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Davidson Institute March 2016  

             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 Winners Push Scientific Boundaries
Intel Science Talent Search
Some of America's brightest students were recently recognized as the Intel Corporation and Society for Science & the Public (SSP) announced the winners of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search (STS). The Intel STS recognizes 40 high school seniors set to create new technologies and solutions that can change the world through scientific innovation. The following students each received first-place awards of $150,000:
  • Amol Punjabi (pictured, left) won the First Place Medal of Distinction for Basic Research. He developed software that could help drug makers develop new therapies for cancer and heart disease.
  • Paige Brown (middle) won the First Place Medal of Distinction for Global Good. She studied the water quality of six environmentally impaired local streams with high E. coli and phosphate contamination levels.
  • Maya Varma (right) won the First Place Medal of Distinction for Innovation. She used $35 worth of hobbyist electronics and free computer-aided design tools to create a smartphone-based lung function analyzer that diagnoses lung disease.
View the press release and click here for a detailed description of each of the finalists' projects. Sources: Science News for Students, San Jose Mercury News
, Washington Post

Book Publishers on the Pulse of Gifted Education
Intel Science Talent SearchA number of gifted book publishers are at the forefront of providing a wealth of information for gifted students, parents, teachers and more. Here are some of their latest releases, with numerous additional offerings listed on their websites:
Intel Science Talent Search
Please visit this Davidson Gifted Database page for a listing of numerous other publishers of content related to gifted education.

Comparing Popular Online Math and Language Arts Programs
As the popularity of online educational programs continues to grow, the Davidson Institute offers the following charts providing side-by-side comparisons of some of the most popular online math and language arts programs used by Davidson Young Scholars:

   Davidson News
  The Davidson Academy of Nevada - Upcoming Deadline
The Davidson AcademyThe Davidson Academy of Nevada is a free public school unlike any other in the country. At the Academy, the abilities, strengths and interests of profoundly gifted middle and high school students are encouraged and supported. If you are interested in applying to the Davidson Academy for the 2016-2017 school year, the final application deadline is April 1. Please review the Qualification Criteria and How to Apply pages for more information.
    "Nowhere else will you find a place so supportive, or as willing to do whatever it takes to help students realize their full potential. If you have a passion, I can guarantee you that it will not only be made accessible to you, but that its exploration and development will be encouraged."
    - Davidson Academy Graduate
Prospective students interested in receiving email updates about the Academy can subscribe to the Davidson Academy eNewsletter by clicking here.

2016 THINK Summer Institute - Upcoming Deadline
THINK Summer Institute
With an application deadline of April 1, the THINK Summer Institute is a three-week residential summer program on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno where exceptionally gifted 13- to 16-year-old students can earn college credits by completing two university courses. This year, THINK will run from July 9 through July 30. Tuition is $3,555 and covers course credits, books and materials, room and board, and the cost of planned activities. Need-based scholarships are available. Please visit the How to Apply and Qualification Criteria pages for more information. Homeschooled students are eligible to apply.  

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, see the How to Apply and Qualification Criteria pages

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
  ALABAMA – A new gifted and talented magnet school is opening in Huntsville. The school will start with 50 sixth graders and expand annually to a total of 150 students. Source:
Intel Science Talent Search
ARKANSAS – Due to low attendance, the Geyer Springs Gifted and Talented Academy in Little Rock will be closing and converted into a pre-kindergarten facility. Source: KUAR

COLORADO – Mackintosh Academy, a K-8 school for gifted students in Boulder, will use a $1.5 million gift to provide full-ride scholarships to students in need. Source: Daily Camera

CONNECTICUT – Regional School District 16 is working to open a gifted and talented program at Long River Middle School. In the future, a gifted and talented program may also be opened at Woodland High School. Source: Citizen’s News

FLORIDA – A proposed new rule aimed at expanding access to gifted education in the state is causing concern among a number of advocates that funding for gifted programming may be in jeopardy. Source: Tampa Bay Times

ILLINOIS – The Oswego Community Unit School District is seeking to create new programs for gifted students in grades K-2. Additionally, the district is considering a school-within-a-school concept for gifted students in advanced grades. Source: Kendall County Now

Elgin Area School District U46 is expanding its gifted and talented programs to all middle schools within the district. Currently offered at only five middle schools in the district, gifted programs will be available at all eight middle schools by the 2016-2017 school year. Source: Chicago Tribune

IOWA – The University of Iowa has developed a new early admittance program for high achieving 10th graders. The Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy for Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and Mathematics (STEAM) will open in fall 2016 and hopes to admit between 12 and 20 students for the inaugural year. Source: Iowa City Press-Citizen
Intel Science Talent Search
KANSAS – A bill introduced by the House Committee on Education that would have removed the special education categorization of gifted students has been dropped. The bill would have cut funding for gifted programs and removed the necessity for teachers to have special certifications in order to teach gifted classes. Source: Wichita Eagle

LOUISIANA – A controversial new funding formula on how to allocate tax dollars between students with special needs and those designated as “gifted and talented” will likely shift from the state legislature to the New Orleans school district. At issue is an estimated $390 million plan to redistribute tax revenue in the school district from gifted students to those with disabilities. Sources: New Orleans Advocate, Times-Picayune

MARYLAND – A number of advocates are voicing concerns about a new policy that groups advanced students into classes with lower-achieving peers in the Baltimore County school district. Previously, the school district evaluated every child at the end of second grade and placed high achievers into math and reading classes specifically for gifted and talented students. Source: Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK – Students who attend New York City’s full-day pre-kindergarten classes are five times more likely to apply for gifted and talented classes in the public schools when they enter kindergarten, according to a recent study. Source: New York Daily News
OREGON – After numerous efforts to save the University of Oregon’s Summer Enrichment Program following an announced closure, the program for gifted students will continue to operate. Source: The Register-Guard

TENNESSEE – The Metro Nashville school district is working to increase diversity in the gifted program by holding community meetings and creating new screening assessments. Sources: Nashville Scene, The Tennesseean

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, "Standardized testing - in or out?" Join the discussion today!

Science Competition Opportunity
The sixth annual Google Science Fair challenges students ages 13 to 18 to submit science projects that explore unanswered questions or tackle scientific hurdles that have yet to be overcome. The 16 selected finalists will go to Google’s headquarters in hopes of walking away with one of many awards or the grand prize. Students have until May 17 to submit their projects. Read more here.

Intel Science Talent SearchFeatured Articles and Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students. See what's new!

The Difference Between IEPs and 504 Plans compares and contrasts the two strategies.

Tips for Parents: Talking about Terrorism provides advice on how to discuss terrorism with gifted students.

The Book Concierge compiled by staff members at National Public Radio (NPR) lists the top books for each year starting in 2008. Categories include: kids' books; young adult; book club ideas; biography and memoir; comics and graphic novels; cookbooks; family matters; for music lovers; for history lovers; historical fiction; "it's all geek to me"; poetry; science fiction and more.

Intel Science Talent SearchSPARC Math (Berkeley, CA) is a math summer program that helps talented high school students apply their quantitative thinking skills to their lives and the world. The curriculum covers topics from causal modeling and probability to game theory and cognitive science.

GenCyber - Summer CyberSecurity Camps (Various Locations) provides summer cybersecurity camp experiences for students and teachers at the K-12 level.

As part of the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver, the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education supports practice, conducts research, develops publications, serves the community and leads professional development. Graduate training is also offered in gifted education.

The major goal of Renzulli Creativity Programs: Pathways to Excellence in Innovation, designed for students ages 13 to 17, is to teach participants advanced learning skills and how to apply them in creative and investigative ways.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
March 2016 - New York Magazine, How Schools Are Failing Their Quietest Students (Melissa Dahl)
March 2016 - The Atlantic, The Math Revolution (Peg Tyre)
March 21 - Huffington Post, A Nation at Risk: How Gifted, Low-Income Kids Are Left Behind (J. Wai & F. Worrell)
March 16 -, Students thrive when districts develop sustainable gifted services (Dina Brulles)
March 2 -, LLeaving talent on the table: Fixing gifted education in America (N. Augustine & R. Crew)
February 24 - Black Enterprise, 7 Ways to Support Your Gifted Learner (Donna Y. Ford)
February 23 - Cleveland Clinic, Is Your Teen Gifted — and Ready for Advanced Classes? (Staff)
February 18 - Huffington Post, Is Genius Innate?
(Melanie Fine)
February 14 - The Register-Guard, Gifted need to be guided, programs funded (Stephen Aloia)
February 10 - UVA Today, 6 Myths of Gifted Ed That Lead to Overlooking Talented Minority Students (A. Breen)
February 10 - Education Week, Why I'm Tired of 'Grit' (James R. Delisle)
February 10 - Education Dive, Identifying gifted and talented students with equity proves difficult (Erin McIntyre)
February 9 - Midland Reporter-Telegram, Gifted population needs as much attention as other students (H. Brown)
January 31 - Baltimore Sun, High academic achievers need attention, too (Nancy Grasmick)
January 30 - New York Times, How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off (Adam Grant)
January 20 - Fast Company, How These Parents Work And Homeschool Too
(Laura Vanderkam)

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

   In the Spotlight

Deepika Kurup
A 2015 Davidson Fellow Making a Difference

In the SpotlightWhat kind of impact can your Fellows project, Novel Photocatalytic Composites for Degrading Organics and Inactivating Bacteria in Water, have on society?
The environmental and societal impact of my research is vast, considering the scarcity of clean water and the large number of people who are affected by the global water crisis. Currently, one-ninth of the global population lacks access to clean drinking water. Water contamination, which causes diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery and cholera, is responsible for more than two million deaths each year, most of which are children in developing countries. In these countries the burden of water collection is usually placed on women and girls, who have to walk an average of three hours every day to the nearest water source. These girls are unable to find time to attend school, remain uneducated, and therefore unable to contribute to the economy.

According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2014, “water and energy are the enablers for poverty reduction, job creation, women’s empowerment and human wellbeing in general”. Even in the United States, access to clean water could become of great concern during periods of droughts as experienced in California, as well as after natural disasters, when communication, power, sewage, drainage, transportation and other infrastructure is incapacitated. This is evident from events such as Hurricane Katrina, which inflicted devastating damage in New Orleans. Houses, roads and highways were flooded, and the overflow of sewage added to the water pollution. This resulted in several cases of infections and deaths from cholera related bacteria. A water purification technique, such as the one developed in my research that uses natural sunlight and does not require any other power source, could be a tremendous resource in such severe conditions.

What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
In the SpotlightI'm currently continuing to work on the project I submitted for the Davidson Fellows Scholarship. I have been working with my friend at Harvard College to start a non-profit, and this summer we will attempt to perfect the technology and develop a prototype that can be deployed in developing countries.

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

Last year I graduated from Nashua High School South in Nashua, N.H. as a junior (I skipped senior year). I am currently a freshman at Harvard College. I love the academic setting at Harvard because I've found that when trying to succeed, my peers often value collaboration over competition. They are also all passionate about a broad range of subjects, and it is great to be able to learn from them and their experiences.

In 2012, my first-ever scientific mentor Dr. Jim Jonza at the 3M Center really guided me through the innovation process. He is an inventor on numerous patents, so it was great to be able to learn from his expertise. Professor Ram Nagarajan at the University of Massachusetts Lowell also served as my mentor over the past few years, and his guidance has been extremely valuable.

   Closing Thought

"In addition to honoring two female top winners, this year’s competition is the first in the Science Talent Search’s 75-year history in which more than half of the finalists are female. This milestone is an inspiring sign of progress toward closing the gender gap in technology and engineering."

~ Rosalind Hudnell, President and Executive Director, Intel Foundation


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