Student Life 

Davidson Academy Overview Video Transcript

The following transcript is for the Davidson Academy Overview Video.

Narrator: The Davidson Academy of Nevada is the first free school of its kind for profoundly gifted students. The academy offers students who are working at an advanced middle and high school level an education matched to their abilities, not their age. Located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, students learn at an accelerated pace, while working side by side with intellectual peers. 

Colleen Harsin, Academy Director: The Davidson Academy of Nevada really is a unique opportunity. It’s a work in progress, but it’s an exciting work to be a part of. It’s an opportunity for students to get to know themselves as well as get to know others who share their intellectual abilities and also some of their interests.

Katie Daw, Student: I really wanted to go here, mostly because of the challenge. But I didn’t really know that socially it would be really great, too. There’s so many different personalities here. It’s so lively all the time

Jon Wade, Academy Parent: They believe in…in trying different things. And if certain things don’t work, don’t do them anymore. And if other things work, build on that. And that’s a very different way of running a school than you’re going to see in—in most institutions.

Amy Bodner, Student: You really can take classes at any level you want here, and the…you know, the sky’s the limit.

Eugene Paslov, Former State Superintendent: This is one of the best places in the world that you can send your children. Uh…it has not only a caring and—and compassionate environment for the youngsters and excellent teachers, it has access to a world class university.

Narrator: The Davidson Academy provides profoundly gifted students an appropriately challenging education. Curriculum is designed specifically for academy classes and focuses on higher level thinking. 

Alex Wade, Student: Well, the first thing I like the most is the curriculum, how you can work at your own pace and it isn’t everything at the same level. And another thing I like about the Davidson Academy is the social interaction, there are more people who share my interests here.

Larry Kramp, Academy Instructor: I do meet all the state standards, but my curriculum is driven by the students: What do they want to learn? What’s—what’s interesting to them? What can I teach them that they don’t know or what’s new to them?

Susan Daw, Academy Parent: It’s fluid; it’s flexible…we’ll get her where she needs to be. And she is kind of all over the place, and that works out for her.

Narrator: A hallmark of the Davidson Academy is the Personalized Learning Plan or PLP. Developed for every student, these plans are adaptable documents used to guide students through the rigorous core curriculum.

Ms. Harsin: We’re very hands on in terms of working with students and developing what we call a Personalized Learning Plan which is a series of interactions, documents, and plans to get them where they need to go.

Erin Vienneau, Curriculum Coordinator: So the PLP can cover all kinds of…all kinds of ground. But it’s basically a tool for looking at: What have you done? Where are you going? And how are you going to get there?

Narrator: At the Davidson Academy, students thrive while being surrounded by peers who share similar interests. Respect and tolerance of each other’s differences truly make the school unique.

Ms. Harsin: We really look at the whole child, not just the academic side of the students…uh, when we work with them. So it’s a very dynamic environment, they make great social connections in the context of—of learning their academics.

Jade Allison, Student: I was kind of surprised that it was really, it was a relaxed place. It’s not just totally geeky and nerdy. And you can just hang out with friends, and it’s normal. It’s challenging in the classroom but it’s also really fun at the same time.

Taylor Wilson, Student: Because it is challenging and the fact that you have people to talk to and gain more insight into these things is really cool.

Narrator: The Davidson Academy location on the university campus provides opportunities for students to excel beyond the academy’s walls. Students can access the university’s many resources and when ready may attend university courses.

Ms. Harsin: We have a very respectful relationship with the university, um, and when we’re requesting options for our students, uh, they’ve been very receptive.

Narrator: Many families relocate to Reno so their students can attend the academy. With Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River, and Sierra Nevada mountains nearby, Reno is an outdoor mecca. Davidson Academy families are part of a vibrant local community with opportunities for young musicians, dancers, athletes, and scholars.

Uche Uchendu, Parent: When you move halfway across the country...um, part of the fears you have is: Is…is it worth it? Um, what you’re looking for, are you going to get it? Um, he is in an environment where he feels at home. He is among children who communicate at his level.

Narrator: At the Davidson Academy, we know every student is unique. We believe their education should be, too. To learn more, visit the academy’s website or contact us today.

Annalisee Brasil, Academy Graduate: There are so many kids out there that have been hungry for knowledge, and whether they realize it or not if they find the academy and they see it…it’s just…it’s so different from any other school that you’ll go to. They know it’s different, and they know it’s going to be exciting.