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Davidson Institute November 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
  Announcing the 2011 Davidson Fellows
Davidson FellowsOn Oct. 5, 2011, 18 young people were honored at the Davidson Fellows award ceremony for their work in Science, Literature, Technology, Music and Mathematics. Davidson Institute for Talent Development co-founders, Bob and Jan Davidson, presented the awards at the 11th annual ceremony held at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. In recognition of their remarkable achievements, each of the 2011 Davidson Fellows received a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship. View the Washington, D.C. photo gallery.

NAGC Urges States to Enact Policies to Support High-Ability Learners
NAGCThe National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) recently released the latest version of their biennial report on state gifted legislation, the 2010-2011 State of the States in Gifted Education. The report includes individual states' approaches toward identification, funding, acceleration and more. The State of the States also describes how gifted funding and policy can vary greatly between different school districts, even in the same state. The report concludes that most states lack the critical infrastructure necessary to adequately identify and teach gifted students; teacher preparation and professional development is insufficient; there is little to no public accountability; and inconsistent access to services. Sources: NAGC Overview (PDF), NAGC Summary of Findings (PDF), Education Week,

PSPI"Rethinking Giftedness and Gifted Education"
How much do the abilities of individuals matter, particularly in specific talent domains? How much must society strive to promote opportunities for gifted and talented students, and how much responsibility should students take for their own growth and development? Which psychosocial variables determine influences in the successful development of talent? These questions and more are answered in this recent Psychological Science in the Public Interest (PSPI) study by Rena Subotnik, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Frank Worrell. This new report focuses on the question of how to nurture young talent across all fields, with emphasis on the disparity between athletic talent and academic talent.

   Davidson News
Davidson Fellows2012 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Applications
Applications for the 2012 Davidson Fellows scholarships are available online. Young people 18 and younger have the opportunity to earn 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 February 1, 2012. Apply today!

2012 THINK Summer Institute - Applications Now Available!
THINK Summer InstituteApplications are available for the 2012 THINK Summer Institute, which will run July 14 through Aug. 4. Students can earn six 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 application deadline is March 1, 2012. Due to limited space, it is strongly encouraged to submit an application before the deadline. Homeschooled students are eligible to apply. Tuition is $3,000 and covers course credits, books and materials, room and board and the cost of planned activities. Need-based scholarships are available. Apply today

The Davidson Academy
The 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 2012-2013 school year, visit the How to Apply page to download the application files. Please review the Qualification Criteria page and the Application Review Process page for more information.

Upcoming Tours for Prospective Students
Each month during the school year, The Davidson Academy hosts a tour for prospective students and their parents. At these tours, visitors meet current Academy students, parents, faculty and staff, and ask specific questions about the school. Our upcoming school tours will be held on the following Fridays:The Davidson Academy
  • Dec. 16, 2011
  • Jan. 27, 2012
  • Feb. 24, 2012
  • March 30, 2012
  • April 27, 2012
RSVPs are required for the tours. For additional details and to RSVP, please visit our Tours page.

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 seemingly experience the same issues time and time again. 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 our experiences of working with this unique population of students over the past 12 years. The latest episode provides strategies and tips intended to help students study smarter.

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. For the cost of staff traveling expenses, the Educators Guild offers presentations to schools with faculty interested in learning more about gifted students. You can also become a member of the 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
  NATIONAL – The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently approved a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s core K-12 education law. The bill included a few provisions addressing gifted and talented students. An amendment to increase federal support for gifted students was not allowed to be offered, due to fears that it would affect a fragile bipartisan agreement on the bill. However, committee supporters, along with Sen. Grassley (Iowa) are beginning to lay the groundwork to amend the bill when it comes to the floor of the full Senate. Source: National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

GEORGIA – Through Valdosta State University’s new Center for Gifted Studies, teachers can add a gifted endorsement to their current Georgia teaching certificate. Parents and teachers have access to a resource library, and students can talk to experts in the field about their unique social, academic, and emotional needs. Source: Moultrie Observer

ILLINOIS – Due to space limitations, the gifted program at South Loop Elementary School in Chicago will be cut. Sources: Chicago Journal, Chicago Tribune

INDIANA – Center Grove School District students in grades K-3 will be able to take advanced classes next year, thanks to a law updated in 2007 requiring districts to provide alternative, advanced lessons for students who show the potential to learn and work faster than their peers. Source: Daily Journal
Gifted Legislation
NEVADA – Gifted and talented programs have expanded to numerous schools in the Washoe County School District. The school district is equipping every elementary school with onsite gifted programming and instruction, debuting magnet schools that focus on gifted programming at four middle schools and offering a number of new GATE internships. Source: Reno Gazette-Journal

NORTH CAROLINA – The Governor’s School, a residential summer program for academically gifted high school students, has been kept alive for next summer thanks to more than $500,000 raised by the North Carolina Governor’s School (NCGS) Foundation. The Foundation is now setting their goals even higher, hoping to raise closer to $1 million to allow the school to operate both of its campuses next year. Sources: News & Observer, Greensboro News & Record

OHIO – A new report (PDF) by the Ohio Association for Gifted Children claims that Ohio gives excellent grades to school districts that don’t deserve it, and that the state's expectations for its schools are too low. The study also found that many of the top-rated districts serve fewer than 20 percent of their identified gifted students; some reported no gifted services at all. Sources:, StateImpact Ohio

Reynoldsburg City Schools has expanded its programs for gifted students to seventh and eighth grades. Previously, gifted programming was offered exclusively to students in fifth and sixth grades. One reason for the expansion is to better prepare students heading into high school who will potentially take enriched and Advanced Placement courses. Source: ThisWeekNews

TEXAS – The Brookhaven Academy in Allen recently launched a gifted and talented trilingual (Chinese, English and Spanish) pre-kindergarten program. Source:

VIRGINIA – With the hope of placing more students from underrepresented populations into the gifted program, Chesterfield County Public Schools is expanding its criteria for identifying students. The change will allow K-12 students to be eligible for gifted education even if they score high in only one of three standardized tests used as criteria. Previously, a student’s composite score on the three tests was used to determine eligibility. Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

WASHINGTON – A new faculty position, focused solely on preparing teachers for talented and gifted education, has been created at Whitworth University. This faculty endowment of $3 million creates a new chair position to be named for Margo Long, a retired associate professor who founded and directed the Center for Gifted Education and Professional Development. Source: The Spokesman-Review

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, "Life With Gifted Children (New Series Idea)." 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. See what's new!

As keynote presenter at the recent New England Conference on Gifted and Talented Education, Colleen Harsin, Director of The Davidson Academy, spoke about cost-effective options for gifted education, educational advocacy examples and tips, in the presentation, Amplifying the Voices of the Gifted through Advocacy.

In this article, Jim Delisle provides information on the peer relations of gifted students, the differences between an "agemate" and a "peer," and resources on forming social relationships.

In the article Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, and Intelligence, Hanna David discusses the education of gifted students who have attention deficit disorders.

Read a book review of The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp, and Ready for (Almost) Anything (Revised & Updated 4th Edition). This one-of-a-kind book is full of sage advice to help gifted teens understand themselves, relate well with others, and reach their potential in life.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
November 19, 2011 - New York Times, Sorry, Strivers: Talent Matters (David Hambrick & Elizabeth Meinz)
November 16, 2011 - R & D Magazine, Gifted 14-year-old conducts research at Cornell (Stacey Shackford)
November 8, 2011 - Psychology Today, Parenting Gifted: Free Materials, Alternate Course Design (J. Cardillo)
November 8, 2011 - Education Week, What Gifted Students Need From You (Anthony S. Colucci)
November 8, 2011 - Washington Post, Washington-area schools confront the ‘gifted gap’ (Kevin Sieff)
November 7, 2011 - Washington Post, Five myths about ‘gifted and talented’ students (Valerie Strauss)
October 31, 2011 -, Gifted education is a worthwhile investment (Ben Hebebrand)
October 28, 2011 - Columbia Star, Local student to be awarded $25,000 as 2011 Davidson Fellow (Staff)
October 23, 2011 - The Times-Leader, When he was 8 years old . . . (Katherine Long)
October 20, 2011 - CBS News, IQ scores fluctuate dramatically in kids, study says (Ryan Jaslow)
October 18, 2011 - Education Week, Questions Raised About 'High-Flyers' Study (Nirvi Shah)
October 17, 2011 - ScrippsNews, When high achievers shortchanged, we all suffer (Bill Maxwell)
October 12, 2011 - American River Current, A Big Deal in a Little Package (Sarah Vorn)
October 12, 2011 - Washington Post, Why gifted education misses out (Jay Mathews)
October 10, 2011 - Educations News, What is Gifted & Talented Education anyway?; IQ & the Bell-Curve (Staff)
October 10, 2011 - Edutopia, How to Support Gifted Students in Your Classroom (Ben Johnson)
October 6, 2011 - OpEdNews, Educating all special learners including the most gifted (Susan Lee Schwartz)

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

   In the Spotlight

Ethan Cruikshank - A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

Young Scholar AmbassadorWhat are some past and present projects you have worked on to help make a positive difference in the lives of others?
When I was 5 years old I joined the YMCA Indian Guides. I did many small projects within my group. As I got older, I was the lead on several projects.

In the spring of 2009, I was taking Strings class in 5th grade at my local elementary school when my teacher announced that because of budget cuts my school district had removed the musical instrument program from the curriculum. Both my brother and I had benefited from the program; we took viola and both play guitar outside of school. I know how important it is to have an opportunity to be introduced to a musical instrument. Music is an important part of my life and my friends' lives. With the help of these same friends I knew I could do something to continue the program. In October of 2009, I founded Music To My Ears, a community service program that offers free musical instrument lessons to elementary school students taught by experienced middle and high school musicians. We teach guitar, piano, and violin. Our lessons help provide an introduction to a musical instrument so students can decide if they want to continue lessons in middle school or privately. It has been very successful and so far 34 children have benefitted. We started our third session in September 2011 and have 15 children signed up for lessons. Every year I try to add more teachers and students to my program along with additional instruments.

Young Scholar AmbassadorWhat are some of your long term plans?
Recently, I’ve met so many families who expressed that their community schools have also lost resource programs and experienced reduced music class funding as a result of the economic downturn. So I want to call on all musicians who have ever considered how they could get involved with giving back to their community to join me in volunteering by sharing your musical talent. Please visit my website at and click on the “Starting Your Own” page to see how we can make a difference together. I want to spread this initiative to many communities.

I am also working on a book about my experience founding Music To My Ears. My hope is that other children will read about how important it is to get involved with their communities and what a difference you can make in someone’s life. We teach children about so many things, we need to teach and show them what community outreach can accomplish!

How has the Young Scholars program helped you to reach your goals and accomplishments?
The Young Scholars program provides me with many opportunities. It allows me to network with kids like myself, provides educational seminars, offers resources to support my family in my educational planning, and has made available a wide range of specialized programs in which I can participate, such as the Ambassador Program.

The Ambassador Program has given me a year and a half of valuable seminars and resources that have greatly helped progress my project and improve my communication, leadership and organizational skills. It is an invaluable program that gave me the support I needed, from the Ambassador Program Coordinator and Advisor to highly skilled professionals that mentored us in training. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to start their own community service project.

To read more about Ethan and Music to My Ears, please view this article in the Davidson Gifted Database.

   Closing Thought

"The nation's infrastructure to serve our high-ability and high-potential students is in disrepair and in urgent need of attention. Unless the U.S. redoubles its effort to identify and serve our high-potential and
high-ability students, we will fail to ensure our future
competitiveness, security and prosperity."

~ Paula Olszweski-Kubilius, President of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)


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