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Davidson Institute May 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 and Engineering Fair - A Showcase of Worldwide Science Innovation
Intel ISEFMore than 1,500 outstanding high school science students, representing approximately 70 countries, exhibited their inventive, wide-ranging projects at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Taylor Wilson, a graduating student at The Davidson Academy of Nevada, received the first award of $3,000 in the Physics and Astronomy category and an award of $800 from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society for his project, "A Novel Process for the Production of Medically Relevant Radioisotopes." Athman Adiseshan, a Davidson Young Scholar, received a award in the Behavioral and Social Sciences category for his project, Intel ISEF"Predicting Real World Characteristics from Virtual Behavior."

Jack Andraka of Crownsville, Md. (pictured, center) was awarded the top prize for his new method to detect pancreatic cancer. Ari Dyckovsky of Leesburg, Va. (left) and Nicholas Schiefer from Canada (right) each received the second prize: Ari investigated the science of quantum teleportation, and Nicholas conducted research on search engines' capabilities. Source: CNBC (Photo courtesy of

Beast Academy – A New Curriculum for Aspiring Math Beasts
Beast AcademyBeast Academy, a new project from Art of Problem Solving, will provide a full, rigorous and entertaining curriculum for aspiring math students in grades 2-5. Four fully-illustrated guides per grade will provide complete lessons, delivered by the Beast Academy instructors in an engaging comic book style. Companion Practice books will include challenging problems, puzzles and games to reinforce the lessons. All Beast Academy books are aligned to the 2010 national Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

Juilliard School and Connections Academy Joining ForcesJuilliard
Starting in the 2012–13 school year, The Juilliard School and Connections Academy are launching JUILLIARD eLEARNING, for K–12 students and educators everywhere. The program will offer standards-based courses in elementary, middle- and high-school music. Future plans include courses in music and dance theory and history, as well as live online music lessons. Sources: Baltimore Sun, Press Release

   Davidson News
  The Davidson AcademyThe Davidson Academy of Nevada
A 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.

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

For the second consecutive year, The Davidson Academy has been ranked as one of the nation's "Top-performing schools with elite students" by the Washington Post's Jay Mathews. The 22 alphabetically-listed schools were excluded from the main Washington Post High School Challenge list of the best high schools in America because, despite their exceptional quality, their admission rules and standardized test scores indicate they have few or no average students.

The Academy also made Newsweek’s 2012 list of America’s Best High Schools, ranking in the top 100. This ranking highlights the best 1,000 public high schools in the nation, per criteria that show these schools are the most effective in graduating college-ready students.

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 can experience similar issues. 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, "Parental Guilt: Meeting Your Child’s Needs to the Best of Your Ability (and being OK with that!)" examines the process of guilt-free decision making.

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. There is also an Educators Guild discussion group on Facebook - join today!

Gifted Issues Discussion Forum
Gifted IssuesThe 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 5,500 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about a wealth of gifted topics

   Legislative & Policy News
  NATIONAL – A $232,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will allow Vanderbilt University’s Programs for Talented Youth at Peabody College to provide accelerated academic opportunities for up to 60 low-income gifted students. Students from high-poverty school districts in Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee will be recruited for participation in Vanderbilt Summer Academy, a summer residential program for rising 8th-12th graders, and the Summer Academy at Vanderbilt for the Young for rising 1st-7th graders. Source: Vanderbilt University News

ARIZONA – A self-contained classroom for gifted students in the Gilbert Unified School District will open in fall 2013. Currently, the district is using a cluster model, in which gifted students are put together in one classroom by grade level with other students. Source: AZ Central

– With plans to open a new hybrid gifted/Montessori middle school, the Maria Montessori magnet program in the Rockford School District will expand, allowing more students to take part. Source: Rockford Register Star

MONTANA – The Great Falls school district is cutting funding for the Gifted Education program beginning with the 2012-2013 school year. Source: KRTVGifted Legislation

NEW JERSEY – The Paterson School District has developed a new gifted and talented program that will begin next school year. The district plans to eventually offer the program to students in grades K-12. Source: Paterson Press

NEW YORK – With a substantial rise in the amount of New York City preschoolers testing in the 97th percentile, the process of a student getting placed into one of the city's five gifted and talented kindergarten programs next school year is getting increasingly competitive. With more than 2,600 students qualifying for about 400 spots in the programs, parents are looking into private school options, which are also competitive as well as expensive. Sources: New York Times, DNA Info

To compensate for the influx of new students who are qualifying for the gifted and talented kindergarten programs, the city will implement more difficult tests to determine placement in the future. Source: DNA Info

OHIO – The Olentangy Local School District will offer online summer courses this year to help cut costs and offer students greater flexibility in how they earn credits. Source: Columbus Dispatch

PENNSYLVANIA – A new three-part review process for identifying gifted students in the Bear Creek Community Charter School has recently been approved. Source: The Abington Journal

SOUTH CAROLINA – The Charleston County School District has developed six criteria and a scoring system to determine which middle school students will take honors classes. This fall, the new criteria will be applied to every middle school student to assess the kinds of classes they need to take. Source: Charleston Post Courier

TEXAS – A new partnership between Angelo State University and the San Angelo Independent School District will allow high school students to earn college credit while still in high school. Source: San Angelo Standard Times

WISCONSIN – A new school for gifted students in grades 3-6 in the Green Bay area, The School for Academically Gifted Learners, will open this fall. Sources: Fox 11 News, WBAY

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, "Digital learning and acceleration." Join the discussion today!

Center for Talent Development (CTD)
CTDCenter for Talent Development is hosting an informative summer conference designed to guide gifted students and their families in making wise educational decisions. Parents hear from professors, psychologists and more on diverse topics ranging from gifted children's needs to saving for college. Students in grades PreK-3 will enjoy games and activities, while students in grades 4-12 will attend workshops presenting fascinating applications of their favorite subjects and introducing them to various career paths. The conference takes place on Saturday, June 23 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Northwestern University's Evanston, Illinois campus. For more information and to register visit here.

The Gifted LearningLinks online program is taking applications for its Accelerated Summer Option. A wide range of honors and Advanced Placement courses are available. GLL also offers a family program and enrichment courses. Apply by June 1 to avoid late fees.

ADHD, Autism, and Giftedness: A Conversation
Great Potential Press recently announced their blogger series on Misdiagnosis and Giftedness, written by Marianne Kuzujanakis. Dr. Kuzujanakis is a pediatrician and a current director on the board of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted). Join Dr. Kuzujanakis as she explores the connections between Giftedness, ADHD, Autism, and Misdiagnosis, and stay tuned for a conversation between Dr. Kuzujanakis and the authors of Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders.

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 includes the article, "Brain Bases of 'Late Blooming'" and more!

Tips for Parents articles are summaries of online seminars held for the parents of Davidson Young Scholars. These articles are written by the facilitators of these seminar covering topics from all over the gifted education spectrum, and 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: The Zen Valedictorian: Helping Your Child Stand Out Without Burning Out
  • Tips for Parents: Forging Partnerships with Teachers, and Why They Often Don’t Work!
  • Tips for Parents: Making Early College A Happy Experience for Everyone
  • Tips for Parents: Doing Poorly on Purpose: Underachievement and the Quest for Dignity

  • The focus of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum is to link families with information and resources regarding educating a gifted child at home.

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       In the News
    May 20 - CBS News, Dropping out: Is college worth the cost? (Staff)
    May 20 - Washington Post, 2012 Challenge Index rankings--why small schools rule (Jay Mathews)
    May 16 - Education Week, Gifted Programs Aim to Regain Budget Toehold (Nirvi Shah)
    May 15 - Begabungs, How to help Gifted Children?- An Interview with Prof. Dr. Karen B. Rogers (Roya Klingner)
    May 14 - T.H.E. Journal, MIT, Khan Academy provide videos for K-12 lessons in engineering, science (Tim Sohn)
    May 9 - The Guardian, Just what is gifted and talented? (Staff)
    May 9 - Detroit Free Press, Is your child gifted? (Jeff Seidel)
    May 8 - Education Week, Studies Shed Light on 'Twice Exceptional' Students (Sarah D. Sparks)
    May 3 - The Hill/Congress Blog, Stop short-changing our most gifted children (Paula Olszewski-Kubilius)
    May 2 - Education Week, Summer Learning (Tamara Fisher)
    April 16 - Huffington Post, Can 'Genius' Be Detected in Infancy? (Scott Barry Kaufman)
    April 14 - BBC News, Tell-tale signs of a genius child (Linda Serck)
    April 11 - Washington Post, How to get off that college wait list (Jay Mathews)

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

       In the Spotlight

    SaraJane Griffiths
    A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

    In the SpotlightInspiration for “The Group Guide”
    When I was in 4th grade my teacher talked to our class about the importance of group work and how it is an area that is difficult for 3rd and 4th graders to grasp. As I started to think about improving my own skills, I started to realize how important group work is at school and throughout adulthood. As I researched my topic, I found out that group work can be very challenging in the work place. I decided that I wanted to make a difference for elementary aged kids by placing an emphasis on group dynamics.

    I completed research and talked to teachers, students, friends and administrators about the topic of group work for children. As my passion for helping kids evolved I attended a Summit through the Davidson Young Scholars program, and heard many Davidson Ambassadors talk about their own service projects. I knew that was the training I needed to make my project successful.

    “The Group Guide” is now a self-published book to help elementary aged students understand the basics of group work. I developed characters with witty names that demonstrate different roles that students play in a group. I use these characters as basis for a classroom presentation that I presented in neighborhood schools. The program is designed to help students start learning about group work and their own strengths and weaknesses within a group at a young age. I also developed and maintain a website,, to promote group work for kids.

    How has the Young Scholars Ambassador program helped you to reach your goals and achieve your accomplishments?
    The Young Scholars Ambassador program not only had a significant impact on the success of my project, but also the way I think about the world. The program provided me with leadership skills and gave me the skills to plan, create and run a nonprofit successfully. The Ambassador program gave me the ability to look at any situation or problem in the world and make strides towards creating a solution. My Ambassador Advisors, Nuntiya Smith and Erik Schwinger, and other Davidson Institute staff members helped make my vision into a reality, whilst giving me invaluable advice and training for the future. I received so much support, knowledge and encouragement from the other Ambassadors who helped to shape my project into a success.

    Please describe your academic setting and some positive experiences with mentors.
    I currently attend my neighborhood school, and I am grade and subject accelerated. I love being able to go to school with friends from my neighborhood, and have my classes be at the right pace and level. The Young Scholars program has provided support throughout my school career, in addition to my local mentor who has helped me with schooling and my “Group Guide” project. She is a retired middle school teacher who encouraged me and showed me the importance of group work in everyday life.

    What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
    I plan to continue my work with “The Group Guide” by getting my book published and making it accessible to the kids who need it. I plan to continue making presentations at elementary schools to help students learn about group work.

    One of my many passions is goalkeeping in soccer. As with many sports, there is a risk of concussion and other head injuries. I would like to start a campaign to ensure that all players, particularly goalkeepers, are protected from such injuries by wearing protective headbands. I hope to start my journey on this project in the near future.

       Closing Thought

    "We support the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair because we know that math and science are imperative to future global growth. This competition encourages millions of students to engage their skills for innovation and develop promising solutions for global challenges."

    ~ Wendy Hawkins, Executive Director of the Intel Foundation


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