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Highly Capable Programs


Statement of Purpose:
The PASD is committed to meeting the unique needs of students who demonstrate exceptional ability, academic achievement, and creativity. The PASD provides a continuum of services for students identified as the most highly capable.

We recognize that highly capable students perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels compared to others of their age, experience, or environment. Highly capable students are present in kindergarten through 12th grade throughout our schools and all demographic groups. 

Highly Capable Program Goals

  • To identify students who have high intellectual and academic ability;
  • To provide differentiated instruction appropriate to the needs of gifted learners;
  • To develop in students a sense of self, lifelong learning, quality production, and critical/creative thinking abilities.

Additional goals to support a strong program include:

  • To engage in ongoing evaluation of students’ progress and placement;
  • To provide appropriate professional development opportunities to maximize teaching effectiveness in differentiating for the academic and social/emotional needs of gifted learners; and
  • To engage in ongoing program evaluation and revision (WAS 392-170-030)

Highly Capable Students WAC 392-170-036)
Those students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels compared to others of their age, experiences, or environments. Highly Capable students may possess, but are not limited to, these learning characteristics:

  1. Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, to retain what has been learned, and to transfer learning to new situations;
  2. Capacity and willingness to deal with increasing levels of abstraction and complexity earlier than their chronological peers;
  3. Creative ability to make unusual connections among ideas and concepts;
  4. Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength; and
  5. Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus.

Point of Contact:

  1. Tanner Zahrt, Director of Student Programs

    Port Angeles School District tzahrt@portangelesschools.org1 360-565-3703

  2. Michelle Olsen, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, 360-457-8575

Highly Capable Referral Notice: Due November 15th
Parents should complete the Highly Capable Referral Notice by November 15th to be considered for Hi-Cap services.

Highly Capable Programs and Continuum of Services (WAC 392-170-075/078)

Grades K-6
Highly Capable Services at Home/Neighborhood Schools
Advanced Potential/Academics in English Language Arts or Math
Students who qualify for services in one academic area or both (ELA/Math),as an advanced academic student will receive enhanced curriculum and/or specialized instruction in the general education classroom at their home school site. Teachers and administrators will analyze student’s instructional needs on a continual basis in order to enhance the growth, potential, and unique characteristics of Highly Capable students.

Grades 3-6 Ridge Program, Dry Creek Elementary School,
Highly Advanced Potential/Academics in English Language Arts and Math
The Ridge is a self-contained program that is part of Dry Creek Elementary focused on behaviors, characteristics, and high learning potential of highly capable students who work at levels above their age- and grade-level peers. It is a multi-age setting for students who have qualified in all academic areas and/or with evidence of extremely high cognitive reasoning abilities, received recommendation by the multidisciplinary selection committee, and have  parent permission. A self-contained setting allows not only for academic growth, but also provides for the unique social and emotional needs of the gifted child. Teachers of this program have received professional development. The teachers will have the support of instructional coaches, the Highly Capable Team, as well as access to a variety of professional development workshops.

Grades 7 - 12
Teachers will analyze student’s instructional needs on a continual basis and will differentiate curricula in order to enhance the growth, unique characteristics, potential, and interests of Highly Capable students. Students will have options to attend advanced academic classes such as Honors and AP classes, as available.

Notification of highly capable identification results will be mailed to parents and guardians during the first two weeks of May each year.