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Highly Capable Services

What does it mean to be Highly Capable?

There is no “classic” description of the gifted child. They are as diverse in their characteristics as the “average” child, which is why our identification process looks at multiple data points before qualifying a student.

This 2-page PDF document demonstrates the subtle differences between a bright or high-achieving student and a highly capable student.

Highly capable students may exhibit some of the following characteristics:

  • Curious
  • Persistent about things that interest them
  • Highly developed vocabulary - sometimes specialized
  • Not always the high achievers
  • Extremely motivated to learn what interests them - sometimes this interferes with other things
  • Grasps ideas quickly
  • Advanced questioning skills
  • Highly developed sense of humor - not always understood by age-mates
  • Specialized skills - not always good in everything, especially those whose area of strength is non-verbal or quantitative reasoning
  • Creative - sometimes in off-beat ways
  • Non-conformist
  • May not fit into classroom mainstream - particularly those whose area of strength is non-verbal or spatial reasoning
  • Significantly above grade level
  • Easily bored by routine tasks, or those tasks they feel they have mastered
  • Easily frustrated by things that they don't understand right away
  • Sensitive to perceived criticism from adults and peers
  • Sometimes try to hide their talents
  • Highly developed sense of right and wrong (or the reverse in a few cases)
  • Manipulative (in some cases).



What does Highly Capable Program look like in South Kitsap School District?

In accordance with Washington state law and to serve students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. South Kitsap School District (SKSD) currently identifies students in two domains: verbal/literacy and quantitative/mathematics. Students who are identified for services are generally in the top 3-5% of their peers and/or 3+ grade levels above their peers in one of these domains. These students are present not only in the general populace, but are present within all protected classes.  

SKSD is committed to offering these highly capable students services that provide:

Bulb Balloon
  • 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.

Highly capable students thrive in an educational environment which will increase their involvement and interest in learning.  This may be in a self-contained classroom with other identified students or in their regular classroom. Please use the menu on the right to find information regarding our program services and our referral and identification process. If you have additional questions feel free to contact us.

Program Overview

The highly capable program was developed in order to address the special needs of highly capable students. The program focuses on higher order thinking skills, academic rigor, social and emotional needs, and creative and critical thinking. We strive to provide students challenging and stimulating curriculum along with the opportunity to be among their intellectual peers. We also create a positive environment where individual ideas and risk-taking are valued.

Highly capable services in South Kitsap School District include a variety of options per grade level.  A wide range of instructional strategies are utilized to ensure that the diverse learning needs and styles are met for all students.

Current Service Models for a Continuum of Services          

K - 2nd grade: 

Qualified students receive enrichment services at their regular schools. These services may include clustering with other identified students, differentiation in assignments, interest projects, walk-to opportunities, small group instruction, etc.

3rd - 5th grade: 

Option 1: S.O.A.R. (Students Of Accelerated Rigor)
Qualified students are invited to enroll in SOAR our district's full-time self-contained program for highly capable students housed at Orchard Heights Elementary School. Students are provided with an academically rigorous program of study in all content areas with specially trained teachers. Critical thinking, creativity, and logical reasoning are embedded within the curriculum. 

Option 2: Cluster students that are identified as Highly Capable but opt-out of SOAR will receive services in the general education classroom at their neighborhood school. Typically, these students are clustered with other Highly Capable identified students in their grade. 
The services Highly Capable identified students may receive differentiation in assignments, interest projects, walk-to opportunities, small group instruction, specialized curriculum, etc. 

6th - 8th grade: 

Qualified Highly Capable students are clustered in grade-level advanced Language Arts and Social Studies courses and an academically appropriate advanced math course. These rigorous courses will help prepare students for Advanced Placement (AP) courses. 

9th – 12th:

Students identified as highly capable meet with advisors to monitor class schedules as well as academic and other needs. Students are encouraged to enroll in a challenging course of study through class offerings such as Advanced Placement (AP), Honors, College in the High School, Running Start, accelerated math, CTE courses, enrichment, academic competitions, and on-line options. 

Exit Process

Occasionally it becomes apparent that the middle school advanced courses are not a good fit for the individual needs of a student. The decision to exit the student from the advanced level courses will be made jointly by the parent, student, counselor, and teacher.

  1. Student/Teacher conference. 
  2. Student/Parent/Teacher conference.
  3. Student/Parent/Teacher joint decision. Exit form completed by parent and submitted to Highly Capable Program Staff. 

Contact Information

Highly Capable Services: (360) 874-6300
2689 Hoover Ave SE, Port Orchard, WA 98366

  • Joanne Warren - Assistant Director of Teaching & Learning
  • Suzette Fernandez - Highly Capable Services/Testing Coordinator
  • Krissy Baese - Highly Capable Services Assistant