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    Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee

    The Seattle Public School's Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee (SPS-HCS-AC) is a group of volunteer parents and teachers charged to make recommendations regarding the organization and service delivery model of the Highly Capable Services, which serves Seattle Public Schools’ academically highly capable learners.

    Update from Michael Tolley, Associate Superintendent, and Wyeth Jesse, Chief of Student Support Services

    9/27/2018

    Greetings,

    Over the past two years, there has been growing interest and concern regarding equitable access for all students to our advanced learning programs including consistent, rigorous services for students identified as Highly Capable.  As a member of the 2017-18 Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee (HCSAC), we wanted to provide you information regarding the work of the newly initiated Advanced Learning Task Force (ALTF or task force) as well the role of the HCSAC in supporting the re-envisioning work currently underway.    

    As you recall from our closing meeting last spring, we discussed the initiation of the 2018 Advanced Learning Task Force.  We reviewed the charge of the task force as working toward recommendations in four (4) specific areas:

    1. Adopting a Mission and Vision for Advanced Learning in Seattle Schools:  The task force will review existing policy and laws and draft a clarifying mission and vision statement to be proposed to the school board for approval and inclusion in Policy 2190 and accompanying Superintendent Procedures.  This statement will guide clarification, improvement, and future development of Advanced Learning programs and Highly Capable services and practices.

       

    2. Defining and/or re-developing Advanced Learning Programs and Highly Capable services: The task force will review high quality research and best practices about specific program elements and student services, which include clear expectations and guidelines, that will be provided within neighborhood schools and/or within a Highly Capable Cohort setting.

       

    3. Promote Equitable Identification and Access: The task force will review the district’s existing identification, testing, assessment and eligibility procedures, current research, and best practices and outcomes from peer districts.  Policy, procedure, and practice recommendations will be developed to align district systems and ensure equitable access to high-quality instruction for advanced learners, including highly capable.

       

    4. District-Wide Implementation: Considering the outcomes from Work Areas 1-3, the task force will provide recommendations regarding implementation recommendations across the district, including specific feedback on community engagement messages and outreach methods, potential areas of risk, professional development, resource and central office support needs, capacity needs, and schedule milestones.

    We also discussed the possible role of the HCSAC while the re-envisioning work was occurring, and what, if any, the new charge of the HCSAC would become.  After consideration of the scope of the work of the task force above, and the role of the HCSAC in this work, it has become clear that the work of the HCSAC becomes vital within Task #4-District-wide Implementation, in consideration of the outcomes of areas 1-3.

    Thus, and in conjunction with the work of the Task Force, the HCSAC is pausing while we await the recommendations and any subsequent Superintendent and Board decisions. From there and if so charged, the HCSAC can continue the history of advising the implementation of services and programs in support of students and families

    Since June, the Task Force has been working to re-envision and establish future guidance on services, identification and equitable access within a refreshed mission and vision.  The work plan is designed for one year to 18 months.  At the close of the Task Force work, and once the Superintendent and School Board have approved policy and procedure, we anticipate the Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee working alongside the district to ensure the implementation of established goals and outcomes as informed by board policy and superintendent procedures. 

    When the work of the Task Force begins to draw to a close, a refreshed Charge for the Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee will be developed and provided to the Superintendent.  This new Charge will be tightly aligned to the refreshed mission and vision as well as the board and superintendent approved policy and procedures that will anchor the work of identifying and providing services to advanced learners and students identified as Highly Capable. 

    As we follow and support the work of the Task Force, please plan to review the activity through review of the meeting outcomes.  Minutes are posted to the Seattle Schools website following each meeting.  In addition, you are invited to attend Task Force meetings to listen and remain appraised of the work being developed.  All future meeting dates are currently posted to the Seattle Schools website. 

    In closing, we want to thank you for your continued commitment to the services and support of students served within our programs for the Highly Capable, and for your dedication to engaging families.  This work is important and will continue as we have clear direction, mission and guidance for the future.  Seattle Public Schools is focused on equitable access to consistent, rigorous instruction for advanced and highly capable learners.

    As you have questions, please contact Kari Hanson, Director of Student Support Services at klhanson1@seattleschools.org or at 206-252-0830.

    Sincerely,

    Michael F. Tolley

    Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

     

    Wyeth Jessee

    Chief of Student Support Services

     

     

    Questions:

    What happened to the Drafted HCSAC Charge that we wrote in Spring 2018?

    The drafted HCSAC Charge is being held until the time the Task Force work is completed and the Superintendent and School Board put forward refreshed policy and procedures.  At that time, the Charge will be reviewed and realigned to the work of the future.

     If I have been a member in the past, will I be eligible to apply in the future?

    Yes.  There is no restriction to who may apply for a district Committee.  It is important that prior members review the updated Charge and determine interest in the work of the future. 

    Is the HCSAC being eliminated?

    No.  The HCSAC is pausing while we await the work of the Task Force, Superintendent and Board decisions so that the HCSAC can continue the history of advising the implementation of services and programs in support of students and families.