Davidson eNews Update for January 2017

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Davidson Institute

January 2017

   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

Summer 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:  Browse the Davidson Gifted Database's entire list of summer programs. Please note that 2017 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.

2017 THINK Summer Institute
Among the most academically rigorous summer programs is the THINK Summer Institute, which runs July 15 through August 5, 2017. 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., March 31, 2017!

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).
New Research Shows Two Measures Boost K-12 Academic Achievement

A recent comprehensive analysis conducted by researchers at the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) and the Center for Talent Development (CTD) determines that grouping students by ability and providing opportunities for students to progress at a more rapid pace can increase overall student academic achievement. The authors comprehensively reviewed nearly 100 years of research, which found the following:
  • Students benefited from within-class grouping, which often involves teachers assigning students to small homogeneous groups for instruction based on prior achievement or learning capacities.
  • The benefits were even greater when students were grouped across grade levels for specific subjects and when high-achieving and gifted students were grouped together for instruction.
  • Students who accelerated their learning through various methods, such as skipping grades or entering school or college earlier, significantly outperformed their non-accelerated peers.
Read more: Summary of study (PDF), Center for Talent Development, Duke Today

    Davidson News

Davidson Academy Online High School – Designed to be Different
A new full-time online high school option at the Davidson Academy is opening for the 2017-2018 academic year! The rigorous academic environment for which the Academy is known will be available both online and at the free public school for profoundly gifted students located on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Academy is a proven leader in educating our nation’s brightest students. Since 2006, the Davidson Academy has been recognized as an exceptional school for profoundly gifted middle and high school students already living in the Reno area and those who can move to Nevada. For those who cannot move, the new full-time online high school option reflects the Academy’s commitment to the profoundly gifted student population by offering a unique, supportive online academic environment where these students can thrive among their intellectual peers.

The online high school will feature:
  • Accredited courses
  • Live sessions
  • Small class sizes
  • Quality peer interactions
The Davidson Academy Online High School application deadline is March 1, 2017 and, if space remains available, late applications will be considered until April 15, 2017. How to Apply >

While the application deadline for the Davidson Academy Reno School has passed, the application for the 2018-2019 school year will be posted this summer. How to Apply >

Like the new Davidson Academy Facebook page for updates about the school!

2017 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Application

The 2017 Davidson Fellows Scholarship application is now 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 and philosophy, or a project that represents outside the box thinking. The application deadline is Wed., Feb. 8, 2017.

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.

     Legislative & Policy News

ARIZONA – Officials in the Sahuarita school district will ask the school board to approve a $90,000/year program designed to give gifted students in grades 1-5 a head start on learning higher-level critical thinking skills. Source: Sahuarita Sun

ARKANSAS – The Alma School District will start a new summer program for gifted and talented students that focuses on technology. Source: Times Record

FLORIDA – The Seminole school district is expanding the pool of students evaluated for its gifted programs, particularly in elementary schools that serve mostly minority students from low-income families. The district will use a screening tool that does not rely heavily on early literacy skills. Students who pass the screenings will be given an IQ test to help determine if they qualify for gifted services. Source: Orlando Sentinel

ILLINOIS – A 2015 update to the Moline-Coal Valley School District’s Program for Academically Talented Students (PATS) is netting academic gains and positive feedback. The new program mixes high-performing students into regular classrooms with students of varying abilities at their neighborhood schools. Source: Quad-Cities Online

INDIANA – A grant from the Indiana Department of Education will pay for tests and other tools used to identify gifted students in the Fort Wayne school district. Source: News Sentinel

IOWA – Beginning in the 2017-18 academic year, middle school students in Sioux City’s gifted program will receive access to a Personalized Education Plan, placement in cluster groups with other gifted students and access to Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Source: Sioux City Journal

MICHIGAN – The Avondale School District will open the first gifted learning classroom in Oakland County next school year in Troy. Source: Oakland Press

MINNESOTA – Due to an increase in the number of students identified as gifted, the Rochester school district is considering an expansion of its highly gifted program, nearly a decade after its debut. Source: Post-Bulletin

MISSOURI – A recently-signed bill requires the Missouri department of education to annually audit state-approved gifted programs to verify that districts are continuing to serve at least 80 percent of the total number of gifted students as they were serving in each previous school year. Source: The Missourian

NEW YORK – A proposed change to the gifted program in New York City's Astoria schools will not be implemented until there is more input from parents. The Department of Education is exploring alternatives to the current policy of automatically granting spots to those already enrolled in gifted elementary schools, as has been the practice for the last several years. Sources: DNAinfo, QNS.com

Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, the Brooklyn School of Inquiry, a highly sought-after school for gifted students, will set aside 40 percent of its kindergarten seats specifically for low-income learners. Source: The Atlantic

NORTH CAROLINA – Starting this month, the Guilford school district is adding a new program for gifted third-graders, which will expand to fourth and fifth grade in following years. The district is also increasing cutoff scores for those who qualify for the official “academically gifted” designation. Source: Greensboro News & Record

     On the Web

Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies - Serving Intellectually Curious, Highly Motivated Students
Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies selects students from around the world to come to Stanford for an amazing summer experience. Highly motivated, intellectually curious students have the opportunity to investigate topics not typically taught in high school. Students engage in small classes with instructors who are experts in their fields and passionate about teaching. View Summer Offerings

Epsilon Camp - A Challenging Summer Math Experience for Young Students
Applications are due February 6 for Epsilon Camp, a two-week summer residential camp serving promising young mathematicians and their families. The mission of Epsilon is to meet the learning needs of students ages 7-11 with extreme intelligence and a love of mathematics by exposing them to suitable content, pedagogy, peers and mathematicians. Epsilon Camp 2017 will be held at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. from July 23 to August 6, 2017.

Featured Articles and Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database features easy search capabilities for articles, resources and state policy pages to help students, parents and educators pinpoint gifted information.

Parenting in Uncertain Times provides advice on how to curate daily well-being in an uncertain world with positivity and peace.

Technology in Gifted Education: Annotated Bibliography provides a summary of research on the use of technology in the field of K-12 gifted education.

The Time of Our Lives: How Summer Camp Tames Transition Trouble describes how summer camps can be helpful for students as they transition to the the college years and the accompanying hardships of that process.

Center for Talent Development (CTD) Backpack for Parents and Students is a worldwide online community for gifted students and their families. CTD Backpack helps parents engage with their peers and experts in the field of gifted education, access weekly content tailored to the needs of parents of gifted students, and learn about the latest opportunities provided by CTD.

Opening in August 2017, Threshold School (Broomfield, CO) is a K–12 grade independent school for gifted and creative youth that aims to give rise to thought leaders and global change-makers.

Yale Young Global Scholars (New Haven, CT) is a summer academic enrichment and leadership program that brings together outstanding high school students from around the world for intensive two-week sessions on the Yale campus.

     In the News

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

     In the Spotlight

Ellis Hamilton - 2016 Davidson Fellow

Ellis Hamiliton of Fort Sam Houston, Tex. will receive $25,000 for his 2016 Davidson Fellows project, "The Music in Me."

How did you first become interested in music and what challenges have you overcome?

The earliest that I remember being interested in music was around age 3, right after watching the movie "Drumline." I was able to act out the whole entire movie, especially the marching band and drum sequences. Ironically, though I am primarily an alto saxophonist, I taught myself to play the drums first. The piano came second, and the alto saxophone came after the piano. Though I have slowly incorporated other instruments, I tend to focus on alto saxophone, piano, and drums. Though I play tenor and soprano saxophones as well, I currently do not own them, so I look forward to purchasing them in the future. My challenges mostly stemmed from my birth. I was born a micro-preemie, almost four months early. I had many physical, mental, and developmental challenges that threatened my ability to live, walk, talk, see, or hear. But Praise God, through faith, prayer, and the dedication of my parents, nothing I face today is as bad as what could have been.
What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
My short-term goal right now is to complete my dual major in Performance and Film Scoring at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., where I am getting ready to begin my second semester. My dream is to become a professional musician, film score composer, screenwriter, director, and author, but my lifelong goal is to minister to the world through my God-Given talents in the Fine Arts in the hopes of leading others to Christ.

Please describe your academic setting and some positive experiences with mentors.
I just finished my first semester at Berklee with A's in all of my classes and a 4.0 GPA, so I am really excited about that! I attribute my successes first to God, then to the love and support of my parents and my two brothers. I also have two wonderful music mentors: Najee, the legendary smooth jazz saxophonist and flautist, and amazing professional saxophonist, Mr. Skip Pruitt. They have given me great advice and feedback on how to mature and better myself as a musician, and I am very grateful to them for that.

   Closing Thought

"After looking carefully at 100 years of research, it became clear that acceleration and most forms of ability grouping can be powerfully effective interventions. They help increase academic achievement for both lower- and higher-achieving students. Moreover, these practices can yield significant academic benefits without being expensive and can even save schools money."

~ Matt Makel, Director of Reseach, Duke TIP

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