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Davidson Institute July 2014  

             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 - Propelling the Next Generation of Scientific Innovation
Google Science FairTwenty-five Americans comprise 90 of the Regional Finalists for the Google Global Science Fair. The finalists’ projects are on a number of unprecedented, wide-ranging issues, including: A superconducting levitation and propulsion control system; an innovative computational model that can accurately predict how a patient will respond to a cancer drug; a novel healthcare solution for the aging population using low-cost wearable sensor technology; and, much more. Click here to see a list of the worldwide finalists. Google will announce the 15 Global Finalists this August.

2014 Class of Thiel Fellows – A Unique Approach to Higher Education
Thiel FellowshipThe 2014 class of young entrepreneurs to be awarded 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowships was recently announced. Each student was awarded a $100,000 grant that encourages lifelong learning and independent thought. This was the fourth set of Thiel Fellows, who do not attend college for two years and are encouraged to focus on their ambitious ideas, work, research and self-education. Recipients of the two-year Thiel Fellowship, 20 students under the age of 20, pursue innovative scientific and technical projects to gain insight on entrepreneurship. Click here to read about the 2014 class. Sources: BostInno, Miami Herald

Dumbing Down AmericaNew Book Debuting from Dr. Jim Delisle
At a time when the U.S. education system consistently lags behind its international peers, Dr. Jim Delisle's new book, Dumbing Down America, shows exactly why America can’t keep up by providing a critical look at the nation’s schools through the eyes of the children whose minds are languishing in countless classrooms. Filled with specific examples of how gifted children are being shortchanged by a nation that believes smart kids will succeed on their own, the book packs a powerful message: If we want our nation to prosper, we must pay attention to its most intelligent youth. Available August 1, you can pre-order it today. Read this recent interview with Dr. Delisle on the Gifted Parenting Support blog.

   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 2015-2016 school year, the application will be posted later this summer. Meanwhile, please review the Qualification Criteria and How to Apply pages 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: Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 21 and Dec. 12. RSVPs are required. For additional details and to RSVP, please visit the Tours page.

EXPLORE Test to be offered at The Davidson Academy in September
In conjunction with the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS), The Davidson Academy will serve as a test site for the two-hour EXPLORE® test on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. The EXPLORE® test, developed by ACT for eighth graders, is an effective above-level test for younger students (grades 4-6), and provides the opportunity to demonstrate their advanced abilities. An EXPLORE® test score can be used in the context of eligibility criteria for the Davidson Young Scholars program as well as The Davidson Academy. The goal of BESTS is to discover students who need further educational challenge to fully realize their academic talent. The cost is $65 and the initial deadline to register is Monday, Sept. 1.

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, visit the How to Apply and Qualification Criteria pages.

Davidson FellowsDavidson Fellows Scholarship
The Davidson Institute offers $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 Davidson Fellows scholarships to students 18 and under whose projects have the potential to benefit society, and are at the college graduate level. Application categories are in the STEM fields, Humanities and Outside the Box. The 2014 class of Davidson Fellows will be announced in August and the 2015 application will be available in November.

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 free online community by subscribing here. There is also an Educators Guild discussion group on Facebook - join today!

   Legislative & Policy News
  ARIZONA – An elementary school in the Humboldt Unified School District will pilot a "cluster" model for gifted education. In each grade, one class will include a group of six to nine students identified as gifted. In addition, classroom teachers will receive training on differentiating instruction for the students. Source: Prescott Valley Tribune
Gifted Legislation
CALIFORNIA – In the fall of 2015, a small, independent school exclusively tailored for gifted math students will open in downtown San Francisco called the Proof School with grades six to 12. Source: Mind/Shift

CONNECTICUT – The Newtown school district recently voted to launch a pilot program designed to expand and enrich offerings to academically gifted students. Source: Danbury News Times

ILLINOIS – The Collinsville Unit 10 School District recently adopted a new grade acceleration policy for elementary and middle school students that will allow gifted students to skip grade levels if they meet certain criteria. Source: The Metro Independent

IOWA – The Newton Community School District is considering a "clustering" model for gifted education in grades 4 to 6, intending to better utilize the district's limited gifted education staff. Source: Newton Daily News

MAINE – The University College at Rockland will debut the first course of a new graduate certificate program in Gifted and Talented Education this fall. Source:

MINNESOTA – The Royalton School District is preparing to establish a new Gifted, Talented and Enrichment (GTE) program for the coming school year. There are three separate tiers of services that will be available to students: An enrichment tier geared toward the identification of gifted students; a second tier designed for students who exhibit talents and potential; and, a gifted tier for those who have shown great improvement in their talents and who are academically competent. Source: Morrison County Record

Gifted LegislationNEW JERSEY – The Paterson School District is adding classes for second- and third-graders at their academy for “gifted and talented” elementary school students in September. In its first two years, the academy had been limited to grades four to eight. Source:

NEW YORK – New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña recently pledged to continue using a contentious gifted admissions exam for 4- and 5-year-olds. She also promised to preserve the number of gifted programs citywide. Source: New York Times

TENNESSEE – Starting this fall, all Shelby County Schools gifted students from preschool through 9th grade will participate in the Creative Learning in a Unique Environment (CLUE) camp. Source: Chalkbeat Tennessee

WISCONSIN – The School District of Beloit Turner received a grant through the Department of Public Instruction to cover online math courses for fifth through eighth graders in the gifted and talented program for the 2013-2014 school year. Beloit Turner, along with the Oregon and Horicon school districts, partnered with the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY) to apply for the grant, with the districts receiving a total of $29,930. Source: Beloit Daily News

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, "Do AP exams prepare kids for college? Should colleges 'count' them?" Join the discussion today!

Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS)
The Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS) has released 'Decimals and an Application of the Rational Numbers', the seventh online course from the self-paced Elements of Mathematics: Foundations (EMF) series for gifted middle school students. EMF is designed to present mathematics as the study of a deep and intellectually interesting idea. New students save 25 percent by enrolling in either (a) the first EMF course (Operational Systems) or (b) the first seven courses (EMF Course Pack 7) on or before September 1, 2014.

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

The article, Tips for Parents: Encouraging Your Children to Think with Depth and Complexity, by Paula Wilkes, provides insight on helping students.

The article, Tips for Parents: The Underachievement Dilemma, is from a seminar hosted by Jim Delisle.

This Summary of a Davidson Institute Seminar on Balancing Mind with Heart, hosted by John Kroeker, provides information on heart rhythm meditation (HRM), conscious breath, rhythmic breath and more.

The article, Gifted children: Emotionally immature or emotionally intense?, examines the emotional intensity of gifted children in terms of the overexcitabilities that are a component of Dabrowski’s theory of emotional development.

Gifted ResourcesResources
The You Be The Chemist Challenge is an exciting academic contest that uses the drama of competition to encourage grade five to eight students to explore important chemistry concepts, scientific theories and laboratory safety.

With support from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and several other departments at MIT, MIT INSPIRE is the nation’s first comprehensive high school research competition in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The Noetic Learning Math Contest is a biannual math problem solving contest for elementary students. The goal of the competition is to encourage the interests of young students in math, to develop their problem-solving skills, and to inspire them to excel in math.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
July 25 - TES News, Classroom practice – Keep on giving to the gifted and talented (Mike Gershon)
July 18 - Atlanta Journal Constitution, Gifted education: Georgia not only place struggling to get it right
(M. Downey)
July 8 - Mind/Shift, What Makes an ‘Extreme Learner’? (Linda Flanagan)

July 6 - Atlanta Journal Constitution, Should we rethink gifted ed? (Maureen Downey)
July 4 - ChicagoNow, I felt very stupid during Highschool. Now I know I am (probably) Gifted (Annemarie Verweij)
June 29 - Washington Post, How to end homework for moms (Jay Mathews)
June 29 - Lexington Herald Leader, Recommit to gifted education (Tracy Cross & Tracy Inman)
June 24 - The Creativity Post, How does IQ relate to personality? (Scott Barry Kaufman)
June 19 - Deseret News, 'Where all kids are above average': Should schools separate gifted? (E. Schulzke)
June 19 -, Gifted Kids: Tips for summer fun, learning (Lissy Wood)
June 17 - Psychology Today, Gifted Education Matters (Jonathan Wai)
June 17 - Psychology Today, Nature of the Gifted Learner: An Interview with Dr. Tebbs (Joseph Cardillo)
June 16 - ChicagoNow, Q&A with a ChicagoNow Blogger: Rhonda Stern, Gifted Matters (Erin Massey)
June 9 -, 10-year-old Sacramento prodigy graduates from high school (Carlos Saucedo)
June 7 - American Thinker, The True Face of Genius (Larry Kaufmann)
June 4 - New York Times, America’s Future Depends on Gifted Students (Frederick M. Hess)
June 4 - New York Times, Tracking Students By Ability Produces Results (Bruce Sacerdote)
June 2 - Psychology Today, The Right Way to Treat Child Geniuses (Jonathan Wai)
June 2 -, Our state and nation must stop neglecting our most talented students (Amy Waine & Tracy Cross)
May 23 - Huffington Post, Gifted or Hard-Working? Which is Better for Long-Term Success? (Sherrie Campbell)
May 21 - Capital Notes, For Frustrated Gifted Kids, A World of Online Opportunities (Ingfei Chen)

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

   In the Spotlight

 Umar Ahmed Badami, 10
A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

In the SpotlightThe purpose of the Davidson Young Scholars Ambassador Program is to foster learning and civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership in highly motivated and mature Young Scholars. Umar's project, Share the Care, provides funds for medical care in hospitals around the world.

What are some past and present projects you’ve worked on to help make a positive difference in the lives of others?
Share The Care (STC) is an organization that raises money for hospitals and patients around the world. In four years so far, STC has helped people in Africa and South Asia. Our first two years, we helped raise money for a small rural hut-clinic in Uganda. The conditions were horrible: Three people in a hospital bed, inadequate resources, and the people had to walk for miles to get there. We raised about $1,000 for this cause and, using these funds, they purchased fetal dopplers, infant finger clips and pulse oximeters. Last year, we raised about $220 for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre in Pakistan, in order to help them get a PET scanner, which helps detect cancer. They treat poor cancer patients there for free, and are funded by charitable donations. This year, we are raising money for very poor cataract patients in India. A group of doctors is helping for free, but the hospitals require an $80 fee to use the rooms, pay the staff, etc. For more information and to donate, please visit our website at Help us SHARE THE CARE.

How has the Young Scholars Ambassador Program (YSAP) helped you to reach your goals and achieve your accomplishments?
The seminars are what has helped me the most in the program. One in particular taught us how to make a business plan and set goals for our charity. Another taught us self-advocacy. A third taught us about philanthropy. These and other seminars taught me how to become a better person and deeply influenced my thinking in terms of improving my charity. The Young Scholars Ambassador Program has changed the way I look at the world positively.

Please describe your academic setting and some positive experiences with mentors.
This year I did a combination of homeschooling and private schooling. The YSAP mentors were very encouraging and inquisitive about every aspect of our charities. They gave us self-confidence, and were extremely supportive in all of my endeavors and answered all my questions readily. One of my more recent mentors was very interested in my cataract surgery project, and was excited to hear about our fireworks fundraiser. He was very supportive and asked lots of questions to boost my self-confidence and to give himself a better understanding of my charity. Another mentor gave detailed replies to my seminar answers, and also put some hypothetical questions in his replies to get me to think more. A third mentor was exceptionally encouraging about self-advocacy and was great to work with. I would never have had such mentors without the YSAP. Overall, the YSAP has given me the opportunity to further my charity work and to make myself a better human being. Without it, Share the Care would not be what it is today.

   Closing Thought

"The ridiculous bias against gifted kids in our nation's schools emanates from so-called educational visionaries whose sight is hampered by the gauzy lens of professional ignorance. By paying scant attention to the needs of gifted kids, we are squandering a resource that will make our nation less
competitive, less meaningful, less respectful."

~ Dr. Jim Delisle, in this interview about his new book, Dumbing Down America


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