Highly Capable

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Important Dates


School Year Identification Timeline:


  • K-1 Identification referral window: CLOSED
  • K-1 Screening: CLOSED
  • 2nd-11th Identification referral window: CLOSED
  • 2nd, 4th, & 6th-11th Screening: TBD
  • Universal CogAT screening (Grades 3 & 5): April 11, 2022 - May 6, 2022


K-12 Parent Information

OSD Highly Capable Program Identification Video that reviews our referral and identification process & OSD Highly Capable Programs and Services Video.


  • Have you used our FAQ link?


students in a rowNew Families

If the student is new to OSD and you would like to refer him/her for highly capable screening, please access the referral form here. These new students that are referred will typically be assessed in November, February, April, or during the regularly scheduled referral window, depending on their enrollment date.


If the student was identified as highly capable in their previous school district, please see specific information under “Highly Capable Transfer Students” in the links on the left side of this webpage.

OSD Highly Capable Definition (WAC 392-170-035)

Highly capable students are students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Outstanding abilities are seen within student’s general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain.

Critical and Creative Thinking Strategies

One of the focuses of the program is to expand student learning through the development of critical and creative thinking strategies which enable students to make real-world connections as they become independent, lifelong learners. These strategies incorporate 21st Century thinking skills which will help students recognize their growth mindset.


  • Visualization is a sensory strategy used to make connections to what students read and hear as well as to develop outlines, planning and goal-setting.

  • Plus, Minus, Interesting provides students the opportunity to comprehend the positive and negative aspects of what they think and experience. Students are progressing their independent thinking which leads to considering numerous possibilities and insights for more informed decision-making.

  • Encapsulation has students learn to synthesize information concisely.

  • Questioning is encouraged to assist in problem solving.

  • Point of View helps to establish an understanding of recognizing differing viewpoints which enables students to draw a more developed opinion of open-mindedness and potential collaboration.

  • Decisions and Outcomes allow students to gain an understanding of cause and effect relationships and how to deal with consequences of varying degrees.

  • Analogies help students make comparisons, relationships and connections.

  • Mind Mapping is the creation of a visual used to collect and recall information and expand creativity while connecting ideas.

  • Fluency, Originality, Flexibility, & Elaboration - students generate ideas and maintain open-minded thinking to further brainstorming and consider alternatives.


Summary of WAC 392-170 April 2013 Amendments

Purpose: Design a menu of service options for grade levels K-12 to support student learning needs.


  • Address Most Highly Capable Programming K-12 (intellectual; academic, creative domains).

  • Provide Continuum of Services K-12 for Identified Most Highly Capable Students.

  • Access to Acceleration and Enhanced Instruction for Highly-Capable Students is access to Basic Education in the State of Washington.

  • Districts to construct Highly Capable Definition and Student Learning Characteristics.


The legislature finds that, for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to basic education. School districts are to identify through the use of multiple, objective criteria those students “most highly capable” and eligible to receive accelerated learning and enhanced instruction in the service options offered by the district.

OSD Highly Capable Program Goals

(Board of Directors - March 2014)

Through program review, task force research, and Superintendent’s Recommendations, these program goals were identified:

  • Development of a Highly Capable Program that meets the unique needs of students, complies with Washington State law, establishes a vision for the future.

  • Considerations driving the recommendation: implementation with long range vision, equity and access, system capacity, financial resources, legal parameters, student and staff disruption.


OSD Definition of Learning Characteristics

(WAC 392-170-038)

The term learning characteristics means that students who are highly capable may possess, but are not limited to, these learning 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 quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength; and

  • Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus.


OSD Middle and High School Service Options

There are a variety of options available to secondary students in the Olympia School District.

Middle School students may choose to receive services in their assigned school, or op to attend the Jefferson Accelerated Math and Science (JAMS) program.

High School students have a variety of options including, but not limited to:

  • International Baccalaureate (IB) 
  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • Running Start
  • College in the Classroom

Please check the Highly Capable Program tab on the left for more detailed information.

Need additional information? Contact the OSD Highly Capable Program Coordinator.