Sign In
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Information > Departments & Programs > Highly Capable

Highly Capable Program



Highly Capable Screening for Second Grade Students

Second grade students are currently being screened for the Highly Capable Program for the 2015-2016 school year.  If you have not received a permission form to test your child click here, complete, and return form to your home school. Click here to view the testing calendar.

Professional Learning Community - Highly Capable Meeting

Revised schedule forthcoming

Student Display at Central Administration Building Third Floor
Come check out Rube Goldberg presentation from students from Anna Rowley's class from Sherman Elementary School at CAB on the third floor starting February 2.
Highly Capable Program Enhancement Plan
Tacoma Public Schools has embarked on the expansion and enhancement of the Highly Capable Program based on new state Washington Administrative Code’s (WAC’s) and a program audit conducted.
Come learn more about the enhancement plan at our Highly Capable Community meeting on February 9, 2015 at Mason Middle School from 6:00-7:00pm.
Expansion of the TPS Highly Capable Program:
Changes to the TPS Highly Capable Program have been prompted by new state WACs and a 2010 Tacoma School District audit conducted by D. Carolyn Callahan, a gifted education professor at the University of Virginia.  The changes will create:
(1)     A more inclusive learning environment at all elementary schools;
(2)     Enhanced program offerings at middle school and high school; and
(3)     Expanded referral and assessment processes that will grow and diversify the program. 
This will allow students from across Tacoma to have high quality services in their neighborhood schools.
Children who demonstrate exceptional ability, exceed grade level standards in literacy and math (or have the potential to do so if challenged and supported,) demonstrate exceptional creativity, and possess strong motivation to excel are good candidates for the Highly Capable Program.
For Highly Capable students in kindergarten through second grade:
The primary elementary program is based on differentiated learning opportunities in home room classes where students have options for how they can show their understanding and in-depth studies of particular learning goals and curriculum topics. Teachers use their knowledge of highly capable characteristics and needs to individualize learning plans for students who are ready to accelerate or who have specific learning needs that are different than the general grade-level curriculum.
For Highly Capable students in third through fifth grade:
For the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years: The intermediate elementary program includes JAWS (pull-out enrichment), SAIL (full-time self-contained) and GATE (multi-age classroom).
(See links on the right column on this page for more information on each of these programs.)
For the 2015-16 school year and beyond: The district will serve highly capable elementary students from grades 3-5 in their home schools through differentiation, cluster grouping and a GATE-like model using the best practices of JAWS, SAIL, and GATE. Students will receive 5-day per week services from teachers trained in highly capable characteristics and needs. UPDATE: The SAIL program will continue at some level after this transition.
For Highly Capable students in 6th-12th grades.
At the middle and high school levels, highly capable support services generally include differentiation in all classrooms, great elective offerings at each school, and adaptions to the general curriculum or acceleration as needed based on learning plans created with the school staff. In the middle and high schools all teachers are encouraged to use their knowledge of highly capable characteristics and needs to best support their students. Teachers are encouraged to use an interdisciplinary curriculum developed around higher order reasoning, constructing meaning through inquiry, advanced content and concepts, and relevant issues and themes. Many cognitive learning models are employed, such as concept mapping with literature and vocabulary webs.



 Contact Us


For more information, contact 

Patrick Johnson, Director of Equity and Academic Excellence at 253.571.1249.

Dr. Sandy Wentworth, Instructional Facilitator -Highly Capable Programs 253.571.1275

Janice Wright, Secretary Equity and Highly Capable Programs 253.571.1120




 important Program Links


 Related Links