Our mission is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.
Formed in 1999, the Davidson Institute is a 501(c)3 private operating foundation funded by the Davidsons and headquartered in Reno, Nev. Prior to starting the Davidson Institute, the Davidsons founded Davidson & Associates Inc., a successful educational software company best known for the Math Blaster™ and Reading Blaster™ series. They sold Davidson & Associates in 1997 and decided to launch a significant philanthropic effort to continue their commitment to make a positive difference in education and to help all children be successful learners.
We serve profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. Profoundly gifted students are those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. This population thinks and learns differently than other students. Some common characteristics of profoundly gifted students can include one or more of the following:
Profoundly gifted students may also:
Oftentimes profoundly intelligent young people are not properly identified and, thus, do not receive an appropriately challenging education. Research shows this can lead to underachievement or even dropping out of school – studies indicate that 40 percent of all gifted students may be underachievers (Handbook of Gifted Education, p. 424).
The Davidson Institute offers much-needed support to profoundly gifted young people through the following programs and services:
In 2006, the Davidson Academy opened as the first free public school of its kind for profoundly gifted students with classes grouped by ability, not age. In 2017, the Academy launched an online option for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the U.S.
The Davidson Institute's services are based upon the following shared beliefs:
We do it for the children. We are pleased with the positive effect we have had on the lives of the profoundly gifted young people we serve. They need an educational program that appropriately challenges their abilities. They need a safe, friendly place where they aren't ostracized or discriminated against because of their intelligence. They need emotional support because even though they think at an advanced level, they are still young people. And, they need to know that people understand them, care about them and accept them for who they are.
We do it for their parents. Parenting any exceptional child who is at an extreme from the norm involves special challenges. This is as true for the parents of profoundly gifted children as it is for the parents of children with developmental disabilities. We have learned that parents of profoundly gifted young people need the support of others, such as parents who can share been-there-done-that experiences and access to professionals in advocacy, education and psychology.
We do it for the community. Society is shaped by the contributions of its most intelligent and talented members. It is important that we nurture and support the individuals who have the extraordinary intelligence and talents to improve the quality of life for all of us. In the words of educator Julian Stanley, "If we want these young people to be prepared when society needs them, we need to be there for them when they need us. That is the mark of a humane, responsible, effective society."
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Started in 1999, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a 501(c)3 private operating foundation. Our mission is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people ages 18 and under, and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.
Profoundly gifted students are those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. Read more about this population in this article.