Success Workshop – March 8



  • Are you the type of parent who expects your child to succeed? To excel?
  • What is success and how do you help your child, teen and young adult set and achieve goals that will lead them to meaningful success in life?
  • What is your role in this process?

 On Sunday, March 8th, TAL, Together for Accelerated Learners Presents: Success at Every Stage, with Guest Presenter, Greg Geiger.

 The evening will consider these three questions through interesting and informative discussions. Student speakers grades 5-12 are needed to participate in the forum discussion “What is your definition of success?” Service hours will be allotted to students who attend.

This free event is being hosted by TAL at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints located at 33900 Thirteen Mile Road Farmington Hills, MI.

Group Sessions 6:00-7:00 pm:

  • “How do you and your children define Success?”  6:00 pm- 6:30 PM
  • General Presentation and game experience- All ages
  • Discussion: “What is your definition of scholastic success? How does it relate to success in life?”   6:30 – 7 PM

Breakout Sessions  7-7:30 PM :

  • Students Grades 5-12 – Clipboard Collage – Magazine cut outs, conversation and craft.  Make your own “Success Vision” clipboard to keep!
  • Parents — “How do parents and adults help children internalize and achieve “measures of success”?              

 Greg Geiger has been a resident of Farmington Hills for over 30 years. He originally came to Michigan as a financial analyst for Ford Motor Company after receiving a BS Degree in Finance from Brigham Young University, and an MBA at the University of Utah. He left Ford after serving as Director of Corporate Finance in 2007. He is currently President/ CEO of Third Millennium Partners, a consulting firm specializing in strategic analysis and organizational effectiveness.

Greg Geiger is very active in community affairs – among other things, he is the Convener of the Farmington Area Interfaith Association, Vice Chairman of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, and a Board member of Neighborhood House (a Farmington community relief agency), the Southeast Michigan Red Cross, and DAPCEP (the Detroit Area  Pre-College Engineering Program).

 Greg Geiger is an ordained Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has (twice) served as Bishop of the Farmington Hills Ward (congregation). He and his wife Denise recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. They are the parents of 5 married, college-educated children and have 14 grand-children. They are presently serving as Co-Directors of the LDS Detroit Personal Storehouse Project, a major initiative by the LDS Church to address issues of poverty and dependency in Southeast Michigan. 

A special thank you to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for allowing the free use of their building.


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NUMATS meeting successful

Center for Talent DevelopmentTAL hosted a successful meeting on November 20, with more than 60 people in attendance to learn about the Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search program.  Families with children in FPS from 2nd grade through 9th grade attended, as well as families from Livonia Webster school and Our Lady of Sorrows.

Guest speaker Kathee McDonald presented details of the NUMATS program via Skype.  A link to her PowerPoint presentation is below.

Parent Presentation TAL NUMATS 2014 w Notes

To register your child for NUMATS, visit this website:

Fee waivers are available for families in the free and reduced lunch program; please contact the Center for Talent Development for more information at 847/491-3782 or

Some of the programs NUMATS participats are eligible for are linked below.

Prior to the NUMATS presentation, we discussed several supplemental learning opportunities for gifted or accelerated students, including:

We will update this post with the presentation about EPGY when it becomes available.

-Pam and Tina




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“Wicked” Registration Form

The registration form for our Dec. 23 trip to see Wicked is now available here:


Please send in payment as soon as possible to secure our group rate.

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November-December TAL Events

We have exciting new events to wrap up 2014!

TAL has secured group tickets to see Wicked, the award winning musical playing at the Detroit Opera House.  We will be attending on December 23 at 1:00 pm.  Tickets are only $49!  If you are interested in attending, please sign up here by November 14: 

Information about where to send payment will be posted soon.

Also, on November 20 we will have special guest Kathee McDonald from Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS) presenting to us.  The meeting will be at 7:15 pm (location is Lanigan Elementary – Media Center).  NUMATS is a program that enables advanced students in grades 3-9 to take above grade-level testing, including the Explore test for grades 3-6 and the SAT or ACT for grades 6-9.  Each year more than 20,000 students participate in this opportunity.  In addition to gaining valuable experience taking college placement test, just participating in the NUMATS program enables families to:

  • Receive a customized report of their student’s strengths and opportunities, identifying an appropriate academic plan through 12th grade; this can be shared with school personnel
  • Be eligible to participate in online learning through Gifted Learning Links offered by Northwestern University
  • Participate in summer camp opportunities specially designed for gifted learners, offered at Northwestern University and Michigan State University

Prior to the NUMATS presentation, we’ll have a quick resource chat for parents to learn more about resources available to accelerated learners in the Farmington area, including the Stanford University Educational Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY).

And finally, mark your calendars for January 25, 5:30-7:00 pm, when TAL will host its first SUCCESS workshop.  This is a hands-on activity for students to create a craft and discuss what their vision of a successful life is.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season,

-Pam & Tina

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Online application for student speakers – for 10/13 meeting with superintendent

The online application for student speakers for our TAL fall kickoff meeting with Superintendent Dr. George Heitsch is now available.  Students are invited to speak about their experiences as an accelerated learner, with each presentation lasting 1 to 5 minutes.

Please fill out the short application here to be considered:

Student Speaker Application


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Fall 2014 TAL Kickoff Meeting

imageWelcome to the 2014-2015 school year!  TAL will hold our fall kickoff meeting on Monday, October 13.





  • 6:30-7:00 pm — Introduction for families new to TAL
  • 7:00-8:00 pm — General membership meeting
  • Location — Maxfield Education Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Power Road.  Go in the entrance with the purple awning.

Special guest Superintendent Dr. George Heitsch will join us for the general membership meeting.  We have provided him with a short orientation regarding the need for gifted/accelerated programming in FPS, and he is interested to hear more!

Students (current or former FPS students) in grades K-12 are invited to make a short presentation on “My Experience Being an Accelerated Learner.”  Presentations should be 1 minute to 5 minutes each; and they should focus on successes and challenges the student has experienced.

To apply to have your student make a presentation, please email and include “Kickoff Meeting Application” in the subject line.  Please include a short summary of the main themes of your student’s presentation.  Applications due by September 25.

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Math Acceleration Appeals Process Meeting

TAL held a meeting on August 4 to help parents understand the math acceleration appeals process better.  Jon Manier, Executive Director of Instructional Equity for FPS, answered families’ questions.  A few of the key points covered are shown below.

The current acceleration protocol is here:

The math acceleration appeals process is described here:

Families wishing to appeal the decision (the student does not meet all the criteria specified on the district’s website, but may still benefit from acceleration) should write a letter indicating interest and why.  This letter is due by August 8 to Jon Manier or the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction.  Jon’s email address is:

Items that are helpful to include in the appeal are:

  • Evidence of math instruction outside of school: Kumon, online classes, private tutoring
  • Activities kids do at home that indicate they have a strong interest in math
  • Input from teacher(s) about math acceleration (if you can’t get ahold of the teacher you need, first contact the principal, and then indicate that in your letter)
  • If the student had poor scores on a particular test and there is a reason (i.e., illness), explain that
  • Test scores on MEAP and NWEA if you have them
  • NWEA screening from district is based on Winter score (Jan/Feb).  If the score went way up in Spring, mention that in your letter
  • Evidence that the student has deep understanding of mathematical concepts, such as being able to explain multiple ways to come to a solution

FPS will make decisions within a week or two of the appeals committee meeting in August.

If you are coming from another district or a private school, and your student hasn’t had the MEAP and NWEA tests, you should request an assessment after 2-3 weeks based on teacher’s input.

In 7th grade families can choose regular math or accelerated math, which is 7th and 8th grade together, so that in 8th grade the student can take Algebra 1.  This can happen even if the student was not accelerated previously.  However, you can’t choose Algebra 1 in 7th grade unless you were accelerated in 6th grade.


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Reading Fun for 5th-8th Graders


5th-8th graders, are you bored with summer yet?  On August 14th, join other tweens to explore “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman at the downtown branch of the Farmington Community Library.

August 14
6:30-7:30 pm

“This is an utterly captivating tale that is cleverly told through an entertaining cast of ghostly characters. There is plenty of darkness, but the novel’s ultimate message is strong and life affirming…. this is a rich story with broad appeal.”

(Booklist (starred review))


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Screen-Free Week is Coming Soon!

tal SCREEN FREEDid you know that on average, students spend more hours watching tv than they spend in school? What would happen in your life if you turned tv off and unplugged for a few hours everyday?

Will you join the Farmington community as we unplug the screens and plug in playtime, family time and fun! Students and families all across America take the pledge to go screen free for a week. Will you be part of this great national event and try going screen free for a half day, entire day or a week?

Farmington PTA Council in partnership with the Farmington Community Library and Commission for Children and Families is sponsoring Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood’s Screen Free Week May 5th-12th. Students and adults promise to unplug from devices and take the pledge to not watch tv or play video games or use other electronic devices for entertainment.

Please note that work and homework are acceptable uses of electronic devices.

To help encourage this activity, the following incentives are available:

  • ½ day turn off: Enter raffles for every ½ day to win $10 gift cards to Barnes and Noble, Target or Amazon.  Eligible dates: April 21-May 12.
  • Full day turn off: Enter raffles for $25 gift cards for every successful full day without screens.  Eligible dates: April 28-May 12.
  • 7 Day Screen Free: Enter raffles for chance to win $50 restaurant gift certificate, additional gift cards from May 5th-12th.  In addition to the raffles, all FPS students who were successful are invited to participate in a Celebration Pool Party at the Costick Center.

Raffle slips can be turned in to the Raffle Envelopes in school offices and both libraries. Raffles will be drawn on May 19th.

Individuals and families can take the pledge.

Click here for Raffle Slips

Library Board Game / Blocks During Screen Free Week

Click here for Poster

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Save the Date – TAL Meeting Monday 4/28

Gifted ChildSave the date for the next TAL, Together for Accelerated Learners, meeting, Monday April 28th at the 10 Mile Building. Gain insight and confidence while learning and sharing with experienced parents about how to meet the needs of your accelerated learner.




Discussion points include:

  • Tips for communicating with the schools
  • Advocating for your child
  • Resources that have helped families with gifted children
  • Summer enrichment opportunities.


  • First time attendees begin at 7:30 pm
  • Full membership round table discussion from 8 pm to 9:15 pm.

Location: The 10 Mile building is located at 32789 W. 10 Mile Rd. Farmington. Due to road construction/road closure on 10 Mile, please enter via Raphael off Shiawasee Rd.


TAL’s mission is to network, educate, and inspire parents and educators to further the academic, social, and emotional needs of high-achieving students in the Farmington area.  As part of the Farmington PTA Council Enrichment Committee, and in partnership with the Michigan Association for Gifted Children, Farmington TAL works in cooperation with the Farmington Public Schools.  Membership is open to all interested parties with a focus on the Farmington area. for questions or to subscribe to our email list Michigan Association for Gifted Children

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