Highly Capable Education



    The Highly Capable program identification processes for the 2019-2020 scholol year were interrupted due to Covid-19.

    The annual highly capable referral window for all BISD students entering 2nd-12th grade for the 2020/2021 school year will be open in the fall of 2020. Specific dates for the referral window will be updated on this page and communicated to all families closer to that time.

    Kindergarten students who were referred in 2019/2020 will not need new referrals or redo initial testing. The information already gathered will be used by district staff to determine highly capable qualification when the team meets in the fall of 2020.

    For 2020/2021, all  2nd -12th grade students are eligible to be referred for highly capable screening, along with any 1st grade students who are new to BISD.  Students currently identified as highly capable DO NOT need to be assessed again. Students may be referred for assessment for the highly capable program by a teacher or staff member, parent, or community member. 

    Since we were not able to complete our planned universal screening for all second grade students in the spring of 2020, we are developing a plan for screening all 3rd grade students, ideally in the fall of 2020. Further information will be sent to all parents of third grade students in the 2020/21 school year. 

    All students who are referred will participate in a cognitive assessment facilitated by the school’s Highly Capable teacher or other district staff. Staff will review other standardized academic assessments to determine eligibility for services.

    Highly Capable Referral Form

    HC Nomination Parent Rating Scale Grades K-6

    HC Parent Rating Scale Grades 7-12


    How are students identified?

    Students are identified through standardized assessment results, classroom performance information, and parent and teacher input.

     What is the timeline?

    After staff have reviewed the assessment data, additional information will be compiled to gain a more complete picture of students and their skills. This may include additional academic assessments, additional teacher input, and classroom evidence. The process of reviewing data and making qualification determinations will be completed by mid May. At that time parents/guardians will be notified whether or not the student has been identified as highly capable for the 2020-2021 school year.


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

    BISD offers the opportunity for students to be referred at any grade. All 2nd grade students are screened for highly capable placement.


    More information including links to referral forms and parent rating scales can be found on the Highly Capable Education website. https://www.bisd303.org/Page/10084


    No student may be assessed for highly capable services more than once in a school year. Students who are referred to the Highly Capable Program will have a cognitive assessment administered by a Highly Capable Teacher or Guidance Counselor and other standardized academic assessments will also be reviewed. When BISD receives the results, parents/guardians will be notified whether or not the student will continue in the qualification process. Those who continue may be asked to participate in additional evaluations.

    Students who have already been identified as highly capable by BISD do not need to be referred again.


    Components of the Highly Capable Education Program

    We believe that every child in our District should be challenged and supported academically, emotionally and socially. 

    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.


    Designated certificated teacher or counselor to serve as the case manager and point of contact for highly capable services:







    Blakely Elementary School

    Diane Fielding Bedell


    Ordway Elementary School

    Laura Nelson



    Wilkes Elementary School

    Jill Queen

    Jocelyn Jablonski



    Sakai Intermediate School

    Kim Kooistra


    Woodward Middle School

    Student's counselor



    Bainbridge High School

    Student's counselor






    Commodore Options School     Randi Ivancich


    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. 



    Sheryl Belt
    Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction