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Davidson Institute May 2014  

             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 - Inspiring Creativity Through STEM
Intel ISEFMore than 1,700 outstanding high school science students, representing approximately 70 countries, exhibited their inspiring, inventive projects at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles.
Intel ISEF
Nathan Han of Boston (pictured, right) was awarded the top prize for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer. Lennart Kleinwort of Germany (center) and Shannon Xinjing Lee of Singapore (left) each received the second prize: Lennart developed a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets that brings capabilities to hand-held devices that previously required more sophisticated and expensive computing tools, and Shannon developed a novel electrocatalyst that may be used for batteries of the future. Sources: Science News for Students, (Photo courtesy of Intel/Chris Ayers)

Dual Enrollment - What's New?
dual enrollmentDual enrollment has often been an option for gifted students working years beyond age peers in particular subjects. While the term is most commonly applied to high school students concurrently taking college courses, dual enrollment can also be a viable option for students of any age across the board, such as a fourth grader attending seventh grade math and science classes, or a homeschool student attending high school for an Advanced Placement (AP) class. Application of credits varies depending on the state, district, and school; however, this can be a cost effective way to challenge our brightest students.

Here are a few recent news articles related to dual enrollment: Here are a few useful articles and resources on dual enrollment:
   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 2015-2016 school year, the application will be posted this summer. Please review the Qualification Criteria and How to Apply pages 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.

Ambassador Program
The 2014 Davidson Young Scholars Ambassadors page has recently gone live! The purpose of the Ambassador Program is to foster learning and civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership in highly motivated and mature Young Scholars. Please take a moment to learn about their service projects, in their own words

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. The 2014 class of Davidson Fellows will be announced in August.

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 8,000 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about a wealth of gifted topics.

   Legislative & Policy News
  ILLINOIS – The Deerfield school district is working to close a gender gap in gifted math classes for third through eighth graders since there are 120 more boys than girls in the program. Source: Chicago Sun-Times

KENTUCKY – Morehead State University will start a residential high school for academically gifted students in August 2015. The school, known as The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, will allow students to take a college-level curriculum that will allow them to graduate from high school with as many as 60 credit hours for college. Source: Lexington Herald Leader

Eastern Kentucky University will offer the state’s first fully online master’s degree in gifted education starting in fall 2014. Source: Lane Report

The Mercer County school district has been awarded $4,000 through a grant from the Corning Foundation to pilot a one-to-one program for the district’s gifted students. Source: Central Kentucky News

Gifted LegislationMARYLAND – A resolution seeking to restore and preserve funding for International Baccalaureate programs and the Ingenuity Project in Baltimore were recently introduced in the city council, as political leaders cited a disinvestment in the city's gifted students. Source: Baltimore Sun

MICHIGAN – The Plymouth-Canton school district is considering a number of changes to its Talented and Gifted program. Source:

MINNESOTA – The number of full-time academic programs for gifted students in the state has grown from 2 to 15 throughout the past ten years. Source: District Administration

The Centennial School District will add full-time gifted classrooms for third- and fourth-graders starting in fall 2014. Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Austin Public School recently received approval to create a “Personalized Instruction” program for gifted students. Source: KIMT

MISSOURI – The state has established a formal advisory council to develop and strengthen services for gifted students. While the Gifted Association of Missouri has advocated for gifted education and sent representatives to state-level meetings in the past, this new council is expected to have a more formal role, regularly providing feedback and recommendations. Source: Springfield News-Leader

NEW YORK – High school students in the state who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class will be eligible for full, four-year college scholarships under a policy designed to boost the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. Participants in the New York State STEM Incentive Program may enroll at any State University of New York or City University of New York campus. They must agree to either work five years after graduation in STEM fields in the state, or repay the grant. Source: New York Daily News

Federal grant StarTalk will support the inaugural Kindergarten Chinese Immersion Program of an elementary school being designed for gifted students in Saratoga County. The programs will be hosted by the Friends of Global Renaissance Perspectives. Source: Globaissance.orgGifted Legislation

NORTH CAROLINA – Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools budget cuts could lead to the elimination of a number of gifted specialists in the district. Sources: Chapel Hill News,

OHIO – The state is considering a number of changes to services offered to gifted students, especially those in lower grades. The state report card, which grades schools on test performance and student success, gives districts a grade for gifted services based on identified students’ progress in reading, math and cognitive ability. A state committee is examining how to give that measurement a point system and make it more involved. Source: Canton Repository

Following a potential boycott of standardized tests, the Columbus school district postponed an overhaul of its gifted programs. The overhaul would have forced all of the district’s gifted students into one of 20 schools that would offer gifted classes, rather than offering gifted education in each of the district’s schools. Sources: Columbus Dispatch,

VIRGINIA – With the implementation of a nonverbal screening test starting in kindergarten, the Fairfax County school district has focused services to identify and support gifted or high-achieving minority and low-income students in its Young Scholars program, better reflecting the overall student population. Source: Washington Post

WASHINGTON – The Olympia School District’s Program for Academically Talented Students (PATS) will be phased out during the next few years as part of a plan that will increase the district’s support and opportunities for gifted students. Source: The Olympian

WYOMING – A number of parents in the Natrona County School District recently petitioned local school trustees to create a governing board to address the district's gifted program. Parents who signed the petition feel that little progress has been made since a gifted education task force report that called for changes in the program was compiled in October. Source: Casper Star-Tribune Online

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, "Learning new words." Join the discussion today!

Common CoreCommon Core and Gifted Education
During the past year, the Davidson Institute has received many questions asking how Common Core State Standards (CCSS) impact gifted students. To answer these questions, gifted education expert, Tamra Stambaugh, answers a few questions on CCSS and gifted students in this Davidson Gifted Database article titled, Interview with Tamra Stambaugh on the Common Core and Its Impact on Gifted Education. In addition, the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) has dedicated this section of their website to CCSS with general information, FAQs and resources for educators and parents.

New Book Coming Soon from Dr. Jim Delisle
At a time when the U.S. education system consistently lags behind its international peers, Dr. Jim Delisle's new book, Dumbing Down America, shows exactly why America can’t keep up by providing a critical look at the nation’s schools through the eyes of the children whose minds are languishing in countless classrooms. Filled with specific examples of how gifted children are being shortchanged by a nation that believes smart kids will succeed on their own, the book packs a powerful message: If we want our nation to prosper, we must pay attention to its most intelligent youth. Available August 1, you can pre-order it today.

Featured Articles and Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database at is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students. See what's new!

The article, Tips for Parents: Finding the Extroverted Side of You – Introverted Children, is from a seminar hosted by Christine Fonseca, who provides information for parents of introverts to help even the most introverted students find their voice and share their talents with the world.

The article, Tips for Parents: Freeing Our Families from Perfectionism, is from a seminar hosted by Thomas Greenspon, who provides a wealth of advice related to perfectionism.

Gifted On the WebThe article, Tips for Parents: Nurturing Creativity at Home, is from a seminar hosted by Lisa Rivero, who summarizes the key points in which parents can encourage and facilitate creativity in their children.

Authored by noted gifted expert James Webb, the book, Searching For Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment and Hope, aims to help those disillusioned in today’s world by teaching them to understand themselves and their struggles. Click here to read a review of this book.

The STEAM-Powered Classroom website provides a number of resources for homeschoolers and educators. Its emphasis is student-led, project-based learning.

Weekend Academy at Vanderbilt University (WAVU) is a residential academic program for seventh to 10th grade gifted students. Students engage in an accelerated two-day course of study designed and taught by Vanderbilt University faculty and scholars. WAVU offers accelerated and rigorous courses on topics not usually included in middle or high school.

Written by Dr. Thomas Armstrong, You’re Smarter Than You Think: A Kid’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences (Revised and Updated Edition) explains a number of different types of intelligences and helps students identify their own learning strengths and use their special skills at school, home and in life.
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   In the News
May 20 - Psychology Today, Gifted Learners - New Holistic Methodology and Tech (Joseph Cardillo)
May 12 - USA Today, 15-year-old earns 4 2-year degrees, high school diploma
(Betty Reid)
May 11 - Napa Valley Register, Your gifted child (Lenore Hirsch)

May 8 - The Courier-Journal, Is it ADHD or giftedness? (Laura Ungar)
May 2014 - AmazingKids! Magazine, Amazing Kids! of the Month – Davidson Fellows (Kasey Dallman)
April 20 - Washington Post, Stuck on a college wait list? Here’s what you should do. (Jay Mathews)
April 17 - Edutopia, It's Time for Social and Emotional Learning for All (Elena Aguilar)
April 16 - Christian Science Monitor, Your child is gifted (Glennon Doyle Melton)
April 15 - Education Week, Gifted Ed. Is Crucial, But the Label Isn't (Multiple authors)
April 13 - Washington Post, Why can’t his daughter take AP calculus? (Jay Mathews)
April 4 - Huffington Post, These Kids Are Published Authors At The Ages Of 10 And 12 (Staff)
March 31 - Huffington Post, Gifted+Learning Disabled = No Desk For You, Says New Study (Daniel Peters)
March 28 - Russellville Courier, Is it nature, nurture, talents? (Jackie Cushman)
March 23 - Washington Post, Why most people, including me, like homework (Jay Mathews)
March 21 - Dallas News, Gifted child, left behind (Amy Crawford)

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

   In the Spotlight

 Kimberly Ruth, 17
A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

In the SpotlightThe purpose of the Davidson Young Scholars Ambassador Program is to foster learning and civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership in highly motivated and mature Young Scholars. Kimberly's project is Go Figure. The overall goal of this project is to boost mathematical interest in middle school and junior high school students and promote an alternative approach: one that celebrates the beautiful side of mathematics and provides a path to learning the invaluable lessons that it teaches.

What are some past and present projects you’ve worked on to help make a positive difference in the lives of others?
For a long time I’ve been interested in helping others. For example, when I was 8, I raised about $220 for a local hospital so they could start a program to give Beanie Baby toys to young patients to cheer them up during their stay. The staff members were enthusiastic about the idea, and over the years the program has grown considerably. The most recent report I heard was that they were giving out approximately 100 Beanies a week, for a total of over 20,000 Beanies, and the program had expanded to a second facility.

As my interests and skills have matured, so have my efforts. My most recent philanthropic endeavor, which I am developing through the Davidson Institute’s Young Scholars Ambassador Program, aims to help middle school and junior high school students discover the elegant side of math so that they are motivated to continue exploring it in high school and beyond. The project, called Go Figure, has two major foci: A website with mathematical topics explained clearly and playfully, and presentations in my local area. I love combining my passions for math, teaching, writing, and public speaking in a way that makes a positive difference. Thus far I have received a very positive response for my efforts. The website is still growing; you can explore it at

What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
I hope to expand Go Figure into a well-used resource with a stable user base. I’d like to make my website into a corner of cyberspace where math is undeniably awesome. And though it may take some time, I’d like to spread that enthusiasm beyond my immediate influence and foster a culture that appreciates math.

I’d like to study computer science in college, since it combines mathematical analysis with technological applicability. The field of computing is moving very quickly, and I hope to find opportunities to use what I learn in ways that improve people’s lives.

How has the Young Scholars program helped you to reach your goals and achieve your accomplishments?
The Davidson Institute staff has been incredibly helpful and supportive as I’ve been developing Go Figure. The Ambassador seminars have prompted me to think deeply about my project, and I’ve enjoyed communicating with the other Ambassadors. Everyone in the program has been very encouraging.

Please describe your academic setting and some positive experiences with mentors.
I am homeschooled, so my parents are two tremendously important mentors to me. Although most of my schoolwork is done at the kitchen table, I also participate in extracurricular classes in the local community, including at my homeschool co-op. My mom especially helps me navigate my education, identifying challenging curricula that complement my learning style. She empowers me to identify where I want to focus my learning efforts.

   Closing Thought

"The search for excellence is a constant development. One does not achieve excellence and then declare one’s work finished. One must eternally strive toward the betterment of one’s skills."

~ Kailee Pedersen, 2013 Davidson Fellow, in AmazingKids! Magazine


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