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Davidson Institute May 2013  

             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 - Science Innovation on a Worldwide Stage
Intel ISEFMore than 1,500 outstanding high school science students, representing approximately 70 countries, exhibited their inventive, wide-ranging projects at the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix.

Intel ISEFIonut Budisteanu of Romania (pictured, center) was awarded the top prize for using artificial intelligence to invent a self-driving car that is far less expensive than similar models. Eesha Khare of Saratoga, Calif. (left) and Henry Lin of Shreveport, La. (right) each received the second prize: Eesha developed a device that fits inside cell phone batteries, allowing them to fully charge within 20 to 30 seconds, and Henry simulated clusters of galaxies, which will provide scientists with valuable new data on astrophysics. Sources: ScienceNews, NBC News (Photo courtesy of Intel/Chris Ayers)

Naomi Shah, a 2012 Davidson Fellow, received the Best of Category Award of $5,000 and First Award of $3,000 in the Environmental Sciences category. Read more about Naomi in the "In the Spotlight" section below.

Upcoming Gifted Education Conferences
With noted keynote speakers, scholars, presenters and exhibitors, the 2013 World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) Biennial World Conference, Aug. 10 through Aug. 14 in Louisville, Ky. provides an opportunity to bring leaders in gifted education together to share their knowledge, expertise and practices across cultures. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.

NAGCWith hundreds of content-rich sessions on a range of issues related to gifted education, the 60th annual NAGC Convention, Nov. 7 through Nov. 10 in Indianapolis, Ind. provides an excellent opportunity to learn alongside, and network with, colleagues. At each presentation, parents, educators and those interested in gifted education will be provided with “take-away” tools and classroom resources.

Malleable MindsNew Book Uncovers Findings About how Talent Develops in Individuals
A new book from The American Psychological Association, the National Association for Gifted Children and The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented provides insight on what research in psychology and neuroscience can tell us about talent development. In Malleable Minds: Translating Insights From Psychology and Neuroscience to Gifted Education, psychologists and neuroscientists connect their findings and perspectives with experts in gifted and talented education to offer an innovative discussion about how their research might best support the needs of gifted students, and offer direction on the services they must receive to do so.

   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 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 2014-2015 school year, visit the How to Apply page. Please review the Qualification Criteria page and the Application Review Process page for more information.

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

Davidson Young Scholars
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, visit the How to Apply and Qualification Criteria pages.

Davidson Fellows2014 Davidson Fellows Scholarship
The Davidson Institute offers $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 Davidson Fellows scholarships to students 18 and under whose projects have the potential to benefit society, and are at the college graduate level. Application categories are in the STEM fields, Humanities and Outside the Box. Applicants must be 18 or younger as of October 10, 2014 to be eligible.

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 Issues Discussion ForumThe 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 6,800 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about a wealth of gifted topics.

   Legislative & Policy News
  COLORADO – Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed House Bill 1023 into law, which requires all school districts in the state to develop procedures for reviewing and implementing academic acceleration. The districts’ acceleration policies might incorporate such options as advancing a student in a particular subject, "compacting curriculum," permitting credit to be gained by passing a test, authorizing independent study efforts and more. Sources: Belin-Blank, Colorado Capitol Journal

CONNECTICUT – While the Windham school district will likely miss out on a $500,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation it had previously been slated to receive, there is still discussion that a gifted and talented model will be implemented. Norwich Bulletin

FLORIDA – More than 60 Orange County schools are working to increase the enrollment of minority and low-income students in gifted education programs. Source: Orlando Sentinel

State lawmakers are considering legislation that would require school districts to pay full college tuition for students who participate in early college programs. If passed, this legislation could lead to a significant decrease in the amount of students who participate in early college or dual enrollment programs. Source:

GEORGIA – For the first time in the 40-year history of the Houston County gifted education program, participating students will attend gifted classes five days a week. Sources: 13WMAZ, Macon Telegraph

ILLINOIS – Based on feedback from outside consultants, North Shore School District 112 is reworking how it serves gifted students. The district will no longer use "gifted" to describe the program, and educators will have multiple options for challenging these students, from changing lesson pacing or resources to moving students to a higher grade level. Source: Chicago Sun-Times

LOUISIANA – Recently proposed changes in the 2013-2014 minimum foundation program (MFP), which allocates funding for Louisiana public educational programs, sought to reduce the dedicated money for gifted and talented students in grades 9 through 12. The changes in Senate Bill SCR23 would cut dedicated funding for these students by 50 percent. The Louisiana Senate recently sent the bill back to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to be rewritten for a number of reasons. It remains to be seen whether funding for the gifted program in grades 9 through 12 will be preserved at the current level. Source: Louisiana State Legislature

MARYLAND – A St. Mary's County Public Schools policy of formally screening third grade students for gifted and talented instruction that started this school year will continue for subsequent third-graders, through the use of national standardized tests, county assessments, a writing sample and other indicators for identification. Source: SoMdNews

MICHIGAN – The Van Buren Public Schools gifted and talented program will expand, with referral counts of new students increasing the program’s size by more than 100 new students. This would bring the reach of the gifted and talented program to more than 400 students in the school district. Source: Heritage Newspapers

NEW YORK – New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has proposed major changes to the city’s Gifted and Talented program, including doubling the number of schools for high performing students, adding thousands of seats to existing programs and loosening admissions requirements in some neighborhoods. Sources: New York Times, New York Daily News
Gifted Legislation
A group of parents in New York City has filed a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court challenging the school system's policies for admission into the gifted and talented program. In the lawsuit, the parents object to a policy that gives enrollment preferences to the qualifying younger siblings of students already in the program. A school system spokeswoman said the claims "lack merit." Source: Wall Street Journal

An abundance of testing errors in New York City resulted in the wrongful exclusion of thousands of students from public school gifted and talented programs. Nearly 2,700 New York City students were misinformed they were not eligible for seats in gifted programs, and an additional 300 students received incorrect scores because of another testing mistake. Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal

After several years of advocacy by Queens parents, the New York City Department of Education is proposing to expand the citywide gifted and talented program in Queens from the fourth grade to the eighth grade. Source: TimesLedger

NORTH CAROLINA – In preparation for more challenging courses under the Common Core State Standards in Wake County, officials have restricted the use of single-subject acceleration, in which academically gifted students are placed in a higher grade class. The move has drawn criticism from some parents who say their children are not challenged by the math curriculum. Source: News & Observer

OHIO – A simulation of the state's report card revealed that some of Ohio’s top schools did not post expected gains for gifted students. While the report is not a complete representation of gifted education in the state, it has raised concerns that there is a need for some schools to review how they serve these students. Source: Columbus Dispatch

Conducted by Vanderbilt University, a recent study of the New Albany-Plain Local School District found a need for more teachers focused on gifted education, better teaching for current teachers in gifted education and a need to challenge gifted students more. Source: ThisWeekNews

The Regional Center for Advanced Academic Studies, a new full-time school for gifted students from the Sandusky school district and surrounding districts, will open next school year, accommodating several hundred students. Sources: The Morning Journal, Sandusky Register

PENNSYLVANIA – The Pittsburgh Public School District recently expanded its Centers for Advanced Studies (CAS) program to provide more African-American students with an opportunity to take high level courses. Through the Talent Development Initiative, which was implemented district-wide for the 2012-2013 school year, the CAS program now includes non-gifted students who have been identified as talented. Source: New Pittsburgh Courier

SOUTH CAROLINA – Starting this summer, Converse College will offer a master's degree in gifted education as an online graduate program. Source: Spartanburg Herald Journal

TENNESSEE – Metro Nashville Public Schools plans to overhaul the district's gifted and talented program to help ensure minority students are being identified for the program. District data show Hispanic and African-American students are underrepresented. Officials say they will increase outreach efforts to parents of minority and low-income children and train teachers to screen students earlier. Source: The Tennessean

TEXAS – The Texas House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 5, a major proposal that seeks to reduce high stakes testing. One provision requires school districts to evaluate "educational programs for gifted and talented students" as part of the section that examines performance ratings for school districts. Gifted education would become an area that must be evaluated on each district campus when making these reports. The bill will now be sent to the Texas State Senate for their review. Sources: Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (PDF), Texas Tribune

VIRGINIA – A recent study on the number of minority students in gifted education programs operated by the state’s public schools revealed that African American and Hispanic students are vastly underrepresented among children served by gifted programs. Source: Virginia Gazette

WASHINGTON – Following 2009 legislation that made highly capable programming part of the state’s definition of basic education, a package of reforms were to be phased in between 2009 and 2018. As of April 2013, all school districts are required to have a highly capable program per revisions to the Washington Administrative Codes (WAC). Source: Washington Coalition for Gifted Education

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, "Getting kids to practice." Join the discussion today!

Featured Articles and Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database at is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students. See what's new!
Gifted Education
In the article, Where Math & Service Meet, Davidson Young Scholar Ambassador Jonathan Li describes his educational background and the path he has taken to help others through mathematics.

The article, What is this "gifted" thing anyway? provides a brief description of gifted education and tips on how to explain giftedness to others.

The 2e Newsletter recently published its Annual 2e-Friendly Summer Camp Listing, which provides a listing of good summer camps for twice-exceptional students.

The article, When Seeking a Great College Fit, Gifted Students Have Additional Considerations, takes a look at the many factors that go into the college search process for gifted students.

The article, Coping 101: Building Persistence and Resilience in Gifted Children provides advice on how to increase a gifted child’s persistence and resilience, as well as how to teach a child the coping skills he or she needs to manage life’s inevitable challenges and adversity.

The National Association for School Psychologists recently released Homework: A Guide for Parents, which provides recommendations that are based on common conclusions drawn from research into the efficacy of homework practices.

20 Quick Actions You Can Do Today To Set Your Classroom Up For Success provides educators a number of unique tips to improve the classroom experience.

American Model United Nations International (AMUN) strives to create a realistic simulation of the United Nations.

iD Programming Academy (Various Locations) is a summer program for those who love programming, engineering, or robotics.

The Providian Medical Scholarship is designed to help students achieve their educational goals with a biannual $500 scholarship. Applicants must submit an original essay of up to 1,500 words that describes how medical equipment technology has changed the face of a college course and curriculum.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
May 16 - Education Views, How to Raise Smart Kids in the Wrong Zip Code (Heather Clayton Staker)
May 15 - Yahoo! News, Teenager Designs Safer Nuclear Power Plants (Elizabeth Palermo)
May 13 - Bangor Daily News, My gifted child is slacking on her homework (Staff)
May 11 - Washington Post, A powerful term in US high schools: DBQ (Jay Mathews)
May 10 - New York Daily News, Boy genius diagnosed with autism has IQ higher than Einstein (Carol Kuruvilla)
May 7 - TakePart, The Most Troubling Myths About Gifted Kids - Debunked (Tammie Schrader)
May 5 - Asheville Citizen-Times, Praise effort, not intelligence (William George)
May 4 - New York Times, The Apprentices of a Digital Age (Hannah Seligson)
April 26 - Washington Post, AP program isn't all it's cracked up to be - study (Valerie Strauss)
April 25 - Washington Post, Admissions 101: why smart, poor students are dumb (Jay Mathews)
April 24 - PandoDaily, Examining the Thiel Fellowship: Where are they now? (Richard Nieva)
April 22 - Scientific American, Profiling Serial Creators (Scott Barry Kaufman)
April 22 - U.S. News & World Report, Obama Gets His Geek on at White House Science Fair (Jason Koebler)
April 19 -, How to Nurture a Gifted Child (Purvaja Sawant)
April 15 - Washington Post, America's most challenging high schools (Jay Mathews)
April 9 - York Daily Record, Grouping smartest students with struggling ones helps neither (Peter Berger)
April 8 - NPR, Even 'Highly Motivated' Students Aren't Ready For College (Michel Martin)
April 2 - Wall Street Journal, A Gifted Student Learns to Thrive with Dyslexia (Melinda Beck)

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

   In the Spotlight

 Naomi Shah, 18
A 2012 Davidson Fellow Making a Difference

In the SpotlightTell us about your project.
My Fellows project titled, “An Experimental Study of the Impact of Airborne Pollutants on the Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) Rate of Asthmatic Subjects PLUS A Novel Risk Assessment Model to Predict the Adverse Effect of PM10 and TVOCs on the PEF Rate of Asthmatic Patients” has implications on medical, environmental, social and economic fronts. The overarching goal of my research is to eliminate disorders from their root, which is in environmental problems like indoor air quality. We spend 90 percent of our lives indoors and workforce productivity, increased lung health, and improved quality of life are all implications of cleaner indoor air. Further, the economic benefits are that people would have lower healthcare costs because decreasing the airborne pollutants would lower the incidence of many disorders that are triggered by toxins and pollutants that we breathe in on a daily basis. In terms of national regulatory policy, I hope to use my research to convince policy makers that certain harmful chemical pollutants not included in the Clean Air Act need to be regulated.

What I hope to see with my research is a paradigm shift in the way people view the treatment of disorders. Instead of focusing on short-term solutions like chemotherapy, inhaler treatment, or steroid medication, my goal is to influence people to take action in their own homes, schools and workplaces to improve their indoor air quality and be aware of how their actions impact pollutant levels.

What are some of your short-term and long-term goals?
My short-term plans involve continuing work on my independent research and attending Stanford University, where I hope to explore more environmental health research. I want to further my biofilter research, which is a solution that I am currently working on to metabolically remove Volatile Organic Compounds from indoor air streams. My long-term goals involve working at the boundary between environmental research and the social implications, such as national regulatory policy.

Please describe your academic setting and some positive experiences with mentors.
I attend a public high-school with a graduating class of about 492. Because of budget cuts, we often do not have access to resources or support to conduct independent science research through our schools. Instead, I have worked independently to find ways to conduct research that I am passionate about and interested in. However, I am working with younger students and mentoring them in order to encourage others to pursue science research in fields that they are interested in.

In terms of mentors, it is always difficult to find someone to work with as a high school student because of limited experience; however, when you cold-call labs, companies and organizations it is amazing to see the support that one can receive. For example, in my research I needed access to air quality monitors and Peak Expiratory Flow Rate meters to measure my subjects’ living environment air quality and lung health, respectively. I approached a local company in downtown Portland called AirAdvice and have been working with them for the past seven years that I have been conducting indoor air quality research. Similarly, the manufacturers of the PEF meters donated 200 disposable meters that I could use to measure the lung health of my asthmatic patients. This support is incredible and allowed me to conduct my research, along with immense support from friends and families who encourage me to pursue my passion for science research.

   Closing Thought

"We support the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair because we believe that science and math are the foundation of innovation, which is imperative for global economic growth and advancing society. This competition encourages millions of students worldwide every year
to explore their passion for math and science while
developing solutions for global challenges."

~ Wendy Hawkins, Executive Director of the Intel Foundation


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