Highly Capable Program Information

Program Overview

Highly Capable Program Information

The Clover Park School District’s vision is that the needs of all children are provided for according to their specific abilities, aptitudes, and levels of performance, to prepare them for career & college readiness.

Our Highly Capable Program is designed to meet the advanced academic and social/emotional needs of students in grades K-12 with exceptional abilities. The program provides an accelerated, rigorous curriculum in an encouraging and supportive environment where teachers challenge students to reach their full potential. Students qualify for Highly Capable Program services based on their ability or potential to perform at an advanced level of academic excellence as indicated through cognitive and academic testing.

For current definitions from the field of gifted education, see National Association for Gifted Children. Also see Clover Park School Board Policy Number 2190 and Procedure 2190-P1 for a description of program services.

Definition of "Highly Capable"

Highly Capable students 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, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. These students are present not only in the general populace, but also within all protected classes.

Learning Characteristics of Highly Capable Students

Students who are Highly Capable may possess, but are not limited to, these learning characteristics:

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

As a key component of its Highly Capable Program Identification and Selection Process, the Clover Park School District will make it a priority to qualify students from varying racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups.

Continuum of Highly Capable Program Services

Kindergarten

Qualified kindergartners receive differentiated instruction within the regular classroom.

First-Grade Highly Capable Clusters

Highly Capable cluster sites for first-graders, where two or more qualified students are grouped within a mixed-ability classroom setting, are located throughout the district and afford Highly Capable students the opportunity to collaborate and learn from their intellectual peers in a rich and dynamic setting. Cluster teachers receive specialized training in how to differentiate for students who work at an accelerated pace.

Grades 2-5 Self-Contained Classrooms

Our Highly Capable Self-Contained Classrooms provide full-time placement for qualified students. State curriculum standards are the foundation of this instructional program, but students will find that the pacing and academic expectations of lessons to be exceptionally rigorous. Students are expected to meet standards at least one year above their regular grade level.

For most children, this placement will mean relocating from their present school to either Rainier or Oakbrook Elementary Schools. District transportation will be provided. Generally, students who reside on Joint Base Lewis-McChord are placed in the Self-Contained Highly Capable Classroom at Rainier Elementary School, which is located at 24190 Stryker Avenue, Joint Base Lewis-McChord. All other students are placed at Oakbrook Elementary School, which is located at 7802 83rd Ave SW.

Middle School Highly Capable Clusters

For grades 6-8, qualified students participate in clusters either within our Honors Program or our International Baccalaureate Middle Year Program (IB). Here, Highly Capable students will have the opportunity to learn and collaborate with other high achieving students in both an accelerated math and/or language arts course. Some middle schools additionally offer accelerated social studies or science courses.

High School Highly Capable Clusters

For grades 9-12, qualified students participate in clusters within our Advanced Placement (AP) program at Lakes and Clover Park High Schools, and within our International Baccalaureate Program (IB) at Harrison Preparatory School.

Screening and Assessment Process

The Clover Park School District universally screens students in grades K-11 for candidacy into the district Highly Capable program. The tests used for screening include: STAR, Measures of Academic Progress, and the Smarter Balanced Summative assessment. Students who meet screening qualifications are then administered the Cognitive Abilities Ability Test with parent permission during the second semester of the school year.

Communication

Universal screening and testing windows are communicated in early spring to the public via each building’s website, Inside Schools, and to teachers via direct email and staff meetings. Out-of-district transfers are evaluated in a timely manner on a case-by-case basis. As appropriate, new students without screening scores will be administered district assessments and continue through the same district admission process.

Transfer Students

Our district participates in the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. Additionally, we honor this compact for all district students, regardless of whether they live on or off-base. If a child received gifted services in his/her previous school, we will strive to offer comparable services as space allows. In most cases, no placement testing is required. Families planning a transfer to our district should contact the Teaching and Learning Office at 253-583-5150 as early as possible to ensure a smooth transition for the student.

Home-School Students

Parents of home-schooled students who reside within the CPSD boundaries and have already filed an Intent to Home School Form with our district may request to be tested. Students in grades K-5 who reside on the JBLM would be tested at Rainier Elementary. All other students in grades K-5 would be tested at Oakbrook Elementary.

Tests Used

To obtain a well-rounded assessment of a student's eligibility, multiple test scores may be considered, including these district-wide assessments:

  • The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is used upon referral for grades K-12 as an aptitude test that measures potential ability to discover and use relations either with words, numbers, or symbols to solve problems and to show flexibility in reasoning.
  • The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) is used as a universal screener in grades 3-8. This nationally normed assessment measures academic progress in mathematics and reading. This test is an accurate predictor of a student's success at both the elementary and secondary levels as it measures actual academic growth.
  • The Smarter Balanced assessments are used as a universal screener for grades 8, 10 and 11. These assessments determine students’ progress toward career and college readiness in English language arts/literacy and math. They are administered in the spring and measure student achievement.
  • The STAR Test is used as a universal screener in grades K-2. This nationally normed, computer-adaptive assessment measures academic skills and progress.

For specific testing dates, contact your student's counselor or principal. Before a student can be screened or assessed, a parent/guardian must complete a permission form. All assessments must be administered by the Clover Park School District, or administered and certified by another school district. Qualifying students will be notified via letter no later than July 15 of their placement determination and start date. Once qualified, a student's eligibility remains intact for one school year. All placements are evaluated annually to ensure that students are making satisfactory progress.

Note: Parents of students who qualify for special education services or are on a 504 plan should work with their child's special education teacher to request an evaluation of pertinent classroom achievement data to determine eligibility.

Selection Process

Our Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee will review data that has been collected for each referred students. This Committee is composed of a special teacher, a psychologist or other qualified practitioner with the training to interpret cognitive and achievement test results, an administrator with responsibility for the supervision of the district's Highly Capable Program, and additional professionals, if any, that the district deems desirable. The Committee will evaluate individual student assessment profile data using a blind (no name) process.

The selection decision is based on a preponderance of evidence from the profile data demonstrating that a student is among the most Highly Capable, and 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. If properly validated tests are not available, the professional judgment of the qualified district personnel shall determine eligibility of the student based upon evidence of cognitive ability and/or academic achievement.

The Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee will review all applications and make one of two determinations:

  • (Qualified) The student qualifies under the criteria of most Highly Capable and will be placed in program.
  • (Not Qualified) The student's data does not qualify them for placement in the Highly Capable program.

All parents will receive from the Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee a full explanation of the procedures for identification, an explanation of the appeal process, an explanation of the procedures to exit a student from the program, the information on the district's program, and the options that are available to identified students. Parental permission to place identified students in the program must be obtained before any special services and programs are provided to the student. The Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee conducts an annual meeting to review each student's educational progress and determine continued program eligibility.

The Appeals Process

Parents and legal guardians have the right to appeal the Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee's decision. Individuals appealing the Committee's decision must submit a letter requesting review of the 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. Appeals must be based upon one of the following conditions:

  • A condition or circumstance believed to have caused a misinterpretation of the testing results, i.e., incorrect birthdate or grade level used in calculating the student's score.
  • An inequitable application of the identification procedures, i.e. the applicant's proficiency with the English language.
  • An extraordinary and temporary circumstance that negatively affected the validity of the test results, i.e., a traumatic event or physical distress immediately preceding the test.
  • The appeal request and supporting evidence must be submitted within ten (10) school days of the Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee's decision notification. Please address the letter to: Highly Capable Program; Student Services Center, Room 9; 10903 Gravelly Lake Drive SW; Lakewood, WA 98499-1341.

The District Appeals Committee will review the student's file, assessment profile data, and additional evidence provided in the request for appeal. Appeals are reviewed by a District Appeals Committee that consists of an administrator, psychologist, principal, and teacher. All submitted documents are closely and carefully reviewed. The Committee is looking for evidence that the results of the testing are not a true representation of the child's abilities. The decision of the Committee may include:

  • Upholding the original decision of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee.
  • Reversing the decision of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee.

A decision will be made by the Committee within ten (10) school days after receipt of written request for reconsideration. The parent/legal guardian will be notified of the decision in writing. The decision of the District Appeals Committee is final.

Non-English speaking parents may request an interpreter by calling (253) 583-5150, to request a district interpreter be present at the appointment with the District Appeals Committee.

Exit Process

The exit process may be initiated for students who no longer demonstrate a need for Highly Capable Program services. A request may be made by a teacher or program administrator for Highly Capable student identification and placement discontinuation. The Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee will convene a meeting to review the student's profile to determine if the student qualifies for program services based on assessment data and selection criteria. The 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 parent will be notified in writing of the Committee's decision and of the appeal's process.

A parent or legal guardian may request that the student be withdrawn or request a furlough from the program, or a student may voluntarily withdraw or request a furlough from the program. A meeting will be convened by the Highly Capable Program Coordinator to discuss the request. If the parent or legal guardian desires to withdraw the student from the program, the student will be exited or temporarily furloughed from the program. The Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee will determine if identification procedures are necessary for exited students wishing to reenter the program in the future. To initiate the exit process, contact your school counselor.