Aiming to Focus on the Needs and Interests of Students


The Washoe County School District (WCSD) Gifted and Talented Program provides students at or above the 98% the opportunity to work together under the guidance of trained teachers in an atmosphere that is intellectually and academically rigorous, interest driven, fosters creativity, and provides emotional support.


This Gifted and Talented Program offers a variety of program services for identified students. These programs include: an elementary pull-out program for grades second through six, a self-contained program for identified highly gifted students in grades four through six, a middle school program with an advanced class in at least one content area, and a high school externship program.  As explained on the WCSD website, their services include: 


Gifted Opportunities for Learning and Development (G.O.L.D.) – a supplemental and accelerated pull-out program which incorporates thematic approaches in the areas of science, social studies, visual arts, and math. 


  • School Within A School (S.W.A.S) – a multiage rigorous and differentiated self-contained classroom which employs instructional techniques such as acceleration and compacting for students above the 99%.
  • Autonomous Learner Model (ALM) – in at least one core subject, this model focuses on ability, achievement, student interest, and the social/emotional components of the students’ education.  WCSD boasts the largest ALM implementation nationwide.
  • High School Externship – a mentorship program primarily for students in grades 11 and 12 to explore their career interests in a professional setting.


Without a State Gifted Director or legislation to require funding, members of the Washoe County School District have taken it upon themselves to make gifted education a priority.  To achieve the objective, many dedicated individuals including a parent advisory committee have created the Gifted and Talented Education Program Strategic Plan.  The overriding goal of the Plan is to encompass optimal services and programs for gifted and talented students in the district.  The process included assessing current services, defining gifted and talented, identifying the major components necessary for an optimal program and developing a timeline for implementation.  Over the next five years, this Plan will focus on program design, curriculum and instruction, student identification, social and emotional guidance, and professional development in Washoe County. 


For more information regarding Washoe County Gifted and Talented services and/or the Strategic Plan, you are welcome to contact Lisa Riggs, Gifted Coordinator (



Myth:  Gifted girls tend to overachieve and like to stand out in the classroom. 

Fact:  “Gifted girls often face a range of social pressures in schools, causing them to shift priorities. In an accepting home environment, they may have felt free to be themselves, to pursue with energy and interest any subject that intrigued them. But in school, the desire for friends, a disinclination to stand out, fear of ridicule, along with the need for acceptance, often impel gifted girls to make their abilities appear ordinary or even nonexistent.” Gifted girls Author(s):  Joan Franklin Smutny
Source:  Open Space Communications, Understanding Our Gifted Winter 1999 Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 9-13

However, as educators, you can help gifted girls become confident in their abilities, comfortable in the classroom, and excel in their talents.  If you are interested in resources that may be helpful to you and the gifted girls in your classroom, please explore:

Gifted Girls

To thine own self be true, A new model of female talent development

Encouraging Bright Girls to Keep Shining

See Jane Win

How Jane Won


Davidson Institute Updates



Open House at The Davidson Academy of Nevada

On Tuesday, August 19, 2008, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Davidson Academy will be hosting an Open House in our new home in the Jot Travis Building on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.  Come tour the new facility, meet the instructors and staff and learn more about the Academy’s commitment to serving profoundly gifted students. RSVP required at


Applications for The Davidson Academy of Nevada’s 2009-2010 school year will be available online starting September 2, 2008.  You can download your application at

2009 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Application Available Soon
For more information on the Davidson Fellows,
please visit

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NOTE: The appearance of selected programs and/or resources in the Davidson Institute's Educators Guild Newsletter does not imply an endorsement or affiliation. Programs and resources are highlighted for informational purposes only.

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