In 2006, the Davidson Academy opened as the first free public school of its kind for profoundly gifted middle and high school students on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Profoundly gifted students are three standard deviations above the norm on the bell curve, so they are at the extreme end of the intelligence, or IQ, continuum. Unlike traditional school settings, the Academy’s classes are grouped by ability, not age. Families have moved to Reno to attend the Academy from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Wyoming and Australia.
For the 2017-2018 school year, the Academy expanded with an Online High School option for families living anywhere in the U.S. who are unable to move to Reno. The full-time Online High School offers courses starting at the eighth grade level. Currently, there are more than 20 students enrolled in the Academy's Online High School living in at least 10 different states.
To attend either Davidson Academy option, the Reno day school or Online High School, students must score in the 99.9th percentile on accepted intelligence and/or achievement tests; perform at a required academic level; exhibit intellectual and academic achievement; demonstrate motivation, social and emotional maturity, and an overall readiness for a fast-paced educational environment.
For Nevada residents, both options – attending either the online or Reno school – are free. However, out-of-state students attending the online high school must pay tuition.
Not a charter school, the Davidson Academy opened in 2006 as a third type of public school, called a "university school for profoundly gifted pupils" created by the Nevada State Legislature in 2005, Nevada Revised Statute 388C.
All students develop a Personalized Learning Plan optimally matched to each student’s skill and ability level. Subject areas include language and literature, mathematics, science, history, foreign languages, health and physical education, and the arts. Extracurricular activities include social activism club, online newspaper, chess club, slam poetry, yearbook and Student Council.
The Davidson Academy is affiliated with the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people.
For Davidson Academy tour dates and other important links, please visit the Davidson Academy Getting Started page. To contact the Davidson Academy, please visit the Academy's Contact Us page.
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.