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    Highly Capable and Advanced Learning in Secondary Schools

    Advanced Learning services and opportunities are offered at all Seattle Public Schools elementary, K-8, middle and high schools, based on each school's Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP).

    To learn more about the College Board AP program, visit our AP Courses webpage.

    Highly Capable Pathways and Assignment

    Enrolling in Highly Capable Pathways Schools

    Students K-7th grade who become eligible to receive Highly Capable (HC) services and wish to join an HC Pathway School (also known as Highly Capable Cohort or HCC) for the upcoming school year must enroll during School Choice. Parents and guardians are encouraged to enroll during the Open Enrollment period each February. If a student receives the eligibility decision for HC after the Open Enrollment period, the student will still be assigned to their HC Pathway school.

    Read more about the Student Assignment Plan.

    Students Entering 6th and 9th Grade

    Students eligible, but not enrolled in an elementary HC Pathway school, are NOT automatically assigned to their HC Pathway Middle School. Students entering 6th grade from any K-5 SPS school are assigned to their neighborhood middle school unless there are the following exceptions:

    1. If a student eligible for highly capable services is enrolled at an HC pathway elementary school, then the student is automatically assigned to the closest HC pathway middle school based on the student’s home address.
    2. If a student eligible for highly capable services (who already attends an HC Pathway elementary school) does not wish to attend the designated HC pathway middle school, then families must apply for their attendance area middle school or another choice school or program during the Open Enrollment period. Application during the open enrollment period to their attendance area school is guaranteed; selection to another school or program is subject to availability.
    3. If a student eligible for highly capable services wishes to attend an HC Pathway middle school, but is not enrolled in an elementary HC Pathway school, then families must apply to attend the closest HC pathway middle school during the Open Enrollment period. Assignment is guaranteed to HC pathway based on student address.
    4. If a student eligible for highly capable services wishes to attend an HC Pathway middle school site that is outside of the student’s designated HC pathway (based on student’s address), then the family must apply to attend their choice HC Pathway middle school during the Open Enrollment period. However, acceptance into an HC Pathway middle school site that is outside of the student’s HC Pathway is subject to availability with no guarantee.

    HC Pathway High Schools

    • There are three HC pathway high schools: a North pathway at Lincoln High School, a Central/Southeast pathway at Garfield High School and a Southwest pathway at West Seattle High School. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program at Ingraham High School remains as an optional pathway.
    • All students currently in the HC pathways at Garfield and Ingraham will be grandfathered (2019-2022). Students eligible for HC services from West Seattle who are currently in 7th and 8th grade at Washington Middle School can continue to Garfield instead of moving to the new southwest pathway.
    • Additionally, HC or HC-eligible students entering 10th grade in 2019-20 may opt into Lincoln if they are at Garfield or at their attendance area school and live within the Lincoln HC pathway, even if they were not in HCC in 8th grade.

    Read more about the School Boundary Changes and the Student Assignment Transition Plan.

    High School Options for Highly Capable and Advanced Learning Services

    While students identified in elementary or middle school as eligible to receive Highly Capable Services and pursue much of their coursework as a cohort, students identified as HC-eligible at SPS should not expect to continue with their cohorts as they transition to SPS high schools. While the k-8 Cohort model is not continued at the high school level,  students that receive HC and Advanced Learning (AL) services will continue to have access to advanced level coursework through the four pathway Service Options described below.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Students DO NOT need to obtain HC or AL eligibility to access Honors (H), 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 Honors, Advanced Placement, IB and dual credit courses are open to all students regardless of HC or AL eligibility.

    Service Option 1: 8th grade students who are HC-eligible and are currently attending an HCC Pathway Middle School (Hamilton, Washington, Madison, Robert Eagle Staff or Jane Addams middle schools) will have continuing assignment to their designated HC pathway in Garfield HS, Lincoln HS, or West Seattle HS depending on the student’s home address. Families do not need to apply during Open Enrollment period.

    a. Beginning in 2019-20, Garfield, Lincoln and West Seattle High Schools will offer advanced placement course progression recommendations for students eligible to receive HC and AL services.

    Service Option 2: 8th grade students who are HC-eligible but are not attending an HCC Pathway Middle School will have a guaranteed seat at their HC pathway high school (Garfield HS, Lincoln HS, or West Seattle HS). Families must submit a Choice Form during the Open Enrollment period.

    Service Option 3: 8th grade students who are HC-eligible may be eligible for early entrance into the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program at Ingraham High School during their 10th grade year. Early entrance into the IB program at Ingraham is based on limited space availability. Families must submit Choice Forms during the Open Enrollment period.

    Service Option 4: 8th grade students who are eligible to receive HC and AL services may select to remain at their attendance area high school or attend another high school. Students can still enroll in the advanced courses available at that high school. Families must submit a Choice Form during the Open Enrollment period.

    Read more about enrolling your student in Seattle Public Schools.

    Advanced Learning High School Eligibility - It is rare for students to request HC eligibility at the high school level because students have access to advanced courses district-wide regardless of the high school they attend or their eligibility for HC services.  However, if there is still interest in obtaining HC eligibility at the high school level, please contact the Advanced Learning office for information about this process.  advlearn@seattleschools.org

    Contact Advanced Learning

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    Key Dates

    See our calendar webpage for upcoming dates and general referral and testing windows.

    Advanced Learning Updates