Davidson Institute                                                                                         August 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
  Announcing the 2010 Davidson Fellows
Davidson FellowsMeet the 2010 Davidson Fellows! Davidson Fellows have completed graduate-level projects/portfolios that have the potential to benefit society. Each will receive a scholarship and be recognized for their achievements at a special awards reception sponsored by U.S. Senators Harry Reid (NV) and Chuck Grassley (IA) in Washington, D.C.

Davidson Fellows Program Celebrates Tenth Anniversary
Learn what past Davidson Fellows scholarship recipients are doing today! In honor of the tenth anniversary of the Davidson Fellows scholarship program, past Davidson Fellows were asked to submit brief quotes and/or success stories about how the scholarship helped them, what they are doing today and anything else they thought would be pertinent. This article was added to the Davidson Gifted Database and titled, Davidson Fellows Scholarship Recipients - 10th Anniversary Success Stories.

SENGSENG in the Running for $250,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant 
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) is currently in the running for a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant! Anyone age 13 and up can vote every day until August 31 (today). This count will reset and everyone can continue voting in September. If successful, the grant will be used for scholarships to train SENG Model Parent Group leaders all over the country. These leaders help parents meet the unique needs of their gifted children, as well as offer expert information and resources. However, there are not enough of them to meet the demand, especially in lower income areas, rural areas and areas where English is a second language. Visit http://www.refresheverything.com/seng or dial Pepsi at 73774 and then text the message 101797 to vote for SENG.

   Davidson News
  The Davidson Academy of Nevada
Davidson AcademyThe 2010-2011 school year is underway as of Aug. 23 with 123 students enrolled. Welcome new students and welcome back returning students!

At The Davidson Academy of Nevada, a free public school, the abilities, strengths and interests of profoundly gifted middle and high school students are encouraged and supported. Those who perform at an academic level of advanced middle school or higher in all subjects and score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ or college entrance tests are encouraged to apply. Please review the Application Review Process page for more information.

Upcoming Tours for Prospective Students
Prospective students and their families are encouraged to visit the Academy for an informational monthly tour! The tour Davidson Academyprovides an opportunity to hear from current Academy students and parents, familiarize yourself with faculty and staff, network with others, and ask specific questions.
  • Friday, Sept. 24, 2010
  • Friday, Oct. 22, 2010
  • Friday, Nov. 19, 2010
  • Friday, Dec. 10, 2010
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 to the free Explore The Davidson Academy eNewsletter by clicking here.

 Davidson Young Scholars
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 1st of each month. The How to Apply and Qualification Criteria pages have recently been updated to provide a clear understanding of the application process.

Free Guidebooks for Gifted Learners
The Davidson Institute offers FREE, online access to three educational planning guidebooks focused on advocacy, early college and mentorships, as well as a brand new guidebook, Giving Back: A Guidebook for Volunteerism and Community Service. With a wide variety of articles and tools, these comprehensive guidebooks help direct parents and students through the process of searching for an appropriately challenging educational setting.

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
Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act – The Senate Appropriations Committee recently voted to eliminate Javits, the only federal source of funding for gifted and talented education. Next, the House of Representatives will vote on the budget. In preparation for this vote, the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) are teaming up to have as many Representatives as possible co-sign a letter from Representatives Gallegly (CA) and Courtney (CT), urging the House appropriations committee to restore funding for the Javits program. Advocates of gifted education can contact their representatives through CEC’s Legislative Action Center. Sources: NAGC Legislative Update page, CEC Policy Insider page

Equity in Excellence Act – Reps. Payne (NJ), Guthrie (KY) and Polis (CO) recently introduced H.R. 5586, a bill to provide grants to school districts to close the achievement gap for high-ability students. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate (S.3086) by Sens. Dodd (CT) and Grassley (Iowa). Source: NAGC

Gifted LegislationGEORGIA – Due to budget cuts, the Houston County Board of Education recently approved a resolution to increase the class sizes of its gifted and Advanced Placement courses. The resolution allows the district to add up to seven students per gifted or AP course in Houston County’s middle and high schools during the 2010-11 school year. Source: Macon Telegraph

NEBRASKA – Gifted education in Nebraska avoided a major setback as state education officials backed off eliminating the High Ability Learner (HAL) program. The state’s HAL funding for school districts is still targeted for a 10 percent cut. Originally, officials had proposed cutting the department’s $119,000 HAL budget as well as $2.2 million the state allocates to school districts for gifted programs. Sources: Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star

NEW JERSEY – The Upper Freehold Regional School District is expanding its focus to better meet the needs of gifted students. The new program includes plans to differentiate classroom instruction and assignments for all students, in addition to providing enrichment opportunities and support for gifted students. The district plans to use multiple measurements to assess students for giftedness and differentiated instruction. Source: Examiner

NEW YORK – This year, more prekindergarten students than ever before received the highest possible score  on a national scaled test for the gifted and talented program in New York City. The 1,000 4- and 5-year-olds reaching the 99th percentile on the exam represent a 34 percent increase from last year. Source: New York Times

Questions about a lack of diversity at a New York City public school for gifted students are leading some to suggest that the school change the admissions criteria. Source: New York Times

OHIO – Under a new state Department of Education recommendation, funding for public schools in Ohio would increase by $929 million, as part of the next two-year state budget. Requests include a 72 percent increase in state aid for gifted education next year, which would augment the total to $119.4 million. Source: Columbus Dispatch

Davidson Institute Gifted State Policy Map

How gifted-friendly is your state? Find out on the Davidson Gifted Database State Policy Map.  
If you know of new legislation, please contact the Communications Team.

   On the Web
  Gifted EducationGifted Exchange Blog
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted, with recent posts including:
  • Is this gifted education, or just good teaching? – Shouldn't good teachers be able to differentiate for different students, anyway, without calling it gifted education?
  • Take a test, skip a grade? – It seems like a fairly straightforward proposition: each grade represents a certain quantity of knowledge. If you already have mastered that knowledge, shouldn't you be able to show this on a test, and then move on to the next level? In other words, take a test, skip a grade?
Join the discussion today!
Davidson Gifted Database
Featured Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database at www.DavidsonGifted.org/DB is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students.

This Online Math Program Comparison article provides a comprehensive chart of the main programs offered throughout the United States. Parents can use this chart to choose the online math program that works best for their gifted students.

This article, titled Whole Grade Acceleration Success Stories, provides a collection of real-life stories about successful grade skips written from the parents' perspective. The various accounts cover an assortment of educational options, including public schools, private schools and homeschooling.

Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
August 24, 2010 - Washington Post, Why it's okay to be bored in school (Jay Mathews)
August 21, 2010 - Ottawa Citizen, The mislabeled child (Julie Beun)
August 20, 2010 - SunGazette, Student’s Scientific Investigation Could Help in Battle Against MS (B. Trompeter)
August 18, 2010 - MB.com, The Gifted and the Underachiever (Part 2) (Henry S. Tenedero)
August 16, 2010 - Lakeshore Weekly News, Hopkins teen wins hefty scholarship (Kelly Westhoff)
August 13, 2010 - Hartford Courant, Your Child Is Gifted, Now What? (Russell Blair)
August 11, 2010 - Education Week, Multipotentiality (Tamara Fisher)
August 11, 2010 - MB.com, The gifted and the underachiever (Henry S. Tenedero)
August 6, 2010 - CNN International, Lady Gaga went to geek camp, too (Elizabeth Landau)
August 5, 2010 - Education News, An Interview with Deborah Mersino: Chatting for Gifted (Michael F. Shaughnessy)
August 4, 2010 - Education Week, A Tale of Two Trees (Tamara Fisher)
July 2010 - Psychology Today, Gifted Children: Nurturing Genius - Part I  Part II  Part III (Joseph Cardillo)
July 26, 2010 - Helium, Why gifted children also need special services (Dean Traylor)
July 21, 2010 - Explore Baltimore County, Traits of gifted and talented students (Staff)
July 21, 2010 - Education Week, Abandoning Age-Tracking (Tamara Fisher)
July 21, 2010 - Nevada News, Brightest young minds attend summer institute (Jane Tors)
July 14, 2010 - NTD Television, Child Prodigy Becomes Youngest Indian Professor (Staff)

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

   In the Spotlight

Kimani Emmanuel - A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

What are some past and present projects you’ve worked on to help make a positive difference in the lives of others?
In the Spotlight
I have done quite a few small projects in the past, such as a local block beautification project. Also, I recently gave a speech about the dangers of plastic bags, and the benefit of re-usable bags. My greatest project to date is a project that I did with One Earth Heart (OnEartHeart), a not-for-profit organization that I founded. Its main goal is to have kids help other kids. I rallied local schools, my community and friends to donate backpacks filled with art supplies, called HappyPacks, for the children in the Vo’Fleur Orphanage in Bahia, Brazil; the total weight was more than 300 pounds. I traveled to Bahia to deliver the backpacks.

The name
OnEartHeart, and the idea, comes from a study in which children who live in traumatic situations were given a choice of a toy or sustaining food. The majority of the children chose the toy, because it was something that they could come back to day after day; it brought them joy and took their minds off the world around them. What this study shows is that happiness increases not only your health, but the will to live and persevere. I plan to expand the project by taking HappyPacks to other places around the world. Another HappyPack project will bring books to children in long-term hospital care units.

I am also currently planning to hold a benefit concert for the children in Haiti. Already, seven bands have volunteered.

What are some of your long-term plans?

Some of my long-term plans are to institute a system in which kids from around the world can collaborate and solve various environmental issues in their own backyards; create a “Peace Orchestra” that kids of all races and ethnicities may join, because music is a universal language; publish a magazine for those who have limited access to computers; have an online comic that children from all over the world can collaborate on; and continue to develop a demonstration zone for green technology and natural energy sources, showing how the desire to help the environment can become a reality.

What I want to motivate young people to do is ensure that we have a living, breathing planet, not just a sphere of radioactive dirt. Another goal is to instill a caring attitude into this generation, so that we will pass it on to our kids, who will pass it on to their kids and so on, creating generation after generation of caring people. I want to help create lasting peace, and the only way to do that is by impacting people during childhood. When kids want something bad enough, they are not afraid to go for it. If we put this attitude toward world peace and a cleaner Earth, there is no limit to what can be accomplished with a little effort from a lot of people. We kids are powerful!

How has the Young Scholars program helped you to reach your goals and achieve your accomplishments?

When I reached the age where I could understand and appreciate what the program was, I was very happy to be a Young Scholar. I am immensely happy to have people my age who I can talk to and who can understand what I am saying and appreciate my interests. It is very empowering to know that there is a group of people on your level to talk to, and the YS program has not only kept my mind sharp, but it
In the Spotlighthas also brought some great people and friends into my life.

In particular the Young Scholars Ambassador Program was instrumental in teaching me organization and leadership. It helped me set realistic goals so I could break up my big ideas into little pieces and create realistic goals to eventually achieve my bigger goals.

Please describe some positive experiences with mentors.

From a young age, I had an interest in astrophysics, mostly on the subject of black holes and their properties. Since science was always my favorite subject, I always sought more of it than my school offered. This led to numerous outside activities, and even a summer camp at the City College of New York.

One of my favorite experiences with a mentor was when I was invited to see the research of Dr. Daniel Wolf Savin, an astrophysicist who was working on replicating (on the molecular scale) conditions on the inside of a star. He showed me the research that his colleagues were working on. One of my favorite experiments was the construction of a “satellite” that would be sent into the atmosphere to measure Big Bang radiation from space.

Another favorite mentor of mine was Dr. Neil De-Grace Tyson, whom I have had access to since I was seven years old. He is the director of the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I had many pleasant experiences with him, my favorite being when I went to a lecture of his on the physics of the Matrix.

I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to tell you a little more about myself and my organization, OnEartHeart. As you can see, it is an enormous undertaking, and I hope that the Davidson community will not only stand by me in numbers, but in actions. Thank you.

   Closing Thought

". . . For as much as the world has benefited from the contributions of gifted individuals, it is disturbing, to this writer, to realize that the population least likely to learn and achieve its potential is the highly gifted."

               ~ Joseph Cardillo, Psychology Today article


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