Robbinsdale Area Schools

October 2020 Middle School Update

What is Genius Hour?

Genius Hour is an inquiry-driven, project-based framework designed to excite and engage student learning. Students will spend part of their school time each week exploring a topic of their choice and creating passion projects to demonstrate their learning. Although there is a process to support students, they will be encouraged to collaborate with their peers. During this enrichment opportunity students will be free to learn, create, and share in any way they choose.

Where did the idea originate?

In 2003, the Google company began an experiment in which they allowed their engineers to spend 20% of their work time on a personal project of their choosing. The idea was very simple: allow people to work on something that interests them, and increase company potential. It worked! Some of Google’s most important developments (like Gmail and Google News) have blossomed from this 20% time. 

When does Genius Hour happen?

For the 2020-2021 school year, students will begin meeting with the Gifted and Talented Specialist at their school virtually on Wednesdays when there are no other synchronous classes. Students will be assigned a time and will meet with the teacher and other students participating to share and collaborate on their projects.  

How does the concept of Genius Hour align to our Mission and Unified District Vision?

  • Inspire and educate all learners to develop their unique potential and positively contribute to their community.
  • Implement policies and practices that open pathways to academic excellence for all students.
  • Engage and Empower students by amplifying their student voice.
  • Encourage students to develop their ability to perform at their highest levels.
  • Promote ownership in the learning process by offering choice.

How does my student participate?

Students will see a presentation from the Gifted and Talented Specialist inviting them to participate in the program. This enrichment opportunity is available to any student who would like to participate, students do not have to be identified as Gifted and Talented. Families can access the Genius Hour presentation below. If interested, please contact the Gifted and Talented Specialist at your school.

Middle School Gifted and Talented Specialists

Plymouth Middle School and Sandburg Middle School
Loey Nordsletten-Soderstrom

FAIR School Crystal and Robbinsdale Middle School
Kristen Ehlert


Genius Hour presentation for families 

Hear a message from Loey Nordsletten-Soderstrom at Plymouth Middle School and Sandburg Middle School. 

Hear a message from Kristen Ehlert at FAIR School Crystal and Robbinsdale Middle School.