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The process for determining highly capable eligibility is comprehensive and multi-layered. We look beyond classroom grades to assess a student's cognitive abilities. We review cognitive screening scores and overlay additional factors such as state and local assessments, grades and social and emotional traits to place students in the program that is the best fit for them individually.
Identifying Eligible Students
There are several pathways for students to enter the identification process.
District-wide second- grade screening: Tacoma Public Schools screens all 2nd grade students using the NNAT screener. The screening takes place in October with program placement the following school year. If you wish to opt your child out of screening, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating that you wish to opt out. Please include your child's name and school in the email.
If your child has a 504 plan or an IEP and requires special accommodations, send that information in an email to email@example.com. Please include your child's name and school, and any other pertinent information in the email.
Referrals: Students may be referred by their parent/guardian, teachers, community members, and through self-referral using the our online Referral Form. After a referral is received, the Highly Capable Office will gather achievement scores and cognitive ability scores on file. Additional information from others who know the student, may be gathered. If there is no cognitive score on file, the student will be screened using the NNAT screener following the Highly Capable Evaluation Cycle. If there is a cognitive score on file, the student will not be rescreened.
Students transfer with documentation: Students that qualify for highly capable in another district or state are reviewed for eligibility in the Tacoma Highly Capable program. The Highly Capable team works with parents on a case by case basis to gather information and place transfer students into the appropriate Highly Capable services. Call 253.571.1120 for more information, email official identification documentation to hcservicestacoma.k12.wa.us, or FAX official identification documentation to 253.571.1189.
For all students who enter the identification process, the MDSC determine eligibility and makes the final decision for participation in the district’s services for highly capable students. The MDSC is comprised of the Highly Capable Services Director, a special teacher (from a current highly capable classroom), and a psychologist. Additional certificated staff may be invited to attend. The multi-disciplinary selection committee reviews all referral packets, which include cognitive scores, performance scores, and other information, and makes one of the following determinations for each student:Qualified placement: The student qualifies under the criteria of most highly capable and will be offered services.No Placement: The student’s data does not qualify under the criteria of most highly capable and will not be offered services.
Parents or guardians may appeal the MDSC decision by submitting a completed Appeal Form and letter. Appeals must be made within 15 school days of receiving a non-eligible decision. An appeal must include reasons for the appeal and any additional documentation or evidence of significantly advanced cognitive or academic levels and/or outstanding intellectual or academic abilities. All additional documentation must be material not previously considered.
Teachers are not involved in the appeals process and do not provide any additional documentation for the appeal packet.
Under State guidelines there are three reasons/circumstances in which an appeal can be considered:
The district's Appeals Committee will review the student's file, assessment profile data, and additional evidence provided in the request for appeal. The Appeals Committee is composed of: A special teacher (provided that if a special teacher is not available, a classroom teacher shall be appointed); a psychologist or other qualified practitioner with the training to interpret cognitive and achievement test results; a certified coordinator or administrator with the responsibility for the supervision of the district's highly capable program; and additional professionals if any, that the district deems desirable.
A decision will be made by the Appeals Committee within 30 school days after receipt of written request for reconsideration. The parent/legal guardian will be notified of the decision in writing. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.
Submit completed materials to the Highly Capable Office at Tacoma Public Schools, 601 South 8th Street, Tacoma, WA 98405. Alternatively fax to 253-571-1189 or to email HCservices@tacoma.k12.wa.us.
Exit (opt-out) Process
253-571-1000 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Contact us »
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