Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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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. Outstanding abilities are seen within students' general intellectual aptitudes and specific academic abilities within a specific domain. These students are present not only in the general populace, but are present 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 their chronological 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.

A student may be nominated for the highly capable program(s) by contacting the Student Advancement department at 206.631.3045.  Students may be nominated by:

1.    Classroom teachers or other school personnel;

2.    Parents, other students or members of the community; or

3.    The Student Advancement department or Highly Capable Selection Committee pursuant to a review of any school- or district-administered assessments.

The Student Advancement department will solicit nominations from the community through announcements to teachers and principals and the department website.

Students will be identified for the district’s highly capable services via a combination of measures and adult input. 

K-1: in order to minimize testing burden for our youngest students and to leverage work already being done in schools, students will be identified for services using existing data collected in the classroom by teachers and/or district assessments. 

Grades 2-8: students will be identified for services through a combination of cognitive assessments and academic achievement, potentially corroborated by a teacher’s assessment of the student’s level of persistence and/or motivation to work at an academically challenging level.

Grades 9-12: student identification will include a review of student course performance, course work, extracurricular work, academic assessments, conversations with teachers, counselors and administrators and, if appropriate, cognitive assessments.

The district generally assesses students in two phases for grades K-8.  Phase I screens all students in their regular school.  In Phase II, students who have scored highly in Phase I will be invited to take an additional test.  For identification in secondary school, students may be asked to write a short personal statement and participate in an interview. 

The Student Advancement department will assemble and appropriately record the aforementioned data for all nominated students for submission to the selection committee.  The Student Advancement department will convene a multidisciplinary selection committee made up of a teacher or teachers from the highly capable programs, a school principal, a school psychologist with knowledge of a wide variety of cognitive assessment instruments, and central office administrators or specialists with expertise in assessment, testing, working with students with IEPs, and/or highly capable programs.  

The multidisciplinary selection committee shall review the data for nominated students, and based on their professional judgment as to which students will benefit the most from participation in the district's program and have the greatest need for it, make recommendations on how to assign such students to the available openings in the program and/or for services at their home school.

Students who are not accepted into the program may appeal the decision. An appeals process will be posted on the Student Advancement department web page each year. 

Exiting Students from Highly Capable Programs and Services

Parents may choose to remove students from the Highly Capable program or decline services at any time.  In order to do so, parents should notify the school principal of their desire to leave, and the timing of the change (immediately or at the end of the semester/school year).  Principals will try to find space at the current school for the student for the remainder of the year, after which the student will return to their neighborhood school, or the student may return to their neighborhood school immediately.  If parents choose to remove their student from the program or services, students will have to test again the following year if they would like to re-join the program, and their scores will be considered alongside all of the students testing that year. 

Teachers and principals may recommend that students be exited from the program based on student performance in class or repeated struggles on state or district assessments.  In this case, the procedure is:

  • Teacher initiates a face-to-face meeting with the principal and parent/guardian(s) about student challenges.  In this meeting, the teacher shares data on the student’s struggles and work with parent/guardian(s) to identify a plan for supporting the student in the areas that he or she is struggling.  Support plan must identify teacher support as well as family support, and must last for at least 6 weeks. “Improvement” will be clearly defined in the meeting.
  • If improvement is not seen, the teacher, principal, and parent/guardian(s) should determine whether the student should remain in the program for the remainder of the year or exit immediately.  If the determination is to exit immediately, Principals will try to find space at the current school for the student for the remainder of the year, after which the student will return to their neighborhood school, or the student may return to their neighborhood school immediately.

Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Superintendent: August 1985
Revised by the Superintendent: 3.15