Highly Capable

Access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education. -WAC 392-170

The Puyallup School District offers a continuum of services for highly capable students K-12. Please see School Board Regulation 2190R for a full description of services.



Referrals are accepted based on data or evidence from teachers, other staff, parents, students, and members of the community. Nominators will use the district’s nomination form to refer a student to be considered for admission in the program. 


The district will obtain written parental permission prior to conducting assessments to determine eligibility for participation in its Highly Capable Program (HCP).

Nominees identified for further testing through the screening process will be assessed using multiple objective criteria. The assessment process shall be based upon a review of each nominee’s capability as shown by multiple criteria, from a wide variety of sources and data, intended to reveal each nominee’s unique needs and capabilities. All assessments must be administered by the Puyallup School District, or administered and certified by another school district. The assessment criterion consists of both qualitative and quantitative (the district may select one or both) instruments and may include the CoGAT 7, the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test, standardized state assessments, and district based common assessments / data. Students being screened for the secondary highly capable programs may have additional assessments which may include the Orleans-Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test and a writing assessment.



A multi-disciplinary selection committee will review data that has been collected for each of the nominated students. The multi-disciplinary selection committee is composed of: A special teacher (provided that if a special teacher is not available, a classroom teacher shall be appointed); a psychologist or other qualified practitioner with the training to interpret cognitive and achievement test results; a certificated coordinator or administrator with responsibility for the supervision of the district’s highly capable program; and additional professionals, if any, that the district deems desirable. 

The multi-disciplinary selection committee will evaluate individual student assessment profile data using a blind (no name) process. The selection decision is based on:

  1. - A preponderance of evidence from the profile data demonstrating that a student is among the most highly capable;
  2. - Evidence of clear need for highly capable services; and
  3. - Determination of which students would benefit the most from inclusion in the district’s program.

A single assessment score or indicator will not prevent a student’s selection for the HCP; however, individual pieces of evidence, if strong enough, can indicate that the student would benefit from services. If properly validated tests are not available, the professional judgment of the qualified district personnel shall determine eligibility of the student based upon evidence of cognitive ability and/or academic achievement.

The multi-disciplinary selection committee will review all applications and make one of four determinations:

  1. - (Qualified Placement) The student qualifies under the criteria of most highly capable and will be placed in program.
  2. - (Provisional Placement) The committee is unable to make a determination based on a preponderance of the evidence. The student may be offered, at the discretion of the multi-disciplinary committee, a provisional placement in the Highly Capable program. Provisional placements will be reviewed yearly by the multi-disciplinary selection committee. Additional testing or data may be requested by the committee each year. Provisional students are not considered selected or identified for continuing placement within the program. QUEST / PAGE provisional students will not be provided transportation out of resident attendance areas.
  3. - (High Performance Placement) Students who have demonstrated high performance and consistently achieve above grade level, have strong task completion and embrace challenges but for whom the cognitive assessment data does not support qualification for the HCP. These students may benefit from and contribute to the unique learning environment of a QUEST, PAGE or accelerated classroom as space is available. Such placements will be reviewed yearly by the multi-disciplinary selection committee, and high performing students are not considered selected or identified for continuing placement within the program. QUEST / PAGE high performing students will not be provided transportation out of resident attendance areas. 
  4. - (No Placement) The student’s data does not qualify them for placement in the HCP program.

 The district will:

  1. - Notify parents of students who have been selected. Parents will receive a full explanation of the procedures for identification, an explanation of the appeal process, an explanation of the procedures to exit a student from the program, the information on the district’s program and the options that are available to identified students;
  2. - Obtain parental permission to place identified students in the program before any special services and programs are provided to the student;
  3. - Schedule a meeting of all such parents; and
  4. - Conduct an annual parent meeting to review each student’s educational plan.

Process for Appeal

Parents/legal guardians have the right to appeal the Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee’s decision. Individuals appealing the selection committee’s decision must submit a completed appeals form or letter requesting review of selection/placement decision. The written request must include reasons for the appeal and, to support reconsideration, provide additional evidence of significantly advanced cognitive or academic levels and/or outstanding intellectual, academic, or creative abilities.

Appeals must be based upon one of the following conditions:

  • - A condition or circumstance believed to have caused a misinterpretation of the testing results. i.e., incorrect birthdate or grade level used in calculating the student’s score.
  • - An inequitable application of the identification procedures. i.e., the applicant’s proficiency with the English language.
  • - An extraordinary and temporary circumstance that negatively affected the validity of the test results. i.e., a traumatic event or physical distress immediately preceding the test.

The appeal request and supporting evidence must be submitted to the Puyallup School District, Student Learning Department, within ten (10) school days of the Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee’s decision notification.

The district’s Appeals Committee will review the student’s file, assessment profile data, and additional evidence provided in the request for appeal. Appeals are reviewed by an Appeals Committee that consists of an Administrator, Psychologist, Principal, and Teacher. All submitted documents are closely and carefully reviewed. The Committee is looking for evidence that the results of the testing are not a true representation of the child's abilities. The decision of the Appeals Committee may include:

  • - Upholding the original decision of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee.
  • - Reversing the decision of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee.

A decision will be made by the Appeals Committee within ten (10) school days after receipt of written request for reconsideration. The parent/legal guardian will be notified of the decision in writing.

The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.


Exit Process 

The exit process may be initiated for students who no longer demonstrate a need for highly capable program services. A request may be made by a teacher or program administrator for highly capable student identification and placement discontinuation. The Multi-Disciplinary Selection Committee will convene a meeting to review the student’s profile to determine if the student qualifies for program services based on assessment data and selection criteria. The multi-disciplinary selection committee may request additional evidence of student capabilities and/or willingness to participate in the program. If the committee determines that the student no longer qualifies for highly capable program services, it may be recommended that the student be exited from the program. The parent will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision and of the appeal’s process.

A parent/legal guardian may request that the student be withdrawn or request a furlough from the program or a student may voluntarily withdraw or request a furlough from the program. A meeting will be convened by the Highly Capable Program Coordinator/Director to discuss the request. If the parent/legal guardian desires to withdraw the student from the program, the student will be exited or temporarily furloughed from the program. Furloughed students may reenter the program at the beginning of the following school year. The multi-disciplinary selection committee will determine if identification procedures are necessary for exited students wishing to reenter the program in the future.

Gerald Denman
Chief Equity and Achievement Officer

Kelly Zimmerman


253-840-8959 (fax)

Nancy Velazquez
Highly Capable Coordinator

302 2nd St SE
Puyallup, WA 98372