In 1985, George and Annemarie attended a World Council for Gifted and Talented Children conference in Hamburg. Being in Hamburg, where George was born, and near Marienau, the school they grew up in and had to flee, made them both quite full of emotion. In addition, the conference opened on the day of the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. This confluence of factors made them both receptive to the power of the questions raised by German attendees about the moral hazard of identifying anyone as gifted and potentially superior. In this paper, Annemarie reflects on the questions raised and her thoughts about their responsibilities as educators to provide moral guidance to students.
In this illuminating article by Roeper Upper School Director Karen Johnson, all the threads of a Roeper education are woven together: the tenets of the philosophy, their applicability to the complexity and precocity of gifted students, and the humanistic pedagogy that gives students their voice and their empowerment.
Citation: Johnson, Karen. “The Architecture of a Roeper Education,” Keeping in Touch: The Roeper School Community Magazine, Vol 11:3, Spring 2018, Bloomfield Hills, MI
The Gifted Child Institute, held at Roeper June 18-22, 1956, led to a plan that encompassed the identification of gifted children, a discussion of the meaning of learning, and the organizing principles of the curriculum. The participants were interesting in developing motivation (how to nurture a love of learning) and self-awareness (how to have a healthy emotional balance). The curriculum was summarized overall as a study of “people and their problems.” It was a broad approach, studying cultures around the world through their myths, technology, and aesthetics using writing, experimentation, critical thinking, and hands-on projects. The explicit goal was to understand the complexity of the world and to find a means of contributing to its betterment. Attention was paid to heightening awareness of gifted girls and expanding their social and professional options, as well as ensuring that students of all races and ethnicities would be identified and admitted to the school.
After the Institute, the Proceedings were collected and printed, thanks to the generous assistance of the Birmingham (MI) Public School district, and made available to anyone who was interested.
In March 1957, George published an update on the changes that had been made at the school to begin to incorporate the recommendations of the Gifted Child Institute.
During the celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Roeper School in 2016-17, School Historian Marcia Ruff wrote histories of several aspects of the school. In this article, she traced George and Annemarie’s path from their upbringing in the progressive boarding school in Germany founded by Annemarie’s parents, Max and Gertrud Bondy, through their flight from the Nazis and the evolution of The Roeper School in Michigan.
Citation: Ruff, M. (2016). “The Origins of The Roeper School,” The Roeper School Archives, Bloomfield Hills, MI.
The Cold War rivalry of the 1950s triggered a national interest in identifying gifted children in order to ensure their skills could help advance American interests. George and Annemarie recognized that gifted children could play an important role in improving society. They were concerned that there was little research about the emotional needs of gifted children and that without that knowledge, the new attention might derail the children’s optimal development. They decided to dedicate their school to gifted child education so they could develop the best method for educating gifted children as whole individuals, as had been their focus with all children, and share their findings with the larger educational community.
Citation: Ruff, M. (2017) “The Beginning of a New Educational System,” The Roeper School Archives, Bloomfield Hills, MI.
For many years, Annemarie would visit the school in October from her home in Oakland, California, taking advantage of the season that was her favorite Michigan season. She would meet with students, faculty, and administrators, catching up on the school and providing advice. During her 1995 visit, she delivered a series of four lectures on gifted child development. The lectures were recorded and we have video and transcripts of the sessions. This is the first lecture, a history of the school, and the second, third, and fourth lectures are also on this website.