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Davidson Institute November 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
  2012 Davidson Fellows Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Davidson FellowsOn Oct. 3, 2012, 22 young people were honored at the Davidson Fellows award ceremony for their work in Science, Literature, Technology, Music, Philosophy and Mathematics. Davidson Institute for Talent Development co-founder Bob Davidson presented the awards at the 12th annual ceremony held at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. In recognition of their remarkable achievements, each of the 2012 Davidson Fellows received a $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarship.  
2013 US Physics Team2013 U.S. High School Physics Team
The American Association of Physics Teachers and the Center for Excellence in Education are proudly sponsoring the 2013 U.S. Physics Team, a competition for high school students to represent America at the 44th Annual International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 7-15, 2013. The competition provides an opportunity for students to enhance their physics knowledge, as well as their creativity, leadership and commitment to a goal. The mission of the physics competition is to promote and demonstrate academic excellence through preparation for and participation in the International Physics Olympiad.

Two New Books Take Unique Look at State of Education in America
FordhamOn the national education scene, two books were recently published by Fordham Foundation experts. The first, Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools, is co-authored by Chester Finn and Jessica Hockett and identifies 165 academically selective public high schools across America serving more than 100,000 high-ability students each year. Finn recently wrote about the book in the New York Times op-ed, "Young, Gifted and Neglected."

The second book, written by Mike Petrilli, is titled, The Diverse Schools Dilemma: A Parent's Guide to Socioeconomically Mixed Public Schools, and examines whether socioeconomically diverse schools can handle their academic diversity. The author stresses that, in most schools, "differentiated instruction" means that the high achievers will simply be bored. Jay Mathews reviews the book in the Washington Post op-ed, "Finding good schools in average neighborhoods."
World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) 2013 Conference
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.

   Davidson News
  The Davidson AcademyThe Davidson Academy of Nevada
The Davidson Academy of Nevada application for the 2013-2014 school year is now available. Visit the How to Apply page to download the application PDF files. If you are looking for an environment to better fit your social and academic needs, The Davidson Academy may be the place for you!

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. Please review the recently updated Qualification Criteria page of our website as these scores are mandatory for student eligibility. On the Application Review Process page, you will find detailed information about the on-site assessment.

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

Upcoming Tours for Prospective Students
Each month during the school year, The Davidson Academy The Davidson Academy of Nevadahosts 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:
  • Nov. 30, 2012
  • Dec. 14, 2012
  • Jan. 25, 2013
  • Feb. 15, 2013
  • March 8, 2013
RSVPs are required. For additional details and to RSVP, please visit the Tours page.

Davidson Fellows2013 Davidson Fellows Scholarship
Category requirements for the 2013 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 6, 2013.

2013 THINK Summer Institute
THINK Summer InstituteThe THINK Summer Institute is a three-week residential summer program on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno where students can earn up to six college credits by completing two university courses. The 2013 THINK Summer Institute will run from July 13 through Aug. 3. Tuition is $3,250 and covers course credits, books and materials, room and board and the cost of planned activities. Need-based scholarships are available. To qualify, students must be 13 to 16 years old during THINK and must meet or exceed composite SAT score of 1130 (excludes writing portion) or ACT score of 26. The application deadline is March 1, 2013. Homeschooled students are eligible to apply

   Legislative & Policy News
  NATIONAL – The 2011 legislative proposal called The TALENT Act ("To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation's Teachers Act") seeks to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in order to support high-ability and high achieving students. If passed, this legislation would ensure that all students make learning gains each year, that teachers receive training in gifted education, address the needs of under-served populations, and promote the development and dissemination of best practices in gifted education. This bipartisan legislation was introduced to the House of Representatives and Senate by Representatives Elton Gallegly (CA) and Donald Payne (NJ) and Senators Chuck Grassley (IA) and Bob Casey (PA). Advocates of gifted education can sign a petition to pass the TALENT Act at Source: National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

CONNECTICUT – A $500,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will allow Hartford Public Schools’ Renzulli Academy for Gifted Students to be replicated in three districts in Connecticut, and possibly several out-of-state districts. Source: Hartford Courant

INDIANA – Fort Wayne Community Schools will receive $139,290 as part of the High Ability (Gifted and Talented) Grant, which will allow the district to hire a specialist to better train classroom teachers to help gifted students. Source:

ILLINOIS – In the coming weeks, all Rockford School District third-graders will be tested to determine if they will receive entrance to gifted and talented programs. Previously, parents would have to be aware of the gifted program and proactively seek eligibility for their students. Source: Rockford Register Star

Gifted LegislationMARYLAND – Gifted education in Maryland is now mandated through the adoption of state regulations. Each school district is now required to establish a process for identifying gifted and talented students. The state still does not provide funding specifically for gifted education. Source: Maryland Office of the Secretary of State

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will make access to accelerated high school math classes more difficult, due to students frequently not being adequately prepared for these classes. Source:

MISSOURI – Project MEGSSS, a mathematics program for gifted middle-school students, has opened a pilot site in St. Charles, designed to allow easy access for students in both the St. Charles and North St. Louis County regions. Qualified fifth- and sixth-grade students are eligible for participation in the introductory summer program in June and July. Source: NewsMagazineNetwork

NEVADA – The percentage of minority students in gifted and talented programs in Clark County, Nev., schools is up this year to 32 percent from 24 percent in 2009, when the district began screening all second-graders in Title I schools. This year, the percentage is expected to increase as there will be even more students screened. Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

NEW YORK – Schools in New York City are ending a policy of offering preference to siblings of students already enrolled in gifted education programs, if there are more eligible applicants than seats in such programs. The change, part of a plan to overhaul the admissions process, is being met with mixed reactions. Some support the old policy, which aimed to keep siblings in the same schools, while others say that the new policy is more equitable. Source: New York Times

A new admissions test is making it more difficult for students to receive admission into New York City gifted programs. This year, 4-year-olds hoping to get into one of the elite public kindergarten programs are taking a spatial reasoning exam called the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, which experts say is harder to prepare for than tests used in previous years. Sources: – 10/24, 10/12

NORTH CAROLINA – The Wake County school district is trying to attract families to a number of Raleigh magnet schools next year, partly by offering courses for academically gifted students. Source: News & Observer

OHIO – The Madison School District will offer sessions to test students for giftedness this year. Source: Middletown Journal

OREGON – A recent report by the Oregon Legislature's Interim Legislative Education Committees finds that Oregon lags behind most of the country in gifted education and is under-identifying TAG students. The report also provides funding recommendations. Source: Oregon Department of 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, "Raising the ceiling." Join the discussion today!

Epsilon Camp - A Challenging Summer Math Experience for Young Students
EpsilonApplication season has begun for The Epsilon Camp, a two-week summer residential camp located in Colorado Springs, Colo. for exceptionally and profoundly gifted students ages 8-11 years who love math. Epsilon Camp is an intellectually rigorous program for young students, taught by university professors of mathematics. A unique feature of Epsilon Camp is apartment-style housing on campus for each family; at least one parent must attend with each child, and additional family members are also welcome and to meet other families. Space is limited. A parent workshop designed to help parents to build mathematical and social maturity in the EG/PG child will run parallel to the student camp.

RSIResearch Science Institute (RSI) - 2013 Applications Available
Each summer, 80 of the world's most accomplished high school students gather at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the Research Science Institute (RSI). RSI is a summer science and engineering program that combines on-campus course work in scientific theory with off-campus work in science and technology research. It is cost-free to students. The RSI application is due Jan. 11, 2013.

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

The "Ifs" and "Buts" of Acceleration is an article that provides answers to a number of frequently asked questions involving acceleration, including social/emotional issues and peer relations.

MIT PRIMES-USA (Program for Research in Mathematics, Engineering and Science for U.S.A. high school students) is a free, year-long research program for high school juniors from across the United States.

Davidson Gifted DatabaseThe Pivotal Role of Parents in Expanding the World of Young Gifted Children is an article that provides suggestions on how parents can help young gifted students learn and grow through a variety of options in their local communities.

Gifted in Wisconsin was created to establish a community of support and affirmation for gifted youth and their families in SE Wisconsin. Members engage in a variety of educational options including public school, independent school, gifted magnet school, charter/choice schools, virtual school, and homeschooling.

If I’m So Smart, Why Aren’t the Answers Easy?, a new book written by noted gifted experts Drs. Robert Schultz and James Delisle, sheds light on the day-to-day experiences of those growing up gifted. In their own enlightening words, teens share their experiences with giftedness, including friendships and fitting in with peers, school struggles and successes, and worries about the future.

The book From School to Homeschool: Should You Homeschool Your Gifted Child? guides parents through the process of considering homeschooling options and educational alternatives.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
November 14 -, My view: Ten myths about gifted students and programs for gifted (Carolyn Coil)
November 13 - Brattleboro Reformer, The smartest kid in the room (Becca Balint)
November 7 - Education Week News, The Gifted-Genius Debate (Walt Gardner)
November 2 - Scientific American, Where Are The Gifted Minorities? (F. Worrell, P. Olszewski-Kubilius and R. Subotnik)
October 31 - New York Times, How Do You Raise a Prodigy? (Andrew Solomon)
October 25 - Education Week, Report: Low-Income, High-Ability Students Need More Support (Nirvi Shah)
October 23 - ABC News, Child Prodigy Writes Opera at Age 7 (Alexandra Ludka)
October 23 - ChicagoNow, Making sure the twice-exceptional student is challenged (Rhonda Stern)
October 21 - Washington Post, A sad attack on Advanced Placement (Jay Mathews)
October 19 - Wall Street Journal, Conflicted Over Gifted (Sumathi Reddy)
October 16 - Education Week, 30 Years of Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (Tamara Fisher)
October 14 - Wall Street Journal, Dazed and Gifted (Naomi Schaefer Riley)
October 10 - Education Week, Studies Link Students' Boredom to Stress (Sarah D. Sparks)
October 7 - Washington Post, Hidden rival to charter schools - Homeschooling (Jay Mathews)

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

   In the Spotlight

 Nathan Chan
A 2012 Davidson Fellow Making a Difference

What kind of impact can your Davidson Fellows project have on society?
In the SpotlightMy project, entitled “The Importance of Passion,” is an exploration of how following one’s passion is the most important part to finding success in life. As a cellist since the age of five, I used my own musical journey as a narrative to explore this component of success. I made the conclusion that following my passion and loving my work has allowed me to pursue the cello with feeling, enthusiasm and meaning. My project is hugely influential because there is an inherent universality in the applications of its message. In our highly intense and competitive world, I feel that we as human beings sometimes struggle to find purpose and meaning in life. However, all of us have some inner drive and passion that unlocks great ability and great joy. By recognizing this passion and pursuing it, I feel that all people can unleash the incredible potential that is in each and every one of us.

What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
The life of a musician is a never-ending process. At this stage in my life, I am practicing and studying very hard at both Columbia University and Juilliard in New York City. At Juilliard, there is a quote on a wall that says, “The only reason for mastering technique is to make sure the body does not prevent the soul from expressing itself.” I cannot agree more with this interpretation with regards to what is important to me right now. I am performing in many concerts in the near future, including one in March 2013 in Avery Fisher Hall. In the long run, I’d like to pursue the cello on a professional level and make a long-lasting contribution to music by performing and inspiring others.

Please describe your academic setting and some positive experiences with mentors.
I am currently a participant in the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange, where I am pursuing degrees in Economics and Cello. It truly is a best of both worlds situation for me, where I have the privilege of learning in the competitive environment of Columbia while also focusing on my cello at Juilliard. Once a week, I take the subway down to Juilliard and have a lesson with my teacher named Richard Aaron. Richard has been a great mentor for me, really giving me the knowledge and skill set I need to take my cello playing to the next level. It’s amazing to be in New York at this age; there are so many opportunities and wonders to experience!

   Closing Thought

"The ultimate solution to underrepresentation of minority students in gifted education programs is an education system that puts all students on equal footing, no matter their race, culture or socioeconomic status."

~ From the Scientific American op-ed, Where Are the Gifted Minorities?,
by Frank Worrell, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Rena Subotnik


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