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Anyone know anything about the Davidson Academy in Reno?


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Do you live in Nevada? DA is day only, with no residential options, and it's considered a public school (albeit a highly specialized one-it's not a charter, but something similar legally) so only Nevada residents can attend, and you really have to live in Reno or very close to make it a viable option.

 

If you're not in DYS, I'd definitely do that application first. There are quite a lot of DA families on the DYS boards, for obvious reasons, and while there's some overlap between the DYS specific forums and the general Davidson Gifted ones, most of the serious discussion between DYS families happens on the DYS boards and e-lists.

 

 

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not in Reno presently, but we can move there. 

 

Do you live in Nevada? DA is day only, with no residential options, and it's considered a public school (albeit a highly specialized one-it's not a charter, but something similar legally) so only Nevada residents can attend, and you really have to live in Reno or very close to make it a viable option.

 

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Have you done the testing?  I would definitely apply first, then weigh the options of what would be benefical from the program.  Many people sign up, but then do not use the services and just drop it.  If your Ds has a passion or an angle which DYS can work well for then it is a one of a kind sort of program which can be very beneficial.

 

My son is using it for the Ambassador's program.  He missed it last year and will be applying this coming year.  I do not know if it is going to provide much more than he is currently getting from his wide range of mentors, but we thought we should try and see.  I think DYS helps kids who have a niche find mentors and people willing to support them within that niche.  My son is really getting well established at this point, so I do not know if he has already maxed out what the program provides.  We will have to see.

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If I was in the US I would apply to the Davidson Young Scholars programme for ds7. If you are considering Davidson Academy I would do that first.

 

Yes.  I applied for DYS for Calvin and he qualified.  It was only at that point, however, that they clarified that they would offer no services at all (including access to the online support groups) to those (even US citizens) who were overseas.  That's fine - their choice - but I wish they had told me before I'd gone to the trouble of applying.  I hope they give out better information now.

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You'll be able to make contact with and talk, candidly, with parents and current/former students. This board has the largest density of DYS families I've found anywhere BUT the DYS forums, but we have no one currently in DA. And it really is a useful tool in connecting with mentors and opening doors. DYS definitely streamlined the process for us. If you already have the testing (and you'll need it to apply for DA), you can do he application this month, get in DYS the following month, and get that resource now, while also pursuing the DA application. And, if you decide against DA, that will give you another group of people who have made things work in other ways and can give reviews and opinions on other schools/programs.

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we  haven't done the testing. I was planning to have my kid take the ACT or SAT a couple of years from now.  I'm not particularly interested in DYS. I'm interested in DA. Is it possible to make contact with DA parents without being in DYS?

 

 

You'll be able to make contact with and talk, candidly, with parents and current/former students. This board has the largest density of DYS families I've found anywhere BUT the DYS forums, but we have no one currently in DA. And it really is a useful tool in connecting with mentors and opening doors. DYS definitely streamlined the process for us. If you already have the testing (and you'll need it to apply for DA), you can do he application this month, get in DYS the following month, and get that resource now, while also pursuing the DA application. And, if you decide against DA, that will give you another group of people who have made things work in other ways and can give reviews and opinions on other schools/programs.

 

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we are not applying for the Young Scholar program. He will take the ACT or SAT when he is ready to apply to DA.

 

 

I would suggest emailing the Davidson Academy people and seeing what they say, but I would be very surprised if they accepted a child for the academy without the scores that would be necessary to get into the Young Scholar program.

 

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I understand that you don't want to apply for the Young Scholar program.

 

I am trying to say there is a great deal of overlap in the things that the admissions committee for Davidson Academy will want to see and the things that are required for the Young Scholar program. I do know people who have attended the Davidson Academy, some thought it was great. Some thought it wasn't so great. Most of the complaints were about how school-like it was.

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I'm interested in DA. Is it possible to make contact with DA parents without being in DYS?

 

I'm quite certain there is a Davidson Academy community (and possibly an e-forum, I'm not sure) organized by one (or maybe more) of the Davidson Academy moms but I think it's only open to families who have already started DA for their kid(s).

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I only suggested applying for DYS because it would be a way of finding out whether he had high enough scores. If he didn't there may be something you could do with achievement rather than waiting until ready for the DA and then finding out. You can't do much about the IQ score so I am assuming that is fine.

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Contact DA and ask for current student family contacts. Meeting a DA family and hearing more about the school and area did put it on our radar as a possibility. People are suggesting pursuing DYS so that you have easy access to the population. You can take a tour, go visit DA. The website gives more info, but do call. As for DYS, I held off for years, even after testing waited before finally joining for one kid (and am too cheap to test the others). Knowing families with way out of norm kids and finding a place to openly talk about options, many more than DA, is worth a lot. For that reason I do wish I had looked into it years ago when it was first suggested.

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  • 8 months later...

Most of the complaints were about how school-like it was.

We went on a school tour. Kids won't impressed, they were bored actually.

 

There is no school music teacher. They provide a room for your private music instructor to use for your child's music class. I think there is no art too but no one asked and the guide didn't mention.

 

There is also no sports. Kids join the public school assigned to their house address for sports if they want to.

 

The smaller classrooms were overflowing too with kids sitting on the floor due to lack of seating. The bigger classrooms were okay. Didn't see a room for science lab.

 

The only thing my kids like about the place was the UNR's Overlook food court which we went to have lunch before the tour. The food court overlook a nice lake with swans.

 

One of the speakers did mentioned twice that the ACT is a better indicator of fit than the current SAT as a few parents asked which would be a better choice for a child to sit for if they are ambivalent.

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The science labs are done at the university. My DD did the summer program this past year, and her chem and bio classes were taught by DA faculty, but in UNR labs. Students also often participate in music ensembles and classes at UNR, and one of the students we talked to started doing so from day 1 t the academy. I imagine the same would be true for visual art.

 

I can see the ACT being a better predictor just because it covers a broader range of subjects(and higher math) and is more straightforward. I got the impression that the ACT/SAT is just box checking anyway-that it was the interview and in-house testing and the other stuff that was where they'd truly judge fit. I figure we'll probably do the ACT as our annual test anyway.

 

The funny thing is that it sounds like some of the stuff your boys didn't like was the stuff my DD liked. Having been a little kid in a room of college or grad students, she wants the in between, the challenging classes while still being a kid in a group of kids her age, the not being the "smart one" or the "young one" in every group. And so far, DA is the only place she's felt might have that. And lockers. For some reason, the kid loves the idea of having a locker.

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Speaking as a parent on the other side (my kids are mid to late teens now) I would really caution parents about taking such a drastic step as uprooting the family for a school. Having a child that is outside the norm is hard, but from our experience, and that of friends and people we know, it is hardest from about 7 to 10. That seems to be the time when parents are at their most desperate and kids are at their most miserable. But...it usually gets better! Kids get older and more mature and learn how to better handle frustration. They learn how to advocate for themselves. Puberty hits, priorities change. That 13 year old child doesn't resemble that 9 year old child at all anymore, and not just physically. The paths and plans you thought were your child's future may no longer even be in the picture.

 

If you are looking for advancement/acceleration opportunities for your child they are often available right at home, it just takes some searching. Again, from our experience and that of friends in similar circumstances, just about all universities allow some form of dual enrollment or auditing of their classes. And if it is advertised (which is often not the case) the "rules" are often just guidelines. It may take a lot of calls and transfers to different people and be "banging your head against the wall" frustrating, but in the longterm that is way less hassle than packing and moving to a new state.

 

While my children never needed same age peer groups, I understand that some kids do want that. And I understand that is a draw for these types of early entrance programs. But consider that if your child needs to be in an environment of intellectual peers he/she might not find that at these universities. Part of the appeal of these early entrance programs is the ability to take college classes. I'm not a fan of college rankings and SAT scores as predictors of intelligence and believe that challenge can be found just about everywhere, but if you are moving strictly for that peer group then realize that the SAT requirements to get into the Davidson Academy are higher than the range of incoming freshman into UNR. And those are the majority of students your child will be in class with. You might find a better "intellectual fit" in your home university. Or if nothing is really available at all in your area you might be better off moving to an area that has a wide array of opportunities for your child, not just a school.

 

I have nothing against these types of programs, and they might very well work great for some kids, but parents should realize that they often are not necessary and sometimes are not really the best option.

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Dmmetler,

There were a few SF bay area families with kids and the kids weren't enthused. I think the issue is city kids are used to being in a big pond. My neighborhood kids has been used to going to UCB's LHS and Stanford's Cantor art museum for kids activities since they were in strollers. My alma mater is big and is ranked in the middle of the Ivys here and kids were happy touring there when we went back.

My kids are spoilt by the bay area's high dense population of kids who like physics and music :lol:

While things may change, at this point in time, they gravitate towards sprawling campus overflowing with humans. They were happy watching people at the food court while they slept through all the redwoods in between Sacramento and Reno. We drove to Tahoe many times for snowplay so the region is familiar to my kids already.

While the physics teacher was in the panel of teachers for Q&A, labs weren't mentioned and no one asked. We could email and ask about labs if my kids were interested.

A parent ask if DA has more stem kids and the staff replied that they actually have more humanities kids. Spanish and Chinese is what is currently offered. They used to offer French.

At the parents panel for Q&A, there were split families. The guys stay and work while the moms move to Reno with the kids. The kids see their dads for Summer holidays.

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Having been a little kid in a room of college or grad students, she wants the in between, the challenging classes while still being a kid in a group of kids her age, the not being the "smart one" or the "young one" in every group. .

 

Did some number crunching for fun on DYS list.  Comparison by state TN << WA < NV < SF Bay Area << CA

Just the South Bay and the East Bay area of the SF Bay Area has a bigger population of DYS than NV so I have to agree with Butler that you might have to move either way.

 

I don't know how much weight you put into the credentials (qualifications and experience) of the teaching staff but there were pointed questions raised by parents during the school visit.  If you (general) have been used to your kids being tutored by phd holders your age and older who has academic and industrial experience, it may or may not bother you about the teaching staff credentials.

 

ETA:

I put in WA because there is a chance of us moving there.  < means slightly less.  << means a lot less. CA numbers is about 4 times SF Bay Area.  I didn't break down by age group as CA list already made my eyes strained.

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I don't know how much weight you put into the credentials (qualifications and experience) of the teaching staff but there were pointed questions raised by parents during the school visit.  If you (general) have been used to your kids being tutored by phd holders your age and older who has academic and industrial experience, it may or may not bother you about the teaching staff credentials.

Arcadia, I like your firsthand impressions of DA from your tour and I am following this thread with interest. I have a mathy kid and I would potentially look at Proof School and DA in a few years. The educational background and the teaching experience of the faculty are very high on my list of factors that would influence our decision. So, what was the information given out when the pointed questions about the qualifications of the teachers at DA were raised? (I can imagine the answers going in 2 directions, but I would like to hear from you about it). TIA!

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 So, what was the information given out when the pointed questions about the qualifications of the teachers at DA were raised?

 

Since this is a public board, I'll just leave it as the credentials of the parents attending the tour has an extremely high probability of being higher than the STEM teachers. DA did not give out teacher credentials info but the teachers in the room and during the tour were asked point blank what were their credentials.  We might have too many parents used to doing HR interviews and quite a few CA license plates in the parking lot  :lol:

 

There are some things that my family have been pondering and which you might have thought about.  DA is in UNR's campus.  Is UNR higher or lower ranked internationally than all the colleges/universities that you have attended.  My alma mater is in the top 20 every year for engineering world rankings, not as high rank as Stanford or UCB but still very high.  Another issue we are facing now is that my boy's B&M physics teacher has a phd in quantum mechanics and still get stuck by the questions he asked. While my boy does not think his teacher is not knowledgeable, he also realise that even a phd holder may not be able to go into as much depth as my boy wants the discussion to go into.

 

Both my boys first love is not math.  However we have come to realise that we might need someone who is use to coaching kids for AMC12 to serve as DS10's math tutor.  He goes wide and deep and has finite patience for waiting.  For example he learn about lunes in AoPS geometry and now he wants to discuss as deep as someone is able to go about lunes, Galois theory and Hippocrates. He also went beyond the depth of his last year's math tutor who has a phd in math.  Same kid was giving me a lecture on antimatter. 

     

Have you tour Proof School?  I might go for the Sunday, December 6 one as hubby can just drop us off and come back for us later or we just pay for the exorbitant parking at SF to go as a family. (ETA: The event is geared towards parents so I guess we won't be going. All the school tours we went had activities for kids as well)

 

I would recommend your child attend a school visit to DA the year you are thinking of applying.  Your child may like what my child isn't keen on.

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Since this is a public board, I'll just leave it as the credentials of the parents attending the tour has an extremely high probability of being higher than the STEM teachers. DA did not give out teacher credentials info but the teachers in the room and during the tour were asked point blank what were their credentials.  

 

Thank you! I can fill in the blanks from here on to figure out what the answers might have been :)

 

I like Proof school and am looking forward to seeing how their first batch of students fare. One reason to choose this school for us would be the location and the other reason is that having access to very highly qualified teachers is a huge advantage in Middle School and beyond for a self-motivated high ability learner. But my child is only 8 years old, so I am not in a hurry. I might attend one of their admissions events, but have not yet registered.

 

DA is also on our radar - we might do a school tour next year.

 

Thanks, your posts give me a perspective from a different angle.

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