What's New in Gifted
2008 Davidson Fellows - Award Ceremony in D.C.
View the Washington, D.C. Photo Gallery
On Sept. 24, 2008, 20 young people were honored
at the Davidson Fellows award ceremony for their work in Mathematics, Science,
Literature, Technology, Music, Philosophy and the category of Outside the
Box. Davidson Institute for Talent Development co-founders, Bob and Jan
Davidson, presented the awards at the eighth annual ceremony held at the Library
of Congress and sponsored by U.S. Senators Harry Reid (Nev.) and Chuck Grassley
(Iowa). In recognition of their remarkable achievements, each of the
Davidson Fellows received a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship.|
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair -
Scientific Discovery Takes Center Stage
discovery and innovation will be on display at the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). Hosted by Gathering Genius, Inc., whose mission is to increase student excellence, competitiveness, and participation in science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM) in Nevada, ISEF will take place in Reno, Nev., May 10-16, 2009. ISEF
is the world’s only science, math, and engineering project competition for
students working at the high school level. Students have the opportunity to
receive scholarship awards, equipment grants, and scientific field trips. Join the event as a
general volunteer, or
View the ISEF website for more
2008-2009 CTY Talent Search Deadline Approaching
The deadline for the annual Johns Hopkins University
Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Talent Search is
Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. Students in grades 2 through 8 can apply. For 30 years, CTY
partnerships with schools have helped gifted
students stay motivated and keep skills sharp.
RSI and USABO - Leading the Way in Math and Science Advancement
Recognizing the importance of math, science, engineering and technology in the lives of young, gifted students for more than two decades, the
Center for Excellence in Education sponsors the annual
Research Science Institute (RSI) and
USA Biology Olympiad (USABO). RSI provides approximately 80 high school students from around the world the opportunity to participate in a rigorous, six-week summer academic program, focused on advanced theory and research. The upcoming application deadline for RSI is Jan. 16, 2009. The USABO
is one of the top biology competitions in the United States and begins in
February with a multiple-choice exam open to all U.S. high school students
who have been nominated by their teachers.
The Davidson Academy of Nevada
Applications for the 2009-2010 school year are now available! Visit The Davidson Academy
How to Apply page to find the Academy application, which consists of three downloadable documents.
The Davidson Academy of Nevada is specifically designed to meet the needs of profoundly gifted middle and high school students at the sixth grade level and beyond who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ or college entrance tests, such as the SAT or ACT. Please review the
Test Score Criteria page as these scores are mandatory for student eligibility.|
A Davidson Academy of Nevada tour for prospective students will take place Friday, Nov. 21, 2008 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Located in the renovated Jot Travis Building
on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, the Academy’s new facility is
approximately 30,000 square feet and wireless, including classrooms
with smart technology.
If you cannot make this event, mark your calendars for another tour:
RSVPs are required for these
Prospective students interested in receiving email updates about the Academy can sign up for the free
Explore The Davidson Academy eNewsletter by
clicking here to subscribe.
- Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008
- Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009
- Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009
- Thursday, March 26, 2009
Applications are available for the
2009 THINK Summer Institute,
which will run July 11 through August
1. Students can earn up to seven college credits at this three-week residential summer program on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. To qualify, students must be 13 to 16 years old during THINK. The deadline for early acceptance is Jan.
2009 Davidson Fellows
Applications for the 2009
Fellows scholarships are available
online. Young people under the age of 18 have the opportunity to win a
$50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship in recognition of a significant piece of
work in the categories of Science, Technology, Mathematics, Music, Literature
and Philosophy, or a project that represents Outside the Box thinking. The
application deadline is March 4, 2009.
Legislative & Policy News
Jacob Javits Gifted and
Talented Students Education Act - A “continuing resolution” has been passed to
fund Javits for Fiscal Year 2009 at $7.5 million, the same level as
the previous fiscal year. While the FY2009 funding will support the
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented and
demonstration grants, it is not enough to fund statewide grants. Before its passage, some Members of Congress had co-signed a letter seeking $11.25 million for Javits funding; however, this amount was not granted due to an increasingly tight budget. For more, visit the National Association of Gifted Children’s (NAGC)
Legislative Update page and the
2008 Javits grantees listing.
No Child Left Behind
NAGC is working on a number of proposals to incorporate into the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. They are seeking a requirement for states to describe how they will use funds
“to improve the skills of teachers already in the classroom in instructing gifted and talented students." NAGC also wants to ensure that schools are held accountable for improving the achievement of students performing at the
"advanced" level. Visit NAGC’s
Legislative Update page to learn more.
The Advanced Placement Incentive Program Grant provides grants to school districts across the country, designed to “increase the participation of low-income students in both pre-AP and AP courses and tests.” Twenty school districts were awarded grants in 2008. Source:
U.S. Department of Education
- A new program in School District 196 is designed to better identify high-potential students who fall through the cracks. The district’s “Young Scholars” program will employ alternate means to help identify these students, collecting data
regarding intelligence, creativity and motivation. Source:
- A proposed bill that would affect homeschooling laws in the state is causing concern for advocates. Assembly Bill 3123 would increase
regulations and state involvement in homeschooling standards and curriculum. The bill would, among other things, empower the Commissioner of Education to implement mandatory subjects and course content guidelines, as well as require parents to keep school records and submit them annually to the school district. Source:
Home School Legal Defense Association
Due to a lack of funding, the Governor's School of the Arts will not operate in 2009. It is hoped that this School, which relied on private funding the past two years to compensate being cut from the public budget, may be reinstituted for the summer of 2010. The news was more optimistic for the Governor's School
in the Sciences at Drew University, as Drew recently announced they will provide four-year scholarships to graduates of the science program who go on to attend their college. Source:
New Jersey Online
- The New York City Department of Education is in the process of identifying sites in Brooklyn and Queens for city-wide elementary gifted programs. Currently, all three elementary school gifted and talented programs are located in Manhattan, which has long caused criticism. The department is also planning to open city-wide programs in the Bronx and Staten Island in 2010. Source:
New York Times
- The Beaverton School District is looking to improve its Talented and Gifted (TAG) program this year through teacher training, planning time and program evaluation. The district decided to revamp its program last year after acknowledging that its teachers did not have enough training or time to assess and instruct TAG students. Source:
- New regulations for gifted students have been approved.
Chapter 16 of The Pennsylvania Code includes new language requiring the Department of Education to conduct on-site monitoring of school districts on a cyclical basis to ensure compliance. The bill also requires the department to establish a process for parents to file complaints and for school districts to respond. Source:
Independent Regulatory Review Commission
The Cumberland Valley School District is proposing an outside review of the school district’s gifted program. Read more in
The Sentinel Online.
- Gifted and talented middle schoolers in Beaufort County public schools will no longer be able to take high school courses and receive high school credit. Source:
The Beaufort Gazette
The Florence School District will receive $372,000 in supplemental funding for the gifted and talented program. The funding will be used for instructional activities and student achievement strategies. Source:
- Proposed legislation to standardize the state’s method of calculating Grade Point Average (GPA) is causing controversy among state educators and students. If passed,
House Bill 3851 (PDF) would eliminate extra credit for pre-Advanced Placement, pre-International Baccalaureate, and Honors classes for college-track underclassmen. This could dissuade some advanced students from participating in appropriately challenging learning environments. Source:
How gifted-friendly is your state? Find out at:
Gifted Education Policies.
If you know of new legislation, please contact the
On the Web
Read Laura Vanderkam's take on all things gifted, with recent posts
- New York City gets it right - City schools
recently decided to standardize admissions requirements with the goal of
allowing only those who score in the top 10th percentile spots in gifted
programs, upsetting some parents and educators. How much of a positive impact
has this policy had for gifted students?
- Some people are naturally good at math - The natural ability to see patterns and draw inferences
can make a difference in certain students' lives.
Davidson Database – Featured Resources
Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge
and become an agent of change! Middle school student teams from across the country will be challenged to create sustainable, reproducible environmental improvements in their local communities.
Gifted Education Press is one of the leading publishers of books and
reading materials about educating the gifted. Currently, they are offering a complimentary copy of
Gifted Education Press Quarterly Online. Visit the website for
The Montclair State University
Academically Gifted & Talented Youth Program provides academically
gifted and talented students challenging and fulfilling enrichment
for Creative Learning offers numerous resources
related to creativity, creative problem solving, talent development, and learning styles.
In the News
Nov. 10, 2008 - Augusta
School tries new gifted program
Nov. 4, 2008 - San Francisco Chronicle,
talent we can believe in
Nov. 3, 2008 - Washington Post,
Wide Access To AP, IB Isn't Hurting Anybody
New York Times,
On an Amazing Journey, and He’s Only 12
Oct. 29, 2008 -
New York Times,
Fewer Children Entering Gifted Programs
Oct. 24, 2008 -
A Boy Who Can't Make Friends Needs New Ways to Reach Out
Oct. 21, 2008 -
Public Schools Grapple With Changes in Gifted Programs
Oct. 20, 2008 - Muskogee
Top pupils need more
Oct. 18, 2008 -
Educators Work To Improve Gifted, Talented Program
Oct. 14, 2008 - Washington Post,
Gifted students tackle complex math in high school
Oct. 10, 2008 -
The Capital Times,
U.S. students steered away from math, study says
Oct. 9, 2008 -
Orange County Register,
How can my bright and brainy child be assessed for giftedness?
Oct. 3, 2008 - Family
Gifted students need challenges
Oct. 2008 - Glenn Gould
12-Year Old Pianist Honored for Efforts to Promote Music of Bach
Sept. 14, 2008 -
The ABCs Of Home Schooling
Sept. 13, 2008 - Tampa Bay
Don't Overlook Gifted Students
Discuss these stories and more on the
Gifted Issues Discussion Forum.
Association for the Gifted - 47th Annual Conference
educators and parents of gifted children will convene for a
variety of curricular workshops and educational
presentations at the
47th annual California Association for the Gifted Conference, Feb. 13-15,
2009 in Anaheim, Calif.
A number of experts in the field of gifted education will
speak at the event.
States with Upcoming Gifted
For more, see the
Events Calendar on the
Davidson Gifted Database, your gateway
to gifted resources!
In the Spotlight
Dr. Donna Ford,
Throughout her professional career, Donna Y. Ford, Ph.D., has concentrated on a unique perspective pertaining to gifted education - how giftedness relates to minority children and youth, and how to reduce the achievement gap. Dr. Ford’s research focuses on recruiting and retaining culturally diverse students in gifted education, minority student achievement and underachievement, equity issues in testing and assessment, and a number of urban education issues. Her diligence has resulted in numerous honors over the years, most recently her selection as the 2008 National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Scholar of the Year.
Dr. Ford is the former Betts Chair of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University
and is currently teaching in the Department of Special Education. Before arriving at Vanderbilt, she was a Professor of Special Education at Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and a researcher with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. Dr. Ford received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Education in 1991 after earning a Masters of Education degree in counseling in 1988 and Bachelor
of Arts in Communications and Spanish in 1984 from Cleveland State University.
In a June NPR segment, titled “Facing the Challenges of Growing Up Gifted,” Dr. Ford said that “very few minority students identified as gifted, or at the high school level, participate in AP classes.” She mentions that there are an equal number of gifted and talented African Americans as there are in other groups.
“Each group has individuals at a comparable rate who are gifted,” Ford said. “Too often, African American students are not identified as gifted. We are underrepresented in gifted programs by 50 percent."
Vanderbilt University interview, Dr. Ford cites a number of reasons for the achievement gap between students of different races. “At school, lack of rigor is the number one variable - according to research - that contributes to the achievement gap,” she says. “Lack of rigor is fundamentally about teacher expectations. Even if you have solid curriculum on paper, it is when it is actually implemented that really matters. If you are a teacher who has low expectations for students living in poverty or culturally-diverse students, then you will deliver low-quality instruction.”
Dr. Ford also considers “deficit thinking”, the concept that the less we know about a certain group, the more we make up, to be “at the heart of the achievement gap.” To combat this, she works with educators at Vanderbilt and in the community to create “culturally responsive” classrooms, in which both curriculum and the learning environment are suitably multicultural.
In addition to her selection as the NAGC Scholar of the Year, which recognizes “an individual who has made significant contributions to the study of the education of gifted and talented individuals,” Dr. Ford’s efforts have been recognized by a number of other organizations. She received a Research Award from the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies, an NAGC Early Scholar Award, the Career Award from The American Educational Research Association, and many more. She has authored numerous books, including
Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students in 1996. Dr. Ford is a NAGC board member, and has served on the editorial boards of various gifted publications, including
Gifted Child Quarterly, Exceptional Children, and
Through dedication and a commitment to improve the education of underrepresented gifted students, Dr. Ford has made an immeasurable impact in the field of gifted education. It is our hope that her work inspires others to do the same while continuously improving learning environments for students of all groups and backgrounds.
"Every gift and talent comes with some
kind of challenge. Parents and educators really
need to work with students to make sure these
challenges don't hold a child back. Instead, we
have to nurture these gifts and talents."
~ Donna Y. Ford, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University