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July 2017

What's New in Gifted Education | Davidson News | Legislative & Policy News
On the Web | In the News | In the Spotlight

2017 Davidson Fellows to be Announced Next Month

The 2017 Davidson Fellows will be announced in mid-August! The Davidson Institute offers $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 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.

What's New in Gifted Education

Wallace Symposium

The nation’s leading researchers in gifted education will present their work at the Wallace Research & Policy Symposium on Talent Development, a major biennial conference for gifted education research. Co-hosted by the the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Belin-Blank Center, the Symposium will be held in Baltimore April 29-May 1, 2018. The call for papers is now open. Presenters include Nicholas Colangelo, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Rena Subotnik, Joyce VanTassel-Baska and more!

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has awarded $855,000 to academic enrichment programs serving low-income rural students in elementary and secondary schools in six states. The Cooke Foundation Rural Talent Initiative grants seek to expand opportunities for rigorous summer and academic year learning and enrichment for students in rural areas, where access to educational opportunities is limited. Read more

2017 Class of Thiel Fellows

The 2017 class of Thiel Fellows comprised of 25 young entrepreneurs was recently announced. Thiel Fellowships consist of separate grants of $100,000 over two years to young recipients. Thiel Fellows are mentored by hundreds of highly accomplished entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, thinkers and innovators while taking a two-year hiatus from the classroom so they can focus on creating innovative startups, technologies and nonprofits. Read about the 2017 class.

Davidson News

Davidson Academy’s Two Options - Designed to Be Different

The Davidson Academy offers two educational options specifically designed to meet the needs of profoundly gifted students – an online school for those living anywhere in the U.S. and a day school on the University of Nevada, Reno campus for local residents.

Both options are centered on a rigorous academic environment where students can thrive among their intellectual peers. Academy classes are grouped by ability rather than by age, providing profoundly gifted students an educational opportunity matched to their abilities, strengths and interests. Please read the School Profile for additional information about the Davidson Academy.

Davidson Academy’s Online High School

The 2017-2018 school year marks the expansion of the Davidson Academy with an Online High School for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the United States. Open to students in eighth grade and above, the Online High School takes the best of a Davidson Academy education and builds a robust online community where students can thrive. This online, accredited option is designed to be different from traditional online education. Online students benefit from:
  • Live, synchronous sessions
  • Quality peer interactions
  • Small class sizes
  • Responsive, caring instructors
  • Guidance counseling
  • College planning
  • Personalized Learning Plans
Please visit the Davidson Academy’s Online High School Qualification Criteria and How to Apply web pages for additional information. The application for the Online High School will open this October for the 2018-2019 school year.

Davidson Academy’s Reno School

For more than a decade, the Davidson Academy's free public day school located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus has been serving profoundly gifted middle and high school students who move to or live in the Reno area. Academics at the Davidson Academy are guided by flexibility, opportunity and rigorous engagement. The Academy’s teaching methods focus on thinking skills and a sincere regard for the uniqueness of each individual learner. This learning environment is particularly suited to the needs of extremely bright students in other respects as well. The interpersonal and instructional dynamics at the Academy are an atmosphere that is vibrant with intellectual energy and dialogue. Academy students may also enroll in courses at the University of Nevada, Reno, under a dual enrollment agreement.

Students at the Davidson Academy have the opportunity to participate in many clubs and extracurricular activities throughout the school year. From the Fall Festival and Winter Dance to Pi Day and Spirit Week, there is always something fun happening!

 Please visit the Davidson Academy’s Reno School Qualification Criteria and How to Apply web pages for details. The Reno school application opens next month for the 2018-2019 school year.

Davidson Young Scholars

The national Davidson Young Scholars program provides FREE services designed to nurture the intellectual, social, emotional, and academic development of profoundly intelligent young people between the ages of 5 and 18 (students must be between the ages of 5 and 16 when applying). Benefits of the program include:
  • Consulting Services
  • An Online Community
  • In-person Connections
  • Community Service Endeavors
  • Summer Programs (fee-based)
The Davidson Institute offers FREE, online educational planning guidebooks focused on topics such as advocacy, early college and mentorships, gap year, homeschooling and giving back. These comprehensive guidebooks help direct parents and students through the process of searching for an appropriately challenging educational setting.

Legislative & Policy News

ARKANSAS – The Siloam Springs school district plans to expand its program for gifted and talented students next year. Source: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

CONNECTICUT – A new law authorizes the state Department of Education to retain a gifted and talented specialist. It also calls for state guidelines to be developed to help districts with best practices and staff training in gifted education. Source: CT Post

FLORIDA – Twenty elementary schools in Palm Beach County will open full-time gifted programs, which could spell the end of local gifted cluster centers. Source: MyPalmBeachPost

The Duval school district’s plans to expand gifted education classes is dividing some local parents. Source: Florida Times-Union

MARYLAND – A new pilot program aimed at increasing diversity in the Montgomery school district’s highly gifted centers and magnet programs has proved so successful that the district will expand it system-wide in the fall. Source: WAMU

NEW JERSEY – The West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) recently passed a Gifted & Talented Program assessment plan that included the use of an IQ test to evaluate whether current K-2 students should enter the district’s program. Source:

NEW YORK – Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. recently released a joint report outlining their proposals to make admission to the New York City gifted programs more equitable. Sources: New York Post, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, DNAinfo

VIRGINIA – The Charlottesville school district is continuing its efforts to refer and identify more students to its gifted education program. Quest, the city schools’ gifted program, was able to refer more students across several demographics than the desired goal that was made a year ago. Source: The Daily Progress

WASHINGTON – An increase in state funding for the Highly Capable Program (HCP) has recently been proposed in the budget. Source: Washington Coalition for Gifted Education

On the Web

The Davidson Gifted Database features articles, resources and state policies to help students, parents and educators pinpoint gifted information.


A gifted person's guide to therapy provides advice on what to look for when searching for a therapist.

Fostering The Social And Emotional Development Of Gifted Children Through Guided Viewing Of Film presents a theoretical foundation for this approach, a variety of strategies for implementation, and a collection of films appropriate for use with gifted students.

What’s Wrong with Me? provides advice on helping 2e children work on their exceptionalities while not having it feel like “therapy”, as well as focusing on their strengths.

The Art of Problem Solving Academy curriculum is carefully designed to prepare students for the rigors of advanced university classes and highly competitive careers. In math and language arts classes, they stress fundamentals and extending them to advanced applications.

In Gifted Underachiever: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World, experts in gifted education from different countries share the newest research about underachievement. From the definitions to the practical solutions, the diverse information and guides within this book will help the readers to understand the situations of gifted students in regular education systems.

The Goods of the Mind - Competitive Mathematics for Students series provides practice materials and short theory reminders for students who aim to excel at problem solving.

In the News

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

In the Spotlight

Sharleen Loh - Davidson Ambassador

The 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. Sharleen's project is "STEM up 4 Youth."

What inspired you to start your project?
STEM has always fascinated me. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to travel around America, visiting various hands-on science museums and fairs as a child. The fun, interactive exhibitions from those trips not only opened my eyes and inspired my passion for STEM—they made me realize the privileges I have and not to take them for granted.

I have attended schools where underprivileged children are the majority. It saddens me to see these children (and my peers), many of whom are minorities and/or economically disadvantaged, with very little resources, at risk of being left behind. They are the most underrepresented in the STEM fields. With the kids in mind, plus the announcement of a national shortage of a large enough skilled STEM workforce for the next few decades, I decided to do something and make a change.

Tell me about the project you are working on to help make a positive difference in the lives of others.
In 2013, I initiated a first-ever STEM Night at an elementary school. After nine months of researching and planning, the event turned out to be a huge success! 700 people attended the STEM Night! I was inspired by that experience and wanted to do more. A few months later, I initiated the first STEM program at a local Boys and Girls Club. Since then, I’ve spent day and night researching and developing over 100 hands-on activities for STEM programs. I believe that my hands-on approach allows kids to explore using their natural curiosity and ultimately allows their interest to flourish!

As my program size expanded, I started to recruit volunteers and soon created STEMup4Youth! Through word of mouth, my organization grew. I have since partnered with over 40 different organizations around Southern California, reaching out to 5000 children and engaging 140 volunteers from 15 local schools. I’ve also created seven chapters to further spread my passion of STEM!

I’ve received several distinctions for my work with STEMup4Youth, including being selected as a National Young Woman of Distinction, Prudential Spirit of Community Service Distinguished Finalist, and earning the Presidential Gold Volunteer Service Award.

What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
I hope to expand my STEM programs to the national level in the near future and spread my love of STEM to a broader audience.

In the future, I hope to pursue a career in a STEM field, possibly biochemistry. I hope to use my experience with and knowledge of STEM to make a bigger impact, and help more people in need!

How has the Young Scholars program helped you to reach your goals and achieve your accomplishments?

The Young Scholars program has been amazing help in providing information, guidance, and a community to share and learn about others’ experiences. I most definitely could not have reached this far without the Davidson Ambassador program's training and advice. I learned so much from the program’s seminars, and the guidance provided was invaluable.
“The lack of attention paid to talented students is most likely related to the stereotype that such students do not need help due to their intellectual advantages and resource-rich parents. But disadvantages related to poverty and parents with low educational attainment exist across the full range of talent . . . we as a society lose out on their intellectual and creative contributions.”

--Jonathan Wai and Frank C. Worrell, in the report Fully Developing the Potential of Academically Advanced Students: Helping Them Will Help Society
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