Highly Capable Program (HiCap)
Nominations & Testing
Our annual open nomination window closed as of Dec. 1, 2023. Each November, families, staff and community members can nominate students for further assessment and consideration for the Highly Capable Program.
Annual Universal Screening
Universal Screening with a 20-minute assessment completed within classrooms happens each school year in October using the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT). This will continue to be administered in 1st grade classrooms. New for the 23-24 school year, will also start to be administered in all 4th grade classrooms. Families of students who achieve high screening scores will be encouraged to complete nomination and permission paperwork for us to conduct the CogAT assessment and to consider possible placement into the HiCap program.
Highly Capable Program CogAT Testing Window
CogAT aptitude testing will be done within school buildings during the school day in the months of December through February for all nominated students; families will receive email communication about their student's specific testing window.
Determination Meetings and Family Notification of Qualification
Our Multidisciplinary Team will review CoGAT aptitude scores along with classroom assessment data and teacher and family inventory input in the spring and communicate qualification to families as soon as possible.
The Lake Stevens School District Strategic Plan states that highly capable students will experience rigorous and challenging content as well as cognitively demanding instruction, along with opportunities for creative and divergent thinking. Our comprehensive program begins at Kindergarten and spans through 12th-grade. Our cadre of highly trained teachers is committed to providing a program that compacts and accelerates the curriculum. They design their lessons to add depth and complexity to the curriculum to keep our highly capable students working on the outer edges of their abilities.
- HiCap Program Family Presentation - Fall 2023 (Google Slides)
- HiCap Program Family Presentation - Fall 2023 (PDF)
Highly capable students often possess the following 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
- Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus
For additional information or questions, contact us:
- Sarah Danielson, Director of Student Intervention: 425-335-1589
- Samantha Sauter, HiCap Program Coordinator: 425-740-4217
Elementary Highly Capable Students Program
At the elementary level, identified HiCap students in kindergarten, first-, and second-grade are provided differentiated instruction in the regular classroom. This includes accelerated learning, advanced instruction, and challenging content provided by the classroom teacher.
HiCap-qualified students in grades three, four and five are clustered together in one or more classrooms at each grade level and in each school. Depending on the total number of students that qualify for the program, each cluster typically has five to eight students. In some situations, HiCap students may be clustered in a multi-age classroom (3-4 or 4-5).
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 HiCap students.
Our elementary librarians also partner with classroom teachers around the instruction of their HiCap cluster and provide at least an hour a week of additional enrichment activities for students in cluster classrooms.
Accelerated learning, advanced curriculum, and additional activities provide an accelerated and challenging instructional experience for HiCap-qualified students during their elementary years.
Secondary Highly Capable Students Program
Starting in our middle schools, challenge level classes are designed for highly capable students in addition to other high performing students. A student who has qualified for Highly Capable services in math will be automatically enrolled in pre-algebra starting in 6th grade and if qualified in language arts, will be automatically enrolled in Advanced Challenge Language Arts. At this level, curriculum is compacted and accelerated. Additional projects and higher level reading/writing assignments are designed to keep students working at advanced levels. Students can continue to elect to stay on accelerated tracks in language arts and math so that by 9th grade they have pre-AP options and Advanced Placement (AP) options or college in the high school options in multiple subject areas in high school. At any time, families can work with secondary guidance counselors to choose alternate pathways to meet the unique needs and interests of their students.
Below you will find math and language arts course maps that outline options as students move through secondary schools. There are many other areas that students can also start to explore and find challenge in as well outside of these two pathways and each year you will see in Cavelero's and Lake Stevens High School's course catalogue opportunities for challenge level classes, Advanced Placement classes and opportunities for earning college credit in the high school in a variety of subject areas.
Additional Resources for Families
General Highly Capable/Gifted Resources
- National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) - Resources for Parents
- Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA)
- Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children (article by Bainbridge)
- Asynchronous Development (NAGC)
Social Emotional Information and Support
- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG is a national organization that provides resources, support and learning on this topic)
- Exploring Social and Emotional Aspects of Giftedness in Children (article by Lovecky, SENG)
- On Perfectionism in the Gifted (interview of Rimm by Shaughnessy, SENG)
- Gifted Learners and Executive Functioning (article by Kaleel and Kircher-Morris, NAGC)
- Do’s and Don’ts for Motivating Your High-Ability Child (article by Siegle and McCoach, NAGC)