Highly Capable Education


    The student nomination period for the Highly Capable Program is open now through September 17, 2021, for all NEW BISD students in grades 1-12 as well as first grade students who were not tested last spring.


    The annual highly capable referral window for all current BISD students entering 1st-12th grade will take place this spring. Students are eligible to be nominated and screened once per school year. Parents, guardians, staff, teachers and/or community members may nominate students for the Highly Capable program. Please look for the nomination announcement in your school newsletter.

    Students previously accepted into the BISD HC program do not need to be nominated again. Students currently in the HC program remain in the HC program. 

    All students who are referred will participate in a cognitive abilities assessment administered by trained BISD staff.  A staff team will review the student's cumulative file, results of recent testing, parent and teacher rating scales, and other standardized academic assessments to determine eligibility for services. The school district will notify parents/guardians of the testing results and the decision regarding placement and services.


    REFERRAL FORMS: Those nominating students will need to complete 1) the nomination form and 2) the grade band appropriate rating scale.  These must be completed and turned into your child’s school by 2:30 PM on Friday, September 17, 2021.

    For Nomination for NEW BISD students and first graders who did not test in the spring:


    Highly Capable Nomination Form

    HC Parent Rating Scale Grades K-6

    HC Parent Rating Scale Grades 7-12


    How are students identified?

    A BISD staff team will review all available records for each student. Students are identified as eligible for the Highly Capable program based on review of standardized assessment results, student's cumulative file, classroom performance information, and parent and teacher input.

     What is the timeline?

    After the staff team have made their recommendations, parents/guardians will be notified. Parents/guardians will receive a copy of the recent testing results and the team's determination about placement and services beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. Those qualifying for HC services will also receive a permission form. Signed permission forms must be returned to the school's main office. HC services will begin shortly after receipt of the permission form. 

    Will there be other opportunities for my child to be identified?

    All students have the opportunity to be referred once per academic school year and at all grade levels, K-12. 

    Components of the Highly Capable Education Program

    We believe that every child in our district should be challenged and supported academically, emotionally and socially. You can learn more about our commitment to students and the Highly Capable program by reading BISD School Board Policy 2166 and Procedure 2166 on the BISD website within Departments/Programs. 


    For all levels K-12:

    In order to provide a more cohesive program for identified students, several district-wide supports have been added or strengthened.

    ·        At all grade levels, and whenever possible, highly capable students will be intentionally clustered in classrooms for instruction.

    ·        At each building the case manager or counselor will serve as the point of contact for parents and students. They will also be responsible for assisting with the identification and assessment of students.

    ·        Specific professional development will be provided for teachers serving Highly capable students.

    Elementary (grades K-4): 

    Students will be in their home school in a regular classroom. When possible, students in grades 1-4 will be clustered. This allows highly capable students an opportunity to work with other highly capable students.

     Each elementary school has a certificated teacher identified as the differentiation specialist. This certificated teacher will:

    ·        Serve as the case manager for highly capable students at the school.

    ·        Provide both in class support and some pull-out services to identified students in grades K-2.

    ·        Provide enriched content area instruction focused on project-based topics for identified students in grades 3-4. This may be through pull out services, push in services or a combination of both. 

    Intermediate and Middle Level (grades 5-8): 

    Students identified as highly capable in mathematics have the opportunity to enroll in an accelerated program and are provided opportunities for enrichment activities. For students who qualify, algebra will be offered at 6th grade.  Students identified in language arts will be clustered and participate in enhanced English Language Arts learning activities. Strategies may include advanced curriculum, higher order skills, accelerated pacing, and curriculum compacting.

    High School: 

    Additional counseling services have been added to the high school. The student's counselor will serve as the key contact for identified students. This counselor will assist with identification, parent communication and support for highly capable students. 

    Additional advanced placement (AP), honors, University of Washington in the High School and other classes have been added. 

    Cluster grouping for English 9 is done through the class scheduling process. Ideally, each cluster will have 4-6 highly capable students clustered in class together.  

    The English 9 and English 10 have an embedded honors program. All students have the option of accessing the embedded honors model.


    School Coordinators for the Highly Capable Program







    Blakely Elementary School

    Diane Fielding Bedell


    Ordway Elementary School

    Laura Nelson


    Wilkes Elementary School

    Jill Queen


    Sakai Intermediate School

    Bridget Lockett


    Woodward Middle School

    Patricia Beer


    Bainbridge High School

    Cara Tebo


    Eagle Harbor High School

    Tricia Corsetti


    Odyssey Multi-age Program, gr. 7-12

    Tricia Corsetti


    Odyssey Multi-age Program, K-4

    Jocelyn Jablonski


    Mosaic Home Partnership, K-4

    Jocelyn Jablonski


    The Highly Capable Education Plan is annually approved by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the BISD school board.  

    What is the definition of Highly Capable?

    Highly capable students (“HC Students”) are students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared to others of the same 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 population, but are present within protected classes.

    HC Students 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 unusual connections among ideas and concepts;

    •   Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength; and

    •   Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus.

    The Highly Capable Education Program is subject to rules and regulations set by the District, state and federal government. Students in the program go through a very comprehensive identification process to make sure that they qualify as a Highly Capable student and that they have a continuous need for more challenge. 



    Amii Pratt
    Executive Director, Elementary Teaching & Learning