Highly Capable Education

  • Students in grades 1-12 are referred in the fall for testing; kindergarten students are tested in mid-winter. Students who are referred to the Highly Capable Program will have a cognitive assessment administered by a Differentiation Specialist 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.

     Please click on Forms to download a referral form and parent rating scale.

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

    Components of the Highly Capable Education Program

    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.

    ·        The referral, screening, and assessment process will take place in the first three months of the school year to make it timelier and will include additional information gathered from a parent input/rating scale. Kindergarten referrals are in January annually. 

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

    ·        At each building the case manager or additional 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 all 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 attend an English language arts class that is more advanced. Strategies may include advanced curriculum, higher order skills, accelerated pacing, and curriculum compacting.

    Each middle-level school has a certificated teacher to serve as the case manager for highly capable students.

    High School: Additional counseling services have been added to the high school. A counselor will serve as the key contact for identified students. This counselor will assist with identification, parent communication and support for highly capable students. Students will also continue to receive services from their assigned counselor.

    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.

    Each school has a designated certificated teacher or counselor to serve as the case manager and point of contact for highly capable services.








    Diane Fielding Bedell



    Jill Phillips



    Jill Queen

    Elise Hardy




    Kim Kooistra



    Jason Shutt


    Bainbridge HS

    Nicole Wescott


     Commodore Options School     Cara Pope


    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. 

    We have added  a flow chart that explains the referral and selection process for identifying highly capable students:  

    The District's Highly Capable Education Advisory Committee will continue to meet this year to review the implementation of the plan recommended last year. A report on the 2013/14 work of the Highly Capable Education Advisory Committee "Implications for the Future" has been provided to BISD by consultant Jayasri Ghosh, PhD, President of Offsite Insights.


    Sheryl Belt
    Associate Superintendent of Curriiculum & Instruction