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Highly Capable Program Overview

If your child qualifies for the Sumner School District Highly Capable program in early Spring, services would begin the following school year. Here is what you can expect:

Kindergarten students are served at their home school in their currently assigned Kindergarten classroom. Early Learning research supports the idea that Kindergarten students best opportunities for growth and learning occur when they are placed in typical Kindergarten classrooms with all different types of peers. Kindergarten teachers are responsible for providing enhanced and/or accelerated learning opportunities for their Highly Capable students.  These enhanced and/or accelerated learning opportunities can take many different forms, below are a few examples of what this MAY look like; flexible grouping for reading, math and/or integrated projects, opportunities for students to  explore their interests through academic choice activities as well as focusing on creative, critical and evaluative  thinking.  Kindergarten students are nominated in the fall of their Kindergarten year and begin services in the Winter of that same school year.

1st & 2nd grade students are served at their home schools.  Schools that have 3 or more qualified Highly Capable students at each grade level will serve students using Cluster Groups.  In Cluster Groups, 3-8 qualified Highly Capable students are placed together in the same classroom.  Schools with fewer than 3 qualified Highly Capable students per grade level will use differentiated instruction presented by the classroom teacher.

3rd-5th grade students are served in a “self-contained” all day program at one of our elementary schools with transportation to and from that school is provided.  Students who choose to stay at their home school instead of the self-contained all day program, will be placed in Cluster Groups (see above) or will receive differentiated instruction from their classroom teacher.

Middle School
6th-8th grade students are served in a “self-contained” all day program at Lakeridge Middle School that includes challenging programs in social studies, language arts, math and science content areas. Students who choose to stay at their home school will be placed in math and language arts classes in Cluster groups of 3-8 Highly Capable students who are grouped together in the same math and language arts classes.

High School
9th & 10th grade students are encouraged to participate in Honors classes that are offered at both of our High Schools.
11th & 12th grade students are encouraged to participate in our Advanced Placement classes at Bonney Lake High School or our International Baccalaureate classes offered at Sumner High School.

2014 Kindergarten Nomination Timeline

new Kindergarten Nomination Period:  September 22 - September 30
Beginning September 22 through September 30, the Sumner School District will be accepting nominations for Kindergarten students whose educational needs might be best served by the District’s Highly Capable Program.

Nomination forms will be available on the Sumner School District Web site and at all elementary schools beginning Monday, September 22, 2014.

green star bullet 2014 Kindergarten Nomination Packet

The Highly Capable nomination period for grades 1-5 will occur in the winter of 2015. Parents, community members and teacher/staff members may nominate students for Highly Capable Services. All completed “parent/community member” nominations need to be submitted to the student’s teacher or front office no later than 1:00 p.m. on September 30.

September 30
Teacher provides building secretary with the “teacher” nominations and “parent/community member” (if parent has submitted it to the teacher) by 4:00 p.m.

October 3
Notification will be sent to families to confirm testing.

October 6 – October 23
Nominated Kindergarten students will be tested for academics using the Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) and for cognitive abilities using the Cognitive Abilities assessment.  These assessments will occur at each child’s current school either in their classroom setting with a teacher or support staff or in a small group setting with a school counselor, psychologist or district Special Services staff member.  Assessment days and times will be determined within each building, but will occur between October 6th and October 23rd.

October 24
Schools are responsible for ensuring that all testing materials reach Tari Littlefield in Special Services by 4:00pm on this day.

December 2014
Test scores are reviewed by the District Multi-disciplinary Selection Committee to determine eligibility.  All families and nominating teachers will be provided the outcome regarding student placement.

What identifies a child as Highly Capable?

The identification of students who are among the most highly capable is done by testing their cognitive abilities, academic abilities and academic achievement levels.  Two qualifying areas are required for the Highly Capable Program:   

1st Qualifying Area
Academic Achievement- Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP), students must achieve in Math OR Reading.

2nd Qualifying Area
Cognitive Abilities Test - measures cognitive ability. Students must achieve a 90% or higher.

Characteristics of Highly Capable Children: “Bright Child vs. Highly Capable Learner”

Observing Highly Capable characteristics is often difficult when dealing with obviously bright children.  The below document is helpful in recognizing the subtle differences between the bright child and the highly capable learner.

green star bullet Characteristics of Highly Capable Children

If you have questions about the program, qualification criteria, or selection process, please contact Tari Littlefield at 253.891.6035.


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504 Plans


English Language Learner

Highly Capable/Gifted Programs

Learning Assistance Program (LAP) / Migrant and Title I Services

Special Services




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