Highly Capable Program Goals

  • As per Policy 2166 and in accordance with the philosophy to develop the special abilities of students, the district shall offer highly capable services to identified kindergarten through twelfth grade students in order to accelerate learning and enhance instruction.  The framework for such services shall encompass, but not be limited to, the following objectives:
    • expansion of academic attainments and intellectual skills;
    • stimulation of intellectual curiosity, independence and responsibility;
    • development of a positive attitude toward self and others; and 
    • development of originality and creativity. 

Test Schedules & Locations

Characteristics of the Highly Capable Student

  • As defined by the Washington Administrative Code (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 students; general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. 
    Further, WAC 392-170-036 states that "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.


  • All students within the North Thurston school district boundaries who are motivated to take on a more rigorous academic curriculum are eligible to apply.  Students are welcome to test for highly capable identification once per year (calculated from the last testing date).
    Out of district students may be assessed for a non-refundable fee of $150.  Placements will be offered to out of district students only if there is capacity two weeks prior to the beginning of the school year and will need to reapply every year for continuation in the program. 
    Each school year, the identification of students for the highly capable program will begin during the first semester for grades K-1 and second semester for grades 3-12.

K-5 Elementary School Highly Capable Service Options

  • Grades K-2 
    Once identified, highly capable students in Grades K-2 will have access to accelerated learning through differentiation in their neighborhood school. 
    Grades 3-5 
    Identified highly capable students entering grades 3-5, may be served either in a self-contained program (Talented and Gifted (TAG)) or at their neighborhood school through differentiation.   

6-8 Middle School Highly Capable Service Options

  • Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, NTPS began phasing in a new Middle School Highly Capable program.  This program is designed to accomplish three main goals:
    • Enhance access to rigorous and challenging courses;
    • serve students in either a math/science pathway and/or an English Language Arts/social studies pathway; and
    • serve students in their home schools.
    For the 2018-2019 school year, this program will be a service option for incoming 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Students who are identified and qualify, will be placed in an English Language Arts/social studies pathway and/or a math/science pathway.  For science, students may be placed in a self-contained class or cluster grouped with differentiated instruction.
    Note: students being considered for 8th grade highly capable math, must have successfully completed Algebra prior to enrollment.

9-12 High School Highly Capable Service Options

  • Highly capable students in grades 9-12 who seek a more rigorous curriculum have a variety of options available to them including Honors classes, Advanced Placement classes, College in the High School and the Running Start Program. Please contact assessment@nthurston.k12.wa.us for more information.
Last Modified on March 26, 2019