Davidson Institute                                                                                      February 2010
             What's New in Gifted Education | Davidson News | Legislative & Policy News | On the Web | In the News
   What's New in Gifted Education
  TwitterGifted Chats on Twitter  
Parents, educators and gifted education advocates worldwide have recently come together to share resources, ideas and innovative new ways of thinking about gifted issues through chats every Friday on Twitter. Organized by gifted advocate Deborah Mersino, these chats offer an opportunity to discuss specific topics every Friday - one topic at noon and one at 7 p.m. (EST) - using the hashtag #gtchat.  Participants can vote for the #gtchat topic each week via a "Twtpoll." Click here for more information, follow Deborah on Twitter or search for #gtchat on Twitter.

New Study Reports Wide Achievement Gaps Among Nation's Top Students  
Center for Evaluation and Education Policy In the age of No Child Left Behind, the focus has been on raising minimum standards and students’ overall test scores. Among the nation’s top students, however, the achievement gap between those from different subgroups is widening, according to a new Center for Evaluation and Education Policy report. The report shows achievement gaps have either widened, stayed the same, or slightly declined between sexes, racial groups, English and non-English-speaking learners, and those at different income levels since the late 1990s. To address these gaps, the report calls on federal, state, and local policymakers to better consider the needs of top-performing students and enact policies more supportive of acceleration, early college and grade skipping. Sources: Education Week, Press Release

Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary - National Curriculum Network Conference 2010
Center for Gifted Education Gifted education professionals from across the country have the opportunity to share in discussions about curriculum, instruction, and assessment for high-ability and gifted learners at the Center for Gifted Education’s  15th National Curriculum Network Conference (PDF), March 10-12. The conference features nationally recognized speakers who will share their in-depth perspectives and research. For more information or to register please visit the conference website http://cfge.wm.edu/professional_ncnc.htm, or contact the center by phone at 757-221-2166 or by email at cfge@wm.edu.

   Davidson News
  2010 Davidson Fellows Scholarship - Application Deadline Approaching
Davidson FellowsApplications for the 2010 Davidson Fellows scholarships are available online. Young people under the age of 18 have the opportunity to earn 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 3, 2010.

THINK Summer InstituteTHINK Summer Institute
The THINK Summer Institute, one of the most academically rigorous summer programs in the country, will run July 10 through July 31, 2010. Thirteen to 16-year-old students can earn six college credits at this three-week residential program on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. THINK applications are currently being accepted. The next deadline is Feb. 24 and the final deadline is March 31. Apply today!

The Davidson Academy of Nevada
Upcoming Tours for Prospective Students
Davidson AcademyVisit the Davidson Academy of Nevada, a free public day school for profoundly gifted pupils on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, during one of our public tours on Thurs., March 25, Thurs., April 15 and Fri., Aug. 6. RSVPs are required and can be submitted online at www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu/Explore.

The 2010-2011 application is available online at www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu/Admissions and the deadline has been extended to May 21. Read The Davidson Academy How to Apply page, the Test Score Criteria and the Application Review Process for more information.

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 ScholarsDavidson Young Scholars
The national 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, and annual get-togethers. Applications are due the 14th of each month. Apply today!

The Ambassador Program is designed to provide Young Scholars with the training and skills to develop, implement and manage their very own community service projects. The new decade has brought us a cohort of Ambassadors-In-Training who are just beginning the 18-month training process. This includes seven online seminars and one-on-one advising from a member of the Davidson Institute’s Ambassador Team. Please visit the Ambassador webpage and click on the project links at the bottom of the page to learn more about the incredible accomplishments of some of our inaugural Ambassadors! Be sure to keep an eye out for young people doing amazing things in your community, they might just be a Young Scholar Ambassador!

Gifted Issues Discussion Forum - A Meeting Place for All Things Gifted
Gifted IssuesRegister for the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum and become a part of one of the most active gifted education forums on the web! With nearly 3,000 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about an abundance of gifted topics.

   Legislative & Policy News
Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act – President Obama's recently-released fiscal year 2011 budget eliminates Javits, the only federal source of funding for gifted and talented education. The 22-year-old program, funded at $7.46 million for fiscal year 2010, is designed to support research and development applied to teaching strategies to address the needs of gifted learners, particularly those from disadvantaged and underserved backgrounds. The Administration has proposed consolidating Javits with two other programs into a new fund, called the College Pathways and Accelerated Learning fund. JavitsThe National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) distributed this press release (PDF) advising Congress to restore Javits funds. See also NAGC’s Advocacy Toolkit designed for state and local advocates in gifted education. Sources: Examiner.com, Education Week

Multiple States – Dozens of public high schools in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont will introduce a program allowing 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and enroll in community college, starting in the fall of 2011. The program is being organized by the National Center on Education and the Economy. Source: New York Times. Read parents' concerns in the comments section at the Gifted Exchange.

COLORADO – Members of the Colorado General Assembly recently introduced House Bill 10-1253, which “distinguishes, where necessary, the education of gifted children from that of children with disabilities in the ‘Exceptional Children’s Educational Act.’” The bill would also require the state board of education to appoint an advisory committee to assist with issues related to gifted education services and programs. Source: StateBillNews

The Cañon City School District is adding an early entrance program for highly gifted children in kindergarten and first grade for the 2010-11 school year. The program will allow highly gifted 4-year-olds to gain early entrance to kindergarten and highly gifted 5-year-olds early entrance to first grade. Colorado state law defines “highly gifted” students as those who score in the top one-tenth percentile. Source: Cañon City Daily Record

ILLINOIS – As part of a new district proposal, gifted elementary school students in District 300 would no longer be pulled out of their classrooms for weekly one-hour sessions with gifted education specialists, as part of planned changes for the 2010-11 school year. Instead, they would be clustered in classrooms dedicated to teaching high-level thinking skills. Source: The Courier News (article no longer available online)
Gifted Legislation
IOWA – A new program at the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa will train parents, teachers and other professionals teaching methods for twice-exceptional students. Funded in part by a $165,000 federal grant, the program will train those who work with students who are gifted but also face disabilities. Sources: Press-Citizen, Daily Iowan

If Iowa is awarded a grant from the national Race to the Top Fund, schools from across the state would launch pilot programs in “competency-based” education, which would allow students to be grouped by ability, not by grade, and allow them to advance at their own pace. Source: Omaha World-Herald

– The Brainerd School District is considering ways to improve K-12 gifted programs. Some of the suggested improvements are to employ a district gifted and talented services coordinator and implement enrichment programs. Source: Brainerd Dispatch

– A new public charter school for gifted students will open in August 2010 in North Charleston. The Palmetto Scholars Academy will accept a total of 216 students in grades 6 through 8 in its first year, with additional grades added for high school each successive year. Source: Daniel Island News

As part of recent budget cuts, the Georgetown County School Board has been forced to eliminate the Gifted and Talented Summer Program. Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

– The newly formed Canyons School District is seeking to implement the "Response to Intervention" (RTI) program, which will track gifted students’ achievement and tailor instruction to fit their needs. Source: Salt Lake Tribune

Revamped Gifted Education State Policy Database
Gifted Education State PoliciesThe Davidson Institute's Gifted Education State Policy Map was recently updated to reflect a wealth of new information included in the NAGC report, titled the 2008-2009 State of the States in Gifted Education (PDF). Click on your state to view their specific definition of giftedness, as well as updated key personnel and statistics. The legislative section contains information on many topics never before covered, such as states’ policies on acceleration, identification and teacher training. The color status of 12 states also changed: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

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:
  • Planning for Early College – Since every state promises children a free and appropriate education up to grade 12, wouldn't it be a logical step to sayGifted Education that the state would promise a free and appropriate education up to the equivalent age?
  • Gifted brains . . . more efficient? – If high IQ brains are more efficient, can training make any brain more efficient? If IQ falls within a certain range, then it would seem that one could push toward the top of a range through repeated use.
Join the discussion today!

Social Networking - Impacting the World of Gifted Education
With social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter exploding onto the scene over the past few years, parents, students and gifted education advocates have been able to use them to communicate and access information like never before. In addition to the #gtchat mentioned at the top of this newsletter, check out this Davidson Gifted Database article for an ever-growing list of gifted organizations and advocates on social networking sites, as well as links to gifted advocacy blogs and other online publications. 
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
Feb. 19, 2010 - The Wall Street Journal, Fleeting Youth, Fading Creativity (Jonah Lehrer)
Feb. 17, 2010 - Herald Sun, Multilingual 3-year-old joins Mensa (Guy Patrick)
Feb. 12, 2010 - The MIT Tech, One country, one set of standards (Ryan Normandin)
Feb. 10, 2010 - New York Times, Expansion of A.P. Tests Also Brings More Failures (Tamar Lewin)
Feb. 9, 2010 - Boston Globe, Prodigy who has autism comes into his own as performer, mentor (Joseph P. Kahn)
Feb. 9, 2010 - Education Week, What Brain Imaging Shows Us About Gifted Learners (Tamara Fisher)
Feb. 9, 2010 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Is genius genetic or is it nurtured? (Joe Smydo)
Feb. 2, 2010 - San Diego News Network, Teaching teachers to teach the gifted (Marty Graham)
Jan. 31, 2010 - New York Magazine, Why kindergarten-admission tests are worthless, at best (Jennifer Senior)
Jan. 28, 2010 - Education News, It is not elitist to nurture gifted pupils (Staff)
Jan. 22, 2010 - Washington Post, Elementary gifted ed made easy (Jay Mathews)
Jan. 22, 2010 - Taunton Daily Gazette, Massachusetts school takes whole-child approach to learning (Gerry Tuoti)
Jan. 17, 2010 - Washington Post, More freedom, fewer rules for gifted students? (Jay Mathews)
Jan. 12, 2010 - Wichita Eagle, Don't leave gifted students behind (Marcia Law & Ann Robinson)
Jan. 8, 2010 - New York Times, In Suburban Schools, an Alternative to A.P. (Winnie Hu)
Dec. 24, 2009 - Champion Newspaper, 13-year-old college student wows many (Kalin Thomas)

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

   Closing Thought

"They have an extraordinary ability but also a disability. It's about minimizing barriers. It's going to be our task to make life a lot easier for these children."

               ~ Dr. Nicholas Colangelo, Director of the Belin and Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, on twice-exceptional students, Iowa City Press-Citizen


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