Davidson Academy (Reno, Nevada)

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Davidson Academy (Reno, Nevada)
Logo for Davidson Academy.jpg
1164 N Virginia St
Reno, Nevada 89503
United States
Coordinates 39°32′20″N 119°48′59″W / 39.538830°N 119.816432°W / 39.538830; -119.816432Coordinates: 39°32′20″N 119°48′59″W / 39.538830°N 119.816432°W / 39.538830; -119.816432
Type public school
Established 2006
Director Colleen Harsin

The Davidson Academy is a public school located in Reno, Nevada. The school, founded by Jan and Bob Davidson in 2006, is for profoundly gifted secondary students, and is the first public school of its kind in the United States.[1] The public school is located in the Jot Travis Building on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. As of the 2016-2017 school year, 159 students attend the Davidson Academy.[2] The Davidson Academy has announced a new online high school option for students living anywhere in the United States, which will open for the 2017-2018 school year.[3] The Davidson Academy provides each student with a personalized learning plan, designed to give them an education specifically catered to their individual, unique needs. Unlike traditional school settings, the Academy’s classes do not group students by age, but by ability. The school is designed to provide an educational setting where the abilities, strengths, and interests of highly intelligent young people are encouraged and supported. Eligible candidates for the Reno school 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; are, or intend to be, residents of Nevada; and other criteria.[4] As ranked by the Washington Post's Jay Mathews, the Davidson Academy is one of the nation's "Top-performing schools with elite students."[5][6]

The average class ratio for students to teachers is currently about 15:1.[7] The Academy's current director is Colleen Harsin.[8] The school is a division of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a nationwide nonprofit organization established by the Davidsons to support the needs of profoundly gifted children through information resources, networking and educational opportunities, family support, advocacy, and scholarships.[9]


The Academy was created following state legislation in 2005 that designated it as a “university school for profoundly gifted pupils.” The Davidsons decided to create the Academy as an outgrowth of the Davidson Young Scholar program, upon requests by many of the parents asking them to start a school and saying they would move for their students to attend.[10] [11]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Consistently ranked as one of the nation's "Top-performing schools with elite students" by the Washington Post's Jay Mathews.[12][13][14]
  • 2016 Winners of the Nevada Science Bowl.[15]
  • 19 National Merit semifinalists in 2016-2017, one National Merit winner in 2015-2016.[16] [17]
  • One Presidential Scholar each in 2014, 2015, and 2016.[18][19][20]
  • The Davidson Academy Mathcounts Team took first place in the state competition for Mathcounts.[21]
  • The Davidson Academy Spanish Knowledge Bowl team took second place in the Knowledge Bowl, and the Language Expressions team took first place.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ New academy for highly gifted students opens at UNR 2006 Las Vegas Sun, October 4, 2005
  2. ^ "School Profile"
  3. ^ "Davidson Academy Admissions"
  4. ^ Davidson Academy of Nevada Overview
  5. ^ Are We Failing Our Geniuses? 2007 Time Magazine, August 16, 2007
  6. ^ No genius left behind? Reno academy caters to smart students 2009 USA Today, August 4, 2009
  7. ^ Davidson Academy - Frequently Asked Questions
  8. ^ Davidson Academy - Colleen Harsin Bio
  9. ^ Oh Baby! Look Who's Reading the Paper". NBC's Today Show. 2009-4-22. http://allday.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/04/22/1903068.aspx
  10. ^ Some New Help for the Extremely Gifted". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/26/education/26gifted.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&sq&st=cse
  11. ^ Nevada Legislature". http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-392A.html#NRS392ASec010
  12. ^ "Top-performing schools with elite students - 2016" Washington Post
  13. ^ "Top-performing schools with elite students - 2015" Washington Post
  14. ^ "Top-performing schools with elite students - 2014" Washington Post
  15. ^ - KOLO
  16. ^ - Reno Gazette-Journal
  17. ^ - Reno Gazette-Journal
  18. ^ "141 Students from Across the Country Named 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars | U.S. Department of Education". www.ed.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  19. ^ "141 Students from Across the Country Named 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars | U.S. Department of Education". www.ed.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  20. ^ "160 Students from Across the Country Named 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars | U.S. Department of Education". www.ed.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  21. ^ Official Site

External links[edit]