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Davidson Institute January 2012

             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
  Challenging Summer Programs
It may be the middle of winter, but it's time to start thinking about summer program options (if you haven't already)! A great variety of summer programs for the gifted abound in states all over the country. Program themes range from science and mathematics to music and outdoor activities. Gifted Summer CampsSee these Davidson Gifted Database articles for some excellent summer options: To browse the Davidson Gifted Database's entire list of summer programs, click here. Please note that 2012 application deadlines for certain summer programs may be approaching soon. If you know of a great summer program for academically gifted students not on these lists, please contact us.

THINK Summer InstituteAmong the most academically rigorous summer programs is the THINK Summer Institute, which runs July 14 - August 4, 2012. Students can earn up to six college credits at this three-week residential summer program on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. To qualify, students must be 13 to 16 years old during the program and meet the minimum qualifying test scores. Apply today - space is limited and the final application deadline of March 1, 2012!

EpsilonThe Epsilon Camp, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a two-week summer residential camp for exceptionally and profoundly gifted students who love math and are 8-10 years old. Attendees must be under the age of 11 during the camp and enrollment is limited to 40, so those interested should apply as soon as possible. A parent workshop designed to help parents to build mathematical and social maturity in the EG/PG child will run parallel to the student camp.

Google Science FairGoogle launches 2012 Global Science Fair
Google is again calling on gifted students ages 13 to 18 to participate in the 2012 Global Science Fair, which follows last year's inaugural event. The competition challenges students to submit projects that will be judged by a panel of scientists and researchers. This year, submissions will be accepted in 13 languages. Judges will select 90 regional finalists in keeping with the company's goal of guaranteeing more global coverage. Last year, a Davidson Young Scholar won in the 13-14 age group for testing marinades to see how they would affect a harmful carcinogen that has been found in grilled chicken.

Center for Gifted Education – National Curriculum Network Conference
Center for Gifted EducationThe Center for Gifted Education’s National Curriculum Network Conference gives professionals from across the country the opportunity to share in discussions about curriculum, instruction, and assessment for high-ability and gifted learners. This year's conference will be held March 8-9 at the College of William & Mary. The conference features nationally recognized speakers such as Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Dr. Rena Subotnik, who will share their in-depth perspectives and research.

   Davidson News
The Davidson AcademyThe Davidson Academy of Nevada
A free public school, The Davidson Academy of Nevada encourages and supports the abilities, strengths, and interests of profoundly gifted middle and high school students who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ or college entrance tests, such as the SAT or ACT. If you are interested in applying to The Davidson Academy for the 2012-2013 school year, visit the How to Apply page to download the application files. Please review the Qualification Criteria page and the Application Review Process page for more information.

Upcoming Tours for Prospective Students
Each month during the school year, The Davidson Academy hosts a tour for prospective students and their parents. At these tours, visitors meet current Academy students, parents, faculty and staff, and ask specific questions about the school. Our upcoming school tours will be held on the following Fridays:  Feb. 24,
March 30 and April 27. RSVPs are required. For additional details and to RSVP, please visit our Tours page

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 first of each month. For more information, see the How to Apply and Qualification Criteria pages.

Davidson Young ScholarsDavidson Discussions
Davidson Discussions delve deeper into information and topics specific to parents of profoundly gifted students who seemingly experience the same issues time and time again. These videos, posted on the Davidson Institute's YouTube channel, are a current and fresh way for the Davidson Institute Family Consultant team to share our experiences of working with this unique population of students over the past 12 years. The latest episode provides tips to help parents and students when searching for summer camps.

Educators GuildEducators 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. You can become a member of the online community with access to free consulting services and Educators Guild publications by subscribing here. We are also happy to announce a new Educators Guild discussion group on Facebook - join today!

Gifted Issues Discussion Forum
Gifted IssuesThe Gifted Issues Discussion Forum is a meeting place for all things gifted. Register and become a part of one of the most active gifted education forums on the web! With more than 5,000 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about a wealth of gifted topics.

2011 Year-End Summary
At the end of 2011, the Davidson Institute was providing direct support to an estimated 2,175 profoundly gifted young people and 1,543 educators, as well as indirect support to 13,340 eNews-Update subscribers, 1,288,526 visitors to the Institute’s websites and 4,950 subscribers to our public discussion forum, Gifted Issues. View the 2011 Annual Report.

   Legislative & Policy News
  Gifted Education State Policy Map Recently Updated
Gifted Education State PoliciesThe Davidson Institute's Gifted Education State Policy Map was recently updated to reflect much of the new information in the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)'s latest State of the States in Gifted Education report. The color status of 13 states changed: Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Click on the map to visit the state database to view your state's definition of giftedness, key personnel, statistics and legislative information. More updates to the individual state pages will be made during the next few weeks, so please check back often.

NATIONAL – Former Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Deborah Delisle was recently nominated for the position of Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education. Deborah's husband, Dr. Jim Delisle, is a nationally recognized gifted expert. Source: StateImpact

ARIZONA – Due to high demand, Knox Elementary School is expected to become Knox Gifted Academy as part of a plan being considered by the Chandler Unified School District. Source: East Valley Tribune

CALIFORNIA – The Los Angeles Board of Education has adopted a proposal that calls for increased testing to identify gifted students. The plan may also include an expansion of successful magnet programs. Source: Los Angeles Times

CONNECTICUT – School administrators in the Westport School District recently outlined a series of recommendations that seek to further integrate the curricula in gifted and regular education classes, create more personalized education plans for gifted students, and improve teachers' instruction and management of them. Source: CT Post
Gifted Legislation
HAWAII – Gifted and talented education will be allocated two percent as a line item in the budget for the next fiscal year. Source: Dr. Anna Viggiano, Educational Specialist, Hawaii Gifted and Talented Program

ILLINOIS – Woodridge School District 68 officials are establishing a new committee to revise the district's definition of what "gifted" means after an audit found roughly 20 percent of its students enrolled in enrichment programs. The auditor found that the high number of students in these programs suggests the district should increase the rigor of its regular curriculum. Source: Woodridge Patch

MAINE – The University of Southern Maine will add $1 million to its $7 million scholarship fund so it can serve additional academically gifted students. Source: Maine Public Broadcasting Network

MARYLAND – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has pledged to give $725,000 over three years to provide scholarships for 100 gifted students to attend a number of summer programs at no cost. The summer centers are open to all gifted and talented students in the state. Source: Baltimore Sun

MISSOURI – Rep. Scott Dieckhaus has sponsored House Bill 1062, which would require school districts to include in their annual accountability reports whether or not they have state-approved gifted education programs or services, and the number and percentage of students currently being served in them. Source: The Missourian

OREGON – The Beaverton School District has widened student qualification criteria for the gifted program. Formerly, students had to score in the 99th percentile on a test of overall cognitive ability or in the 99th percentile on both state reading and math tests. Now, students can score in the 97th percentile on either the state reading or math test, as long as they also reach the 99th percentile on the other. The overall cognitive ability requirement remains unchanged. Source: The Oregonian

TEXAS – With about one of every six students in the Houston Independent School District identified as “gifted and talented”, this amount is more than double that of both the state and national rates for gifted students. A plan to make it more difficult for students to qualify for the gifted program was recently shut down, but a number of parents are expressing concerns about lack of direction. Source: Texas Watchdog

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 Exchange Blog
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted. One of her recent posts is, "Supporting homeschoolers." Join the discussion today!
Davidson Gifted Database
Featured Articles and Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database at is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students. See what's new!

Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG), a program of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT), has expanded their services to include students from 4 to 17 years of age. In addition to their long-standing residential summer programs, SIG will now also offer day and commuter summer programs as well as SIG Beyond: Saturday, Afterschool and Weekend programs that run during the academic year. Additionally, SIG has expanded to a number of new locations, including Adelphi Academy, Sierra Canyon School and Union School District. Visit for the latest developments.

In Forging Paths: Beyond Traditional Schooling, you’ll read the stories of nine young people who took varying, nontraditional educational paths and succeeded in their chosen endeavors and vocations. Click here to read a review of this book.

In the article Testing Your Gifted Child: A Springboard for Effective Advocacy, Barbara Gilman describes how testing can be an ally when advocating for a gifted student.

NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program is a writing event happens every November; the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
January 23, 2012 - Education Views, Getting College Credit in High School: Worth It? (Staff)
January 19, 2012 - STL Today, Son is resentful of daughter's inclusion in gifted program (Jodie Lynn)
January 17, 2012 - Education Week, The 5-by-5 Approach to Differentiation Success (K. Hull-Sypnieski & L. Ferlazzo)
January 5, 2012 - CBS News, Jake: Math prodigy proud of his autism (Staff)
January 5, 2012 - Huffington Post, Who Is Currently Identified as Gifted in the United States? (S. Kaufman)
December 27, 2011 - Irish Independent, Top myths about gifted children (Staff)
December 21, 2011 - Education Week Teacher, A Window to My Classrooms (Tamara Fisher)
December 19, 2011 - The Conversation, Group kids by ability and subject not age (Matthew Thompson)
December 15, 2011 - Washington Post, Closing achievement gap at gifted students’ expense (M. Petrilli & F. Hess)
December 12, 2011 - Education Week, Report: Dual Enrollment Best When on College Campus (Caralee Adams)
December 8, 2011 - Huffington Post, Top 11 Kids Who Made A Difference In 2011 (SLIDESHOW) (Anna Bahr)
December 7, 2011 - ABC Technology and Games, Young Einstein is a modern myth (Michael J. Biercuk)
December 2, 2011 - Education Week, Cheating the Gifted? (Nancy Flanagan)
December 2, 2011 - Washington Post, Why gifted students can be so challenging (Valerie Strauss)
November 30, 2011 - Rolling Stone, Santiago's Brain (Jeff Tietz)
Autumn 2011 - City Journal, The Excellence Gap (Sol Stern)

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

   In the Spotlight

Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz
A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

Young Scholar AmbassadorInspiration for Origami Salami and Folding for Good
My interest in folding science is something that just snuck up on me. It started with a gift of a beginner origami kit when I was 6 years old. I had fun with it from the start. Origami is a portable hobby and it catches peoples’ attention, so it is a great way to make friends. I started entertaining at birthday parties, folding flapping cranes out of party napkins. Then I began making models to donate, like a project I did for a local rehabilitation facility where patients not only could choose a model, but also their family members could pick one from a basket -those were unbreakable, brainteaser, conversation pieces. And it cheered everyone up, including me! Origami is a satisfying process.

I learned that ancient origami designs are inspiring scientists and researchers to innovate and invent things that could make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Citizen scientist teams were competing at online gaming sites to try to unravel the mysteries of protein folding - just one mis-fold and cancers or Alzheimer’s might surface. NASA used folding techniques in the design of the James Webb Space Telescope (the JWST), Curiosity (now on its way to Mars where it will unfold itself in August 2012), and in space tethers. A new heart stent was inspired by the action of the origami balloon. And retail products, even high fashion, are all taking inspiration from origami.

Then, I observed that many students experience a freak out in the math progression somewhere around geometry, and yet, those same students thought nothing of fooling around with origami, which is all math, certainly geometry. I figured I was witnessing the crisis in STEM education in the United States right there before my eyes, and thought that if learners connected the fun of origami with STEM applications, I might contribute to closing the STEM gap.

The Young Scholar Ambassador Program gave me the support to launch Origami Salami, whose primary purpose is to inspire learners to make the easy connection between the ancient art of origami and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) studies; and its’ community outreach component, Folding for Good, which teaches the fun of STEM through folding. Origami Salami and Folding for Good officially launched in 2009.

The Young Scholar Ambassador Program
Origami Salami developed in the Young Scholar Ambassador incubator. The Ambassador Program sponsored awesome online seminars addressing how to grow a project, the right way. We were coached on how to build a valuable community project and in so doing, become a force for positive change in the world. And at every step of the way, I got great advice from the professional Ambassador team.

Folding for Good is the community outreach spin-off of Origami Salami which explores the fun of STEM through origami and real world applications of origami. I staged several events through local organizations, and was soon receiving invitations to present interactive lessons for all ages.

Now, there are chapters of Origami Salami and Folding for Good in three states. By the end of the year, I hope to add three more. I also maintain a website, Facebook page, and blog.

My Plans for the Future
My future professional contributions to the world will likely surface in some STEM field, and it seems like I can identify some folding component in most. As our world and our technology become smaller, we will be pressed to find ways to “shrink” information storage and technological devices. Maybe somehow I will be a part of that. It is completely possible that we artful, STEM-types around the world will make a positive contribution to the betterment of humankind in our time, and it is completely possible, even likely, that lives will be changed because we studied folding together.

To read more about Calista, her project, her learning environment and more, please view this article in the Davidson Gifted Database.

   Closing Thought

"At this very moment, millions of high-achievers are waiting to be challenged. Meeting their needs is another objective worthy of a great nation. They deserve our encouragement, not our indifference."

~ Michael J. Petrilli and and Frederick M. Hess, in the Washington Post article,
Closing the achievement gap, but at gifted students’ expense


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