It: Paul White and Blake Geisler
    • Air Trajectory: Emmal Lai and Matt Vanbrocklin
    • Scrambler: Michael Lim and Nguyen Pham

Third Place

    • Astronomy: Harin Patel and Michael Lim
    • Chemistry Lab - Emma Lai and Monay Zayed
    • Dynamic Planet: Blake Geisler and Matt Vanbrocklin
    • Experimental Design: Paul White, Nick Chockalingam, and Alex Finley
    • Forensics: Cassie Shriver and Giacomo Lucchese
    • Geologic Mapping: Matt Vanbrocklin and Justyn Higgins
    • Technical Problem Solving: Michael Lim and Harin Patel
​2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards - National Gold Key Winner

Benji Bear, Auburn High School senior, has won the Scholastic Art and Writing​ gold key award for his Senior Art Porfolio.  His photography portfolio, The Ignored, was inspired by the events in Ferguson, Missouri.  All art and writing submissions were judged based on the program’s three criteria: originality, technical skill and emergence of personal vision or voice. 

The Scholastic Art and Writing Competition is the nation's longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12.  More than 300,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level in the Awards' 28 categories, which include poetry, painting, architecture, short story, fashion design and more. Eight high school seniors, including Benji,  received the art program's highest national honor, the Portfolio Gold Medal, which includes a $10,000 cash scholarship. Another 8 students were recognized for writing.  In addition, all national Award-winning high school seniors gain access to a special scholarship pool of more than $10 million through Alliance partnerships with esteemed colleges and universities across the U.S. ​ ​​

Previous winners include Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, ​​Stephen King, Zac Posen, and Lena Dunham.​


We are proud of our Marshall and Washington students who attended the State Chess Championships recently.  At the IESA Chess Championship, the Marshall 6th grade team finished in 7th place, the highest scoring of any team with only three players.  Sreyansh Mamidi finished as 1st runner-up.  Charles Kang and Daniel Strohman finished as 2nd runner ups.  Marshall's 7th grade team finished in 4th place.  Vincent Do was the grand champion with a perfect score of 7.0.  Sengdao Inthavong, Richard Yang, and Jeremiah Davis were 2nd runner-ups.  

At the 2015 IL K-8 Chess Championship on March 8th, the Marshall team finished in 5th place.  Vincent Do finished in 5th place in the 6-8 section and Jeremiah Davis finished in 8th place for 7th grade.  Kamalesh Sureshkumar, Washington 3rd grader, tied for 2nd place.  ​ 


Our students continue to amaze!  They attended the WYSE Sectional Tournament on March 5, 2015 at Northern Illinois University.  Auburn finished in first place, edging out Hononegah by .16 points.  The team moves on to compete in the State championship tournament at the University of Illinois on Monday, April 13.  Good luck, Knights!  Sectional Winners:

    • Josh Day: 1st place in Math  and Computer Science
    • Douglas Chan: 1st place in Chemistry
    • Evan Pandya: 2nd place in Biology
    • Donovan McClelland: 2nd place in Physics
    • Chen Lin: 2nd place in Chemistry
    • Dan Nielsen: 3rd place in Chemistry

The Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) Academic Challenge is a high school academic competition run by the University of Illinois and the Missouri University of Science and Technology.  Students take two exams from the following subject areas: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Graphics/Drafting, English, Mathematics, and Physics.

IHSA 2015 Solo/Ensemble, March 7, 2015

Congratulations to our hard-working musicians.  Months of preparation led up to the IHSA Solo/Ensemble competition where these students competed in one or more events. Division I Winners:

    • Violin solo - William Jiang, Best of Day
    • Clarinet solo - Doug Chan, Best of Day!
    • Woodwind Duet - Emma Lundquist & Doug Chan, Best of Day!
    • Piano - Jacob Higgins
    • Flute solo - Emma Lundquist
    • Oboe solo - Rachel Corzine
    • Oboe solo - Brandon Martin
    • Woodwind Duet - Emma Lundquist & Jacob Higgins
    • String Duet - Tara Griffith & Maren Mattson
    • Trumpet Trio - Kristine Adams-Wedemeyer, Nick Chocklingam, & Connor Kloss
    • String Ensemble - Abi Shelton, Tara Griffith, Emily Eischen, Maren Mattson, Alyssa Wright
    • Vocal Solos - Chloe Alexander, Ellie Dudeck, Katie Garner, Claire Hagney, Kathleen Lundberg, Riley Martin, Allison Pitman, Asia Ward​

Division II Winners

    • String Choir - Aurora Harkleroad, Tayna Medina, Taryn Burress, Camila Rothschild, Alexandria Potter, Maren Mattson, Alyssa Wright
    • Flute Duet - Tamiar Escamilla, Kaylee Whitenack
    • Violin Solo - Abigail Shelton
    • Oboe/Trombone Duet - Brandon Martin, Everett Underwood

Division III Winner

    • Viola Solo - Kyleigh Boehle

​Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center 

On Saturday, February 21, 2015 young musicians from Rockford and the surrounding area competed at the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center Chandler Competition.  Our congratulations go out to Sebastien Roethle, 4th Grade, for placing first in the Elementary Strings category (violin).  All winners performed in concert on Sunday, February 22, 2015. Way to go, Sebastien!

IHSA Athlete - Janelle Ferguson
Over 490 athletes were nominated for the 2014-2015​ IHSA Academic All-State Team.  Only 27 were selected to the first team and 50 for honorable mention.  Janelle Ferguson, a senior cross country and girls track athlete at Auburn, was awarded Honorable Mention on February 17, 2015.  Congratulations Janelle!

Every IHSA member school was invited to nominate one female student and one male student to be a part of the prestigious team. Nominees needed to possess a minimum 3.50 grade point average on 4.0 scale, have participated in at least two IHSA sponsored activities during each of the last two years of high school, and have demonstrated outstanding citizenship.  The nominations were evaluated by a committee made up of IHSA principals, athletic directors and activities directors. It really is an accomplishment just to be nominated for this award.

REBA Basketball

Congratulations to the 5th Grade Boys Basketball Team from Washington!  They finished in 1st place in the district at the REBA Tournament.

​2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

We are proud of our Auburn Knights who have won awards in the regional Scholastic Art and Writing competition.  Auburn had more winners than any other area high school.  ​​Gold Key winners will have their work automatically considered for national recognition in New York.  Our winners:

    • Benji Bear: Gold Key for Senior Art Portfolio
    • Ling Chou: Silver Key​ for Art Portfolio​
    • Taylor Gorsuch: Gold Key for Drawing/Illustration​, Honorable Mention for Drawing/Illustration
    • Katherine Lundberg: Silver Key for Drawing/Illustration​, Honorable Mention for ​​​​Painting​
    • James Miller: Silver Key for Drawing/Illustration
    • Beini Pan: Honorable Mention for Drawing/Illustration
    • Chau Pham: Gold Key for Art Mixed Media, Honorable Mention for Drawing/Illustration, Honorable Mention for Art Portfolio
    • Camille Sanchez: Gold Key for Art Portfolio
    • ​​​Sabrina Tassoni: Silver Key for Drawing/Illustration
    • Alexandria White: Gold Key for Drawing/Illustration
    • Shanida Younvanich: Gold Key for Drawing/Illustration

DAR Good Citizens Honors Program

Congratulations to Fatima Nizamuddin, Auburn High School's winner of the Good Citizen Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution.  This contest, created in 1934, is intended to reward the qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities.  In Fatima's case, her nominator described her as "a humble, unassuming woman whose central goal is to positively impact the world.  What sets her apart is her boundless enthusiasm and energy for service to her school and community." 

Auburn Seniors 
On Wednesday, February 25, two Auburn seniors signed their commitment paperwork to play college football.  Colin Osborne will play for Truman State University in Missouri.  Brett Garst will play for Ripon College in Wisconsin.    

​Congratulations to our Top Illinois Schools
   Washington Academy - Fifteen​th highest ranked elementary school in Illinois!
Thurgood Marshall School - Tenth 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.​

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