Learning in White River » Highly Capable Program

Highly Capable Program

**updated 5/23/23

Highly Capable Procedure and Program (HCP) Overview for White River School District 
The White River School District offers a continuum of services for the most highly capable students K-12. 

Kindergarten through 2nd-grade students' needs are met through differentiation and individualization in the general education classroom. In grades 3-8, the needs of highly capable students are met through enrichment programs during and after school: differentiated instruction in the general education classroom, subject and/or grade acceleration in their home school, and extension opportunities during and outside the school day. 

In addition, for grades 6-8, specific extension/instructional services are available during intervention/extension blocks during the school day. Faculty are assigned to support and assist identified students in their instructional program. 

In grades 9-12, White River High School meets the needs of students identified as highly capable through the following programs: 
- Honors Courses (9th and 10th Grade) 
- Pre-AP courses (9th and 10th Grade) and AP Courses (10th-12th Grade) 
- Pierce County Skills Center (11th and 12th Grade) and Running Start (11th and 12th Grade)  - Dual Credit classrooms 

Additionally, student schedules, course sequences, and learning opportunities are individually tailored to meet the specific needs of each highly capable student. Students also have many options for completing CTE pathways with capstone courses that are connected to their 5th-year plan. Students enrolled in the Running Start program also are able to earn their AA degree while completing their high school diploma. 

The goals of the HCP are to help students grow academically, intellectually, and socially/emotionally. Highly Capable students need opportunities to stretch their learning in ways that are different and beyond the general education classroom expectations. At the same time, there are Highly Capable students that have academic and social/emotional needs that will be addressed in school. Academic unit plans across all grade levels will document the progression of learning and extension opportunities so students can be stretched. Each student's learning will be closely monitored with the district assessment system. 

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 student's general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative products 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.

Referral Process 
Referrals are accepted based on evidence or data from teachers, other staff, parents, students, and members of the community. Those who are referring a student will use the district's referral form for consideration by the selection team. The referral process will be publicly communicated throughout the district. 

The district will screen all second-grade students in the Spring of their second-grade school year. Screening results will determine which students qualify for the full battery examination taken later that same school year.

The district will obtain written parental permission prior to conducting assessments to determine eligibility for participation in the Highly Capable Program (HCP). Students identified for further testing will be assessed using multiple objective criteria. All assessments will be assessed by trained White River School District instructional personnel. The assessment criterion consists of both qualitative and quantitative (the district may select one or both) instruments and may include CoGat7 (full battery or screener), standardized state assessments, district common assessments in reading and math, and students being screened for accelerated programs in secondary may be screened with additional assessments. In addition, teachers and parents will be asked to complete Highly Capable Scales and inventory surveys for additional information. Outside non-school assessments will not be considered. Similar norm-referenced assessments administered by other school districts may be considered.

A multi-disciplinary selection committee will review the data that has been collected for each referred student. The multi-disciplinary selection committee is composed of the following: 

• Special teacher - a teacher with specialized knowledge of HCP students, programming, curriculum, and instruction (such as a teacher who has taken gifted education coursework or current HC teacher). 
• Psychologists or other qualified practitioners with the training to interpret cognitive and achievement test results. 
• Certified coordinator/administrator with responsibility for the supervision of the district's HCP and may include school principals. 

The selection committee's decision for identifying students who are in need of Highly Capable Program services will be based on: 

1. The preponderance of the data collected demonstrates that the student is among the most highly capable; 
2. Evidence of clear need for highly capable services; and 
3. Determination of which students would benefit the most from inclusion in the district's program. 

Note: Single scores or indicators will not prevent a student's selection; however, individual pieces of evidence, if strong enough, can indicate that the student would benefit from services. If properly validated assessments are not available, the professional judgment of the qualified district personnel shall determine eligibility.

The district will: 

1. Notify students who have been selected, or do not qualify at this time. Parents will receive a full explanation of the procedures, an explanation of the appeals process, an explanation of how to exit the program, and options available to identified students; and 
2. Obtain parental permission to place identified students in the program before any special services and programs are provided to the student. 

Appeals Process 
Parents can appeal the decision by contacting the Executive Director of Equity and Achievement within 10 days of district notification, who will notify the district selection team to reconsider the data and look to see if there is room available for the child in the program. 

Exit Process 
The exit process may be initiated for students who no longer benefit or participate in the highly capable program services by school personnel or by the student. Parents or students may also request a furlough or exit the highly capable program. In both cases, a meeting will be convened by the Highly Capable Coordinator/Designee and/or building administration to discuss the request and reach a final decision with parents and the student.