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Davidson Institute March 2011

             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
  Intel Science Talent Search – Honoring Those Who Promote Scientific Advancement
Some of the brightest young minds in America were recently honored for their innovative, remarkable projects as the winners of the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search (STS)! Evan Michael O’Dorney received the Intel STS top award of $100,000 for his research on data encryption; second place winner Michelle Hackman was awarded $75,000 for conducting a study on the effects of separating teens from their cell phones; and third place finisher Matthew Miller received $50,000 for his project on aerodynamics and how to help generate electricity more efficiently.
Congratualations to 2010 Davidson Fellows Scott Boisvert, Jonathan Li and Laurie Rumker and 2009 Davidson Fellow Prithwis Mukhopadhyay who were also recognized as finalists.

View the press release and click here for a detailed description of each of the finalists' projects. Sources: U.S.News & World Report, Voice of America

Epsilon Camp - A Challenging Summer Math Experience
EpsilonThe Epsilon Camp, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a three-week summer residential camp for exceptionally and profoundly gifted students ages 8-10 years (must be under the age of 11 during the camp) who love math. Enrollment is limited to 38, so those interested are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. A parent workshop designed to help parents manage issues relating to EG/PG children will run parallel to the student camp. Faculty openings are available. Please send resumes to

PrufrockPrufrock Press Now the Owner of Cottonwood Press
A longtime provider of education products for the language arts classroom, Cottonwood Press was recently acquired by Prufrock Press Inc. Cottonwood Press published materials that often incorporate humor to gain students' interests when learning in-depth and challenging topics. Some of Cottonwood's products include activity books and creative writing books, as well as CDs with classroom learning activities. Prufrock Press is one of the nation's leading publishers for gifted, advanced, and special needs learners.

   Davidson News
  The Davidson Academy of Nevada
The Davidson AcademyA free public school, The Davidson Academy of Nevada encourages and supports the abilities, strengths, and interests of profoundly gifted middle and high school students. 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. Hear from current students and Academy parents, familiarize yourself with faculty and staff, network with others and ask specific questions at the final tour of the 2010-2011 school year on Friday, April 15. RSVPs are required.

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

Davidson Fellows2012 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Applications
The Davidson Fellows 2012 scholarship application will be available in late April! New for 2012, age eligibility criteria is changing - students must be 18 or younger as of October 10, 2012. The Davidson Institute offers $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 scholarships to students whose projects have the potential to benefit society, and are at or close to college graduate level with a depth of knowledge in their particular area of study.

Gifted Issues Discussion Forum
Gifted Issues Discussion Forum
The 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 4,000 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about an abundance of gifted topics.
   Legislative & Policy News
Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act – Due to yet another "continuing resolution" (CR), funding for Javits, the only federal source of funding for gifted and talented education, will continue operating at the 2010 spending level of $7.5 million. A continuing resolution is a temporary device that funds federal programs at previous funding levels while Congress works to determine funding for fiscal year 2011 programs. The latest CR expires on April 8. Advocates are asking supporters of gifted education to contact their representatives and senators, requesting them to co-sign letters that support Javits. Source: NAGC Legislative Update page
Gifted Policy
COLORADO – Strong interest in a new Boulder campus of Mackintosh Academy is fueling organizers to consider opening the campus with more students than originally planned. The school could open with as many as 80 students and may also add grades 9 and 10 in the future. Mackintosh is a K-8 private school for gifted children that originally opened in 1977 in Littleton. Source: Daily Camera

ILLINOIS – The West Aurora School District is considering creating a new self-contained program for gifted middle school students. The program would be an expansion of the district's policy of clustering gifted students in younger grade levels. It would include a traditional curriculum plus exploratory classes and the possibility of online courses in world languages. Source: Chicago Sun-Times

INDIANA – The Indiana House of Representatives is proposing a 7.5 percent budget cut for the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities, a residential high school for about 300 gifted and talented students from across the state. Source: Muncie Star Press

MAINE – High school students who will be juniors or seniors will have the opportunity to earn college credit at the new University of New England Summer Early College Program in the fall of 2011. A number of partial scholarships are available to students who exhibit excellent academic achievement. Source: University of New England

MARYLAND – Differences in opinion in Montgomery County are causing debate about the future of the school district’s gifted and talented program. Supporters say the program is crucial for students who need a more challenging curriculum, while others feel the "gifted and talented" label can be controversial and that the enriched curriculum should apply to all students. Sources: The Gazette, Silver Chips Online

MICHIGAN – The Carrollton School District’s early college program allows students to take courses at Delta College which count toward their high school diploma. Prospective students must take an entrance exam to qualify for the program. Sources:, Saginaw News

NEW YORK – Advocates in Queens are attempting to persuade the local Department of Education (DOE) to reinstate the gifted and talented program at Public School 18 in Queens Village, based on the argument that there is enough demand to keep the program going. The DOE has been phasing out the program at the Queens Village school, citing low demand. Sources: New York Daily News,

SOUTH CAROLINA – Starting in January 2012, advanced Boone County Schools’ students will have the opportunity to attend math and science courses at the new Honors Academy. Students will also be able to take dual credit classes through the Southern Community and Technical College. Source: Charleston Daily Mail

TEXAS – A new early college program in the Victoria School District will allow students to graduate high school with a college associate degree. The program, made possible by a $3 million federal grant, will pay for tuition, fees, and books for incoming high school freshmen. Students will earn college credits and experience rigorous course work. Source: Victoria Advocate

VIRGINIA – A recent school board proposal would allocate $20 million in funding to a new elementary and middle school for gifted students in Virginia Beach. Source: The Virginian-Pilot – 3/16, 3/15

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recent changes to the Highly Gifted and Talented Center Program at Roberto Clemente Middle School have led to discontent among many parents and students. This is the first year students in the gifted program are not being grouped by ability, due to the school no longer having enough teachers. Source: Washington Post

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
  Free Gap Year Guidebook Now Available
The Davidson Institute recently published a free new guidebook titled, Considering Your Options: A Guidebook for Investigating Gap Year Opportunities (PDF). A gap year is a “break from formal education to become more immersed in another culture, to volunteer domestically or abroad, to gain experience and maturity…”. Taking a gap year is becoming more common, and can be even more common for students who graduate from high school earlier than expected. In this guidebook, readers will find information on gap year options for students under the age of 18, the pros and cons of taking a gap year, what colleges think of students who pursue a gap year and much more. This guidebook is the latest addition to the Institute’s collection of free guidebooks which can be found at

Gifted Exchange Blog
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted. One of her recent posts is titled, Early Enrollment: On The Rise? Join the discussion today!

Davidson Gifted DatabaseFeatured Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database at is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students.

Written by noted gifted expert Dr. Tracy Cross, the Prufrock Press book On the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Children covers information on how gifted students cope with mixed messages in a constantly changing society, and how they manage their way through school and home.

eGFI (Engineering, Go For It!) seeks to provide the most effective engineering education resources available to the K-12 community.

The UConn Mentor Connection has been designed to provide students with opportunities to participate in creative projects and investigations under the supervision of university mentors.

Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
March 30, 2011 - Wall Street Journal, Raising an Accidental Prodigy (Sue Shellenbarger)
March/April 2011 - Imagine - Center for Talented Youth, Where Math & Service Meet (PDF) (Jonathan Li)
March 19, 2011 - Indianapolis Star, Genius at work: 12-year-old is studying at IUPUI (Dan McFeely)
March 17, 2011 - The News-Herald, Schools offer accelerated opportunities for gifted students (Angela Gartner)
March 16, 2011 - New York Times, Summer Camps With a Technology Focus (Mickey Meece)
March 14, 2011 - Washington Post, Making students smarter AND better (Jay Mathews)
March 12, 2011 - Science Daily, Could Giftedness Be Linked to Prenatal Exposure... (Staff)
March 11, 2011 - Science 2.0, Myths Of Gifted Education (Alex Antunes)
March 11, 2011 - Christian Science Monitor, The problem with helping everyone reach 'average' (Ann Robinson)
March 7, 2011 - Caltech, Freshman Violinist Mixes Music with Molecules (Katie Neith)
March 2011 - Boston Parents/, Profoundly gifted kids have different, very real special needs (S. Flynn)
March 2011 - District Administration, Learning Gets Personal - Education Reform (Susan McLester)
February 23, 2011 - ABC News, Child Prodigies Astound (J. Berman & S. Hodd)
February 19, 2011 - New York Times, Gifted Programs Go on Block as Schools Must Do With Less (Jennifer Gollan)
February 10, 2011 - Education News, An Interview with Christine Fonseca: Gifted Kids Out There! (M. Shaughnessy) January 26, 2011 - Blue Springs Journal, Perfect score - sophomore earns a 36 on ACT (Julie Scheidegger)

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

   In the Spotlightght

Sachin Rudraraju - 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 Though many recycling programs are available in cities, there is always a gap in public awareness in how to best use them. To help contribute to raising recycling awareness in the public, I started a Community Recycling Campaign (CRC) project in December 2007 to spread the message “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and to help communities and charities. Many recycling programs charge a fee to collect your reusable e-waste and recyclable items. Because of this, many subdivisions do not participate in curb-side recycling programs. My project mainly focuses on providing an alternative to costly computer recycling programs, as well as a service to make recycling easier. As part of the campaign, we collect used computers and plastic toys from residents, public gatherings, and local drop-off boxes. When these items are salvageable, CRC teams refurbish and donate them to local charities. Electronics that are no longer usable are delivered to an electronics drop-off center for proper recycling and disposal.

Our accomplishments include:
  • A media campaign through local newspapers, group mailing lists, the CRC website ( and social networking websites.
  • Submitting a proposal to different subdivision managements to start curbside recycling programs. We contacted local EPA, State and County Solid Waste Management teams, and various local recycling centers to implement the recycling-programs in different subdivisions.
  • Collecting 130+ computers, 160+ monitors, 80+ printers, 40+ scanners, 9 TVs, and other miscellaneous electronic items, and diverting thousands of pounds of electronic waste from landfills. We collected 30+ trashed electronics from garbage collectors in various subdivisions.
  • Refurbishing and donating 20+ computers. Currently we have 100+ computers, 40+ monitors, 30 printers, TVs, and lots of other computer peripherals in our refurbishing center.
  • Partnering with a local recycling center to drop-off non-working items to make sure the remaining e-waste is properly recycled.
  • Collecting clothes from various communities and packing and shipping 230 boxes of clothes to India AP Flood victims. We collected $2,000 in donations and purchased school kits, distributing them to 1000+ kids in AP Flood affected areas.
  • Raising $1,200 in funds for the Central Ohio Hemophilia Foundation and $500 to UNICEF.
I would like to expand this concept at the global level. I also started an Adopt-A-School program in India to raise recycling awareness in schools and nearby villages. In 2010, we donated $1,800 and added $1,000 in local donations in India to develop recycling knowledge centers in eight high schools. In the future, I would like to expand this project to many other schools and cities.

What are your short-term and long-term educational plans?

In the Spotlight After years of observation, I’ve found that my interests can change on a whim. All I can hope for is a career that promises to be interesting day to day, something that I won’t get bored with. I want to be forced to learn new things as I go along, be forced to stay on the edge of new discoveries and new methods. Right now, I hope to finish high school, get into a good undergraduate program, and pursue pre-medicine. So far, I have taken 11 Advanced Placement classes, and am planning to take math and science courses at The Ohio State University in my senior year through Post-Secondary Enrollment Options. The past two summers, I worked at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Bio-Genomics core research lab in Columbus, Ohio, working with Dr. Peter White, the Principal Investigator. Biomedical Genomics is developing and uses state-of-the-art genomic technologies to investigate and understand the mechanisms of human health and disease. I found it to be very interesting and am planning to work at this lab again the next two summers. Currently, the subject that best fits my long-term goal requirements is neurology. Studying in such a blooming field that has so many unanswered questions would be a great way to spend the next decade of my life.

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

I was selected to the Davidson Young Scholars program in 2007. Since then, this program has provided the resources and help I need to excel academically and personally. I was so fortunate and proudly say that I was part of 2008-2009 Young Scholar Ambassador Program. Through it, I not only learned the skills necessary to start and maintain my community service project, but also skills like leadership and planning that have helped me in every area of my life. The Ambassador Program has helped me learn and practice what community service means and enabled me to continue to learn and grow as a human being.

   Closing Thought

"'The key is for the parent to find out what the child's interest is.' When the child is encouraged to pursue something that truly interests him, 'that talent will never disappear.'"

               ~ Dr. K.W. Loh, about his son, Davidson Fellow Laureate Kyle Loh,
Wall Street Journal, article by Sue Shellenbarger


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