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Davidson Institute September 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 FellowsMeet the 2011 Davidson Fellows! Davidson Fellows have completed graduate-level projects/portfolios that have the potential to benefit society. Each will receive a scholarship and be recognized for their achievements at a special awards reception sponsored by U.S. Senators Harry Reid (NV) and Chuck Grassley (IA) in Washington, D.C.

2012 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Applications
Application requirements for the 2012 Davidson Fellows scholarships have recently been posted! New for 2012, age eligibility criteria is changing - students must be 18 or younger as of October 4, 2012. The Davidson Institute offers $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 scholarships to students whose projects have the potential to benefit society, and are equivalent to college graduate level with a depth of knowledge in their particular area of study.

"Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude? Performance Trends of Top Students"
Intel ISEFThe Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently released the report, "Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude? Performance Trends of Top Students." It is the first to examine the performance of America’s highest-achieving children over time at the individual-student level. The study finds that many high-achieving students struggle to maintain their elite performance over the years and often do not improve their reading ability at the same rate as other students. The report raises some disconcerting questions: Is our obsession with closing achievement gaps and “leaving no child behind” coming at the expense of gifted students, as well as America’s future international competitiveness? View the Press Release (PDF). Source: Education Week

   Davidson News
  The Davidson Academy of Nevada
The Davidson Academy The 2011-2012 school year is underway as of Aug. 29 with 140 students enrolled. Welcome new students and welcome back returning students!

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 PDF files. Please review the recently updated Qualification Criteria page and the Application Review Process page for more information.

To read more about The Davidson Academy, here are two recent Christian Science Monitor articles: Upcoming Tours for Prospective Students
Hear from current students and Academy parents, familiarize yourself with faculty and staff, network with others and ask specific questions at one of the upcoming tour dates. RSVPs are required.The Davidson Academy
  • Friday, Oct. 21, 2011
  • Friday, Nov. 18, 2011
  • Friday, Dec. 16, 2011
EXPLORE Test to be offered at The Davidson Academy in October
In conjunction with the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS), The Davidson Academy will serve as a test site for the two-hour EXPLORE® test on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. The EXPLORE® test, developed by ACT for eighth graders, is an effective above-level test for younger students, grades 4-6, and provides the opportunity to demonstrate their advanced abilities. An EXPLORE® test score can be used in the context of eligibility criteria for the Davidson Young Scholars program as well as The Davidson Academy. Parents or teachers of students who are very talented in mathematics can use the EXPLORE® scores as part of IDEAL Solutions for Math Acceleration, which is a web-based system for making decisions about math acceleration.

To register, visit this page and click on “Register” under the EXPLORE menu on the left side of the screen. The cost is $58 per student and the deadline to register for The Davidson Academy location is Monday, Oct. 3. The goal of BESTS is to discover students who need further educational challenge to fully realize their academic talent.

Davidson Young ScholarsDavidson 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.

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

Gifted Issues Discussion Forum
Gifted Issues Discussion Forum
The 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 4,700 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about a wealth of gifted topics.

   Legislative & Policy News
  NATIONAL – The TALENT Act 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). It would require states to note when students perform above grade level and report their learning gains as part of state report cards. It would also mandate more professional development for teachers in gifted education and require Title I schools to create plans to better identify minority and disadvantaged students as gifted. This Christian Science Monitor article describes how the Talent Act could help gifted students when it comes to learning math. Source: National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

ARIZONA – The Science, Technology, Education, Agriculture and Mathematics (STEAM) Early College Academy recently received a $75,000 grant from the Science Foundation of Arizona. Source: Yuma Sun

The Davidson AcademyA new pilot program in Scottsdale is clustering students in grades K-2 at four elementary schools for gifted education. The program is part of the district's push to offer gifted education to more students. The district also offers some self-contained classes for gifted students. Source: Arizona Republic

COLORADO – Eagle County Schools are changing their methods for identifying gifted students, moving from a one-day testing process to a cycle of continual observation. All students will be tested in second grade, but educators will use “Response to Intervention” and “Common Formative Assessments” to observe students' performance at all grade levels. Source: Vail Daily

MAINE – A number of Bangor high school students have started taking classes at Early College High School, or, “The Pleasant Street Academy,” a first of its kind in Maine. The school is a joint project between the University of Maine at Fort Kent and Fort Kent Community High School. Source: Bangor Daily News

MARYLAND – The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are no longer offering acceleration in math. In a letter sent home to parents about the MCPS curriculum 2.0, Principal Barbara Leister of Wyngate Elementary School in Bethesda explains that the new math standards are so rigorous that “the previous practice of grade skipping acceleration in mathematics will not be necessary for most students.” Source: Bethesda Magazine

MISSOURI – The Kirkwood School District is taking a number of steps to better identify gifted students, attempting to provide them with more opportunities to excel at the elementary and middle school levels. Changes to the identification process will allow the district to better assess students by taking a more holistic approach. Source: Webster Kirkwood Times

NORTH CAROLINA – The North Carolina Governor’s School (NCGS) Foundation is attempting to raise $1 million for the Governor’s School in 2012. This follows a recent outpouring of support that saw more than $175,000 donated by alumni in July. The State Board of Education recommended opening the school in 2012 provided that the Foundation can raise at least $550,000 by Nov. 1, but the Foundation is setting their goals even higher. Source: NCGS Foundation

OHIO – According to Ohio Department of Education data, wealthier districts generally have a higher percentage of students identified as gifted. The amount of times a student is tested for giftedness depends upon on the district in which a student is located. Source: Newark Advocate

PENNSYLVANIA – The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the largest online school in Pennsylvania, is launching a new program in science, technology, engineering and math to debut in 2013 or 2014. This year, in preparation for the STEM program, the school is offering freshmen courses in robotics and biometrics. Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TEXAS – Due to a budget surplus, the Keller Independent School District will use $313,000 to create a mobile learning lab for gifted and talented students, an area that lost some funding for teachers. Source: Fort Worth Star Telegram

WASHINGTON – The Lake Washington School District will change the grades in which gifted education is offered from first through ninth grade to second through eighth grade. Source: Kirkland Reporter

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, "Too Young for College and Graduate School?" 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!

Multicultural Gifted Education, 2nd ed. helps bridge the gap that exists between educating advanced learners and educating culturally different learners.

Students who participate in Future Problem Solving Program International are given an ethical, moral or environmental situation and are asked to provide solutions for particular problems.

In the article Interventions for Dysgraphia, Susan Jones provides advice on how to accommodate for the unique needs of students with dysgraphia.

Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) Parent Groups are structured to bring together 10 to 20 interested parents of gifted and talented children to discuss such topics as motivation, discipline, stress management, and peer relationships.
Suggest a Resource             Suggest an Article 

   In the News
September 22, 2011 - Health Canal, Rethinking Gifted Education Policy – A Call to Action (Staff)
September 20, 2011 - New York Times, MacArthur Foundation Selects 22 ‘Geniuses’ (Felicia R. Lee)
September 20, 2011 - Journal and Courier, WL senior rewarded for math discovery (Mikel Livingston)
September 15, 2011 - Forbes, 10 Tips: How Parents Can Nurture Their Teenage Tech Prodigies (Coeli Carr)
September 14, 2011 - New York Times, The Educational Experiences That Change a Life (Staff)
September 12, 2011 - The News Tribune, Teen’s smarts land her prestigious scholarship (Staff)
September 11, 2011 - Washington Post, Judging schools by advanced scores (Jay Mathews)
September 7, 2011 - Innovative Educator, Education Reform Lessons from an 8-Year-Old Author (Gwyn Ridenhour)
September 5, 2011 - Great Falls T ribune, The many definitions of giftedness (Darci Herbstritt)
August 31, 2011 - Christian Science Monitor, Gifted students shine when mined (Stacy Teicher Khadaroo)
August 31, 2011 - Christian Science Monitor, A public school for the brightest (Stacy Teicher Khadaroo)
August 31, 2011 - Christian Science Monitor, Back to school: Are we leaving gifted students behind? (S. Khadaroo)
August 29, 2011 - Huffington Post, Too Young? My Fight Against Reverse Age Discrimination (K. Caetano-Anollés)
August 24, 2011 - Charlotte Observer, Opportunities for gifted students to excel are limited (K. Stephens & A. Robinson)
August 23, 2011 - The Examiner, The movement to emphasize services over labels in GT education (Kumar Singam)
August 22, 2011 - Mental Floss, Mad Scientist of the Month: Who’s Afraid of Taylor Wilson? (Judy Dutton)
August 20, 2011 -, Are gifted children victims of No Child Left Behind? (Robert D. Morrow)
August 10, 2011 - Canton-Sixes Patch, Is My Child Gifted? (Leslie Olejnik)

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

   In the Spotlight

Highly Capable Program in the State of Washington - Q & A on Legislation and Advocacy

In the summer of 2011, the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education and local advocates were instrumental in advocating for a number of legislative changes related to gifted education. This article contains answers to a number of questions presented by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

Please tell us about the new Highly Capable Program (HCP). How will gifted education change in the state of Washington, compared to how it was previously?
Since 1984, services to Highly Capable Students (the Washington term for gifted students) have been on a voluntary basis. Districts applied for state grants to support their efforts. Districts who accepted these funds followed the state administrative code requirements for identification and programs. Intel ISEFDistricts determine the extent and type of services and file a year-end report on program status. The most recent report summary showed 206 of the 295 school districts in the state participated in the program, down substantially from prior years.

In 2009 the Legislature found "that for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education" and proposed a new funding formula. HB 2261, Section 708(1) was a statement of intent only and it required action by the Legislature in the 2011 session to implement it. When SB 5919 takes effect in September 2011, Washington will be the first, and only, state in the union to fund appropriate services for gifted students within basic education rather than as a supplement to it. The bill did it by making "Programs for highly capable students" part of "the instructional program of basic education provided by each school district." The 2011-2013 budget provided supplemental enhanced funds to HCPs under the new definition of basic education.

Can you tell us about some of your efforts in implementing these changes?
This has been a multi-year project with many participants. There are three statewide groups who advocate for these students: Though separate, we coordinate efforts and decide on yearly goals through a joint leadership committee with representatives from each group. We meet several times a year in response to ongoing events in the Legislature. We employ a lobbyist who works directly with legislators and rely on volunteers to mobilize members of each group. Volunteers make personal contacts with their legislators, organize and participate in email blitzes, testify at committee meetings, and attend Gifted Education Day at the capitol during session.

In addition, many local groups have joined with us in our efforts; the activities of one are described in response to question four. Local groups strongly involved in their own programs are often willing to also participate in activities focused on the state Legislature. A majority of funding for programs in Washington is local, but without the state funds, many districts would be unwilling to expend local funds for a program the state does not support monetarily. Thus the actions of the Legislature remain key to prosperity for HCP programs.

Do you have any advice for parents and advocates in other states in carrying out similar changes?
All advocacy groups both local and state-wide need to work together to devise a focused effort with the legislature and the office of education for their state. Some states have already combined all their state-wide advocacy groups into one organization while others continue, as does Washington, to maintain separate groups who work together using a leadership group to communicate and focus on issues. We maintain a central communication node to keep all parties informed.

Intel ISEFWork with what you have. Take advantage of opportunities to advocate on behalf of your gifted children; try to create opportunities. Seek alliances with other education groups in your state to support your issue/focus: two of our influential supporters are the state PTA and the Washington State School Directors Association. Finding committed legislators to support your efforts is vital. Contact legislators who hold key positions on education committees or in legislative leadership. Working closely with our key supporters we accomplished last year’s goals.

To read more about these amazing advocacy efforts and the recent developments in Washington, please view this article in the Davidson Gifted Database.

The Davidson Institute would like to thank numerous people who helped answer these questions, especially Barbara Poyneer of the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education and Amy Prezbindoski.

   Closing Thought

"If public education helps all students achieve basic skill levels, is that enough? Should it be up to parents and students to find ways to take learning to a higher level, or does society have something to gain if more schools make it part of their mission?"

               ~ Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, in the Christian Science Monitor article,
Back to school: Are we leaving gifted students behind?


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