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Davidson Institute July 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
  Google Global Science Fair Winners at the Forefront of Scientific Innovation
GoogleTwo American finalists were among the top winners at the second annual Google Global Science Fair! Grand prize winner Brittany Wenger won for the 17-18 age group after writing a computer program known as a neural network to help doctors diagnose breast cancer less invasively. The program will help detect patterns in a large database of breast tissue samples. Jonah Kohn was the winner of the 13-14 age group for his project that will improve the music-listening experience of the hearing impaired. He created a device that converts sound into tactile vibration. Three students from Spain won for the 15-16 age group for documenting hazardous and non-hazardous organisms found in their country's water. There were more than 7,500 entries, and more than 10,000 applicants from 90-plus countries for the event, which took place at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Photograph from Google Official Blog. Sources: Scientific American, National Geographic

The Thiel Fellowship - A Creative New Approach to Higher Learning
Thiel FellowshipA select few of the nation's brightest students are taking a completely new approach to higher education. Recipients of the two-year Thiel Fellowship, 20 students under the age of 20, are each provided a $100,000 grant that encourages lifelong learning and independent thought. These students do not attend college for two years and are encouraged to focus on their ambitious ideas, work, research and self-education. Taylor Wilson, a 2012 Thiel Fellow and graduate of The Davidson Academy of Nevada, is featured in the New York Times article, "Drop Out, Start Up." Taylor is planning to pursue his interest in nuclear fusion through projects that involve detecting nuclear weapons and diagnosing cancer.

Team USA Shines at 2012 International Biology Olympiad
Center for Excellence in EducationTeam USA received four gold medals at the 2012 International Biology Olympiad (IBO) held in Singapore, with the following students awarded: Nikhil Buduma of San Jose, Calif., Lei Ding of Wilmington, Del., Jing Liu of Fremont, Calif. and Kevin Ma of East Brunswick, N.J. At this competition, students are evaluated on their theoretical knowledge of the biological sciences and their practical lab skills. Team USA is comprised of the top four scoring students out of 20 finalists who participated at the USA Biology Olympiad National Finals (USABO) held at Purdue University. The USABO is hosted by the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE).

   Davidson News
  The Davidson AcademyThe Davidson Academy of Nevada
The Davidson Academy of Nevada application for the 2013-2014 school year is now available. Visit the How to Apply page to download the application PDF files. If you are looking for an environment to better fit your social and academic needs, The Davidson Academy may be the place for you!

The Academy is specifically designed to meet the needs 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. Please review the recently updated Qualification Criteria page of our website as these scores are mandatory for student eligibility. On the Application Review Process page, you will find detailed information about the on-site assessment.

Prospective students interested in receiving email updates about the Academy can subscribe to The Davidson Academy eNewsletter by clicking here.

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: Sept. 28,
Oct. 19, Nov. 30 and Dec. 14. RSVPs are required. For additional details and to RSVP, please visit the Tours page.

2013 Davidson Fellows $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 Scholarships
Davidson Fellows Application requirements for the 2013 Davidson Fellows scholarships have recently been posted! The Davidson Institute offers high-achieving young people across the country the opportunity to be named a Davidson Fellow, an honor accompanied by a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship in recognition of a significant piece of work in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Literature, Music, Philosophy and Outside the Box.

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 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.

Ambassador Program
The 2013 Davidson Young Scholars Ambassadors page has just gone live! The purpose of the Ambassador Program is to foster learning and civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership in highly motivated and mature Young Scholars. The following group represents the 2013 class; please take a moment to learn about their service projects, in their own words.

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 this online community with access to free consulting services and Educators Guild publications by subscribing here. There is also an 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 5,700 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about a wealth of gifted topics

   Legislative & Policy News
  ARIZONA – The Queen Creek Unified School District is instilling the Bridges Academy, a new self-contained program for gifted fifth and sixth grade students, for the 2012-2013 school year. Source: Santa Valley Today

CALIFORNIA – Petaluma’s McKinley Elementary School will open a new gifted and talented magnet program for the upcoming school year. Petaluma City Schools is currently accepting enrollment for fourth graders only, with plans for expanding the program to include fifth graders in 2013-14 and sixth graders in 2014-15. Source: Santa Rosa Press Democrat

FLORIDA – The University of South Florida's Lakeland summer science enrichment program for gifted and talented students was phased out this summer. Source: The Ledger

– Frederick County Public Schools will phase out the first and second grades of their magnet program beginning with the 2013-14 school year, and Kindergarten students will no longer be screened to enter first-grade magnet classes. The school district will instead provide advanced learning opportunities to children at their home schools. Sources: Gazette.Net, WTOP

MICHIGAN – Two school districts in the Detroit metropolitan area are implementing new early college programs. The Early College School is a new, free five-year program open to students in both Oakland County and surrounding counties. State per-pupil funding provided for all public school students will pay for the program. Also, a plan for an early college program in Dearborn was recently approved by the state. Sources: Oakland Press, Dearborn Press & GuideGifted Legislation

MISSOURI – The Washington School Board is considering cutting the district’s gifted education program. Source: The Missourian

NEW MEXICO – Deming Public Schools in New Mexico recently partnered with The VHS Collaborative to make 150 courses available online to the district’s middle school gifted and talented students. Source: Education Week (article no longer available online)

NORTH CAROLINA – Gifted elementary school students will no longer be able to take middle school courses formerly available to them, due to a set of new national education reforms knows as the Common Core adopted by the state. North Carolina has voted to install a more difficult curriculum for the 2012-2013 academic year; school officials say that, as a result, even the most gifted elementary students will find enough intellectual stimulation without taking accelerated classes. Source: Huffington Post

Wake County school administrators recently eased back on a change that would have prevented academically gifted elementary school students from taking harder math courses this fall. Source: The News & Observer

OHIO – A provision to create numerous regional charter schools for gifted students in the state was eliminated from an education reform bill under consideration in the state legislature. The change came as part of an agreement reached by legislators in the state House and Senate on different versions of the education reform plan proposed by Gov. John Kasich. Source: Columbus Dispatch

Seventh- and eighth-graders in some school districts in the state are taking high-school courses in math, science and foreign language in preparation for taking Advanced Placement classes in high school. Only middle-school students considered ready for high-school work are eligible for the programs. Source: Columbus Dispatch

Gifted middle school students in the Kent City school district will no longer be pulled from their regular classes for gifted services. Instead, gifted curriculum will be taught as part of their regular, advanced classes for the 2012-2013 school year. Source: Kent Patch

RHODE ISLAND – Following rumors that a Warwick school for advanced elementary school students would be cut from the budget next year, the school district recently decided that the program will remain. Source: Providence Eyewitness News

TEXAS – Students attending the Fort Worth Independent School District’s Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences (TABS) can earn up to 60 credit hours or two years of college credit beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. Source:

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 Exchange Blog
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted. One of her recent posts is, "Obama's $1 billion master teacher program." Join the discussion today!

Center for Talent Development (CTD) - Gifted LearningLinks
CTDThe rigor, personalized attention, independent pace, and connection that online courses provide can be ideal for academically talented students. The Center for Talent Development's Gifted LearningLinks offers hundreds of enrichment and credit-bearing courses year round for young people from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Registration is now open for the 2012-2013 academic year. Brand new courses like "Visual Communication" and "Linear Algebra" are among the many designed to excite and challenge. Visit to view more than 150 course offerings and register for classes beginning this August.

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

Tips for Parents articles are summaries of online seminars held for the parents of Davidson Young Scholars. These articles are written by the facilitators of these seminars covering topics across the gifted education spectrum, and can be accessed by anyone, regardless of whether or not they were a participant in that seminar. Recently added Tips for Parents include:
  • Tips for Parents: Smooth Sailing over Summer! Preventing and managing disruptive behavior
  • Tips for Parents: Helping Gifted Children Handle Cooperation and Competition
  • Tips for Parents: Gifted . . . and Teenagers, too
  • Tips for Parents: How to Get a Mentor for You and Your Child
  • Tips for Parents: Taking Control of Your Child's Education

  • College at 13: Young, gifted and purposeful is a new book published by Great Potential Press that describes 14 highly gifted young women, now in their 30s, who left home to attend college at age 13 to 16, skipping all or most of high school.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created MIT-K12, which contains numerous videos full of educational content, driven by a series of questions: How can we change the perception of the role of engineers and scientists in the world? What can MIT do, right now, to improve STEM education?

    Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

       In the News
    July 9 - Huffington Post, The Mind of the Prodigy (Scott Barry Kaufman)
    July 5 - Deseret News, New options emerge to enrich gifted students' education (Mercedes White)
    July 2 - Huffington Post, 9-Year-Old College Student Is Interested In 'The Fate Of The Universe' (Jessica Samakow)
    June 19 - Washington Post, What are the new hidden gems for summer college visits? (Jay Mathews)
    June 17 - Education Week Teacher, A glimpse into the workday of a gifted-education specialist (Tamara Fisher)
    June 15 - Education Week, Do We Know How to Teach Highly Able Learners? (Peter DeWitt)
    June 12 - Orlando Sentinel, Is it time to think about home schooling your child? (Jack A. Chambless)
    June 11 - WDIV Detroit, 15-year-old graduates from high school, ability to solve complex math (Lauren Podell)
    June 10 - What’s Next – CNN Blog, Interview with Nuclear Physicist Taylor Wilson (Taylor Wilson)
    June 8 - Chicago Sun-Times, Youngest MD to graduate from University of Chicago is just 21 (Maudlyne Ihejirika)
    June 5 - CNN, The 18-year-old who built a nuclear reactor (Staff)
    June 4 - Huffington Post, The Trouble With Genius (Michael Meade)
    June 1 - US News & World Report, Home-Schooled Teens Ripe for College (Kelsey Sheehy)
    May 29 -, Youngest Scripps Bee speller, 6, is full of self-confidence (Staff)

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

       In the Spotlight

     Karthik Rohatgi
    A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

    In the SpotlightWhat are some past and present projects you’ve worked on to help make a positive difference in the lives of others?
    My ventures into community service started when I was 8 and collected non-perishable food on Halloween to feed the homeless. This activity energized my passions for helping others, especially when the food bank showed me how much of a difference I was making.

    I soon wanted to go beyond that, though. In 2010 I read about Wholesome Wave, a New England program which gives farmers’ market vouchers to low-income people through their doctors. In January 2011, I launched Farm Fresh For Kids (FFFK), and in November I joined the Davidson Young Scholars Ambassador Program. Although there were some initial hiccups, now the technical difficulties have been sorted out. This month, I launched the revised Year 2 program.

    How does your program work?
    Currently, the packages include $25 of coupons, guides for healthy eating, meal preparation, transportation to the farmers’ market and a children’s activity page. The doctor chooses families that he believes could benefit most from the program, and “prescribes” a package for them. Once the families have finished shopping at the market, FFFK pays farmers for the amount of produce they have given to these families. If they choose, families can then return to the clinic for additional coupons.

    How has the Young Scholars Ambassador program helped you to reach your goals and achieve your accomplishments?
    Of course, I can thank the Young Scholar Ambassador Program for a good deal of my progress on FFFK. Erik Schwinger and Katie Glensor, Ambassador advisors, have provided me with fundraising opportunities, web seminars and advice on accomplishing objectives. Some of the seminars have increased my general knowledge of the nonprofit sector. The others have given me the opportunity to learn from experts in certain areas of nonprofit management, or just to think more deeply about my project.

    A lot of the help I’ve received on FFFK came from those I’ve partnered with, including a few farmers, our local food cooperative and several doctors. I have also been privileged to receive help from staff at our county courthouse, our credit union and more.

    Please describe your academic setting.
    I’ve just finished my third year at The Davidson Academy of Nevada, and so far it has been wonderful. The classes in particular have allowed me to advance intellectually beyond what I could have done at many other schools.

    Through the Academy, I have also been able to get support for my project, FFFK. This past January, we started the Health & Social Justice Club. Besides being involved in FFFK, our members (around 10) also regularly discuss global health and policy issues.

    What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
    I will be working on FFFK for the next few years, although I would love to see the Nevada state government adopt the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). In college, I plan to study statistics and public health. FFFK has made me eager to learn more about the issues that surround nutrition and health policy.

       Closing Thought

    "I’m a huge enthusiast because it’s global. It’s an opportunity to show young people what science is all about and show the rest of the world that young people have interesting, fresh, creative ideas… and how capable our young people are in doing this sort of thing."

    ~ Vint Cerf, Vice President of Google, on the Google Global Science Fair


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