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Davidson Institute September 2013  

             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 2013 Davidson Fellows
Davidson FellowsMeet the 2013 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.

2014 Davidson Fellows Scholarship Applications
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 a particular area of study. Category requirements for the 2014 Davidson Fellows scholarships are now available.

Groundbreaking Projects Spotlighted at Google Global Science Fair
GoogleEric Chen, a 17-year-old from San Diego, Calif., was the grand prize winner, and winner of the 17-18 age group, at the third annual Google Global Science Fair for a project that takes an innovative approach to fighting influenza. By combining computer modeling and biological studies, Eric has worked on developing new drugs that have the potential to combat the flu like never before. He will receive a $50,000 scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Ann Makosinski was the winner of the 15-16 age group for designing a flashlight that is powered by the heat of a human hand. Viney Kumar was the winner of the 13-14 age group for inventing a new alert system with Internet tools that gives drivers advanced warning of approaching emergency vehicles such as ambulances. There were thousands of entries from applicants living in more than 120 countries for the event, which took place at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Photograph from Google Official Blog. Sources: Business Insider, NBC News

Beyond Gifted EducationA Modern Vision of Gifted Education Programs
Recently published by Prufrock Press, Beyond Gifted Education: Designing and Implementing Advanced Academic Programs provides a comprehensive, modern vision of programs and services for gifted and talented students. Written by four leading experts in gifted education, the book provides a complete look at the design and implementation of K–12 gifted programs. Readers are given real-world scenarios on topics such as cluster grouping, acceleration and increasing diversity.

   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 2014-2015 school year, visit the How to Apply page to access the new online application system. Please visit the Qualification Criteria page and the Application Review Process page for more information.

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 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: Oct. 18, Nov. 15 and Dec. 13. RSVPs are required. For additional details and to RSVP, please visit the Tours page.

EXPLORE Test to be offered at The Davidson Academy in October
The Davidson AcademyIn 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. 19, 2013. 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. The goal of BESTS is to discover students who need further educational challenge to fully realize their academic talent. To register visit here. The initial deadline to register is Oct. 1, with a late fee applied after this date. The final deadline is Oct. 4.

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.

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. You can become a member of this online community with access to free consulting services and Educators Guild publications by subscribing here. There is also an Educators Guild discussion group on Facebook - join today!

Gifted IssuesGifted 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 7,000 registered members, it's a great place to share and interact with others about a variety of gifted topics.

   Legislative & Policy News
  ARIZONA – The Winslow Unified School District recently made changes to the qualification criteria for entry into the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, raising the required score from 92 percent to 94 percent on the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). Source: Arizona Journal

CALIFORNIA – A $10.8 million federal grant will allow nearly 130,000 California high school students to have most of their Advanced Placement and other college-level exams fees subsidized. Source: Los Angeles Times

The Knox School of Santa Barbara, a new school for gifted students in grades K-8, recently opened. The school offers a curriculum and program that focuses on the students’ intellectual, academic, and social and emotional needs. Source: Noozhawk

Due to funding cuts, a program for gifted students in the Orcutt Union School District has been suspended. Source: Santa Maria Times

CONNECTICUT – Following the elimination of the SOAR program for gifted elementary students, the Southington Board of Education recently unveiled the new “Like Learners” program to provide non-traditional learning and enrichment to gifted students in the school district. The new program is built on a multi-step process that includes in-school and extracurricular opportunities at both the elementary and middle schools levels. Source: Southington Patch

GEORGIA – Students who are identified as gifted in Houston County schools are using a new gifted education program this school year. The district has replaced its weekly gifted enrichment courses with a daily, full-time gifted curriculum. Source: Macon Telegraph

ILLINOIS – Arlington Heights School District 25 is phasing out its Odyssey program for gifted students after this year, instead providing all students more differentiated instruction in the regular classroom. Source: Chicago Daily Herald

INDIANA – The Blairsville-Saltsburg School District recently introduced a new approach to the gifted education model that includes more of a focus on ability grouping rather than pull-out programs, concerning a number of parents who feel that the students will not receive the same level of attention. Source: Tribune-Review

Gifted LegislationNEVADA – The Clark County School District recently applied for $83,200 in state funding to help gifted and talented students. Source: Las Vegas Sun

NEW JERSEY – Educators in the Bernards Township School District are developing a pilot math enrichment program for advanced elementary school students that is expected to include supplemental projects and tasks that require more independent work. The program was devised, in part, because of requests to expand gifted and talented education in the district's elementary schools. Source: BaskingRidge Patch

NORTH DAKOTA – Jamestown Public Schools will provide Talented and Gifted Program services to St. John’s Academy as part of a one-year pilot program. Source: Jamestown Sun

OHIO – Despite more than half of Ohio schools receiving grades of C or lower for the performance of gifted students, some experts say assigning such grades brings more attention to these students' unique needs. The state requires identification of students who are gifted but does not mandate programs for them. Source: Marion Star

A number of gifted advocates, including the Ohio Association of Gifted Children, are opposed to newly proposed standards for identifying and serving Ohio’s gifted students. The proposal reduces requirements for who can be a district’s gifted coordinator and removes requirements for how much instruction gifted students must receive. Source: Bucyrus Telegraph Forum

PENNSYLVANIA – For the first time in 15 years, the gifted program in the Pennsbury School District has been restructured, with updates to the identification of students, staff development and more. Source:

TEXAS – The New Spring Branch school district is implementing a new program this year to meet the needs of gifted students. Pupils are grouped according to ability for math, science, language arts and social studies, and receive instruction from one of three teachers experienced in gifted education. Source: Houston Chronicle

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, "Making homework worthwhile." Join the discussion today!

Searching for MeaningNew Book Provides Insight on the Search for Meaning
Authored by noted gifted expert James Webb, the new 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. Published by Great Potential Press, the book includes helpful information and suggestions for actions that disillusioned idealists can use to better manage their feelings and thoughts in ways that will nurture their idealism and provide a sense of satisfaction and contentment. Dr. Webb was recently interviewed about the book in this Education Views article.

IMACS Releases New Online Course
The Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS) has released Ordered n-Tuples, the fourth online course from the self-paced Elements of Mathematics: Foundations (EMF) series for gifted middle school students. EMF is designed to present mathematics as the study of deep and intellectually interesting ideas, the kind that profoundly gifted children thrive on. New students can save 25 percent by enrolling in 'EMF Course Pack 4' before October 1, 2013.

Featured Articles and Resources
The Davidson Gifted Database at is a gateway to resources for and about gifted students. See what's new!
Gifted Education
The article, Tips for Parents: Gifted With Challenges - Understanding and Supporting Your Twice-Exceptional Child, is from a seminar hosted by Meredith Warshaw and Sarah Wayland, who take a unique look at parenting twice-exceptional students.

The article, Tips for Parents: Summer Enrichment Opportunities - Meaningful Experiences Beyond the School Year, is from a seminar hosted by Michael Uretsky, who provides information and resources about beneficial summer enrichment opportunities for students.

The article, Tips for Parents: How To Present Chemistry To Gifted Children, is from a seminar hosted by Teresa Bondora, who provides parents advice on how to introduce chemistry to gifted students.

The Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, is "the only publication aimed squarely at the intersection of giftedness and learning challenges." The latest newsletter was the 10th anniversary issue, featuring some of the highlights of past issues.

Healthline Human BodyMaps is an interactive visual search tool that allows users to explore the human body in 3D. Users can search multiple layers of the human anatomy, view systems and organs down to their smallest parts and understand in detail how the human body works.

Science Class: Free Chemistry and Physics Lessons is a website that provides free online resources for students interested in chemistry, physics and other scientific disciplines. The information on this website is aimed at elementary, middle and high school students.

Maker Camp on Google+ is a free online summer camp on Google+, with six weeks of making, building, experimenting, wrecking, and do-it-yourself fun. Participants make projects with the ultimate makers at MAKE magazine, go on "virtual field trips" and more!
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   In the News
September 24 -, Lincoln native wins $25,000 fellowship (Anna Gronewold)
September 20 - Washington Post, Book review: ‘The Smartest Kids in the World . . .’ (Jay Mathews)
September 19 - Slate Magazine, A Too-Beautiful Mind (Emily Yoffe)
September 18 - Chesterfield Observer, Girl Power (Jim McConnell)
September 16 - MindShift, Is it Time to Redefine “Gifted and Talented”? (Holly Korbey)
September 15 - Washington Post, Daring public school requires AP or IB courses for all students (Jay Mathews)
September 13 - New York Times, The Boy Genius of Ulan Bator (Laura Pappano)
September 12 -, Q&A: What does it mean to be gifted and talented? (Jodie Lynn)
September 12 - WHAS11.come, Challenges faces kids with high IQ's (Staff)
September 10 - The Oregonian, Hannah Larson wins prestigious $50K prize for math geniuses (Betsy Hammond)
September 5 - CNN, AP tests, 'early college': High school students get a head start (Jon Marcus)
September 4 - Education Week, Medical Misdiagnosis in the Gifted (Tamara Fisher)
September 4 - Huffington Post, Grouping by Ability and the Good in Common Core (Gail Cross)
August 15 - Education Week, Obstacles as a Path to Creativity (Tamara Fisher)
August 6 -, How to Homeschool Gifted Kids (Kathy Ceceri)

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

   In the Spotlight

 Samantha Marquez
A 2013 Davidson Fellow Laureate Making a Difference

In the SpotlightWhat kind of impact can your Fellows project, “Celloidosomes®: A New Paradigm in the Bottom-up Assembly of Multicellular Architectures” have on society?
Current technologies allow for three-dimensional tissue printing of simple tissues such as cartilage at a successful level. However, to achieve more complex structures such as organs or glands, a “smart” bioink that is more representative of the larger model than encapsulated cells must be developed. The Celloidosome can act as a potential smart bioink as each unit is an artificial microgland that mimics the function of the larger structure being printed. The ability to build microtissues with a unique core-shell structure solves the oxygen transport limitations of current technologies such as islets and opens the door to virtually endless applications in tissue engineering and organ reconstruction. Additionally, the Celloidosome allows for cell-cell interactions to be further studied so that scientists can gain a better understanding of cell secretions and tumor genesis. The versatility of the Celloidosome allows for its applications to range from 3D tissue repair and reconstruction to, most recently, the use of anisotropic, two-layer bacteria-algae Celloidosomes capable of acting as a container for the selective sequestration and trapping of radioactive heavy metals, such as Cesium-137, that are released in the water in nuclear reactor meltdowns.

What are some of your short-term and long-term plans?
My short-term goals are towards continuing to make progress with my Celloidosome project and demonstrating the structure’s versatility in a wide variety of fields. Also, as a senior in high school, I’m currently putting together my college applications, focusing on programs in neuroscience and neuropsychology. Whenever I’m asked what I want to be when I grow up, I like to say, “happy,” no matter where that may take me on my journey. As of now, though, I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience as one of my long-term goals.

Please describe your academic setting and some positive experiences with mentors.
I am currently enrolled at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, a magnet-type school focused on leadership through government and international studies. Though my research has been an extracurricular venture that began when I was around 11 years old, my schools and teachers have always been amazingly supportive of my passion for science and research. I have had the honor of working alongside mentors from several universities that has not only helped me understand the fundamentals of bioengineering but has also given me the tools to pursue research at a high level.

Click here to read more about Samantha's project.

   Closing Thought

"We believe in science, technology. It's really core. It's part of our DNA and part of what we think can make Google great and make the world a better place . . . But you are the next generation. And you will be able to build upon all of the things that we've done. And it's such a pleasure and an honor to see this next generation and to see your enthusiasm and to see your focus and devotion to science and trying to work on so many important problems."

~ Susan Wojcicki of Google, addressing the Google Global Science Far Finalists


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