In April 2004, Simon & Schuster published Genius Denied, co-authored by Jan and Bob Davidson with Laura Vanderkam
In April 2004, Simon & Schuster published Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds, co-authored by Jan & Bob Davidson with Laura VanderkamWelcome back! Since the last issue of the Genius Denied newsletter, we're received a variety of  questions from parents. Some were from parents whose gifted children were offered little or no educational accommodations; others were from parents who are considering grade skipping and pre-college programs.  We hope our answers are helpful.

We always welcome your feedback and suggestions.

 Jan and Bob Davidson

Q. My 4th grade daughter has been identified as highly gifted, but she hates school and complains that she isn't learning anything. Her teacher thinks she can do 5th grade work, but I'm concerned about her skipping a grade. I don't want to hurry her through school. Any advice? - M. Barnett

We understand your concern. But, are you "hurrying your daughter" if the reason for her skipping a grade is to learn? "Hating school" is not a healthy emotional state.  We recommend you, your daughter, and her teachers use a tool like the "Iowa Acceleration Scale" for evaluating the pluses and minuses of the grade skipping option. Such a tool will also help you evaluate other available options. You may be pleasantly surprised how much better a place school will be for your daughter when she is learning.

For more information, go to the Grade-Skipping Research links in the sidebar.

Q. My 3rd grade son is in the gifted program at his school. The program is set up so that once a week, he goes to a different school and has his gifted class. All other days of the week, he is in a regular classroom. Is this enough to keep his mind active? What is the ideal setup for gifted classes in elementary schools? - C. Martin

While there are many good gifted pull-out programs with extraordinary teachers, we are not a big fan of pull-out programs because gifted students are gifted all the time, not just one day a week. The ideal accommodation for gifted learners is to have an opportunity to learn at an accelerated pace appropriate to their abilities with their intellectual peers. This can best be accomplished through either subject or grade acceleration, or by multi-age, skill-based/ability-based groupings of students for core curriculum subjects.

For more information, go to the Grouping for Learning links on the sidebar.

Q. I have two gifted children in the public school system which "claims" to be one of the best because virtually all students go on to college. The town eliminated the gifted-talented program saying there is no money, interest, or need. However, many students are bored to tears. My 6-year-old daughter argues that school is like "eating the same cereal every day for the rest of your life." She says she wants "to throw up and not be forced to eat any more stale education." I know of at least two dozen families with GT kids who are at a loss as to what we, as parents, can do. Do you have any suggestions? - D. Novak 

It sounds like you have enough gifted students with unmet needs to form a parents advocacy group. Try to involve committed educators as well. Agree on a specific goal, i.e. the need for an accelerated curriculum appropriate to each gifted student's abilities, and outline next steps. Work on advocacy techniques with your group; present yourselves as partners interested in working with the school district; avoid presenting yourself as adversaries. 

The Templeton Report on Acceleration: A Nation Deceived will be a useful tool to inform you and your school on the research about  acceleration as the most effective intervention for gifted students. Keep us updated on your progress! 

For more information, go to the Educational Advocacy Information links on the sidebar.

Q. I've checked out the International Baccalaureate website and would LOVE to have my homeschooled daughter in such a program, but they say very specifically that they do not work with homeschoolers, nor can homeschoolers take the exam. My profoundly gifted daughter will be ready for such a program well before she is high school age. Any chance the IB folks will reconsider? D. Schultz

There is good news! The International Baccalaureate Organization of North America (IBONA) is actively looking into ways that specifically address the issue of homeschool and other alternative schooling. In their 2004 strategic plan, the IBONA addressed a strategy for moving into alternative classrooms, specifically stating homeschools (see page 6.) As a part of this, the organization is currently testing a pilot program with a virtual high school; to date, participation with students is by invitation only. So, while it is not available yet, it might be available for homeschool environments when your daughter is ready. 

For more information, go to the Pre-College Programs links on the sidebar.

Please send any questions to be answered in future newsletters to: NOTE: Due to space constraints, questions answered in in this newsletter may be edited and similar questions combined.

Meet the Authors

GT Parents of Washoe County
Reno, Nevada
Speech, Q&A
7:00 p.m., October 18, 2004
Barnes & Noble Educator's Night
Reno, Nevada
Presentation & Book Signing
6:00 p.m., October 20, 2004 
Barnes & Noble Educator's Night
Fort Myers, Florida
Presentation & Book Signing
5:00 p.m., October 29, 2004 
National Association for Gifted Children Conference
Salt Lake City, Utah
Keynote & Book Signing
3:00 p.m. November 6, 2004 


Grade-Skipping Research

"Research on acceleration" by B. Clark

"Acceleration: What we do vs. what we know" by K. Rogers and R. Kimpston

"Factors in the social adjustment and social acceptability of extremely gifted children" by M. Gross 

"Tips for parents: Academic Acceleration" by M. A. Swiatek

 Grouping for Learning

“Grouping the gifted and talent: Questions and answers” by K. Rogers

“An analysis of the research on ability grouping” by J. Kulik

Best practices that nurture excellence” by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development

Educational Advocacy Information

"Do we know if gifted children are being served appropriately?" by J. Delisle

"Preparing for and holding an effective school meeting" by K. LaBonte,  C. Russell, & G. Russell

"Tips for parents: Educational advocacy" by E. Sinclair

"Tips for parents: Preparing schools for your child" by K. Rogers

"Tips for parents: Advocacy resources" by C. Haynes

"Recommended readings on educational advocacy" by Davidson Institute for Talent Development






Pre-College Programs

Advanced Placement (AP)  

College Level Programs for Pre-College Students (CLEP)

International Baccalaureate (IB)

"Do, or do not. There is no try."   

  -Yoda, as quoted by 2004 Davidson Fellow Laureate Nicole Ali

The 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:     Web:

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

September 2004 Newsletter

Genius Denied Web Site