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Davidson Institute May 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 International Science and Engineering Fair - Changing the World With Groundbreaking Innovation
Intel ISEF More than 1,500 outstanding high school science students, representing more than 65 countries, exhibited their wide-ranging projects recently at the 2011 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles.

Taylor Wilson (pictured third from left below; photo courtesy of, a student at The Davidson Academy of Nevada, was the top individual winner. He was named an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award winner and received a $50,000 award for his project, "Countering Nuclear Terrorism: Novel Active and Passive Techniques for Detecting Nuclear Threats." To learn more about Taylor and his achievements at ISEF, read these articles from the U.S. News & World Report and the Los Angeles Times. In addition, Matthew Bauerle, a Davidson Young Scholar, was the Best of Category winner in Mathematical Sciences, for which he received a $5,000 prize.
Intel ISEF
Matthew Feddersen and Blake Marggraff of Lafayette, Calif. were awarded the top prize, for developing a potentially more effective and less expensive cancer treatment that places tin metal near a tumor before radiation therapy. A team of students from Thailand also received an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award, for determining that a gelatin found in fish scales could be successfully used in modern day food packaging. View the press release from the Intel newsroom for a full list of the winners.

Google2011 Google Global Science Fair
Fifteen finalists from three age groups will participate in the final judging round and awards ceremony of the Google Global Science Fair on July 11, 2011, at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. With projects on topics such as Alzheimer’s Disease, the effect of air pollution on asthma patients, oceanographic data, and much more, all of these students have potential to make a large impact.

The 2011 Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) Summit will take place July 15-17, 2011 in Seattle, Wash. and be host to a number of wide-ranging topics related to gifted education. Keynote speakers include noted gifted experts such as Dr. James Webb and Dr. Nancy Robinson.

   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 one of the upcoming tour dates. 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
Application requirements for the 2012 Davidson Fellows scholarships have recently been posted! 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 equivalent to college graduate level with a depth of knowledge in their particular area of study.

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 1st of each month. For more information, see the How to Apply and Qualification Criteria pages.

Educators Guild  
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. You can also become a member of their online community with access to free consulting services and Educators Guild publications by subscribing here.  If you would like more information, please email

   Legislative & Policy News
Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act – Javits, the only federal source of funding for gifted and talented education, has been de-funded for 2011. Previously funded at a spending level of $7.5 million, the program was eliminated as part of $38 billion in cuts to this year's spending levels, which were agreed to by the White House and Congress in order to pass a compromise "continuing resolution" (CR) expected to last through the end of the 2011 fiscal year (September 30). Despite the recent setback for the Javits program, advocates are working to restore its funding for fiscal year 2012. For more information, see NAGC's Legislative Update page

TALENT Act – A new bill before Congress would require states to note when students perform above grade level and report their learning gains as part of state report cards. The TALENT Act would mandate more professional development for teachers in gifted education and would require Title I schools to create plans to better identify minority and disadvantaged students as gifted. Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) provided this floor statement about the TALENT Act. Source: Education Week

ARIZONA – A new magnet school for gifted students will open as part of the existing Liberty/Gifted and Talented Magnet Elementary School this August. The school, which will accept students who score at or above the 97th percentile on a state gifted test, aims to boost the district's gifted education offerings and attract high-achieving students. Source: Arizona Daily Star

Gifted Legislation
CALIFORNIA – There will be no changes to the Lynwood Unified School District’s Gifted and Talented Education Program, despite rumors that the program would be overhauled or eliminated. Source: Los Angeles Wave Newspapers

The Bakersfield City School District recently eliminated a one-day Gifted and Talented Education program at Owens Primary School due to budget cuts. Source: The Bakersfield Californian

MINNESOTA – The Brainerd School District is changing its method of identifying gifted and talented students, with the intention of making the process more inclusive of all students. Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

NEW YORK – The amount of students who took New York City’s test to qualify for gifted programs increased by 13 percent this year, with the overall number rising to 39,160 from 38,015 last year. Sources: Wall Street Journal, GothamSchools

The Syracuse school district will receive a $266,303 state grant to allow high school students to take college courses. The school district won the “Smart Scholar Early College High School” grant through a partnership with Onondaga Community College and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Source:

OHIO – Ohio’s new two-year budget plan requires school districts to maintain 2009 spending levels on gifted education, but will provide no additional state aid for gifted student services. This revision by the Ohio House was in response to the state budget plan put forth by Gov. John Kasich, which would have placed funds formerly earmarked for gifted services into a general pool with no requirements on how the funds are spent. Sources:, Columbus Dispatch

The Lorain City School District recently introduced the Honors Magnet Program, an accelerated curriculum that will cover all grade levels. Source: The Morning Journal

TEXAS – A program in Texas allows students to receive a certificate that can be traded in for a high school diploma once they have demonstrated enough subject mastery. The standards for the certificate are set by the state's top two universities, Texas A&M and the University of Texas. Source: New York Times

WISCONSIN – A report by state education officials questions the methods used in some Madison schools to identify and educate gifted students. The report was issued in response to parent complaints that the district does not offer self-contained advanced courses for students in ninth and 10th grades. The district will now attempt to create a plan to address the concerns. Source: Wisconsin State Journal

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 titled, "Is 'Most Likely To Succeed' A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? Or Burden?" Join the discussion today!

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

TIPS for Parents articles are summaries of the online seminars held for the parents of Davidson Young Scholars. These articles are written by the facilitators of those seminar and cover topics from all over the gifted education spectrum. The TIPS can be accessed by anyone, regardless of whether or not they were a participant in that seminar. Recently added TIPS for Parents include:
  • Tips for Parents: Raising a chess player - from the first steps, to a top young player
  • Tips for Parents: AP vs. IB - Which is best for my kid?
  • Tips for Parents: Navigating a Gap Year

  • In the book Science Fair Season, author Judy Dutton follows 12 teens looking for science fair greatness and tells the gripping stories of their road to the big competition. Some will win, some will lose, but all of their lives are changed forever.

    The Rutgers Summer Scholars Program for High School Students is designed for advanced high school students (and, on a case-by-case basis, younger, gifted students) to participate in a university summer session program. It offers over 2,000 course sections, independent study/research opportunities and internships.

    Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

       In the News
    Summer 2011 - Education Next, High Schoolers in College (June Kronholz)
    Summer 2011 - Education Next, Are We Lifting All Boats or Only Some? (R. Epstein, D. Pianko, J. Schnur & J. Wyner)
    May 25, 2011 - Orlando Sentinel, Do children need to know they're gifted? (Heidi Stevens)
    May 25, 2011 - Tidewater News, Homeschooling transformed over decades (Carolyn West)
    May 23, 2011 - Boston Globe, How can mom help her 6th grader? (Barbara F. Meltz)
    May 21, 2011 - Washington Post, Schools move away from honors classes in favor of AP courses (Kevin Sieff)
    May 20, 2011 - Washington Post, Top-performing schools with elite students (Jay Mathews)
    May 19, 2011 - Washington Post, Ranking America's High Schools (Jay Mathews)
    May 18, 2011 - NY Daily News, It's Supergirl: 5-year-old can speak 7 languages, play 6 instruments (E. Pearson)
    May 18, 2011 - BET, 15-Year-Old Graduates From College (Danielle Wright)
    May 16, 2011 - Education Week, Strange Advice for Parents of Bright Kids (Tamara Fisher)
    May 16, 2011 - TCPalm, High-achieving students left behind in quest to pull up those who need help (T. Pinney)
    May 16, 2011 - Education Week, Researchers Probe Causes of Math Anxiety (Sarah D. Sparks)
    April 2011 - Scholastic’s Parent & Child Magazine, Is My Child Gifted? How to Spot the Clues... (Samantha Cleaver)
    April 25, 2011 - BBC News, IQ tests measure motivation - not just intelligence (Staff)
    April 11, 2011 -, Finland's Educational Success? The Anti–Tiger Mother Approach (Joshua Levine)

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

       In the Spotlight

    Slava Butkovich - A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

    In the SpotlightMy name is Slava Butkovich, and I am 16 years old. I became a Davidson Young Scholar in 2009. The Davidson Young Scholars Program has introduced me to many wonderful opportunities, including the THINK Summer Institute and the Young Scholars Ambassador Program, which I joined in 2009.

    I decided to become a YS Ambassador because I wanted to use my abilities to improve the lives of others. My Ambassador project is called A Trip Around the World: A Music and Dance Performance Group for Senior Citizens; it is a volunteer music group. The performers include my siblings, my uncle, and myself. We have accordions and a string quartet. About once a month, we go to local nursing homes, and play ethnic and classical music for the residents. We dress up in ethnic costumes and perform traditional dances. It is always wonderful to see the residents so excited about our performances; whenever a performance finishes, they always thank us and beg us to come back soon. I plan on continuing to perform at nursing homes for as long as possible.

    I am currently a sophomore at Blue Springs High School (a public high school) in Blue Springs, Mo. I often spend free time volunteering as a tutor at my high school; I help other students with math and ACT preparation. In addition to taking AP classes at school, I challenge myself academically by taking after-school courses. For example, I have taken many mathematical courses online through Art of Problem Solving (AOPS). Many of its classes are not offered at my high school, such as probability and number theory. Also, I attended the Davidson THINK Summer Institute last July. THINK is held during three weeks every summer at the University of Nevada, Reno. At THINK, each student takes two college-level classes of his or her choice and has the chance to earn college credit. THINK is a one-of-a-kind experience that allows gifted students to meet other smart people and to get a glimpse of life in college.

    I am still deciding what college I want to attend. In the future, I would like to become a medical researcher.

       Closing Thought

    "We champion the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair because we believe that math and science are imperative for innovation. This global competition features youth trying to solve the world’s most
    pressing challenges through science."

                   ~ Shelly Esque, vice president of Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group


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