May 2007
What's New in Gifted Education Davidson News |  Legislative & Policy News On the WebIn the NewsUpcoming EventsIn the Spotlight 
   What's New in Gifted Education
         Gifted High School Tops National List for Second Consecutive Year
For the second consecutive year, a Dallas gifted and talented magnet school placed first on Newsweek's list of the top 1,200 schools in the United Sates. Congratulations to the School for the Talented and Gifted at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center for this impressive accomplishment!  

         Ball State University – Institute for the Psychology of the Gifted
Ball State University in Indiana is a hub for gifted and talented research, thanks to their Center for Gifted Studies and Talent Development. Plans are moving forward for a new Institute on the Psychology of Gifted at the university, which will house data on perfectionism, personality, social coping and more. The new Institute will be under the guidance of noted gifted expert Dr. Tracy Cross.

         Intel Science Talent Search – Supporting Innovation and Creativity
Imagination and discovery took center stage recently at the 2007 Intel Science Talent Search (ISTS) where Mary Masterman, 17, was awarded the prize of $100,000 for building a spectrograph that identifies the specific characteristics of different kinds of molecules. Other students were awarded scholarships for advances in geometry, topology, genetics and more. Sources: The New York Times: Intel Competition Is Where Science Rules and Research Is the Key, Teenager’s Science Project Wins $100,000 Scholarship.

   What's New at the Davidson Institute
         The Davidson Institute and The Belin-Blank Center – Advancing the Field of Gifted Education
The University of Iowa’s Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and the Davidson Institute for Talent Development recently formed a partnership to create opportunities for groundbreaking research in gifted education. The research will focus on Davidson Young Scholars, Davidson Fellows and Davidson Academy of Nevada students cross-sectionally, short-term, and longitudinally. Students' participation in this project is completely voluntary. Dr. Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Belin-Blank Center, will spearhead the study. Sources: The University of Iowa News Services, Iowa City Press Citizen.
         Davidson Fellows Updates
Applications for the 2008 Davidson Fellows scholarships are now available online. The 2007 Davidson Fellows and their extraordinary achievements will be announced in the next edition of the eNews-Update.
         Davidson Young Scholars
The Davidson Young Scholars program has increased to 1,067 young people! Through a variety of free services, including partnership with caring professionals, resource location, and an online community for parents and Young Scholars, this program supports profoundly intelligent students and their parents in the areas of educational advocacy, social and emotional development, talent development and peer connections.
         Educators 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. Visit today to become a part of this growing group of more than 1,000 professional educators!
   Legislative & Policy News

Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act - On April 25, Congress passed the America COMPETES Act (S761) focused primarily on increasing math and science education initiatives. Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) helped shape this legislation, which includes incentives for school districts to offer Advanced Placement courses to younger students as well as enhancements to national energy laboratory internships for middle and high school students. Sen. Grassley also introduced an amendment that would fund Javits through H-1B visa fees. While this amendment was withdrawn from the final version of this bill, it has been added as an amendment (1156) to the current immigration bill being debated in Congress. To learn more, please visit the National Association of Gifted Children’s (NAGC) Legislative Update page.

Recently, a continuing resolution was passed for the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act to be funded at $9.6 million in 2007. Senators Grassley and Dodd (CT) are currently seeking co-signers for a letter (PDF) requesting $11.25 million for Javits in fiscal year 2008. Gifted education advocates are actively urging their senators to co-sign.

ARIZONA - A new college-track preparatory program soon will be available for gifted middle schoolers in the Kyrene Elementary School District. Advanced Placement classes will be offered to students excelling in math and language arts. To be accepted into the program, students must pass an assessment test and have a teacher evaluation. Source: East Valley Tribune

CALIFORNIA - With the number of California students entering college declining, State Senator Jack Scott has proposed a bill titled the “Early College Commitment Act” (PDF), in which middle school students would sign a pledge to take college preparatory classes and finish high school in exchange for guaranteed enrollment in a number of state colleges or universities. This bill is designed mostly for low-income families, who often have the lowest college attendance rates, according to The Press-Enterprise. Indiana’s Twenty-first Century Scholars Program serves as a model for this plan.

The California Senate Education Committee approved a bill that would allow students to take Advanced Placement and other specialty classes online. These courses are not always available for students in their regular schools.

CONNECTICUT - State legislators have proposed a plan to fund services for gifted students. The proposal would provide $500,000 a year through competitive grants in 2008 and 2009. It is estimated that only 20 percent of gifted students are currently receiving appropriate services in the state. Source: Danbury News Times

FLORIDA - State lawmakers agreed not to cut funding for high school gifted students thanks to an “intense last-minute lobbying effort by parents around the state”, according to the Ocala Star-Banner. The new plan freezes high school gifted funding at its existing level while calling for a statewide study of high school gifted education programs to determine how money is being spent. Source: The Sarasota Herald-Tribune

ILLINOIS - Gifted education may soon receive a boost in Cook County’s River Trails Elementary District 26. Under a proposed plan for 2007-2008, the district would add a gifted coordinator and implement a self-contained gifted class. Since 2005, the district has been clustering gifted students together alongside regular students through differentiation. Source: Students First Illinois

- Starting July 1, 2007, gifted education will be mandated for the first time ever in Indiana and gifted education funding will more than double thanks to SB 408, recently signed into law by Gov. Mitch Daniels. The state budget for gifted funding is currently $13 million per year. The bill will also require that all schools in the state identify high ability students and provide them an appropriately differentiated curriculum in grades K-12. Sources: The Post-Tribune, Indiana General Assembly

NEW HAMPSHIRE - With the end of the state's fiscal year quickly approaching (June 2007), New Hampshire must comply with the judicial ruling that the legislature define "adequate education." This affects education programming for gifted students because the proposed legislation defines "adequate" according to minimum standards, excluding any new curriculum for the gifted. To learn more about this legislation, visit the State Task Force web page.

Barrington School District residents voted to increase the local gifted program budget by $60,000. The majority of the money will fund a coordinator for the Gifted and Talented enrichment program.
Source: Foster‘s Daily Democrat

OREGON - Gifted education advocates are supporting a state bill to fund a permanent Oregon Department of Education Gifted Students Coordinator, as well as regional centers to train teachers in gifted education. Since no financial support is currently available from the state, funding for this program would vary by district, often with large discrepancies. Source:

TEXAS - The Midland Independent School District is making its advanced placement (AP) classes available for more students. To gain entrance into an AP course, students must meet the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) passing standard, have an 85 percent grade point average and maintain a 75 percent average to remain in the class. The curriculum’s difficulty will remain the same, taught at a level for gifted and talented students. Source:

VIRGINIA - Norfolk may soon overhaul its process of identifying gifted students. This year, all of the city's first-graders have been tested for giftedness – and this may become the norm. Previously, students were referred by teachers or parents to gain acceptance into gifted programs. The new procedure would allow those who score in at least the 90th percentile on a reasoning and problem-solving test to be classified as gifted. Source: The Virginian-Pilot

WEST VIRGINIA - West Virginia’s state program for exceptionally gifted students may soon expand. NAGC estimates that 5 to 7 percent of all students are gifted, but presently only 2 percent of West Virginia students are identified as such. Currently, gifted students in West Virginia must score in the 98th percentile, which is more stringent than most other states. Increasing the amount of students identified as gifted from the top 2 percent to in the top 3 percent is a possibility. Sources: The Huntington Herald-Dispatch: Gifted program eyes change, State should expand gifted program

How gifted-friendly is your state? Find out at: Gifted Education Policies.  
If you know of new legislation, please let us know.  Contact: The Communications Team

   On the Web
         Gifted Exchange Blog
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted, with recent posts including:
  • How to Fix No Child Left Behind - Now that the No Child Left Behind Act is five years old, various publications are starting to review the law's impact on education.

  • On Not Going to Harvard - As the acceptance rates decline, getting into elite colleges seems to require being more polished than ever. But maybe admissions committees are looking for something entirely different than perfection.
Join the discussion today!

         Davidson Gifted Database – Featured Resource

Counselor-O-Matic - The Princeton Review is one of the latest additions to the Davidson Gifted Database, your gateway to gifted news and resources. Counselor-O-Matic provides a search engine for students looking for a college suited to meet their individual needs. Questions on topics such as academics, majors, location and activities help pinpoint college options like never before!
          Earn a Gifted and Talented License Online Through GERI

Starting in the fall semester of 2007, teachers who wish to add a Gifted and Talented License to an instructional license can do so through an online course thanks to the Gifted Education Resource Institute (GERI) at Purdue University. The coursework will allow students the opportunity to advance their understanding of the cognitive, affective and social characteristics of high ability learners. They will acquire the ability to differentiate gifted students’ curriculum and instruction, enhance thinking skills and facilitate social and affective development. View 2007-2008 Course Offerings.

   In the News                                  

May 28, 2007 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Law lacks direction for gifted students (Amy Hetzner)
May 24, 2007 - The Boston Globe, Math problems hurt your head? To this whiz kid, they're play (John Budris)
May 24, 2007 -
The Boston Globe, Classroom prospects dim for the best and the brightest (Peter Schworm)
May 16, 2007 -, Is your child gifted? (Tami Hoey)
May 6, 2007 -, Interview with Senator Lamar Alexander on the America COMPETES Act (Barry E. Stern)
May 4, 2007 - Scotsman, Einsteins need to be nurtured (Stephen Tommis)
April 29, 2007 - New York Times, Young, Gifted, and Not Getting Into Harvard
(Michael Winerip)
April 27, 2007 -, Just 17, prodigy becomes youngest graduate ever at Boca's Lynn U. (Scott Travis)
April 25, 2007 -, An Interview with Joel McIntosh publisher of Prufrock Press Inc (Michael F. Shaughnessy)
April 18, 2007 - American Chronicle, Human Intelligence: Going Beyond Mere IQ
(Lourdes Salvador)
April 16, 2007 - North County Times, Home-schooling fills a need
  (Kim Oakley)
April 16, 2007 - Port Huron Times Herald, We owe gifted students best we can offer
(Dan DeGrow)
April 12, 2007 -, An Interview with Sylvia Rimm: Parenting for High Potential...
(Michael F. Shaughnessy)
April 6, 2007 - EducationWeek, States Seen Renewing Focus on Education Of Gifted
(Christina A. Samuels)

Read more news on the gifted and talented.

   Upcoming Events

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) – Upcoming Conference
This summer's annual SENG Gifted Conference will be held July 13-15 in Kansas City with a focus on social and emotional development. The SENG Children's Program will run concurrent to the conference providing children in attendance the opportunity to participate in a number of interactive activities. Specific subject matter is geared toward parents, educators, mental health professionals and gifted adults. For more information, visit Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG).

Upcoming Gifted Seminar at Northwestern University
The social and emotional development of gifted children will also be discussed at Opportunities for the Future, a seminar for gifted students and their families hosted by Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University June 23, 2007. Dr. Nancy Robinson will lecture on "Parenting Young Gifted Children: What Are the Essentials?" and Dr. Tracy Cross will address the "Social & Emotional Issues of Gifted Adolescents."

States with Gifted Conferences/Events This Summer

South Dakota
For more, see the Events Calendar on the Davidson Gifted Database website, your gateway to gifted resources!
   In the Spotlight

Senator Chuck Grassley
Gifted Advocate

Throughout his 26-year tenure in the U.S. Senate, Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) has been steadfast in working to improve educational opportunities for gifted students throughout the nation. Known to follow his own path, Sen. Grassley has been referred to as a “champion of gifted education legislation,” based upon his repeated efforts to seek improvements in gifted education and ensure gifted and talented students receive an education appropriately matched to their abilities.

Recently, Sen. Grassley introduced amendments to the America COMPETES Act that illustrate his continuing commitment to helping gifted students (see the Federal Legislative Update above). For years, Sen. Grassley pursued legislation that would have provided gifted and talented funding for local school districts. He has also proposed legislation to incentivize colleges of education to reform their teacher preparation programs so that classroom teachers are better prepared to meet the unique learning needs of gifted students. Sen. Grassley’s proposal was included, by the education committees in both the House of Representatives and Senate, in larger legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, but Congress did not act on the higher education bill before the end of the 109th Congress and must start the process again this year.

Sen. Grassley continues to advance his proposal for pre-service teacher preparation in gifted education and to advocate for federal funding of gifted education. He has helped push gifted education into the national spotlight for years.

When introducing his teacher preparation legislation in 2003, Sen. Grassley said that gifted students “have prodigious individual talent and a desire to learn complex material at levels far beyond their age peers. There is a need, then, to ensure that teachers have some understanding of how to identify gifted students and how to meet their educational needs before the teacher reaches his or her first classroom experience.”

   Closing Thought

"We cannot neglect the importance of challenging and encouraging our most promising students to excel so that they will some day be the scientists, engineers, and researchers that will create the innovations that will drive our economy."

~ Senator Chuck Grassley  

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