Vashon Island School District

To equip every student to engage, thrive, and contribute within an ever-changing world.

Highly Capable Services


In accordance with the philosophy to develop the special abilities of each student, the Vashon Island School District shall offer an appropriate instructional services to meet the needs of the most highly capable students of school age within the State funding allocation.  The framework for such programs shall encompass, but not be limited to the following objectives:

  • expansion of academic attainment and intellectual skill;

  • stimulation of intellectual curiosity, independence and responsibility;

  • acceleration of specific content to meet student learning needs; and

  • development of a positive attitude toward self and others.

Selection of highly capable students shall not violate federal and state civil rights laws,

shall be based on professional judgment as to which students will benefit the most from inclusion in the district's program; and shall be based on a selection system that determines which students are the most highly capable.
Definition of Highly Capable 

Highly capable students are students who generally perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels (top 2%) when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments.

Highly capable students generally possess the following characteristics:

  • Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, to retain what has been learned, and to transfer learning to new situations;

  • Capacity and willingness to deal with increasing levels of abstraction and complexity earlier than their chronological peers;

  • Creative ability to make unusual connections among ideas and concepts;

  • Ability to learn very quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength.

Nominations for 2016-17
The Vashon Island School District provides a continuum of services for students identified as the most highly capable in grades K through 12. During the nomination period (January 17th through January 31st, 2017), any adult who knows the child may bring that student’s name forward by completing the Highly Capable nomination form (en Español). Students may also nominate themselves. Nominations must be returned to your child’s school office by January 31, 2017 in order to be considered for services next school year.
Please note:

It is not necessary to nominate kindergarten students--we will administer the screener as part of our school district’s assessment practice. You may choose to opt your child out of the kindergarten screener by completing the  "opt out" form.

It is also not necessary to nominate students who were already designated for highly capable services in our school district. 

If you have any questions, please contact the highly capable coordinator at your child’s school:

Chautauqua Elementary School: Julie Kangas, Assistant Principal

McMurray Middle School: Greg Allison, Principal

Vashon Island High School,FamilyLink or StudentLink: Danny Rock, Principal

Identification Process
Students in our district are all screened using the CogAT screener in Kindergarten for our primary highly capable program. If scores suggest that the student may meet district eligibility criteria, further assessment will be recommended. Students in fourth grade and above are screened using the state Smarter Balanced Assessment to determine potential eligibility for highly capable identification. Any student may self-nominate or be nominated by a parent/guardian, staff member or community member.
Students will be evaluated based on cognitive and academic criteria. Scores from the CogAT and/or CogAT screener are required components for the student evaluation. All data/evidence will be evaluated by the selection committee. The selection committee will determine whether a student qualifies as highly capable or not. All parents/guardians of nominated students will receive a decision letter at the completion of the evaluation. Please note the evaluation period may take several months to complete.
Information which will be considered during the evaluation process: CogAT and CogAT screener scores, state Smarter Balanced Assessment results, academic performance, benchmark testing in mathematics, nomination forms, behavioral scales and other information pertinent to the individual student's needs. 
Process for Appeal
Parents/guardians have the right to appeal the multi-disciplinary selection committee’s decision. Individuals appealing the selection committee’s decision must submit a completed appeal form requesting review of selection/placement decision. Grounds for appeal include but are not limited to errors in scoring, testing bias against students who are members of a protected class, and special circumstances including unique characteristics evident in student performances or products.

The written appeal request must include reasons for the appeal and any supporting documentation. The appeal request and supporting evidence must be submitted to the Vashon Island School District Teaching and Learning Department within ten school days of receiving the Committee’s decision regarding placement in the Highly Capable Program. The student’s file, assessment data, and additional evidence provided in the request for appeal will be reviewed. A decision will be made by the Highly Capable Program Coordinator within ten school days after receipt of the written request for reconsideration. The parent/legal guardian will be notified of the decision in writing. The decision of the Highly Capable Program Coordinator is final.

Exit Process
Students who are identified as highly capable remain in the program for the duration of their attendance in the Vashon Island School District unless removed by their parent/guardian. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) may remove their student(s) from the program by submitting a written request to the Director of Teaching and Learning. 

Interpretation and Translation Services

Under state and federal law, all parents have the right to information about their child’s education in a language they can understand. Title IV Regulations | Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC
Please click here, for more information about this topic posted on the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's website.