Davidson Institute                                                                                              June 2010
             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
  IntelGroundbreaking Science Novelty, Invention and Innovation
More than 1,600 outstanding high school science students, representing more than 50 countries, exhibited their wide-ranging projects recently at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in San Jose, Calif.

ISEFAmy Chyao, 15, was awarded first place for her work to develop a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy (PDT), an emerging cancer treatment that uses light energy to activate a drug that kills cancer cells. Amy received $75,000 and the Gordon E. Moore Award, given for the first time in honor of the retired Intel co-founder. Yale Fan, 18, a 2007 Davidson Fellow Laureate, and Kevin Ellis, 18, also received top honors and $50,000. Yale’s project demonstrated the advantages of quantum computing in performing difficult computations. Kevin developed a method to automatically speed up computer programs by analyzing the programs while they are running so that work could be divided across multiple microprocessors. See the complete list of the winners.

Also, Davidson Academy students Taylor Wilson and Casey Acklin each received awards for their projects. Taylor talked about his project in this Fox Business News interview, “Homeland Security Looks to 15-Year-Old to Protect Country.”

SiemensSeeking Gifted Scientists and Mathematicians 
The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology recognizes remarkable talent, fostering individual growth for high school students seeking a challenge through science research. The 2010 competition, which began on April 30, allows students to enter individually or as part of a team. The deadline for entries is October 1.

TAGGifted High School Tops National List Once Again
For the fourth time in five years, a Dallas gifted and talented magnet school placed first on Newsweek's list of the top high schools in the United States. Congratulations to the School for the Talented and Gifted (TAG) at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center for again achieving this impressive accomplishment! Many other schools for gifted and talented students also made the list. View the entire list to see where your school ranks.

   Davidson News
  The Davidson Academy of Nevada - Application Deadline Approaching
Davidson AcademyAt The Davidson Academy of Nevada, a free public school, the abilities, strengths and interests of profoundly gifted middle and high school students are encouraged and supported. Those who perform at an academic level of advanced middle school or higher in all subjects and score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ or college entrance tests are encouraged to apply. Please review the Application Review Process page for more information.

Visit the Academy for a public tour on Friday, August 6. RSVPs are required and can be submitted online at www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu/Explore.

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

Davidson Fellows
Davidson FellowsThe 2010 Class of Davidson Fellows will be announced in the next eNews-Update!

For more information on the Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program and to download the 2011 application, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org/Fellows. Young people under the age of 18 have the opportunity to win a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship in recognition of a significant piece of work in the categories of Science, Technology, Mathematics, Music, Literature and Philosophy, or Outside the Box, defined as graduate-level work in any other field. The application deadline is March 2, 2011.

Davidson Young Scholars
Davidson Young ScholarsThe application deadline for the Davidson Young Scholars program is now the 1st of each month. This FREE, national program helps profoundly gifted students discover others with similar interests and abilities, utilizing their skills and talents to maximize their educational potential and make a positive difference. Parents collaborate with a skilled team of Family Consultants who provide individualized services, based on each family’s unique needs, in the areas of educational advocacy, social and emotional development, talent development and more.

Read Young Scholar Success Stories about how the program has made a difference in students’ lives. Apply today!

Gifted Issues  
Gifted Issues Discussion Forum -
A Meeting Place for All Things Gifted

Register for the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum and become a part of one of the most active gifted education forums on the web! With more than 3,200 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about an abundance of gifted topics.

   Legislative & Policy News
  ARIZONA – Beginning in the fall 2010 semester, Arizona State University (ASU) will offer Master of Education degrees with a track in gifted education for both Elementary and Secondary Education. Both programs require 33 credit hours and count toward the Arizona Department of Education’s Gifted Endorsement requirement. Source: ASU News

CALIFORNIA – The rate at which low-income, minority students in four Los Angeles schools are being identified as gifted is quickly increasing, thanks in part to an initiative launched last year that tests nearly all second-grade students for giftedness. Previously, most students came to be tested through one of two routes: A parent requesting it or the school taking the initiative. Source: Los Angeles Times

Gifted LegislationCOLORADO
– The Boulder Valley School District will launch a number of new programs for gifted and talented students in the 2010-2011 school year, including one that clusters high-achieving students into the same classes. Source: Daily Camera

– Parents and students associated with the New Haven Talented and Gifted (TAG) enrichment program recently spoke out in support of the program, as the school board is considering cutting TAG funding up to 50 percent. Source: New Haven Independent

FLORIDA – Nine middle schools in the Polk County Public School District recently adopted a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program for gifted elementary students. Polk received a $2.7 million grant to fund the program over three years. Source: News Chief

MASSACHUSETTS – Launched last September, the Amesbury High School Early College Program allows high schools students the opportunity to study advanced-level history and English and earn nine transferable college credits each school year at Northern Essex Community College. Source: Boston Globe

NEVADA – Plans for the first public school for highly gifted students in Clark County have been put on hold, due to the district cutting $145 million from next year’s budget. The school, which drew inspiration from The Davidson Academy, is designed to serve students in grades 6 through 12 who have an IQ of at least 145. The district has identified about 180 students who would qualify. Source: Las Vegas Sun

NEW YORK – The number of students qualifying for gifted kindergarten programs in New York City schools rose by 10 percent, with a notable spike in scores above the 97th percentile, despite 16 percent fewer students taking the eligibility exams. Education officials believe this is due in part to increased preparation, as hundreds of parents hired tutors or bought commercial test preparation materials for their students who were taking the test. Sources: New York Times, Gotham Gazette

TEXAS – A new school for gifted and talented students will open in San Antonio for the 2010-2011 school year. Highland Park Gifted and Talented Academy will require all teachers to be certified in teaching gifted and talented curriculum, and will focus on innovative ways to learn. Source: San Antonio Express

VIRGINIA – Newport News Public Schools is planning to expand the number of full-time gifted programs from 10 to 13, as well as help teachers become certified to teach a gifted-education curriculum. Students are tested in second and fifth grade to determine eligibility for the programs, which consider achievement and aptitude in designating students as gifted. Source: Daily Press

– An expert from the University of Virginia, acting as an outside consultant, recommended numerous changes to the Tacoma School District’s approach to gifted education, including new definitions of giftedness and increasing advanced content for students in gifted programs. The board accepted the recommendations and has pledged to monitor district progress. Source: The News Tribune

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 EducationGifted Exchange Blog
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted, with recent posts including:
  • The End of the "Stupid Class" – Gifted education is an intervention for children who need it. Maybe if we keep saying that often enough, the message will get through.
  • Girls Prevail in New York City Programs for Gifted – While the city's schools as a whole are about 51 percent male, the gifted programs in the early grades are about 55-56 percent female. What causes the disparity? What is to be done about it?
Join the discussion today!

   In the News
June 15, 2010 - Women's eNews, Left Behind? Actually, More Boys Take 'Gifted' Test (R. Barnett & C. Rivers)
June 14, 2010 - Newsweek, The Dilemma of Gifted Kids: When Should Parents Draw a Line? (Staff)
June 10, 2010 - Washington Post, Must-read new report on high school dropouts (Jay Mathews)
June 10, 2010 - Boston Globe, Getting a jump on college (Wendy Chow)
June 5, 2010 - OregonLive.com, Portland's Yale Fan will take his love of science to Harvard (Wendy Owen)
May 31, 2010 - Washington Post, AP classes' draw extends beyond extra grade points (Jay Mathews)
May 27, 2010 - Vermont Public Radio, Meeting The Needs Of Gifted & Talented Children (Jane Lindholm)
May 26, 2010 - USA Today, Haiti answers help Florida boy win National Geographic Bee (Stephanie Steinberg)
May 18, 2010 - CNN International, The 9-year-old Microsoft genius (Anna Coren)
May 17, 2010 - Take Part Blog, Gifted Kids: Are the Best Minds Being Left Behind? (Melanie Smollin)
May 13, 2010 - Washington Post, In the great AP vs. IB debate, everybody wins (Jay Mathews)
May 7, 2010 - Education Week, Gifted Children Are Stepchildren in School Reform (Walt Gardner)
May 2, 2010 - San Francisco Chronicle, School funding leaves gifted students behind (Jill Tucker)

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

   In the Spotlight

Elizabeth Mule - A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

What are some past and present projects you’ve worked on to help make a positive difference in the lives of others?
In the Spotlight
My Young Scholars Ambassador Program project, Reading Through Their Eyes, involved tutoring children at risk for being diagnosed with dyslexia. Sometimes it is really difficult to get up in the mornings and be at the school at 8:15 a.m., but then I think about how happy my students are when they learn a new word or spell something right. When I teach them something that they otherwise may not have learned for a long time, it is incredibly rewarding. Because of my own difficulties with dyslexia, I know exactly how they feel. Dyslexia is very hard to overcome and even with intervention, I still have my moments. I believe that if I had gotten the kind of help I am trying to give these students at an earlier age, I would have less difficulty now. When I think that a child might avoid some of the obstacles I had to face, it makes getting up early all worthwhile.

What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?

I have not completely decided on what my ultimate goal will be, but I know that it will be in the natural sciences. I plan to start by obtaining an Associate’s degree in Biology, followed by a degree in either entomology, marine biology, or one of the other natural sciences. Ultimately, I would like to go on to medical school, to pursue my interests in forensic pathology. There are so many puzzles to solve in that area of science, from solving the world’s crimes to discovering the nature of man’s past. I have also dreamed of discovering a new species of animal or discovering some as yet undiscovered scientific truth. I think the hardest part about making future plans is deciding on one dream and sticking it out. There are so many things I want to do after my school career, that it is still very difficult to focus on just one dream. I feel like my foot is on the path, but I am not entirely sure of the direction I will go. All I know is that whatever path I follow, my parents will support me, as they have done my entire life. But in the end it is up to me to take that leap and become something great.

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

When I first moved to Texas, after losing my house in Hurricane Katrina, I knew no one. I had left my mentors and friends behind in New Orleans and, as cliché as this may sound, I felt very lost and alone. My parents decided to apply to the Davidson Young Scholars program in the hopes of finding resources for me. Through the Young Scholar program, I found new mentors and made new friends, including my first-ever, real best friend. Finally I had someone I could talk to and with whom be completely myself. Eventually, I applied and was accepted to the Young Scholar Ambassador Program, where I learned new leadership skills and developed the resources to implement my own service project. My consultant was there with me every step of the way. The Davidson’s made my life better in a way I could never have imagined.

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

In the SpotlightMy mother used my interest in spiders as the spring board for my other subjects. However my parents also exposed me to theater, opera, ballet, and sports. We were active in two homeschool groups and went on many field trips. My parents always knew what I wanted and needed throughout me entire school career. Because I am a ‘special’ learner, my parents provided opportunities for me to learn by using all of my senses. My difficulty learning to read and spell was not a barrier to my education. Everything we did was a learning experience, and they always supported me. My parents regularly took me  to museums, to the zoo, and on as many trips as they could afford. They provided me with books and videos and, for those subjects where I desired more knowledge than they could provide, they found mentors for me so that my education was enriched by college professors, museum staff, and scientists. Overall, my parents exposed me to many activities in order to ensure that my education was balanced and well rounded.

Read Elizabeth’s Young Scholar Success Story to learn more about how this program has helped make a difference in her life.

   Closing Thought

"As a Davidson Fellow, I look forward to sharing my research
with others and encouraging the interests of others with the
same intellectual curiosity that I have."

               ~ Yale Fan, 2010 Intel ISEF Winner and 2007 Davidson Fellow Laureate


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