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Davidson Institute March 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
  Intel Science Talent Search – Honoring the Best and Brightest Young Scientists
Some of the brightest young innovators in America were recently honored for their influential, dynamic projects as the winners of the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search (STS).  Nithin Tumma won the top award of $100,000 for his research on more direct, targeted, effective and less toxic breast cancer treatments; second place winner Andrey Sushko was awarded $75,000 for his development of a tiny motor which uses the surface tension of water to turn; and third place finisher Mimi Yen received $50,000 for her study of evolution and genetics, which focuses on microscopic worms.
Congratulations to 2011 Davidson Fellows Marian Bechtel, Siddhartha Jena and Anirudh Prabhu, and 2010 Fellow Meredith Lehmann, who were also recognized as finalists.

View the press release and click here for a detailed description of each of the finalists' projects. Sources: Voice of America, Detroit Free Press

Khan Academy – Changing Mainstream Education in America and Across the World
KhanWith digital lessons, sample exercises and a library of more than 3,000 videos covering a wealth of educational topics, Khan Academy is a free online tutoring site that has become an innovative means of learning for students all over the world. Created by former hedge fund analyst Salman Khan, the Khan Academy has backing from Google, Bill Gates and numerous other entities. Their classes are being incorporated into numerous American schools. Sources: CBS News, Huffington Post, Washington Post, City Journal

National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT) – Scholarships for Gifted Students
NSGT The National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT) is offering $10,000 in scholarships for gifted students to apply towards summer programs. In the past, the NSGT scholarships have allowed students the opportunity to participate in programs such as the Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG), iDTech, the Cambridge College Program, The Duke Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP), the Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern and more. Sources: NSGT, My Daily Sentinel

   Davidson News
  Davidson AcademyThe Davidson Academy of Nevada
If you think The Davidson Academy of Nevada may be the right fit for you, the application deadline of April 1 for the 2012-2013 school year is fast approaching! A free public school, the Academy 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 2012-2013 school year, visit the How to Apply page to download the application files. Please review the Qualification Criteria page and the Application Review Process page for more information. 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 2011-2012 school year on Friday, April 27. RSVPs are required.

Davidson 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.

Davidson Young ScholarsDavidson Discussions
Davidson Discussions delve deeper into information and topics specific to parents of profoundly gifted students who seemingly experience the same issues time and time again. These videos, posted on the Davidson Institute's YouTube channel, are a current and fresh way for the Davidson Institute Family Consultant team to share their experiences of working with this unique population of students during the past 12 years. The latest episode provides tips to help parents communicate with teens.

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. We are also happy to announce an Educators Guild discussion group on Facebook - join today!

2013 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Applications
Davidson FellowsThe Davidson Fellows 2013 scholarship application will be available in late April! 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. Applicants must be 18 or younger as of October 10, 2013 to be eligible

   Legislative & Policy News
  NATIONAL – The College Board and University of Cambridge International Examinations are teaming up to offer the AP Cambridge Capstone Program for high school students, designed to give high-achieving students stronger skills in independent research, writing and solving problems in teams. Four high schools in the Miami-Dade school district will offer the program in the 2012-13 school year; overall, about 18 schools in the United States and abroad are launching it. Sources: College Board, Miami Herald

ARIZONA – The Tempe Elementary School District is creating the ASPIRE Academy, which will offer gifted classes in language arts, math, social studies and science. The school will feature self-contained classrooms for highly gifted middle school students under the guidance of a gifted-endorsed teacher. Source: East Valley Tribune

Arizona Public Service recently donated $5,000 to the Early College STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics) Academy to help sustain the program. Source: Yuma Sun

COLORADO – The Colorado House Education Committee recently voted to advance House Bill 12-1238 to the House Appropriations Committee. Also referred to as the Colorado Early Literacy Act, the bill attempts to improve reading skills for students in grades K-3. Source: Fort Collins Gifted Education Examiner
Gifted Legislation
ILLINOIS – Under a partnership agreement between Chicago Public Schools (CPS), City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), and numerous technology companies, Chicago students will soon have the opportunity to attend one of five Early College STEM Schools (ECSS) to prepare for careers in science and technology. The companies will provide mentorship and internship opportunities for students and professional development opportunities to teachers. Source: THE Journal

MARYLAND – The Maryland State Board of Education recently adopted minimum standards for gifted and talented programs for the first time ever. Schools will be instructed on how to identify gifted students, design programs and report progress. Under the rules, a student as young as 3 could be identified as gifted. Sources: Washington Post, Education Week, Baltimore Sun

NEW JERSEY – The Kingsway school district’s new STEM Preparatory Academy will allow 25 gifted students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math the opportunity to earn up to 16 credits through dual credit coursework at Gloucester County College. Source: Gloucester County Times

NEW YORK – Orchard Park Central’s gifted and talented program, eliminated last year due to budget cuts, will be partially reinstated. Source: Buffalo News

NORTH CAROLINA – The Governor’s School, a residential summer program for academically gifted high school students, will operate on two campuses this summer thanks to $700,000 raised by the North Carolina Governor’s School (NCGS) Foundation. Source: The News & Observer

OHIO – Under a Columbus City Schools plan to change the gifted and talented program next year, gifted students will be taught in clusters of ten or fewer within inclusive classrooms, rather than being pulled out for special instruction. Critics say the change will spread services thinner, while supporters believe it will allow gifted education to reach more students. Source: Columbus Dispatch 3/14, 3/2

OREGON – Every school board in the state must specify how much it aims to improve student performance in numerous areas next year, including Talented and Gifted (TAG) Education. Source: The Oregonian

UTAH – The Washington County School District will implement a new program for gifted elementary students starting in the 2012-2013 school year. For its inaugural year, attendance is limited to students in grades 3-5. Source: Dixie Press Online

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, "Cubicles and blended learning." Join the discussion today!

Epsilon Camp - A Challenging Summer Math Experience
EpsilonThe Epsilon Camp, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a two-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 40. Those interested should send the preliminary Online Application as soon as possible. A parent workshop designed to help parents to build mathematical and social maturity in the EG/PG child will run parallel to the student camp.

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

The Twice-Exceptional Newsletter is "the only publication aimed squarely at the intersection of giftedness and learning challenges." The current issue features articles ranging from "The Role of Parents in Helping Gifted Children with Learning Problems" to "Reflections of a Teacher of 2e Students."

A Parent's Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense and Creative Adolescents is designed to help parents understand their gifted adolescent's intensity and excitability, and provide tips for nurturing self-discipline, being supportive without being controlling, and for caring for yourself while guiding an intense, creative teen. Click here to read a review of this book.

Millennial Youth, is a media company that produces top-quality editorial content created by youth for young and adult audiences.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
March 15, 2012 - Education Week, E-Schools Put Specific Measures for Success in Place (Michelle R. Davis)
March 15, 2012 - Babble, When Too Many Extracurricular Activities Cause Anxiety in Kids (Katherine Stone)
March 14, 2012 - OCRegister, Explore the magnet school option (Carol Veravanich)
March 14, 2012 - Huffington Post, Geniuses Are Born, Not Made? Debate (Staff)
March 7, 2012 - Education Week Teacher, Two Seconds (Tamara Fisher)
March 6, 2012 - Washington Post, AP takes step toward International Baccalaureate-like credential (Jay Mathews)
March 2, 2012 - Huffington Post, No Child Left Unmotivated (Bryan Balin)
February 28, 2012 - T.H.E. Journal, Student entrants are sought for Google's Global Science Fair (Staff)
February 23, 2012 -, Gifted children can be perfectionists (Sylvia Rimm)
February 22, 2012 - Education Week, Don't Leave Gifted Students Behind (Frances R. Spielhagen)
February 19, 2012 - CBS News, Mozart of Chess: Magnus Carlsen (Staff)
February 14, 2012 - Popular Science, The Boy Who Played With Fusion (Tom Clynes)
February 7, 2012 - USA Today, Obama heralds (and nearly hires) student scientists (Richard Wolf)

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

   In the Spotlight

Athman Adiseshan
A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

In the SpotlightThere is one project that stretched me incredibly in so many dimensions:
    Humanitarian effort, environmental research, persuasive technology, political advocacy, technology design, public speaking, leadership, social entrepreneurship, travel, science research, video editing, social media marketing, meetings with amazing social innovators and overcoming lots of obstacles.
This project has received international, national and state level recognitions in service leadership and science research.

I am the founder and leader of the nationwide service project, Bags Gag ( My Davidson Young Scholars Ambassador project, Bags Gag, did not quite go according to plan. Bags Gag has exceeded the expectations of all involved, including mine.

Although Bags Gag owes its existence and success to numerous friends, known and unknown, from all over the world, most of the guidance and support came from my advisors, Mr. Erik Schwinger, Ms. Shannon Harrison, and other Davidson Institute for Talent Development staff members. At a personal level, at times, it felt overwhelming to be trusted so much by my advisors. I think this in turn only inspired me to work even harder and not give up. In a project such as Bags Gag (especially the beginning phases), the path is laden with more thorns than petals. It sure helped to have incredible support and encouragement from my Davidson Young Scholars friends! Of course the real gratification comes from the fact that Bags Gag is contributing to make this world better for animals, humans and the environment.

The mission of Bags Gag is to raise the awareness on the harmful effects of plastic bags and to promote the use of recyclable bags. Plastic bags gag the environment, animals and humanity. Bags Gag has onsite, online, and legislative campaigns. As part of the onsite campaign, I have made lots of presentations in public areas to educate people about the ill-effects of plastic bags and collect pledges to stop using plastic bags. I have recruited and trained regional youth leaders to promote the mission of Bags Gag in their areas. After developing the website, I conducted research with mentors at Stanford University and developed an innovative paradigm to use online videos to persuade people to stop using plastic bags. These videos were distributed widely. Bags Gag has had direct impact in banning plastic bags in several regions.

I am homeschooled, more so world schooled. I have enjoyed ultimate freedom in learning, whether it is taking a graduate level course or pursuing an internship or going out of my way to listen to a talk from a leader. I thrive in the learning and inspiration I draw from my most incredible mentors in science research, leadership, music, technology design and entrepreneurship. Yes, my mentors bring out the best in me!

I am ecstatic that I have the freedom to seriously pursue so many diverse fields: music composition and performance, Shakespearean Theater, improv, creative problem solving, science research, speech-debate, website and animation design, service projects, travel, and hanging out with my friends and family. Schedule conflict is something I have learned to live with! I can’t imagine a future where I won’t dabble in so many fields. Yes, most likely I will get to create my own career!

   Closing Thought

"The Intel Science Talent Search celebrates the accomplishments of our future top researchers and innovators . . . Their dedication to science is inspiring, and the quality and depth of their work bodes well for our nation's continued innovation and economic prosperity."

~ Elizabeth Marincola, President, Society for Science & the Public


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