Overview of the Davidson Academy
In 2006, the Davidson Academy of Nevada opened on the University of Nevada, Reno campus as the first free public school of its kind for profoundly gifted middle and high school students. 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 group students by ability rather than 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.
In 2016, the online high school option was added to the Davidson Academy's offerings for the 2017-2018 academic year.
To attend either Davidson Academy option, 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.
At the Reno school, students attend middle and high school classes at the Academy and may access university courses or advanced studies under a dual enrollment agreement. Students learn in a unique educational setting where their abilities, strengths, and interests are encouraged and supported. While grade levels are not designated, Davidson Academy students must meet and/or exceed high school graduation requirements defined by the state of Nevada, as well as participate in state testing to document Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). Academy courses are taught by licensed teachers and university instructors. Academy students may access university professors as mentors in areas of interest.
While at the Davidson Academy, each student participates in developing and implementing a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) that serves as a roadmap for academic and personal goals, as well as future opportunities. PLPs are optimally matched to each student’s skill and ability level. In each PLP, subject areas can include language and literature, mathematics, science, history, foreign languages, health and physical education, and the arts. Extracurricular activities include a social activism club, an online newspaper, a chess club, a slam poetry club, yearbook and Student Council.