Highly Capable Program Information

Program Overview

The Clover Park School District’s vision is that the needs of all students 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 the 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 in the general populace and within all protected classes. (WAC 392-170-035)

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.

(WAC 392-170-036)

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

Grade 1 Highly Capable Clusters

Highly Capable clusters are classrooms, where two or more Highly Capable students are grouped within a mixed-ability setting. These classrooms are located throughout the district and afford Highly Capable students the opportunity to collaborate with their intellectual peers in a rich and dynamic setting. Cluster teachers receive professional development to ensure students experience differentiated instruction.

Grades 2-5 Highly Capable Clusters and Self-Contained Classrooms

The priority of our Highly Capable Program is to match students with the most appropriate services to meet their needs. At grades two through five, Highly Capable students receive services through Highly Capable Clusters or in a Self-Contained Highly Capable class.

Highly Capable Clusters are classrooms where two or more Highly Capable students are grouped within a mixed-ability setting. These classrooms are located throughout the district and afford Highly Capable students the opportunity to collaborate with their intellectual peers in a rich and dynamic setting. Cluster teachers are provided professional development to ensure students experience differentiated instruction.

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 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 students matched with a Highly Capable Self-Contained class, this placement may mean relocating from their present school to either Rainier or Oakbrook Elementary Schools. District transportation will be provided for those eligible. 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.

Screening and Assessment Process

Timeline 2019-20 School Year


Universal screening using STAR and MAP assessments at grades K, 2-8.


Universal screening using CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) screening tool at grade 1.

November 1-December 20

Nominations accepted for students in grades K, 2-11.

Nominations will be available both online and in each school building. These forms must be completed and returned to the Teaching and Learning Department no later than 4:30 on December 20th.


Review of all available screener data and nominations to identify which students (grades K, 2-11) are eligible to participate in CogAT testing.

Permission slips sent home for these students. Permission slips must be returned to school by January 24th.


CogAT Testing – Grades K, 2-8 eligible through screening and nomination (February 3-21)

CogAT Testing – Grade 1 students enrolled between October 16-January 13 (February 3-21)

All testing takes place during the school day, at the student’s home school.


Highly Capable Selection Committee reviews data and makes identification recommendations.


Parents notified via postal mail of committee recommendations for Highly Capable services and provided copies of score reports.

Selection Process

Our Highly Capable Selection Committee will review data that has been collected for each screened student. 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 Highly Capable Selection Committee will review all applications and make one of two determinations:

  • (Qualified) The student qualifies under the criteria of most Highly Capable, will be identified as Highly Capable and matched with the most appropriate service for the individual student.
  • (Not Qualified) The student's data does not qualify them for identification as Highly Capable.

All parents will receive from the Highly Capable 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, information on the district's program, and 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 Highly Capable Selection Committee conducts an annual meeting to review each student's educational progress and determine continued program eligibility.

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.

Transfer Students

Our district participates in the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. Families planning a transfer to our district should contact the Teaching and Learning Office at 253-583-5143 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.

Appeals Process

Parents and legal guardians have the right to appeal the Highly Capable 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 Highly Capable 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 Highly Capable Selection Committee.
  • Reversing the decision of the Highly Capable 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 Highly Capable 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 Highly Capable 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.

For more information, please contact:

Erin Vidal

Highly Capable Program Coordinator