Advanced Learning

Advanced Learning Department

At SPS, we are focused on honoring and supporting the brilliance of every student.

The Advanced Learning department works collaboratively with school and district leaders, teachers, students, and families to provide the tools, guidance, supports, and services needed to ensure access and success for every student especially those furthest from educational justice and those in need of Advanced Learning services.

Advanced Learning services provide students the support they need to grow their strengths and work at more complex levels. This includes more challenge within classes, assignments, and activities to help push learning further. Advanced Learning services include services for students found eligible for Highly Capable and Advanced Learners. 

Advanced Learning is Getting Better for Everyone 

We recognize there are inequities in the way our Advanced Learning program was created and has continued to operate. Historically, students have been identified by IQ or aptitude tests that have favored privileged and white families, and this has led to wide racial disparities in the makeup of our program.

The program is not going away, it’s getting better. It will be more inclusive, equitable, and culturally sensitive. In particular, students who have been historically excluded will now have the same opportunities for services as every other student, and get the support and enriched services they need to grow. Read more about the updates to services

Fall 2022-23 Referrals are Closed

The Advanced Learning referral window was November 1-30, 2022.

Recent Department Announcements

Universal Screening for Advanced Learning Services

Seattle Public Schools Advanced Learning team refers all kindergarten through eighth grade students to be screened for Advanced Learning services.

A student sits on a classroom floor drawing on a piece of paper with an open laptop

Advanced Learning Middle School Science

At Seattle Public Schools, advanced learning services are changing so that every student has access to advanced learning options.

Students in Sam Egelhoff's fifth grade class at Thurgood Marshall meet in enrichment clusters around the classroom

Advanced Learning at Thurgood Marshall

Discovering, training, and investigating; that’s what students at Thurgood Marshall Elementary experience every week in enrichment clusters.

Advanced Learning Services FAQ 2022-23

More Advanced Learning FAQs

AL services are the supports, settings, and different instruction provided to an individual student, supplementing general education curriculums.

  • Students in need of HC services perform or are capable of performing well above their grade level curriculum.
  • Students in need of AL services perform or are capable of performing above beyond enriched and advanced differentiated Instruction.

Read more about programs and services.

The identification process is the first step toward receiving advanced learning services. All SPS K-8 students are evaluated for eligibility. Referrals are not necessary. Eligibility determines if a student can receive Advanced Learning services, and what those services might be. The Advanced Learning team will start collecting data for eligibility decisions in fall 2022 and will share results in winter 2023. Read more about eligibility and identification.

The Summer Eligibility process gives students transferring to SPS the chance to participate in the identification and eligibility process.

Students transferring from public, private, home, Montessori, virtual, and other schools are provided step-by-step instructions for eligibility decisions for the upcoming 2023-24 school year. Read more about summer eligibility and transfer student opportunities.

Students exiting and transitioning from SPS AL services may request documents to transition outside of the district. Students planning to return to SPS have options for addressing these shifts.

Read more about exiting and transitioning from SPS or advanced learning services.

To obtain student-specific advanced learning records please contact the Advanced Learning Care team. Please make Advanced Learning records requests via email at

In order to streamline the records requests process please include:  

  • Student’s First and Last Name
  • Student ID Number
  • Record Recipient Information
    • If requesting document sharing to an outside district, please include where these documents will need to be sent.