Elementary Highly Capable Students Program
Cluster Program Model
At the elementary level, students in grades 3, 4, and 5 who qualify for the Highly Capable Students Program (or HiCap Program) in mathematics and/or language arts are clustered in one or sometimes two selected classrooms in each grade level. Depending on the total number of students that qualify for the program, each cluster typically has five to eight students. Cluster grouping is an organizational structure in which all of the HiCap students in a grade level are assigned to one teacher rather than being dispersed among every classroom at that grade level. Clustered students are grouped with students that have a range of academic abilities, but regrouped as a cluster within the same classroom for accelerated and enriched instruction in areas where their skills are at much higher levels. This arrangement allows for continuity of instruction and an opportunity for clustered students to interact with their grade level peers as well as with a group of other highly capable students. Clustering also enables the teacher to differentiate the curriculum for their HiCap students and enables HiCap students to work with children of similar ability for intellectual stimulation and social support.
Additional Enrichment and Challenging Opportunities
In addition to the cluster grouping of HiCap students, our program also provides additional enrichment opportunities during the course of the school year. These may be provided in a pull-out setting with other HiCap students in the school. Currently our librarians provide enrichment and challenge activities for all HiCap students in their school. This normally takes place once every month. Additional specific challenging and enriching activities may be scheduled for students in only mathematics or language arts. These activities take place out of the regular classroom. Challenge for HiCap students comes from advanced content, interaction with intellectual peers, and projects that create a need for organization and study skills. Teaching strategies include an emphasis on problem-solving, critical thinking skills, creativity skills, and the development of research skills.
The HiCap Curriculum
Our adopted core curriculum and instructional programs typically include advanced level, enriching or challenging activities that are specifically designed for highly capable students. Our HiCap teachers plan their lessons using these program elements for HiCap students. In addition, HiCap teachers provide advanced materials and instruction beyond the student's current grade level. These include specific advanced learning materials and resources provided for each HiCap teacher's classroom.
The Elementary HiCap Compactor (Learning Plan)
Early in the school year, elementary HiCap teachers develop a learning plan for each HiCap student. Because HiCap students are able to learn the required grade level curriculum in less time than their age peers, the plan outlines an alternative path through the regular curriculum. This includes reducing or compacting the content and time needed for HiCap students to master the grade level materials. The plan also outlines the challenging or enriching teaching and learning that will take place, along with details of the materials or programs to be used. This learning plan is called the HiCap compactor. Parents of elementary HiCap students receive a copy of the compactor at the October parent-teacher conferences.
Nominating Students for HiCap (in Grades 3-5)
To qualify as highly capable, students must go through a specific process of referral and assessment. Lake Stevens School District assesses students who are referred in grades 2, 3, and 4. Students may be referred by their teachers, parents, other students or may even refer themselves. The nomination period for the 2013-2014 school year begins on Monday, January 7, 2013, and ends on Friday, March 1, 2013. The nomination forms can be downloaded from the links below.
The following forms must be filled out and submitted for a complete nomination packet:
Testing takes place during April and May. Students must qualify in at least one academic area and on an assessment of cognitive abilities. Following the assessment process, a MSC (multi-selection committee) meets to look at all of the information and determine who is eligible for the program. This committee is comprised of the program coordinator, classroom teacher, principal and school counselor. Students who qualify will be invited to join the cluster classroom.
Parents/guardians have the right to appeal the decision of the District HiCap Placement Team by completing an appeals form. The written appeal request and previous assessment information will be considered by the District HiCap Placement Team composed of the school principal, the classroom teacher, program coordinator, the Executive Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning, and the Executive Director of Assessment and Student Learning. The team will make a decision to place the student in the program or to deny placement of the student in the program. The team may request additional assessment or other information prior to making a decision. Parents will be informed in writing of the final decision. The decision of the appeals District HiCap Placement Team is final. To request an appeal form, please contact the Highly Capable office at 12309 22nd ST NE, Lake Stevens, WA 98258, or phone Graham Cook at (425) 335-1500.
Annual review of performance will be conducted for all students enrolled in Lake Stevens Highly Capable programs. For students not meeting performance expectations, students and their parents/guardians will be notified by the classroom teacher when assessment of performance falls below the performance expectations for highly capable programs listed above. A meeting to discuss plans for student support will occur within thirty (30) days of the parent/guardian notification.
At that meeting, a written plan of improvement will be created that includes strategies for support mutually developed and reviewed with parents/guardians and instructional staff. The plan will be reviewed at the end of the next semester following its development to assess student progress. Should the student demonstrate program performance expectations, he or she will continue in the assigned placement. Should the student fail to make improvements in the identified areas of the plan, future options and exit criteria will be discussed with the parent/guardian. The multi-disciplinary team will make all final decisions when exiting a student from the program.
If I have a question, who should I contact?
For any questions regarding our highly capable or honors program, please contact Graham Cook, Executive Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning, at (425) 335-1500 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.