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Advanced Learning

Programs and Services

Highly Capable (HC) Services

Providing enhanced and accelerated instruction is considered basic education for students identified as Highly Capable (HC). Services for students with HC eligibility are provided in neighborhood schools and regional Highly Capable Pathway (HC Pathway) Schools

Service Option 1: HC Services in Neighborhood Schools

Each year, more than 1,100 students eligible for Highly Capable services are served in their neighborhood elementary, middle, and K-8 schools. Students who choose to stay in their neighborhood school, are given a range of services that can include: 

  • Enrichment
  • Small group learning opportunities
  • Independent projects
  • More in-depth learning and application of skills  
  • Additional learning opportunities  in area of interest

Which services and how they are delivered are decided by the school. You can request information about  specific services by contacting your student’s school  directly.  


Service Option 2: Highly Capable Services in the Elementary HC Pathway School  

The Highly Capable Cohort (HCC), Pathway School offers accelerated instruction in English language arts and math. Only students who have been identified as “Highly Capable” are eligible to attend an HC Pathway School.  

As you decide whether your student will remain in a neighborhood or option school or transfer to an HC Pathway School, please consider how well they will benefit from an accelerated learning environment. Questions to consider: 

  • Some students flourish in an advanced learning environment; others may feel overwhelmed with  pacing and/or requirements. How does your student respond to significant challenges? Are they able to respond positively to academic challenges? Could perfectionist tendencies be a possible barrier to engaging in accelerated learning?  
  • Is your student currently experiencing a sense of belonging in their neighborhood school? Do they have groups, outside activities, or enjoy the social, emotional, and other activities provided by their school?
  • Have you explored the academic and instructional options at your student’s current school? This is a good way to learn how the school is able to respond to their social, emotional, and behavior needs as well as their academic needs. 
  • If you have concerns about your student’s school, have you shared them with the school and worked with school staff to address your student’s needs?  

Service Option 1: HC Services in Neighborhood Schools

Students who choose to stay in their neighborhood school are given a range of services that can include: 

  • Condensed Curriculum
  • Enrichment
  • Small group learning opportunities Independent projects
  • More in- depth learning and application of skills
  • Additional learning opportunities in areas of interest  

Which services and how they are delivered are decided by the school. You can request information about  specific services by contacting your student’s school.

Service Option 2: Highly Capable Services in the HC Pathway School  

For students who choose to attend their pathway middle school, differentiated services are provided in blended, general education classrooms.


Service Option 1:  HC Services in Neighborhood Schools

All students have access to challenging course work offered in their high school. This may include Advanced Placement (AP), College in the High School, Running Start, International Baccalaureate (IB), STEM.  Teachers differentiate to meet the needs of each student. Each school has extracurricular activities that can help student’s expand on their specific interests.

Service Option 2: Highly Capable Services in the HC Pathway School

All students have access to challenging courses offered in their high school. This may include Advanced Placement (AP), College in the High School, Running Start, International Baccalaureate (IB), STEM. Teachers differentiate to meet the needs of each student. Each school has extracurricular activities to connect with students in their area of interest. 

Choosing to Enroll in an HC Pathway School:

  • Students eligible for HC services are not automatically assigned to their HC Pathway school. Families must submit a School Choice Form during Open Enrollment for their student to attend an HC Pathway School.
  • Learn more about Open Enrollment on the Enrollment web page.  

Advanced Learners (AL) Services

Advanced Learner (AL) is an eligibility category given during the eligibility decision process. A Seattle Public Schools (SPS) student who has AL status keeps that status through eighth grade, unless:

  • The student is re-evaluated and is found eligible for Highly Capable (HC) services, or
  • They leave the district for more than one year.

Students designated as AL learn in their neighborhood schools. No additional enrollment steps are needed to receive services at a neighborhood school.

Families new to SPS: If your student is not currently enrolled at SPS, you must complete enrollment registration first.


2022-23: Coursework Scope and Sequence

The class overview for elementary, middle, and high school HC Pathway Schools follow and apply only to the upcoming 2022-23 school year. All HC Pathway Schools teach the adopted curriculum. Teachers enrich grade level curriculum with additional material that is unique to each school and/or instructor. For additional details contact your student’s school counselor and/or their teacher.

2022-23: Highly Capable (HC) Cohort Pathway Elementary Schools:

Fairmount Park remains an option school depending on space available. HC Pathway schools offer accelerated learning in English language arts and math, and grade level content with differentiated student learning in Science and Social Studies.


2022-23: Highly Capable (HC) Pathway Middle Schools

All Washington Middle School students learn in combined (HC and non-HC students) classroom environments. This includes all content areas in conjunction with the STEM by TAF model.

Pathway middle schools offer integrated classrooms with differentiation strategies to meet the needs of students receiving HC services. 

All students receiving advanced learning services are enrolled in their grade level courses. The course content is an essential building block for future coursework.  In math, students are enrolled in the next course in the SPS Course Sequence. 

Teachers differentiate for students, focusing on the Common Core standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening.   

Teachers differentiate for students, supporting them as they learn grade level content while engaging in “authentic intellectual work” to become critical thinkers and life-long learners.   

Math

HC and AL students are enrolled in the next math course in the district’s established course sequence.  All middle schools offer an acceleration option that gives students the chance to take calculus in the 12th grade.  Learning strategies include math tasks with high intellectual demand, developing justification and argumentation around math concepts, and go in-depth study of real-life application of mathematical ideas. 

All middle school students will take the next course in the Science sequence, in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards.  The curriculum includes  flexibility for educators to adapt learning activities and differentiate instruction to accommodate students with diverse learning needs including students with IEPs, highly capable students, and English language learners.

All middle schools offer some type of World Language program. Some schools also offer Dual Language courses for students who took elementary Dual Language or are multilingual learners. Contact your student’s middle school for specific details.


2022-23: Highly Capable Pathway High Schools

All students can access advanced level coursework regardless of eligibility for Highly Capable (HC) services.

Students Do Not need HC or AL eligibility to access Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or dual credit courses in high school (except for students who want to apply for early entrance to the Diploma Program at Ingraham HS). All AP, IB and dual credit courses are open to every student regardless of HC or AL eligibility.

HC pathway high schools:

The Diploma Program at Ingraham High School is an optional pathway. Eleven of our comprehensive high schools offer a wide range of advanced courses.

Learn more about all the High School Advanced Placement Courses

Learn more about other high school dual credit course options


Exiting Services or Programs

Students can exit from HC Services if they no longer fit a student’s needs. Before a service delivery change and removal of HC eligibility, a meeting between the following people is required:

  • Parent/guardian, teacher
  • Administrator
  • Advanced Learning department representative
  • Student (at parent/guardian discretion)
  • A student’s family can move them from an elementary HCC Program or middle or high school pathway school to their neighborhood school, while maintaining their HC eligibility.