August 2008
What's New in Gifted Education Davidson News |  Legislative & Policy News On the WebIn the News Upcoming EventsIn the Spotlight 
   What's New in Gifted Education
         Announcing the 2008 Davidson Fellows

Twenty outstanding young people were selected as Davidson Fellows in 2008. Each will receive a substantial scholarship and will be recognized for their achievements at a special awards reception sponsored by U.S. Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Grassley in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress in September. For additional information and extended biographies, please click here.

         Belin-Blank Center Presents Landmark Discussion on Giftedness and Autism
An extensive information packet covering the relationship between giftedness and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), as well as other twice-exceptional issues, was recently created by the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa. Authors Susan G. Assouline, Megan Foley Nicpon, Nicholas Colangelo, and Matthew O’Brien describe the unique learning and behavioral characteristics of gifted students diagnosed with an ASD. Designed for professionals working in gifted education, an extensive list of resources is provided for further information on the topic. View the study here.

         High-Achieving Students in the Era of No Child Left Behind
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently released a report highlighting that the needs of America’s brightest students are not being met. The report concludes that while the lowest-achieving youngsters have gained significantly, top pupils have “languished” academically. The report also found that while most teachers believe all students deserve equal attention, advanced pupils are a lower priority in their schools and receive dramatically less attention than low-achievers. See "In the Spotlight" below to read more.

   Davidson News
         The Davidson Academy of Nevada
Davidson Academy of NevadaThe Davidson Academy of Nevada is hosting an Open House for prospective students on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to showcase their new home at the center of the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Located in the renovated Jot Travis Building, the Academy’s new facility is approximately 30,000 square feet and wireless, including a number of classrooms with smart classroom technology. The Reno Gazette-Journal provides a glimpse of the new location in "Sneak peek offered of Davidson Academy."

If you cannot make this event, mark your calendars for a fall tour:

  • September 19, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • October 17, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • November 21, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • RSVPs are required for the Open House and the tours. Please visit the Davidson Academy Explore page to sign-up.

    The application for the 2009-2010 school year will be available on Tuesday, September 2. View application deadlines and find out more about admission requirements here.

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

             Davidson Institute Launches New URL
    The Davidson Institute recently launched a new URL,, revamping our old website and making it easier for Internet users to find the site through search engines. The Davidson Institute home page has also been redesigned for easy navigation to the program pages that include Young Scholars, Davidson Fellows, THINK and Educators Guild, as well as the Press Room. Please note that the URLs for The Davidson Academy, Davidson Gifted Database and Genius Denied have not changed.
       Legislative & Policy News

    Higher Education Authorization Bill - A bill requiring teacher preparation institutions to train teachers about the unique needs of gifted and talented students was recently passed by the U.S. Senate. Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) helped shape the Higher Education Authorization Bill, with provisions requiring institutions that receive federal grants to reform their curriculum and ensure prospective teachers are prepared to instruct gifted and talented students. Source:

    Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act - A Department of Education grant notification, published in January, led some to believe that the government would redirect Javits grants, the only federal source of funding for gifted and talented education, to programs designed to help low achievers. A revised notification clarifies that Javits will be used only for programs that identify and serve gifted and talented students. Source: Education Week

    CALIFORNIA - The Assembly Education Committee voted no on two proposed bills that could have negatively impacted gifted education. This is encouraging for gifted education advocates who were concerned the bills would consolidate spending and dilute the amount provided for state GATE programs. Sources: California Association for the Gifted, Mayor Sam’s Sister City

    COLORADO - On May 14, Governor Bill Ritter signed HB 08-1021 allowing highly-advanced, gifted four-year-olds early access to kindergarten and five-year-olds early access to first grade if deemed appropriate by an administrative unit. Districts are eligible to receive state funding for these enrolled students. Read Gov. Ritter's Press Release.

    KENTUCKY - A program providing broadband Internet connections to rural parts of the state, No Child Left Offline, could positively impact gifted students. Many small, rural districts do not have enough gifted students enrolled to create special classes or programs, so distance education, made available by the program, could be the only option for some of these students. Sources: Wall Street Journal, Gifted Exchange Blog

    NEW MEXICO - House Bill 241 proposes to separate gifted education and special education while requiring districts to identify gifted students and provide gifted programs. However, the bill does not provide add-on funding for gifted education. Also, the bill has no individualization plan requirement and programs offered would be left up to the districts' discretion. The New Mexico Association for the Gifted is currently organizing advocacy efforts, details at

    NEW YORK - A plan to renovate New York City’s gifted and talented programs is underway. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein recently proposed limiting the program to only those who score in the top 5 percent on admissions tests. Also, a new test to identify the gifted, the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, will be implemented in elementary school programs. Source: The New York Times

    OHIO - Recently passed legislation, Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3301-51-15, significantly raises the bar for gifted education in all school districts by enforcing specific requirements in written education plans (WEPs) for gifted students, increased flexibility in class sizes, and more. Source: Ohio Department of Education

    PENNSYLVANIA - The Board of Education has approved new regulations that will allow for a more flexible, open process for identifying gifted students. While the current law identifies those who score a 130 or above on IQ tests and meet other criteria as gifted, proposed changes would factor in other measures, such as grades, teacher observation and standardized tests. Sources: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Gifted Exchange Blog

    A number of Pittsburgh elementary and middle schools are close to expanding their gifted programs. Instead of pulling gifted students out of mainstream classrooms once a week, five city schools may soon pilot a program featuring daily enrichment activities. Parent input will be sought before the program begins. Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    VIRGINIA - Proposed new regulations may reduce the quality of gifted programs among school districts. Under these regulations, local gifted plans will no longer be submitted to the Department of Education and a change in regulatory language that protected gifted funding could lead to it being used for other purposes. Source: Fairfax County Association for the Gifted

    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:
    • Are Boys and Girls' Math Scores Now the Same? - A recent study claims that boys and girls' math test scores are now the same. However, among the top 1%, there was a lot of variability. What does one make of this?
    • No Child Left Offline - How much of a positive impact can distance learning programs have on gifted education?

     Join the discussion today!

             Davidson Gifted Database– Featured Resources
    Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children: A Parent's Complete Guide provides a wealth of information on advocacy for gifted students. Read about testing considerations, curriculum, successful programs, and planning your child’s education.
    Odyssey of the Mind is an organization that teaches students to learn problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. Students work as a team at the regional, state, or national level, learning how to creatively identify challenges and think outside the box.
    The Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration features a map of acceleration practices and policies in each of the 50 states on their website.
    The 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter provides the latest news and articles on twice-exceptional children.
       In the News                                  

    Aug. 8, 2008 - Los Angeles Times, College Board to debut an 8th-grade PSAT exam (Gale Holland)
    Aug. 6, 2008 - New York Post, 14-year-old Ashburn girl heads to college (Elizabeth Coe)
    Aug. 4, 2008 - Washington Post, Five Ways to Motivate Students (Jay Mathews)
    Aug. 1, 2008 -, Gifted & Talented Education Provisions Included in Higher Education Bill (Staff)
    July 27, 2008 - Washington Post, Do higher test scores mean students are getting smarter? (Daniel de Vise)
    July 25, 2008 - San Francisco Chronicle, Numbers show girls as good at math as boys (Jill Tucker)
    July 17, 2008 - NPR Music, Piano Prodigy's Mantra: Practice Makes Perfect
    July 15, 2008 -, Gifted girl, 11, heads to college in program (Mary Ann Bourbeau)
    July 14, 2008 - Yahoo News, Budget woes force cuts in summer-school programs (David Crary)
    July 5, 2008 - Pocono Record, Schools should foster excellence in students (Editorial)
    July 4, 2008 - Des Moines Register, Don't leave gifted, talented behind (Megan Hawkins)
    July 1, 2008 - Kentucky Post, Gifted Students May Be Left Behind
    (Anya Sostek)
    June 29, 2008 - Washington Post, A Better Measure Than the SAT
      (Nathan O. Hatch)
    June 10, 2008 - Forest Park Review, Finding the brightest
    (Jacob Boyer)
    June 8, 2008 - Washington Post, Is AP Good for Everyone? (Jay Mathews)
    May 30, 2008 -, 'Guerdon' wins spelling bee for Sameer Mishra
    Discuss these stories and more on the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum.

       Upcoming Events

    Growing Gifted in the Sunshine State! NAGC 2008 National Convention
    Learn alongside and network with colleagues at the 55th annual National Association for Gifted Children Convention & Exhibition, Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 in Tampa, Fla. Attendees can choose from more than 260 innovative sessions on topics such as early childhood, creativity, perfectionism, twice exceptionalities, and curriculum.

    States with Upcoming Gifted Conferences/Events

    New Jersey
    New York
    West Virginia
    For more, see the Events Calendar on Davidson Gifted Database, your gateway to gifted resources!
       In the Spotlight

    Fordham Foundation Releases Major Research Report:
    High-Achieving Students in the Era of No Child Left Behind

    Earlier this summer, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation published High-Achieving Students in the Era of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), summarizing the results of two studies.

    Part I of the report, authored by Brookings Institution scholar Tom Loveless, examines achievement trends for high-achieving students as defined by their performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). While the nation’s lowest-achieving students made gains from 2000 to 2007, the performance of top students was languid. Since 2000, students at the 90th percentile (top 10 percent) made only minimal gains, while students at the 10th percentile (bottom 10 percent) showed solid progress. This pattern - big gains for low achievers and lesser ones for high achievers - is associated with the introduction of accountability systems in general, not just NCLB.

    Part II of the report, authored by Farkas Duffett Research Group, provides the results of a national teacher survey, including how schools are serving high-achieving pupils. Asked about the needs of struggling students, 60 percent of teachers say they are a “top priority” at their school. Asked a similar question about “academically advanced” students, only 23 percent of teachers say they are a top priority. When asked, “Who is most likely to get one-on-one attention from teachers?”, 81 percent of teachers named “struggling students” while only 5 percent named “advanced students.” Still, the majority indicated that all students deserve an equal share of attention.

    Neither of these studies sought a causal link between NCLB and the performance of high-achieving students. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that NCLB “caused” the performance of the nation’s top students to stagnate any more than it “caused” the achievement of our lowest-performing pupils to rise. Overall, one finding is that teachers are committed to the principle that all students, regardless of performance level, deserve their fair share of attention and challenges.

  • Download the Full Report
  • Summary One-Pager
  • Gifted Exchange Blog, Did NCLB hurt gifted students?
  • Gifted Exchange Blog, Did NCLB hurt gifted students? Part II
  •            Media coverage:
  • New York Times
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Education Week
  • Baltimore Sun
  • Washington Times

  •    Closing Thought

    "In a time of fierce international competition, can we afford to let the strongest languish? For America to maintain prosperity and strength on a shrinking, flattening planet, we need to serve our ablest youngsters far better than we’re doing today."

    ~ Chester E. Finn, Jr., President of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation  

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