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Davidson Institute January 2016  

             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
  Gifted Summer ProgramsSummer Program Options for Gifted Students
There are many factors to consider when deciding on a summer program for gifted students. Where is the program located? How will social/emotional needs be met? Residential or non-residential? Good summer programs provide gifted students challenging opportunities they may not have access to during the school year and meet a variety of interests. See 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 2016 application deadlines for certain summer programs may be approaching soon.

More on Gifted Summer Programs
The following Davidson Gifted Database articles provide comparisons and a good run-down of factors to consider when choosing a gifted summer program: If you know of a great summer program for academically gifted students, please contact us.

NAGCNAGC Urges Support of High-Ability Learners
Turning A Blind Eye: Neglecting the Needs of the Gifted and Talented Through Limited Accountability, Oversight, and Reporting, the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)'s recently released 2014-2015 State of the States in Gifted Education, includes individual states' approaches toward identification, funding, acceleration and more. This report reveals an uneven delivery system with differing policies that weaken access to services. Local school districts are often responsible for funding programs to identify and serve gifted students, support teacher training, and develop critical policies on identification and service models. While there have been some positive developments, including progress towards ensuring that gifted students are served using specialized plans, NAGC is calling for numerous changes, urging lawmakers and education leaders to develop comprehensive state strategies to expand access to a full range of high quality gifted education services.
Sources: NAGC Press Release, NAGC National Summary, LifeZette

   Davidson News
  2016 THINK Summer Institute
THINK Summer InstituteAmong the most academically rigorous summer programs is the THINK Summer Institute, which runs July 9 through July 30, 2016. 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 is Fri., April 1, 2016!

Why choose THINK?
  • Earn up to six college credits in three weeks.
  • Experience college life while living on campus.
  • Build friendships with like-minded peers from all over the country.
  • Work closely with University faculty in small classes.
  • Pay less compared to other credit programs (financial assistance also available).

The Davidson AcademyDavidson Academy of Nevada
The Davidson Academy of Nevada is a free public school unlike any other in the country. At the Academy, the abilities, strengths and interests of profoundly gifted middle and high school students are encouraged and supported. If you are interested in applying to the Davidson Academy for the 2016-2017 school year, please review the Qualification Criteria and How to Apply pages for more information.
    "The Academy is a school for people who love to learn; it gives them the tools to do so and lets them announce their passions freely to the world."
    - Davidson Academy Graduate
Upcoming Tours for Prospective Students
The Davidson Academy hosts monthly tours for prospective students and their parents. Our upcoming school tours will be held on the following Fridays: Jan. 29 and Feb. 19. RSVPs are required. For additional details and to RSVP, please visit the Tours page.

Davidson Fellows
2016 Davidson Fellows Scholarship
The 2016 Davidson Fellows Scholarship application is available online! Young people 18 and younger 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, Engineering, Mathematics, Music, Literature, Philosophy or Outside the Box. The application deadline is Wed., Feb. 10, 2016.

Davidson Young ScholarsDavidson Young Scholars
The Davidson Young Scholars program provides FREE services designed to nurture and support profoundly gifted young people and their families, including consulting; talent development and educational advocacy; an online community; annual get-togethers; and community service endeavors. Applications are due the first of each month. For more information, visit the How to Apply and Qualification Criteria pages.

2015 Year-End Summary
At the end of 2015, the Davidson Institute was providing direct support to an estimated 3,130 profoundly gifted young people and 1,970 educators, as well as indirect support to 15,200 eNews-Update subscribers, 1,914,624 visitors to the Institute’s websites and 9,140 subscribers to our public discussion forum Gifted Issues. View the 2015 Annual Report.

   Legislative & Policy News
  NATIONAL – Congress’ reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also referred to as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), includes several provisions to support gifted students. The ESEA Reauthorization signifies the first time Congress makes clear that Title I funds may be used to identify and serve gifted students. It requires states and school districts to specify how they will use such funds to train teachers to identify and meet these students’ academic needs. ESSA replaces No Child Left Behind and effectively shifts the bulk of involvement and authority in public schools from the federal government to states and local school districts.
Gifted Legislation
The law also retains the authorization of the Jacob Javits Gifted Education Grant program. Senators Chuck Grassley (IA) and Bob Casey (PA) are distributing a letter to the House in support of continued funding for Javits in fiscal year 2016, which had doubled to $10 million for fiscal year 2015. Sources: National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Federal Legislative Update, Questions and Answers about ESSA, ESEA Reauthorization press release; Washington Post

ALABAMA – The state legislature is again seeking a grant program to provide additional resources for statewide gifted programs. Last year, the bill cleared the Senate, but stalled in the House. Source: Times Daily

FLORIDA – The Orange County school district is developing two magnet schools designed for gifted elementary and middle school students. The schools are expected to open in the next three to six years. Source: Orlando Sentinel

The Santa Rosa school district is organizing a task force to improve the identification process of gifted students, with input from parents and teachers. Source: Gulf Breeze News

The Hillsborough County school district is piloting an elementary school for gifted students in a school-within-a-school model. Students, selected through a lottery, will take core classes taught by gifted education teachers alongside peers with similar needs. Source: Tampa Bay Times

MINNESOTA – The Richfield School District is seeking to be more inclusive and consistent in identifying gifted and talented students, implementing an identification model that better utilizes data from assessments. The district is also moving toward a universal screening test for second graders. Source: The Sun Current

Gifted PolicyMISSOURI – Missouri students who take Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes will not automatically be classified as gifted starting in the 2016-2017 school year. Also, those classes are no longer automatically part of a state-approved gifted program. Source: KOMU

NORTH CAROLINA – Administrators are seeking to increase the number of gifted students who take advantage of a newly implemented state program. The program was started to allow gifted students to skip courses on material they have already mastered, allowing them quicker access to more challenging subject matter or early graduation. Source: News & Observer

OHIO – A proposed revision to statewide gifted education standards, which dictate how gifted students are identified and served by their school districts, is stirring controversy among a number of gifted advocates. Sources: Columbus Dispatch – 12/15, 11/14, Sandusky Register

Cincinnati Public Schools will open a new school for gifted students in August. Source: WLWT

SOUTH CAROLINA – The Rock Hill school district is considering an attempt to increase the percentage of gifted students from each school and grade level who can attend the Accelerated Studies program. Source: The Herald

TEXAS – The Allen Independent School District has approved a concept plan and funding for The Gifted and Talented Education Academy (GATE), which will open for students in grades K-4 in August. Source: Allen American

WISCONSIN – The $1.1 million federal Expanding Excellence grant will support a state initiative to identify and support gifted students from low-income families. The grant is designed to improve testing to better identify gifted students who require more advanced services. Source: Journal Times

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 On the WebGifted Exchange Blog
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted. One of her recent posts is, "Acceleration, math, and college standards." Join the discussion today!

Gifted Social Media and Blogs
Gifted organizations and advocates across the country are connecting through social media and blogs. Many are listed in the following articles: If you know of any other good gifted-related blogs or social media, please email us at and let us know!

Featured Articles and Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database at is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students. See what's new!

Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School provides parents with a wealth of advice on interacting with teachers.

Parenting the Creatively Gifted Child provides a number of ways that parents can help their creative gifted students be comfortable in their own skin.

In this Q&A, Dr. Susan Assouline discusses the release of A Nation Empowered and acceleration.

In What to say to your gifted child...about being gifted parents are given advice on explaining giftedness to students. Gifted Resources

The International Gifted Consortium (IGC) is the philanthropic coming together of leaders from across the globe, who possess an empathetic understanding of giftedness in its most acute, highly developed stage. IGC professionals have committed their work to researching and supporting the unique development of this often misunderstood population. IGC is currently seeking sponsorship for the IGC Education Initiative, with the goal of providing professional development and aiding understanding, identification and support in the fields of education and health.

Written by two professionals who have "been there done that" with their own children with ADHD, Raising Boys with ADHD and Raising Girls with ADHD provide expert information to empower parents to make decisions about identification, treatment options, behavioral strategies, personal/social adjustment, educational impact, and many other issues from preschool through high school.

Exploring Homeschooling for Your Gifted Learner serves as an introduction for parents to homeschooling for gifted students. It includes background information on homeschooling, descriptions of the benefits and drawbacks of homeschooling, outlines of homeschooling approaches, and references for further reading.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
January 13 - Detroit Free Press, Celebrate gifted child but don't discount late-bloomers (Carolyn Hax)
January 13 -, Gifted students could be accelerated to keep them challenged (Anna Kellett)
January 6 -, When 'Gifted' Kids are Stuck in the Back of the Class (Erin Croyle)
January 4 -, Why Gifted Children Can Slip through the Cracks
(Erin Croyle)
December 31 - Communities Digital News, Meeting the needs of gifted children (CS Bennett)
December 10 - Daily Nonpareil, Obama approves education bill to replace No Child Left Behind (Scott Stewart)
December 8 - Washington Post, This teen won $100K for figuring out a way to purify drinking water (E. Brown)
November 30 - ChicagoNow, Yes, I made my gifted second grader do homework over break (Staff)
November 24 - CBS Indy, What makes someone so gifted? Scientists look at DNA . . . (Debby Know)
November 23 - EdExcellence, ESEA will help high achievers, but only if states rise to challenge (B. Wright)
November 17 - Smithsonian, The Hidden Costs of Having a Gifted Child (Marissa Fessenden)
November 17 -, Best in the World? How the US Is Getting Gifted Education Wrong
(Dylan Ferniany)

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

   In the Spotlight

Jazz Munitz
A 2015 Davidson Fellow Making a Difference

In the SpotlightWhat kind of impact can your Fellows project, “Microfluidics-Facilitated Synthesis and Characterization of Apoptosis-Inducing Low-Cost Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapeutics” have on society?
The research that I have conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai over the last three years, and the results regarding the two nanoparticle formulations for cancer therapy that I have synthesized, will hopefully contribute to the never-ending battle against cancer. This treatment may have the ability to be used as a low-cost, effective and easily producible treatment for cancer. Currently, there are many cancer treatments available and being explored, but sadly, many of these are out of reach financially for a large majority of patients. My formulations use simple materials that can be produced very quickly and very inexpensively. As I continue my research project and bring it into clinical trials, I can hopefully help to have a direct impact on the health and lives of patients and their loved ones. Also, the approach that I have taken in my research, with the mindset of cost-efficiency, has proven that large scale and successful research and development does not have to cost the exorbitant amounts that biopharmaceutical companies currently spend. This will hopefully lead to a greater distribution of research dollars available, as well as more cost-accessible treatments for patients and wider insurance coverage.

What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
Currently, I am a freshman at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where I am studying bioethics and pre-medical sciences, as well as healthcare management and architecture. From a short-term perspective, I plan to continue my research over the coming months, bringing my nanoparticle formulations into animal models, which will hopefully indicate the future effectiveness and current promise of my nanoparticles as means for effectively treating cancer. Furthermore, I am continuing the editing and preparation of my manuscript for publication in scientific journals, so that my advances in the field of nanomedicine may contribute to the research of other scientists working to save patients. I believe that my loves of science, human interaction, and methodical preparation and planning would be best stimulated in a surgical setting, and therefore I will seek a medical education so that I may eventually practice pediatric neurosurgery. I am also considering applying for M.D./Ph.D. programs so that I may continue researching and questioning the world around me while treating patients.

Please describe your academic setting and some positive experiences with mentors.

At Cornell, I am constantly amazed by professors’ willingness and desire to pass along the love of learning and knowledge of their respective fields to new and excited minds. A mentor can truly be found anywhere, and in each segment of my daily life, I have different and yet equally invaluable people who I consider to be mentors. In the case of my research, I was fortunate enough to have a team of incredible individuals who I consider to be my mentors both inside of the lab and out. My mentor, Prof. Willem Mulder at Mt. Sinai, has been extremely supportive, and his generosity in allowing me to work with his prestigious staff has been one of the most influential experiences of my young scientific career. He supplied me with the resources, funding, and the time to allow my creativity to flow unhindered. With any idea that I had, whether practical or “out of the box”, Dr. Mulder listened, considered, and most of the time, told me to go right ahead. Furthermore, it was the expansive knowledge of scientific concepts and protocols of Dr. Francois Faye, and Dr. Brenda Sanchez, that aided me in the planning of my experiments and research. I was also fortunate enough to have a truly brilliant scientist, Dr. Christine Rogers, as my AP Biology and science research teacher at my high school, who was able to help me navigate the world of academic science.

   Closing Thought

"A lack of measurement, oversight, and transparency means that children with gifts and talents will remain hidden in the shadows of our schools. Without national leadership and consistent policy, haphazard and inequitable treatment of the gifted will persist."

~ M. René Islas, Executive Director of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)


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