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Advanced Learning

Programs and Services

Highly Capable Services

Per the Washington Administration Code (WAC), provision of enhanced and accelerated instruction is considered basic education for a student identified as Highly Capable (HC). Services for students with HC eligibility are provided in neighborhood schools as well as in regional Highly Capable Pathway (HC Pathway) Schools.

Service Option 1: HC Services in Neighborhood Schools

Each year, over 1,100 students eligible for Highly Capable services are served in their neighborhood elementary, middle and K-8 schools. For students who elect to remain in their neighborhood school, they are provided a range of services that can include:

  • Curriculum compacting
  • Enrichment
  • Flexible cluster grouping
  • Independent projects
  • Acceleration with increased depth of learning and application of skills
  • Supplemental instruction in area of interest

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

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

The Highly Capable Pathway School offers a model of content accelerated instruction in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Only students who have been identified as “Highly Capable” are eligible to attend an HC Pathway School.

As families make decisions regarding remaining in a neighborhood school or transferring to the HC Pathway School, at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, we encourage you to consider how well your child will benefit from participation in the accelerated learning environment including:

  • Some students flourish in the environment; others may feel overwhelmed with the learning environment, pacing and/or requirements. How does your child respond to significant challenge? Are they able to respond positively to rigorous acceleration? Could perfectionist tendencies be a possible barrier to engaging in significantly accelerated content and learning expectations?
  • Is your child 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 your current school?
  • Have you explored the academic and instructional options provided at your current school to determine how the school may adjust practice to best respond to the social, emotional, behavior needs as well as academic needs of your child?
  • If concerns with your school are present, have you shared these concerns and worked with the school to address the needs of your child?

Choosing to Enroll in an HC Pathway School:

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

Advanced Learners

Advanced Learner (AL) is an eligibility category granted during the eligibility decision process. A Seattle Public Schools student who is granted AL status retains 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 are served in their neighborhood schools. No additional enrollment steps are needed to receive services at your neighborhood school.

Note to families new to Seattle Public Schools: If your child is not currently enrolled in Seattle Public Schools, you must submit a complete enrollment registration first.

2021-22: Coursework Scope and Sequence

The class scope and sequences for elementary, middle, and high school HC Pathway Schools are listed below and apply only to the upcoming 2021-22 school year. All HC Pathway Schools teach the adopted curriculum. Teachers engage and enrich grade level curriculum with additional material that is unique to each school and/or teacher. For additional details contact your school counselor and/or your student’s teacher.

2021-22: Highly Capable (HC) Cohort Pathway Elementary Schools:

  • Cascadia
  • Decatur
  • Thurgood Marshall

Fairmount Park remains an option school depending on space available. The 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.

2021-22: Highly Capable (HC) Pathway Middle Schools:

  • Hamilton Middle School
  • Jane Addams Middle School
  • Madison Middle School
  • Robert Eagle Staff Middle School
  • Washington Middle School
    • Note: sixth and seventh grade students at Washington Middle School will learn in integrated classroom environments across all content areas in conjunction with the STEM by TAF model in 2021-2022.

Pathway Middle Schools are transitioning to integrated classrooms with differentiation to meet the needs of students with HC services.

English Language Arts

  • 6th Grade (2021-2022): Language Arts 6A and 6B
  • 7th Grade (2021-2022): Language Arts 7A and 7B
  • 8th Grade (2021-2022): Language Arts 8A and 8B

Social Studies

  • 6th Grade (2021-2022): World History 6
  • 7th Grade (2021-2022): World History 7; WA State History
  • 8th Grade (2021-2022): US History 8

Integrating Ethnic Studies and Since Time Immemorial (STI) Curriculum is required in ALL social studies courses in middle school.


  • 6th Grade (2021-2022): One of the following: Math 6A and 6B, Math 7A and 7B, Math 8A and 8B
  • 7th Grade (2021-2022): One of the following: Math 7A and 7B, Math 8A and 8B, Algebra 1A and 1B
  • 8th Grade (2021-2022): One of the following: Math 8A and 8B, Algebra 1A and 1B, Geometry (this course offering is contingent upon student enrollment and only in HC Pathway Schools)

Please NOTE that students are enrolled in the next math course in the district’s established course sequence.

Students enroll in the next math course in sequence:

  1. grade 5 math, then:
  2. math 6, then:
  3. math 7, then:
  4. math 8
  5. Students take the next course in the sequence in Math. Some Middle Schools are piloting a compressed 7th/8th grade Math course to provide acceleration that can result in taking Calculus as a 12th grade student.

Learn more about math course enrollment

Science *This is the last year for students in grade 8 to take Biology. In 2022-23, 8th grade students will take Science 7A and 7B in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards.

  • 6th Grade (2021-2022): Science 6A and 6B
  • 7th Grade (2021-2022): Science 7A and 7B
  • 8th Grade (2021-2022): Science 8A and 8B, Biology will be offered to eighth grade students in 2021 – 2022.

World Language

  • 6th Grade (2021-2022): Exploratory Language or language courses may or may not be offered.
  • 7th Grade (2021-2022): One of the following: World Language 1A – both semesters*, World Language 1A and 1B
  • 8th Grade (2021-2022): One of the following: World Language 1B – both semesters*, World Language 1A and 1B, World Language 2A and 2B

NOTE: Language course offerings (Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese) are dependent upon enrollment and staffing at each school.
*Beginning 2021-2022, semester course offerings must be taught within one semester.

2021-22: Highly Capable Pathway High Schools

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

Students DO NOT need to obtain HC or AL eligibility to access Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or dual credit courses in high school (except for students wishing to apply for early entrance to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program at Ingraham HS). All AP, IB and dual credit courses are open to all students regardless of HC or AL eligibility.

HC pathway high schools:

  • Lincoln High School
  • Garfield High School
  • West Seattle High School

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program at Ingraham High School remains as an optional pathway. However, 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 Highly Capable Services if services are no longer appropriate. A meeting of the parent/guardian, teacher, administrator, a representative from the Advanced Learning Office, and the student (at parent/ guardian discretion) is required before this service delivery change.