April 2009
             What's New in Gifted Education | Davidson News | Legislative & Policy News | On the Web | In the News | Events | In the Spotlight
   What's New in Gifted Education
2009 Intel Science Talent Search – The next generation of American innovators

     The winners of the 2009 Intel STS with President Obama

  Following his recent achievement of being named a 2008 Davidson Fellow Laureate, Philip Streich was awarded a $50,000 scholarship for his third place finish in the 2009 Intel Science Talent Search. Philip’s chemistry project on carbon nanotubes could lead to the development of ultra-strong materials and ultra-fast nano-electronics. Eric Larson won the top prize of a $100,000 scholarship for his research on fusion categories and second place winner William Sun was awarded $75,000 for his biochemistry project that could potentially help efforts to prevent disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Sources: Scientific American, Science News Online, Society for Science & the Public
Gifted Education Leader to Take On New Roles
Noted gifted expert Dr. Tracy Cross (left) will soon assume an exciting new opportunity at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Dr. Cross will fill the position of the retiring Dr. Joyce Van Tassel-Baska (see below) and hold an endowed chair as the Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Psychology and Gifted Education. He also will serve as the Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education. Dr. Cross, the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Gifted Studies, is leaving Ball State University, where he created and served as the Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Studies and Talent Development and the Institute for Research on the Psychology of the Gifted Students.

Davidson Institute and Gifted Two-Year-Old Featured on Today Show
NBC’s Today Show recently featured a follow-up story on Elizabeth Barrett, a gifted two-year-old with the ability to read. The segment also highlights the Davidson Institute for Talent Development and includes a brief quote from Jill Adrian, director of family services at the Davidson Institute. View the story and video here.

   Davidson News
The Davidson Academy of Nevada
Profoundly gifted students receive unique educational opportunities at The Davidson Academy of Nevada, a free, public school where the abilities, strengths and interests of these middle & high school students are encouraged and supported. Those who perform at the sixth grade level and beyond, and score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ or college entrance tests, such as the SAT or ACT, are encouraged to apply. Please review the Test Score Criteria page as these scores are mandatory for student eligibility. Visit the Application Review Process page to learn more about the admissions process. While the deadline to submit applications for the 2009-2010 school year has passed, it’s not too early to think about applying for 2010-2011. Applications will be available this September.

Prospective students interested in receiving email updates about the Academy can sign up for the free Explore The Davidson Academy eNewsletter by clicking here to subscribe.

Davidson Young Scholars
The Davidson Young Scholars program provides FREE services designed to nurture and support profoundly gifted young people and their families, including talent development and educational advocacy, an online community, annual get-togethers, and the Ambassador Program. Applications are due the 14th of each month. Apply today!

Free Guidebooks
The Davidson Institute offers free, online access to three educational planning guidebooks focused on Advocacy, Early College and Mentorships. With a wide variety of articles and tools, these comprehensive guides direct parents and students searching for an appropriately challenging setting through a process for effectively implementing decisions. These guidebooks can be downloaded at www.DavidsonGifted.org.

New and Improved Davidson Gifted Database Launched
The Davidson Institute recently launched the Davidson Gifted Database, formerly known as GT-CyberSource, at www.DavidsonGifted.org/DB. The renovated site features improved search capabilities for articles, resources and state policy pages to help students, parents and educators pinpoint a wealth of gifted information.

With this change, all previous links to articles, resources and state policy pages have changed. To locate the new links users can:
  • Search for the title, or keywords, with accurate results using the new Google Search Box
  • Use the Browse by Topic lists for Articles and Resources
  • Email administrator@davidsongifted.org for assistance
You can also access the Davidson Gifted Database from the Davidson Institute’s home page – just look for “Database” in the top menu bar or footer information.
Educators Guild
The Davidson Institute's Educators Guild program is a free national service provided to help professionals meet the exceptional needs of gifted students. It is designed for current elementary, secondary and post-secondary educators, as well as those professionals who are devoted to meeting the distinctive academic needs of gifted students. Join today to enjoy free access to consulting services, Educators Guild publications, and an online community of more than 1,400 professional educators!

   Legislative & Policy News
ARIZONA The Tucson Unified School District is setting out to become a national model for gifted education by doubling the number of students tested for gifted identification, expanding gifted programming, and helping 300 general education teachers become certified to teach gifted children over the next six years. Source: Arizona Daily StarMarch 25, 2009, March 24, 2009 (free registration required)

FLORIDA – The Hernando School District has taken a number of steps to reduce overcrowding at Explorer, a full-day, K-8 gifted school. Students who live outside the school district will now be required to leave Explorer to attend their neighborhood school. Sources: St. Petersburg Times, Hernando Today

UPDATE: Advocates in the Leon County School District have created a Gifted Task Force to recommend an alternate method of gifted service delivery to elementary students, following a recent announcement that the Academic Resource Center (ARC) is closing. Sources: Leon County Schools, WCTV

ILLINOIS – Gifted education advocates are attempting to influence state legislators to support HB 4044, a bill that would provide increased funding of $10 million for gifted programs in Illinois pubic schools. Source: Illinois Association for Gifted Children

MARYLAND – A popular summer gifted program has been cut as part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget proposal for 2010. Advocates for gifted students are attempting to persuade the administration to restore $413,000 in funding for The Maryland Summer Centers for Gifted Students, a program that has been in existence for 42 years. Source: Baltimore Sun

MASSACHUSETTS Starting this fall, state education leaders will track students' yearly progress on tests, rather than comparing different classes with each other. It is hoped that this analysis will allow the state to better monitor students’ progress and could lead to fundamental changes in teaching methods. The current method of comparing one year’s class with the next has drawn criticism, as variations could reflect a group of particularly gifted and talented students. Source: Boston Globe

Potential budget cuts would eliminate $2.6 million for gifted and talented programs, $1.23 million of which is for the Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science. Source: Telegram.com

MINNESOTA – The Prior Lake-Savage School District will launch a gifted academy for the top 2 percent of the district’s third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at WestWood Elementary School next year. Sources: StarTribune.com, Savage Pacer

MISSOURI – Despite efforts from Rep. Sara Lampe to restore money for the Missouri Scholars and Fine Arts Academies, funding remains at zero per the recently-implemented HB 2. The academies are usually funded by a line item of $750,000, which allows students to attend the school free of charge. However, there is no such line item in HB 2. This omission is likely to be re-examined once the bill moves to the State Senate. Source: Springfield News-LeaderMarch 25, 2009, March 24, 2009

NEW YORK – Three new gifted and talented programs – two in Brooklyn, one in Queens – will open this September in New York City, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced recently. Students who scored at or above the 90th percentile on an admissions test last fall are guaranteed a spot in a gifted program in their district. These will be the first gifted programs in the area located outside Manhattan. Sources: New York Times, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

NORTH CAROLINA – Parents are strongly opposing a proposal to cut the number of gifted and talented teachers in the Rowan-Salisbury School System in half. Source: SalisburyPost.com

OHIO – Gifted education advocates are concerned that Gov. Ted Strickland's recent education reform plans would reroute gifted funding while eliminating funds that finance testing to identify the gifted. State officials say the proposal will provide districts more flexibility to fund “enrichment activities,” which can include gifted programs, but other numerous non-gifted-related activities as well. School districts would be forced to use an alternate source to fund testing, as the proposal would eliminate $5 million the state had previously allocated for this expense. Source: Cincinnati.com

PENNSYLVANIA – The Pennsylvania Governor's Schools of Excellence, previously thought to have been eliminated due to state budget cuts, has been salvaged by Lehigh University. Lehigh will underwrite a portion of the costs, which had been entirely funded by the state. The newly named ''Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship'' will offer the same core courses as the former governor's school. Source: Allentown Morning Call

UTAH – A plan that would consolidate Accelerated Learning Program (ALPS) classrooms in the Canyons School District, thereby reducing the number of schools that offer the gifted elementary program from four to two, is forcing many parents in the district to consider switching schools for their gifted student(s). Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

VIRGINIA – Individual school districts will have more control of gifted education programming and services as part of revised regulations recently implemented by the Virginia Board of Education. Previously, the state had to review and authorize districts’ plans for services. Under the new rules, the board will provide only a technical review. Some worry that a lack of standardization could cause some districts to shift funding and reduce gifted programming. Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

WASHINGTON – Unprecedented legislation has recently made gifted education mandated in the state of Washington. Gifted education had been added to the definition of the House of Representative’s Basic Education bill (ESHB 2261 (PDF)) and was recently passed by the Senate. Gifted education funding now cannot be cut even in years of revenue deficits. This signifies a huge victory for the many parents who have fought for academically advanced students in the state. Source: The Seattle Times

Davidson Institute Gifted State Policy Map

How gifted-friendly is your state? Find out at: Gifted Education Policies.  
If you know of new legislation, please contact the Communications Team.

   On the Web
Gifted Exchange Blog
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted, with recent posts including:
  • McKinsey: Bad schools cost us $2.3 trillion – If America can find a way to close the achievement gap, what kind of impact would this have on the national economy?
  • How to Raise Our IQ – Is it possible to raise one's IQ? If so, how does one go about doing so?
Join the discussion today!

Davidson Gifted Database – Featured Resources
The Early Entrance Foundation provides academically talented students opportunities to enroll early in college in addition to assistance with outreach, recruitment and scholarships.

Education.com is a free resource for parents, providing thousands of articles and tools useful for supporting their child’s education. The site includes over 2,000 reference articles on education and child development from the most respected universities, government agencies, and nonprofits in the Unites States.

Do you know of a great gifted resource that could be featured in a future eNews-Update? Suggest a Resource.

   In the News
April 23, 2009 - Washington Post, Home-Schooling Guidelines: A Study in Confusion (Jay Mathews)
April 19, 2009 - Miami Herald, Pembroke Pines boy, 12, tackling a double major at FIU (Hannah Sampson)
April 14, 2009 - Disability Scoop, Holding Your Ground In The Face Of Bad Behavior (Michelle Diament)
April 14, 2009 - Ventura County Star, Math opportunities add up for talented students (Susan Goodkin)
April 10, 2009 - Hartford Courant, Programs For Gifted Students Suffer In Tough Economy (Vanessa de la Torre)
April 8, 2009 - Lancaster New Era, Whiz kids: Meet 3 'exceptionally gifted' teens (Robyn Meadows)
April 7, 2009 - Orange County Register, Don't fret if your child doesn't make it into GATE program (Carol Veravanich)
March 29, 2009 - The Observer, Clever boys dumb down to avoid bullying in school (Jessica Shepherd)
March 12, 2009 - USA Today, Boy with 176 IQ is 1 in a million (Cindy Kranz)
March 11, 2009 - Liberty Tribune, Dispelling myths about gifted education (Editorial)
March 3, 2009 - The Eagle Tribune, The brightest aren't always the best (Editorial)
Feb. 19, 2009 - Univ. of Nevada, Reno News, Top students to compete in Intel Science & Engineering Fair (Jane Tors)

Discuss these stories and more on the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum.

   Upcoming Events
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) – Upcoming Conference
This summer's annual SENG Gifted Conference will be held July 17-19 in Orlando, Fla. and will focus on social and emotional development. The SENG Children's Program will run concurrent to the conference providing children in attendance the opportunity to participate in a number of interactive activities. Specific subject matter is geared toward parents, educators, mental health professionals and gifted adults. Register today!

States with Upcoming Gifted Conferences/Events
California Florida Minnesota Texas
Colorado Indiana New Mexico Virginia
Connecticut Kansas Pennsylvania Wisconsin

For more, see the Events Calendar on the Davidson Gifted Database, your gateway to gifted resources!

   In the Spotlight

Joyce VanTassel-Baska
Gifted Author, Scholar and Innovator

A leader and pioneer of gifted education for more than 30 years, Joyce VanTassel-Baska will retire from the College of William & Mary this summer after a career that has had an immeasurable impact and influence on the field. An author, scholar and gifted program developer, Dr. VanTassel-Baska has received numerous awards and honors throughout the years, and the results of her efforts will continue to be felt for years to come.

After receiving her undergraduate, master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Toledo, Dr. VanTassel-Baska went on to serve in various roles related to gifted education. She served as the state director of gifted programs for Illinois, the regional director of a gifted service center in the Chicago area, the coordinator of gifted programs for the Toledo public school system, and as a teacher of gifted English and Latin high school classes. She then created and directed the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University.

After arriving at
William & Mary in 1987, Dr. VanTassel-Baska went on to serve in her current positions, the Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Education and the executive director of the Center for Gifted Education, which she initiated. She also developed both a master’s program and a doctoral program with an emphasis in gifted education at William & Mary.

Dr. VanTassel-Baska’s impact can be felt not only by those in the universities and school districts in which she has
helped directly, but also by gifted students throughout the world. By publishing 26 books and more than 450 journal articles, book chapters and scholarly reports, Dr. VanTassel-Baska has made strides in gifted research that have proven beneficial to countless students. She also has served as a consultant both nationally and internationally.

Some of Dr. VanTassel-Baska’s prominent accomplishments include: winning the National Association for Gifted Children’s (NAGC) Early Leader Award in 1986; the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 1993; the Phi Beta Kappa faculty award in 1995; and the NAGC Distinguished Scholar Award in 1997. She also received awards from five states for her contributions to gifted education in each of those states.

As Dr. VanTassel-Baska steps down, another leader in the field promises to continue her work, Dr. Tracy Cross.   Gifted education will remain a focal point at the school under the leadership of Dr. Cross, where he will continue to build on the accomplishments and legacy of Dr. VanTassel-Baska.

See also:
   Closing Thought

"For profoundly gifted students who have unique needs, there’s a myth that parents are actually the ones pushing the child, when in reality it’s the child leading the parent and letting them know exactly what they would like to learn."

~ Jill Adrian, Davidson Institute, on NBC's Today Show


If you have information to include in future eNews-Updates, please email our Communications Team.
If you have been forwarded this eNews-Update, and wish to receive future editions, sign-up here.

Davidson Institute for Talent Development
Supporting our nation's brightest young minds.
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Phone: 775-852-3483 Fax: 775-852-2184
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