Vision:

In accordance with the philosophy to develop the special abilities of each student, the district shall offer appropriate instructional programs to meet the needs of exceptionally gifted and talented students of school age. The framework for such programs shall encompass, but not be limited to, the following objectives:

A. Expansion of academic attainments and intellectual skills;

B. Stimulation of intellectual curiosity, independence and responsibility;

C. Development of a positive attitude toward self and others; and

D. Development of originality and creativity.

Definition:

Highly capable students are those who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their 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 populace, but are present within all protected classes. (WAC 392.170.080)

Students qualifying for Highly Capable services have a range of needs. We work with families to make the best educational decisions possible to ensure continued growth. The specific services offered at each school are listed below. 

Irene Reither Elementary School: Cluster grouping and differentiation.

Meridian Middle School: Single subject acceleration and differentiation.

Meridian High School: Single subject acceleration and differentiation. 

MP3: Students are already on individual education plans. We can provide consultation. 

 

Process for identifying students for Highly Capable

  1. Referral 
  2. Evidence Collected
  3. Team examines evidence
    • Students identified as Highly Capable generally fall in the 1-3 percent of their same age, grade, experience and/or environment. Meridian currently qualifies students in the areas of Reading and Math.
  4. Goals and/or plans created
  5. Review of student progress

Referrals

  • Students may be referred on an annual basis by families, teachers, staff or community members.
  • Once a student is referred the family is contacted for permission to test. 

Determining which students should be referred for highly capable

Students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments qualify for Highly Capable identification. (WAC 392-170-035) Students in grades K-11 may be referred. Students may be referred for services in the Highly Capable Program once per 12 month period. All referral forms must be submitted to the Highly Capable Coordinator for the district.

Who refers students for highly capable:

  • Teachers
  • Families
  • Community members
  • Students in 6th-11th grade may also self-refer. (WAC 392-170-045).

Referral Steps:

  1. Referral is submitted by teacher, family, community member or student in 6-11th grade.
  2. Referrals must be submitted within the referral window to be considered for the school year qualifying assessment. (Referrals received after the referral deadline must be resubmitted for testing in the subsequent year.)
  3. A portfolio of evidence will be collected for referred students. This may include, but is not limited to, previous assessment data, parent survey responses, teacher input and new assessments. 
  4. Students in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades take the CogAT screener. They must score above the 85th percentile to move on to the full CogAT. All other grade levels take the full CogAT assessment. 

Second grade: In an effort to provide equitable access to qualify for Highly Capable identification all second grade students are screened. Referrals for second grade students are not necessary. 

Evidence Collected

Evidence collected for consideration could include, but is not limited to (aptitude scores, achievement scores and qualitative input from families and staff).

  • Aptitude (Natural Ability)
    • Ability test – National Percentile, Standard Age
    • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) typically in the top 3% of same age, experience and environment
  • Achievement (Testing)
    • Standardized Achievement Test standard based on specific measures: SBA, CBA, I-Ready, IRLA data, and other nationally normed assessments
  • Qualitative (Descriptions)
    • Teacher and Family feedback,  Additional Work Samples

Evidence Examined by Team

  • The portfolio is reviewed by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) including (OSPI: WAC 392-170-075):
    • Director working with students identified Highly Capable
    • Teacher(s) on Special Assignment (TOSA) working with students identified Highly Capable
    • District Psychologist
    • Additional Educators
  • As the team examines the evidence they are reviewing information to consider whether a student is demonstrating a need for the Highly Capable services. Students identified as Highly Capable perform or show potential for performing at significantly high academic levels when compared with others of their 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 populace, but are present within all protected classes. (WAC 392.170.035)
  • Students not identified as Highly Capable will continue to be supported in the general education setting.
  • Families may appeal the decision of the multidisciplinary team by completing an appeal form. Appeals must be submitted in writing within 14 days of notification. Families must present evidence not previously reviewed that demonstrates a significantly advanced need.
  • Upon identification as Highly Capable, family and teachers work collaboratively to determine the specific approach and/or goal for the student.

 Review of Student Progress

  • Student performance on district and state assessments is monitored by the district for growth.
  • Student Learning Plans (SLP) for students in grades 3-8 are reviewed annually.
  • Students in high school work with their building counselor to monitor the appropriate challenge of their course work in alignment to their High School and Beyond Plan.

Statement of commitment

The Meridian School District Highly Capable program is committed to engaging learners in challenging curriculum to meet their current needs. We are dedicated to providing our students with a safe and nurturing environment where they can learn and grow.

Philosophy and purpose

The Meridian School District Highly Capable program believes in developing the special abilities of every student. We endeavor to offer challenging and appropriate learning opportunities to our students.

State Definition

Highly capable students are those who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their 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 populace but are present within all protected classes. ( WAC 392.170.080)

Services

All services in the Meridian School District are provided within the general education classroom through differentiation and flexible grouping.

When will testing results be available? The results and notification about qualification will be mailed after all testing for the district is completed and a multidisciplinary team meets to review portfolios. This typically takes place in mid April. 

What day will my child be tested? All testing takes place during the school day. We break the test into sections and typically pull students three times. Because of this we cannot give a specific day and time that your child will be tested in advance. If a child is absent for testing, their test will be made up when they return. 

Do younger children take the full CogAT? Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade students take the CogAT screener. If they score above the 85th percentile they will then take the full CogAT assessment. 

My child is being enrolled in Kindergarten next year, can they be tested now? No, we can only test students currently enrolled and attending our schools. 

My child is homeschooled, can I have them tested? No, we can only test students currently enrolled and attending schools. 

Is the CogAT the only thing considered for qualification? No, we utilize all available information when making qualification decisions. 

My child was referred last year and did not qualify, can they be referred again? 

Yes, students may be referred once a year. After 2 consecutive years of CogAT testing, we will utilize currently existing data, but will not test the student. 

My child only qualified in one area, can I have them retested to see if they qualify in other areas? Once a student is qualified they do not need to be retested. Their full academic need is considered when making goals and determining services. 

Who do I speak to about my child’s services? If the question is regarding your child’s current educational experience please reach out to their classroom teacher. They will have the best information about what your child is doing. If the question is about process, or services, please reach out to the district coordinator. 

My child is not qualified, but they are not being challenged. How do I make sure they are being challenged? Please reach out to your child’s classroom teacher. They will have the best idea of how your child is performing in the classroom and will best be able to provide further challenge. 

Rosalind Schumann 
Highly Capable Program