•  News
     What are our students and parents saying about the Renaissance program? Please see below...

     If you would like to add to this posting, please email your Renaissance teacher and share the the good news with them! They can then forward it on to Mr. Laningham to post here.
  • A Parent With Two Children in the Highland Lakes Program

    Posted by Adam Laningham on 1/13/2017

    Dr. Veitenheimer,

    I wanted to take a minute to reinforce some things you already know.

    My 7th grade daughter is in her 4th year of Renaissance and my 3rd grade son is now in his third year. So we now have some Renaissance experience under our belts. Recently a neighborhood mom said “You two have really good kids,” and my wife quickly replied “Thank you. They’ve both benefitted from some fantastic teachers who have really helped make them who they are.”

    We constantly remind ourselves how lucky we are that our kids are in such a program (even on the third 22-mile round trip to HLS in a day). My daughter was quiet and lacked self-assurance upon entering the program and now is fully confident, outgoing and comfortable in her own skin, (though I may have overdone it a little on grooming the goofball part of her) You’ll hear similar stories from many other Renaissance parents. While the program itself is a wonderful thing catering to these kids’ special needs, the purpose of my note is to recognize that the program’s real strength is the truly gifted educators you have executing it daily across the board. We’ve seen them all now at HLS and every one of them is remarkable.

    I’ve been in the classrooms and I’ve seen how they ply their craft. You cannot simply plunk just anyone in there, herding 24 little geniuses requires a special skill set which they all employ masterfully. Frankly, it astonishes me sometimes how they do what they do.

    My wife and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to each of them and we’re thankful they’re so good at what they do. Keep up the good work and thank you, sir, for continuing to recognize the importance of Renaissance.


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  • Parent of a 7th Grade Canyon Springs Student

    Posted by A Thankful and Proud Parent on 9/24/2016

    Mrs. Dillon has helped to make school such a positive experience. With all of her patience, creativity, and love, my son has achieved so much this year and last. She continuously makes a great difference for all her students. Because her love for learning is infectious and she cares so much about them, she has directed them to trust themselves in all that they do and to become all that they dream.

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  • Parent of the 7th Grader at Highland Lakes

    Posted by The Parent on 9/20/2016

    My son is doing extremely well at Highland Lakes. I've met both Principal Anderson and Vice Principal Doucet and both are so committed to the children, they are the best we have ever had the opportunity to meet. The Renaissance program is outstanding run by to of the very best teachers, Mr. Shoop and Ms. Crabtree. They are not only excellent teachers, they are very kind and committed people. They also understand the gifted mind, in a way that others do not. Being gifted is a blessing, but not without it's challenges that can often be channeled in to more positive outlets. It's truly amazing how they work with these challenges to turn them in to advantages, not just with my son but all of the children. They are both incredibly gifted teachers. My son has already grown tremendously in this short period of time and I think it will be a great school year. This is the first year he actually enjoys school. Highland Lakes has not only the teachers that make a difference, but supportive and caring staff, and a challenging program that engages him in learning.

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  • A Current 5th Grader at Canyon Springs

    Posted by His parents on 2/8/2016

    As our 5th grade son attends his second year of this unique program, we are very pleased to recommend the DVUSD Renaissance STEM Academy at Canyon Springs. Like so many parents of highly gifted students, prior to learning about this program, we were heartbroken as we watched our child wilt into hopelessness and despair with boredom as his learning needs were not addressed in the general classroom despite the advanced pullout for some subjects. Our son has always had a passion for learning and he's thrilled that, in Renaissance, his passion is shared and even celebrated! Our son enjoys feeling more challenged academically and bonding as part of a classroom "family" with his peers by engaging in "community circle" and having a job as the Banker in the "classroom economy." The gifted teachers are highly trained and exceptionally in tune with the social and emotional needs of our advanced gifted learners. They are continuously working to provide great field trip and club opportunities and enhance and improve the program!!

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  • Current 5th Grade HLS Student

    Posted by The student on 2/1/2016

    I started the Renaissance Program at Highland Lakes in my 4th grade year.  I didn’t think that the Renaissance program at Highland Lakes would be much different than the gifted program my old school.  I was given advanced work, but mostly only in math.  But now, I am able to move forward and push the boundaries in all of my subjects.  I was worried about leaving the friends I had made at my old school.  We still keep in touch, but I now have better friendships with kids that are more like me.  We work together to challenge each other and solve problems.   I thought I’d like music, and I was given the opportunity to participate in Orchestra, Band and Choir including our Renaissance musical.  I had no idea I would love the whole experience of being in a musical.  I am so glad for this opportunity.  I didn’t know what I was missing before and I am happy to be receiving a better educational experience. 

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  • Current HLS 5th Grader

    Posted by Himself on 2/1/2016

    Hi, my name is Dane. Before knowing about the Renaissance Gifted Academy, I would sit in class listening to things that I already knew. When we were assigned work, I would get it done in half the time that it'd take the other kids. Now that I'm in the program, I am doing work that is exciting and new. I love going to school now.  I've been in the Renaissance program for four years and it has greatly affected my life. My friends in my class are like-minded. One of the best things about being in the Renaissance program is that we get to do "hands-on" experiences. For example, in Chemistry we get to mix chemicals that aren't dangerous such as salt and citric acid. I am currently in fifth grade and Math and Science are my favorite subjects. Every year, the Renaissance students in choir put on a musical. Last year, I played the part of Lord Farquaad (the dwarf prince) from the animation Shrek. The musicals are always amazing.

    This year, I'm playing the trumpet. In music, the teachers are knowledgeable and you will learn a lot in a short amount of time. The last fun thing exclusive to the gifted program is that every year each gifted class does a mini Renaissance Fair. We learn about something cool, and then make models or dress up about what we learned. One year, we learned about the Ancient Greece. We dressed up as the gods and village people. I was a Spartan warrior. People would walk through our classes and each student would recite his script that described his role. There are too many fun things to explain. I highly recommend the Renaissance program.  It is even better than my family and I expected. :)

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  • Parent of 1st and 5th Grade HLS Students

    Posted by The Parent on 1/31/2016
    We are so fortunate to have our children in the Renaissance program.  Several of my child's teachers and gifted coordinators had asked us to look into the program, but we thought we were being served well by the gifted program at the former school.  Finally, one of his teachers asked us to just take the tour and see what Renaissance had to offer.  She also mentioned that a sibling could attend school on the same campus even if they were not in the program.  My child had formed friendships and was by far at the top of the class and was a little nervous to change that.  We went on the tour and saw children working to their full potential, working on projects and teams that incorporated several subjects at once.  It seemed like a great opportunity for learning.  Then one of the students had mentioned that he had a hard time at his former school making friends.  But at Renaissance, the children accepted him, understood him and embraced him as a friend and classmate.  After the tour we decided to make the change.
    We have not been dissapointed.  Our second child tested in and started in the Renaissance program.  I really believe that the highly qualified teachers in the program see each child as the unique individuals they are.  They are encouraged to develop to their full potential.  I am so impressed with the projects the children do and the project management skills they learn.  The music opportunities have been amazing, as well.  String orchestra, band, choir and the yearly Renaissance Musical production have rounded out the educational experience.  I do believe there is a connection between music and higher cognitive function.  We would highly recommend the Renaissance program to any family with a gifted child.  


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  • Current HL Parent of a 7th and 9th grader

    Posted by A Parent on 1/8/2016
    "Happy where we are at".  That was us, 7 years ago.  Our needs being met at our home school, so it seemed.  I did not know why my daughter did everything so frustratingly different.  Why she did not want to try new things, why she never liked to finish things. The messes!  My other one, was quietly watching and taking things in. Getting everything right, but no one really noticed, she was bored but never said a word about it.  I thought, "they are who they are". Never knowing that they could soar to a whole new level.  They now celebrate their ability to problem solve and thrive in their challenges.  My daughter were also able to learn music from an early age and have success in a full orchestra with a great teacher.
    Seven years and two kids in the Renaissance program later, in hindsight, thankfully, it was the best decision for my family.  Yes, It was a risk. For us, the price was commuting out of our community we love.  Who knew, finding community in a classroom would be what my kids really needed to thrive?  Renaissance answered a need my children and others with high abilities were not quite getting met.  They explore their talents, work with peers in a safe positive professionally facilitated class.  One where my children were given tools for a lifetime of success that fit them. I can say, unequivocally, that my children would have done well without it, but this program transformed them and empowered them and that could not have happened outside of it.  Having peer groups, deep content, and advanced curriculum that keeps them engaged, while taking place under a highly trained teachers that "gets" these kids has been priceless.  
    Parents:  I recommend anyone that thinks this is for them to get their children tested, if they have the letter inviting them already, to at least visit the program through the gifted coordinator, and/or talk to one of the parents. For us, its been the best learning environment that I did not know they needed, that is structured specifically for Highly Gifted Kids. 
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  • A Current CS 2nd Grader

    Posted by A Parent on 11/19/2015

    Being in the Renaissance Program has given my children an opportunity to learn and grow. In their previous classrooms, they were bored, unchallenged and isolated by their unique capabilities. Now they are surrounded by peers who have the same learning abilities (and challenges!) and the teachers are well equipped and trained to instruct gifted children. We consider the Renaissance Academy to be a lifeline for our family, and are grateful everyday for the positive change it has brought into the lives of our children.

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  • A 5th Grade HLS Student

    Posted by The teacher on 11/10/2015

    Thank You

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