Highly Capable

Highly Capable Program

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 (Levels I-IV)

The priority of our Highly Capable Program is to match students with the most appropriate services to meet their needs, understanding that the needs of these students vary and may change over time. By offering levels of service across grade levels and schools, we ensure both equitable access for all learners, as well as flexibility in meeting the needs of all learners.

Level I: Differentiation Within the Classroom (Kindergarten-Grade 12)

Level I services are open access and part of the curriculum for all students. Teachers integrate critical thinking, depth, and complexity into lessons. These services are available to all students at all schools.

Level II: Differentiation in Areas of Academic Strength (Kindergarten-Grade 12)

Students participating in Level II services receive differentiated instruction in areas of specific academic strength (one or more content areas). This instruction takes place within the regular classroom in a mixed-ability setting. Eligibility is determined by both formal identification as Highly Capable through the district identification process, as well as school-level determination based on observation and input from those who know the child best. These services are available at all schools.

Level III: Strength-Based Student Grouping (Grade 1-5)

Students participating in Level III services receive differentiated instruction through full-time participation in Strength-Based Student Groupings where two or more students with similar strengths are grouped within a mixed-ability classroom. These classrooms are located throughout the district (all schools) and afford Highly Capable students the opportunity to collaborate with their intellectual peers in a rich and dynamic setting. Teachers extend and enrich the study of grade level standards in the student's area(s) of strength. These services are available at all schools.

Level IV: Highly Capable Self-Contained Program (Grade 2-5)

Students participating in Level IV services are enrolled in a full-time advanced program focusing on academic depth and complexity in the four core content areas. Students receive differentiation in the depth, breadth, and pace of instruction with an emphasis on critical and creative thinking. In this rigorous setting, 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.

Level III/IV: Honors in English and Mathematics, IB Coursework (Grade 6-8)

Students participating in these services receive differentiation instruction within strength-based student groups at the middle school level. Here, Highly Capable students have the opportunity to learn and collaborate with other high achieving students in accelerated courses.

Level III/IV: Advanced Placement, Dual-Credit, IB Coursework (Grade 9-12)

Students participating in these services receive differentiation instruction within strength-based student groups at the high school level. Here, Highly Capable students have the opportunity to learn and collaborate with other high achieving students in a variety of content areas.


Nominations will be collected between October 24, 2022 and January 6, 2023. No nominations will be accepted outside of this window. A student may be nominated by a parent, teacher, community member, or self. All of those submitting nominations are encouraged to include evidence of advanced achievement or potential in addition to the required nomination form. You may also request a blank nomination form from your school’s office. All forms and supporting documentation must be received by January 6, 2023. Follow-up assessment for these students may include CogAT testing in Spring of 2023. Possible outcomes of a student nomination may include: Level I differentiated instruction in the regular educational program, or formal placement in Level II, III, or IV Highly Capable program services. 

Identification and Placement Priorities

It is our mission in the Clover Park School District to provide all students with appropriate educational programs to meet their academic and social-emotional needs. Our priority is to match students with the most appropriate service. In alignment with this priority and the current barriers to our standard processes, there will be less emphasis on standardized testing measures as a tool for identifying and placing students. All students have the opportunity to receive differentiated instruction in alignment with their academic ability and potential.

Students already identified to receive Highly Capable Program services will be reviewed to ensure students are receiving the most appropriate services in the following school year. This means that students may move between service levels II-IV. Families of students who may move between levels of service will receive communication from the district office regarding potential changes.


October 2022: All students at grade 1 participate in universal screening using the CogAT screening assessment

October 24, 2022-January 6, 2023: Nominations accepted.

January 2023: Review of STAR and Smarter Balanced screening data for students at grades K, 2-8

January 2023: Highly Capable Selection Committee convenes to review nominations and identify next steps for each child

February-March 2023: Select students at grades K, 2-10 participate in CogAT testing

Spring 2023: Highly Capable Selection Committee convenes to review service placement of returning students and make new identification recommendations

May-June 2023: Eligibility outcomes shared via Skyward student Portfolio. A Messenger alert will be sent to impacted families when this information is available for viewing and download.

Screening and Assessment

Clover Park School District follows an objective identification process using multiple measures of data and equity considerations to ensure that the district identification process applies equitably to all enrolled students and families from every racial, ethnic and socio-economic population present in the public school population served.

Identification Process

The Multi-Disciplinary Committee will convene multiple times during the 2022-23 school year to review nominations and placement of continuing 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 profiles 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 three 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 (formal placement in Level II, III, IV services).
  • (Not Qualified) The student's data does not qualify them for identification as Highly Capable (student will continue to receive Level I Differentiated instruction).
  • (Deferment) Additional information is needed. Student will be reviewed again in the following school year and may participate in additional testing at that time (until then, the student will continue to receive Level I Differentiated instruction).

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. A student’s qualification is permanent for the duration of their time enrolled in the Clover Park School District. The student’s program placement is flexible and will be reviewed annually to ensure an appropriate fit.

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.

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:

Angie Ellenbecker
Highly Capable Program Coordinator
[email protected]