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Highly Capable

  •  Highly Capable Program (HiCap)



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    For information on the Elementary HiCap program (formerly Apex), please download the HiCap Manual: 
    For Referrals and appeals (see below) please download the Referrals Form and the Appeals Form:
    HiCap Nomination Form         Spanish HiCap Nomination Form
        HiCap appeals form           Spanish HiCap appeals form 


    The Centralia School District annually attempts to identify students who may benefit from the district’s highly capable program. Starting in January 2021, the identification process will begin with a district-wide screening component for all 2nd grade students. Screening for 2nd graders typically begins in the winter for the next school year. Due to the pandemic 2nd grade screening did not occur during the 2019-20 school year. All current third graders will be screened between November 4th and December 2, 2020 for possible services starting January 4th, 2020. 

    The process includes the review of information or data from multiple sources to determine whether a student's aptitudes and learning needs are most appropriately served through the school's HiCap education program.

    Parents may also nominate their student for the program at grades 1-12 (see Form 13.2).   The committee will consider all nominations that are submitted by March 30th, for admission the following fall. Students will be tested for HiCap no more than once every two years. Nominations for the 2021-22 school year will open January 4th, 2021 and close March 30th, 2021.

    If your child is selected for the HiCap program, it does not necessarily mean that your child will be placed in the pull-out program once he/she is in 3rd grade, although that is one possible outcome. This will be decided by the HiCap committee along with feedback from you and from the classroom teacher.

    Your child is not required to participate in the pull-out program in order to be considered “Highly Capable.

    However, students identified as HiCap very likely will be placed in a “cluster” in a regular classroom for day-to-day instruction. A cluster is a way of placing highly capable students together in one classroom, along with other students of varying ability levels.

    3rd-6th graders who qualify for HiCap will be invited to an information meeting in the fall, which may help you in your decision about whether or not to enroll your child in the pull-out program. The date for this meeting has not yet been determined.

    Appeals Process

    Parents of students who are not found eligible for HiCap services may appeal the decision. Parents are asked to fill out the Appeals Form and turn it in to the Special Services Secretary at the District Office within 10 days of receipt of the initial decision, and an appeals committee (HiCap Services Team) will be convened. The decision of the appeals committee is final.

    Centralia School District’s Highly Capable Program--Elementary I

    In keeping with new requirements passed by the Washington State Legislature, the Centralia School District will offers services to all elementary students who are identified as highly capable (HiCap) during every school day. HiCap services are a part of a gifted student’s basic education. As a result, schools are required to provide specialized instruction to highly capable K-12 students on a daily basis.  

    Unfortunately, the legislature does not include extra funding to add staffing for HiCap. Because it is part of “basic education,” we are expected to use the basic funding we already have. One way to do this at the elementary level is to ask every elementary classroom teacher to build into their lesson plans special assignments and activities for the one or two HiCap kids who are assigned to their class.

    Another way to meet this need is with a cluster model. In this model, gifted students are clustered in a regular classroom in groups of 4-8, with a teacher trained in strategies for highly capable learners. The rest of the class is balanced out with students who have varied abilities. This gives HiCap kids a group of peers to learn with, and allows for one teacher at each grade level to be the expert (rather than expecting every teacher to be the expert). 

    Rationale: A cluster classroom can alleviate the need for every teacher in the school to be an expert in gifted education and can reduce the workload on teachers. For example, writing required Individualized Learning Plans for each HiCap student can be difficult for teachers who aren’t experts on this, as can the process of compacting the curriculum. Differentiating curriculum is already difficult for classroom teachers who are trying to meet the needs of average and struggling learners. In addition:

    • Highly Capable students need a peer group that they can relate to socially and academically
    • HiCap students should be taught according to the Gifted Programming Standards as well as the Common Core
    • HiCap students need a program that is tailored to their INDIVIDUAL academic needs (acceleration as well as enrichment). These needs can vary dramatically from student to student. HiCap students who are bored can become behavior issues and can be at risk of underachieving
    • HiCap students need to be in a classroom that is responsive to their special characteristics

    Conclusion: Regardless of the model your child’s school chooses, children identified as Highly Capable will receive daily services in gifted education. 3rd-6th grade children who participate in the weekly enrichment pull-out HiCap program (formerly called Apex), will continue going to that once a week, if they choose to participate. In addition, they will receive daily HiCap instruction in their home school. We are very excited to offer this improved level of service to our highly capable students!


     Other websites and resources for your information:Information about the CoGAT 7 screener:  http://www.hmhco.com/hmh-assessments/ability/cogat-7 and http://www.hmhco.com/~/media/sites/home/hmh-assessments/assessments/cogat/pdf/cogat-screener-page-overview.pdf?la=en.
    Information on Cluster groupingFAQ:  http://www.ericdigests.org/2001-4/cluster.html  
    http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content2/cluster_grouping.html  Article:The HiCap Cluster Classroom 
    Book:Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use, by Susan Winebrenner and Dina Bulles. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit, 2012. Print.