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Highly Capable Program

News Flash Update
JAWS classes start during the week of September 8th
SAIL classes start the first week of school
Student data review will occur during the initial start up of school to determine additional plascements in program offerings.  Parents will be notifiesd of any changes.
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.
HC JAWS Appeals:
The Committee has finished reviewing appeals for the Highly Capable JAWS program and results will be sent out via US mail August 4-8. If you submitted student products in your appeals packet that you want back you can pick them up from the Challenge /Highly Capable office (CAB 328) by October 1, 2014.

Students from Sherman Elementary who were tested late will receive test results next week and have the option to submit an appeal by August 15th.  Decisions on those appeals  will be made by August 22 and parents and schools will be notified by August 27th the following week via US mail.

Thanks you for your interest in the Challenge/Highly Capable program.  We appreciate your patience as we work through this process.
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.
In the 2012-2013 school year, Tacoma offered nine full-time highly capable classes at six elementary schools for 234 students.  Our goal is to exponentially increase highly capable program offerings to enhance the social-emotional and academic supports for our students.
Program change
New processes for outreach and referrals that identify student readiness for high-level coursework through a new district acceleration policy adopted by the school board in 2012-13.
More students have access to high-level classes, which creates more diverse and blended learning environments.
In Place 2013
New highly capable NNAT2 nonverbal test * that assesses abilities rather than strictly academics.
Focuses on problem solving and higher order thinking skills and complements existing academic information.
In place 2013
Expanded Parent Advisory Team to become a Community Advisory Team representative of TPS  community demographics.
Diverse team advises on program vision, changes and expansion.
In place 2013
Intensive training for teachers, counselors and administrators on highly capable best practices district-wide.
Every school will have teachers who will maximize the academic, social, emotional and mental development of highly capable students.
Training has started and will continue through the transition years
Connect a continuum of services K-12 including highly Capable classes at every elementary school and enhanced offerings at middle and high schools to include teachers trained to work with highly capable students.
Allows all qualified students to take classes that meet their individual needs at their neighborhood school.
Phasing in beginning 2014
*Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test* – Second Edition (NNAT2)
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.



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For more information, contact Patrick Johnson, Director of Equity and Academic Excellence at 253.571.1249.




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