Davidson Institute                                                                                              April 2010
             What's New in Gifted Education | Davidson News | Legislative & Policy News | On the Web | In the News | In the Spotlight
   What's New in Gifted Education
  Intel Science Talent Search – Honoring Those Who Promote Scientific Advancement  
The winners of the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search (STS) were announced last month, with past Davidson Fellows being recognized as leading young scientists!Intel Science Talent Search

  • 2009 Davidson Fellow Erika DeBenedictis received the Intel STS top award of $100,000 for her project developing a software navigation system to help improve spacecraft travel through the solar system.
  • 2008 Davidson Fellow Laureate and third-place Intel STS finisher Akhil Mathew was awarded $50,000 for his math project on algebraic structures with ties to theoretical physics.
  • 2007 Davidson Fellow Laureate and ninth-place Intel STS finisher Yale Fan received $20,000 for his research on quantum computing.                                                  2010 Intel STS winners
  • Second-place Intel STS recipient David Liu was honored with $75,000 for his work to develop a system to recognize and understand digital images.
View the press release. Sources: Intel.com, MSNBC News

The Wallace Symposium – A Focus on Gifted Research and Innovation  
Wallace SymposiumThe nation’s leading researchers in gifted education will present their work at the 10th Biennial Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development, a major conference for gifted education research for the past two decades. The Symposium will be held at the University of Iowa May 16 through May 18. Presenters include Susan Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, David Lubinski, Nancy Robinson and more! Director of The Davidson Academy of Nevada Colleen Harsin will also present, “The Davidson Academy: A Case Study in Matching the Curriculum to the Student.”

Prufrock Press Selected as Small Publisher Standout
Prufrock PressPrufrock Press, one of the nation’s top providers of gifted education products, textbooks, testing instruments and more, has been featured as one of the nation's 11 fast-growing independent publishers according to Publishers Weekly. The magazine’s annual list highlights independent presses in the United States based on growth in sales and the number of new titles released. The main focus of Prufrock’s K-12 products is to truly challenge students and encourage outside the box learning while adhering to national standards. Prufrock also publishes three quarterly professional journals, Gifted Child Today, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, and Journal of Advanced Academics, and one quarterly children's magazine, Creative Kids. Click here for more information about Prufrock Press.

   Davidson News
  The Davidson Academy of Nevada - Application Deadline Approaching
Davidson AcademyLocated on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, The Davidson Academy of Nevada is a free public day school for profoundly gifted pupils. The 2010-2011 Academy application is available online at www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu/Admissions and the deadline has been extended to May 21. Visit the How to Apply page, Test Score Criteria and Application Review Process for more information.

Visit the Academy for a public tour on Friday, August 6.
RSVPs are required and can be submitted online at www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu/Explore.

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

2011 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Applications
Davidson Fellows Applications for the 2011 Davidson Fellows scholarships are available online. Young people under the age of 18 have the opportunity to win a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship in recognition of a significant piece of work in the categories of Science, Technology, Mathematics, Music, Literature and Philosophy, or a project that represents Outside the Box thinking. The application deadline is March 2, 2011.

Davidson Young ScholarsDavidson Young Scholars
The FREE, national Davidson Young Scholars program helps profoundly gifted students discover others with similar interests and abilities, utilizing their skills and talents to maximize their educational potential and make a positive difference. Parents collaborate with a skilled team of Family Consultants who provide individualized services based on each family’s unique needs, in the areas of educational advocacy, social and emotional development, talent development and more! Read Young Scholar Success Stories about how the program has made a difference in these students’ lives. Applications are due the 14th of each month. Apply today!

 Educators Guild
Educators Guild
The Davidson Institute's Educators Guild is a FREE national service for active elementary, secondary and post-secondary educators, as well as other professionals who are committed to meeting the unique academic needs of gifted students. Become a member today to be a part of an online community of more than 1,000 professional educators with access to free consulting services and Educators Guild publications.

   Legislative & Policy News
Equity in Excellence Act – Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recently introduced the Equity in Excellence Act, a bill designed to help ensure that all students will be challenged to reach their full potential in school, regardless of economic status. The legislation would ensure that resources will be provided to help top-performing low-income students achieve at the same levels as their more advantaged peers. Source: Norwalk Plus Online

Race to the Top – Delaware and Tennessee have won grants in the first phase of the Race to the Top competition. Delaware will receive approximately $100 million and Tennessee $500 million to implement school reform plans over the next four years. The Race to the Top state competition is designed to reward states that are leading the way in wide-ranging statewide education reform across a number of areas, including those that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace, better measure student growth and success, and more. Approximately $3.4 billion will be available for the second phase of the competition, and applications are due June 1. Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Christian Science Monitor

Gifted LegislationARIZONA – The Paradise Valley Unified School District is creating a new program for highly gifted elementary school students whose needs are not being met in existing gifted education classes. The new program will serve students who are two or more years ahead of grade level and score higher than 140 on IQ tests, or score 97 or above on two out of three portions of state-approved gifted tests. Source: Arizona Republic

CALIFORNIA – A plan by the Santa Barbara School Districts would eliminate the Gifted and Talented Education label for high-achieving students and incorporate them into the honors category. This plan is causing concern for gifted parents and advocates. School officials say the plan would open up challenging classes to more students, but opponents argue that it compromises the rigor currently found in the GATE program. Source: Santa Barbara Independent

FLORIDA – Advocates are concerned that a new plan to integrate gifted students into regular education classes, with the intention of eliminating gifted programs, will be harmful to gifted students across the state. The plan would also alter the definition of “gifted student,” and broaden guidelines on how different districts can serve gifted students. The Florida Gifted Network is encouraging parents and advocates to contact state legislators with this Call to Action (PDF). Source: Examiner.com

– A new proposal will allow gifted middle school students to receive credit for taking high school courses. Source: IdahoReporter.com

Lawmakers are proposing a plan that would provide scholarships for high school students who enroll in college early. The proposal would allow students to graduate from high school up to three years early and then receive a scholarship to enroll at a state university or community college. Source: Washington Times

– Proposed changes to gifted programs in the Leonia Public School District are causing concern for parents because they were not asked to be part of the process. Some of the proposed changes include integrating advanced lessons into the mainstream classroom rather than pulling students out of class for specialized instruction, and using additional measurements to identify students who may be gifted. Source: NorthJersey.com

NEW YORK – The State University of New York (SUNY) system has created new "Smart Scholars" Early College High School partnerships offering opportunities for students historically underrepresented in higher education. The schools will allow students to work toward a high school diploma while simultaneously receiving up to two years of college credit without paying tuition. Source: The Lamron

Advanced middle school students will soon be able to attend gifted and talented programs at four schools in Staten Island. About 250 students are eligible for the Middle School Scholars Program's 120 seats. Source: Staten Island Advance

TEXAS – The Houston Independent School District is considering making Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests mandatory in an attempt to assess the quality of its courses. Under the plan, the district would pay for the students to take the exams at a cost of about $842,000 a year for more than 21,000 tests. Source: Houston Chronicle

– A new program for teachers, offered jointly by University of Wisconsin - Whitewater and University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, is intended to provide them with the skills needed to educate gifted and talented students. Officials are also hoping to offer a gifted and talented program coordinator license. Source: Janesville Gazette

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
Gifted Education Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted, with recent posts including:
  • In Defense of AP – Numerous school districts have decided to roll out Advanced Placement courses very broadly, many citing a study finding that kids who attempted hard classes in high school were more likely to go to college. So why not offer AP, have kids challenge themselves, and watch the college enrollment rates go up? That's a reasonable idea, but the reality is that many kids aren't prepared for the rigor of AP classes, and their teachers are equally unprepared to teach them well.
  • Tennessee and Delaware win Race to the Top – While a number of people had fretted that a dozen or more states would win awards, thus watering down the impact, the selection of only two is promising.
Join the discussion today!

New Page on the Davidson Gifted Database
Davidson Gifted DatabaseThe Davidson Gifted Database at www.DavidsonGifted.org/DB is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students. Search an online article library and an extensive database of resources, plus view upcoming events of interest to the gifted community. Also, a "What's New" page has recently been launched, designed to provide a monthly update of some of the most-recently added articles and resources. The Database also houses a State Policy Map, where you can see how gifted-friendly your state is.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
April 13, 2010 - Edutopia, Defining Differentiated Instruction (Rebecca Alber)
April 11, 2010 - Savannah Morning News, Bright preschooler needs challenge and fun (Sylvia Rimm)
April 7, 2010 - EdWeek.org, Dispelling Myths about Gifted Students and Gifted Education (Tamara Fisher)
April 5, 2010 - Savannah Morning News, There are truly many gifted children (Sylvia Rimm)
April 1, 2010 - Education News, Interview with S. Pfeiffer: Florida State Academy for the Gifted (Jay Mathews)
March 30, 2010 - USA Today, Advanced Placement: Good for top students, oversold to others? (Scott Jaschik)
March 30, 2010 - Inklings News, Gifted Ed: While Others Slide Ahead, Gifted Students Feel Stuck (Tessa Green)
March 20, 2010 - Grimsby Telegraph, Two-year-old with IQ of 136 joins Mensa elite (Staff)
March 10, 2010 - Sparks Tribune, The art of making music look easy (Forrest Hartman)
March 9, 2010 - The Takeaway, What Does it Take to Be a Genius? (Audio Interview) (Staff)

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

   In the Spotlight

Max Wallack - A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

I have been a Davidson Young Scholar since the age of 4. Nine years later, I still remember visiting Lake Tahoe, meeting other Davidson Young Scholars, and spending time with Jan and Bob Davidson. Most of all, I remember Jan Davidson’s words that set the course for my life: “I believe that if you have the ability to help another person, then you have the responsibility to help them.” I try to use that phrase as my mantra.
Since 2002, I have invented solutions to improve people’s lives. My first invention, the Great Granny Booster Step (a special step to help elderly and handicapped persons get into minivans and high SUVs), won a national invention competition, including a trip to Chicago. While in Chicago, my family got lost on Lower Wacker Drive. There, I witnessed people living in garbage bags and boxes, and I promised myself that someday I would do something to improve the lives of homeless people. Other inventions included the Walk and Wait Cane (a cane with an attached seat for persons to rest), and the Carpal Cushion (a special cushion (patent-pending) to be worn by people suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). In 2008, I heard about a contest that involved using recycled materials to better the lives of others. I decided to try to use Styrofoam, which occupies too much space in landfills, to improve the lives of homeless people. After much thought, I invented the Home Dome, a shelter for homeless people and disaster victims. The Home Dome won a national invention competition. I even had the opportunity to present it in Washington, D.C. to some Senators and Hurricane Katrina victims.  

Max Wallack

Max with his Home Dome.

Max Wallack

Max, 13, with some of the puzzles he collected for his nonprofit organization,
Puzzles To Remember.

  Since 2008, most of my time has been spent on Puzzles To Remember, a 501(c)(3) corporation I founded, which collects puzzles and distributes them to facilities that care for Alzheimer’s patients. I have collected 3475 puzzles and shipped them to 162 facilities across North America. During school break, I shadowed a neurologist at a local VA hospital. This summer, I plan to work at an Alzheimer’s Research Center. My goal is to become a Geriatric Psychiatrist, working with Alzheimer’s patients.

Currently, I’m a sophomore at Boston University Academy, a high school on the Boston University campus. This July, I will begin taking Boston University courses, and, in the fall, I’ll be taking three at the University. I really enjoy the feeling of independence and the additional perks of being on a college campus. I am very happy I made the choice to study here.

For many years, the Davidson Young Scholars program has been my lifeline. I have constant contact with my family consultant, Crissa Markow. She has always been there for me, applauding my successes, and guiding me through some very unfulfilling past school environments. Crissa is my sounding board. When I share my situations with Crissa, the answers become clearer to me, and my choices become more obvious.

I have also encountered other wonderful mentors along the way. Ms. Hinds, my former school principal, has always been willing to go the extra mile for me. She is very supportive of my projects. We also share some common values and a similar sense of humor. Even if we don’t see each other for a while, as soon as we are together, we are a team. My most recent mentor is Bob DeMarco of AlzheimersReadingRoom.com. Bob and I met online only a few months ago, but we have already formed a very strong friendship. Bob is a brilliant man, a former Wall Street CEO, a former college professor with his doctorate, and now a full-time caregiver to his 93-year-old mom with Alzheimer’s disease. I have great respect for Bob. He says we are both “difference makers.” I like that. I want to make a difference for the better in this world.

   Closing Thought

"I have been interested in science research since middle school, and being named a Davidson Fellow is a genuine affirmation of my scientific abilities and a tremendous encouragement for me in pursuing my research goals."

               ~ Erika DeBenedictis, 2010 Intel STS Winner and 2009 Davidson Fellow


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.

9665 Gateway Drive, Suite B, Reno, Nevada 89521
Phone: 775-852-3483 Fax: 775-852-2184
Email: administrator@davidsongifted.org     Web: www.DavidsonGifted.org
Request a Brochure online.

       Visit the Davidson Institute's eNews-Update archive page on the Davidson Gifted Database.

  DITD Facebook   DITD Twitter   DITD YouTube   DITD Flickr
      The Davidson Institute has more than 1,100 fans on Facebook and 450 followers on Twitter. Are you one of them? The Davidson Institute also has a number of YouTube videos and numerous photos on Flickr!