2190P Procedure - Highly Capable Programs

Definition

Highly capable students are students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Highly capable students exhibit outstanding abilities within their general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. These students are present both in the general populace and within all protected classes.

Students who are highly capable may possess, but are not limited to, these learning characteristics:

  1. Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, to retain what has been learned, and to transfer learning to new situations;
  2. Capacity and willingness to deal with increasing levels of abstraction and complexity earlier than other peers;
  3. Creative ability to make unusual connections among ideas and concepts;
  4. Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength; and
  5. Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus.

The district will employ the following procedures to find students who may qualify for potential placement in the program:

Referral

The district will conduct universal screenings at two elementary grade levels to find students who may qualify for potential highly capable program placement. Referrals must be available for all grade levels not being universally screened, and may be submitted by teachers, other staff, parents/guardians, students, and members of the community. 

Screening

The district will select grade levels to implement universal screening procedures for each student. Universal screening must occur once in or before second grade, and again in or before leaving elementary, either fifth or sixth grade. The purpose of universal screening is to include students who traditionally are not referred for highly capable programs and services. Students discovered during universal screening may need further assessment to determine whether the student is eligible for placement in a program for highly capable students. The district will consider at least two student data points during universal screening, which may include previously administered objective standardized assessments, classroom-based performance, cognitive or achievement assessments, or research-based behavior rating scale.

Assessment

The district will obtain written or electronic parental permission prior to conducting additional assessments to determine eligibility for participation in its highly capable program (HCP).

District practices for identifying the most highly capable students must prioritize equitable identification of low-income students.

The district will assess students identified for further consideration through the universal screening process using multiple objective criteria. The district must base the assessment process upon a review of each student's capability as shown by multiple criteria, from a wide variety of sources and data, intending to reveal each student's unique needs and capabilities. The assessment criterion consists of both qualitative and quantitative instruments and may include cognitive abilities assessments, local and state assessments, and in-program proficiency data.

The district must have identification procedures for their highly capable programs that are clearly stated and implemented by the district using the following criteria:

  1. The district must use multiple objective criteria to identify students who are determined to need services. Multiple pathways for qualifications must be available and no single criterion may disqualify a student from identification;
  2. The district must base highly capable selection decisions on consideration of criteria benchmarked on local norms, but the district will not use local norms as a more restrictive criterion than national norms at the same percentile;
  3. The district will not use subjective measures, such as teacher recommendations or report card grades to screen out a student from assessment or to disqualify a student from identification. However, the district may use these data points alongside other criteria during selection to support identification; and
  4. To the extent practicable, the district must give screening and assessments in the native language of the student. If native language screening and assessments are not available, the district must use a nonverbal screening and assessment.

The district will record test results in the student's cumulative file.

Any screenings or additional assessments will be conducted within the school day and at the school the student attends. On a case-by-case basis and with the consent of the parent or guardian, the district may offer student screenings or additional assessment opportunities during the summer, outside of school hours, or at an alternative site.

Selection

A multi-disciplinary selection committee composed of a district administrator, psychologist, or other individual who can interpret cognitive and achievement results, a special teacher (however, if a special teacher is not available, a classroom teacher shall be appointed), a certificated coordinator or administrator with responsibility for the supervision of the district’s highly capable program, and additional professionals, if any, that the district deems desirable. The multi-disciplinary selection committee will review data that has been collected for each of the referred students.

The multi-disciplinary selection committee will evaluate the results of the universal screening, any further individual student assessment data, and make the selection decision based on:

  1. A preponderance of evidence from the profile data demonstrating that a student requires accelerated learning and enhanced instruction, and
  2. Evidence of clear need for highly capable services.

A single assessment score or indicator will not prevent a student’s selection for the highly capable program; however, individual pieces of evidence, if strong enough, can indicate that the student would benefit from services. If properly validated tests are not available, the professional judgment of the qualified district personnel will determine eligibility of the student based upon evidence of cognitive ability and/or academic achievement.

The district will:

  1. Notify parents of the students selected. Parents will receive a full explanation of the procedures for identification, an explanation of the process to exit a student from the program, the information on the district's program, and the options that are available to identified students.
  2. Obtain parental permission to place identified students in the program before any special services and programs are provided to the student.  
Process for Appeal

Parents/guardians have the right to appeal the multi-disciplinary selection committee’s decision. Individuals appealing the selection committee’s decision must submit a completed appeal form or letter requesting review of the selection/placement decision. The written request must include reasons for the appeal and, to support reconsideration, provide additional evidence of significantly advanced cognitive or academic levels and/or outstanding intellectual, academic, or creative abilities.

The appeal request and supporting evidence must be submitted to the Teaching and Learning Services Department within 10 school days of the multi-disciplinary selection committee’s decision notification.

The district’s multi-disciplinary selection committee will review the student’s file, assessment profile data, and additional evidence provided in the request for appeal.

The decision of the multi-disciplinary selection committee may include:
  • Upholding the original decision of the multi-disciplinary selection committee; or
  • Reversing the decision of the multi-disciplinary selection committee.

A decision will be made by the multi-disciplinary selection committee within 30 school days after receipt of the written request for reconsideration. The parent/guardian will be notified of the decision in writing. The decision of the committee is final.

Exit Process

Upon the request of a teacher or a highly capable program administrator, the district may initiate the exit process for students who no longer demonstrate a need for highly capable program services. The multi-disciplinary selection committee will convene a meeting and invite the parent/guardian to review the student’s profile to determine if the student qualifies for program services based on assessment data and selection criteria. The multi-disciplinary selection committee may request additional evidence of student capabilities and/or willingness to participate in the program. If the committee determines that the student no longer qualifies for highly capable program services, it may be recommended that the student be exited from the program. The district will notify the parent/guardian in writing of the committee’s decision and of the appeal process.

A parent/guardian may request to withdraw the student from the program. A meeting will be convened by the highly capable program coordinator/director with the parent/guardian to discuss the request. If the parent/guardian desires to withdraw the student from the program, the district will exit the student from the program. The multi-disciplinary selection committee will determine if identification procedures are necessary for students wishing to reenter the program in the future.

Program Design

The district will make a variety of appropriate program services available to students who participate in the program.

Once services are started, the district will provide a continuum of services to identified students in grades K-12. The district will keep on file a description of the educational programs provided for identified students. The district reviews services each grading term for each student to ensure that the services are appropriate.

The district will offer highly capable students the following programs:

  • In kindergarten through grade 3, the needs of highly capable students are met through differentiation and individualization in the general education classroom.
  • In grades 4-5, the needs of highly capable students are met through differentiated instruction in the general education classroom and/or placement in a full time highly capable program.
  • In grades 6-12, the needs of highly capable students are met through differentiated instruction in the general education classroom, subject and/or grade acceleration, and challenging course placement. Specific counseling support will be available for identified highly capable students in selecting appropriately challenging courses. Dual credit opportunities available to students include Advanced Placement, Career and Technical Education, College in the High School, and Running Start.
Reporting

Identified students will be assigned the appropriate Comprehensive Education Data and Research System (CEDARS) Gifted value(s) in the district’s student information system for end-of-year reporting activities.

The superintendent or designee will provide an end-of-the-year report to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), which includes:

  • The number of students served by grade level K-12;
  • Student demographic information;
  • Data to determine if students who are highly capable met the goals set and if the programs provided met the academic needs of these students;
  • The number and content of professional development activities provided for special teachers and general education staff;
  • Program evaluation data and, if needed, program changes that will be made based upon this information.
Date: 1/18/05
Revised: 9/9/08; 8/26/14; 9/13/22; 6/18/24