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Bainbridge school board approves plan for highly capable students

Following the recommendations presented by members of its Highly Capable Review Committee, the Bainbridge Island School Board unanimously voted to approve a first year, phased-in plan for highly capable students.

District officials said the phased-in approach means services will be implemented in the next school year to meet newly adopted Washington state requirements. The school district said the extended rollout also means a chance to revise and refine services in future years to address feedback from students and parents and improve the plan.

“We’re excited to increase services to K-12 students to ensure we have a high quality program that meets the unique needs of students, complies with state law and establishes a vision for the future,” said Superintendent Faith Chapel.

The change in the law requires the district to expand the grade level of students being served. The district currently serves students in grades 4 to 8, but starting next school year, the district will identify and serve students in grades K-12.

“We are enthusiastic about creating a program that complies with the law, and more importantly, meets the needs of our highly capable students,” said Stephanie Stephens, a member of the Highly Capable Review Committee.

“The existing program must be significantly revised to satisfy those goals, but any such revision should be done thoughtfully and with care. A phased-in approach strikes that balance,” she said.

To support schools as the changes are implemented, the committee also recommended the addition of two new full-time staff members. One staff member will focus on grades K-6, while the other will focus on grades 7-12.

The new staff members will provide support and training to teachers, provide some direct services to students, support the nomination, screening and identification process and support the development and implementation of learning plans for students within the program.

Both staff members will assist with district-wide coordination, program accountability and evaluation, officials said.

The Highly Capable Review Committee made the following recommendations to the school board:

The new program must provide consistency of highly capable services offered during the school day in grades 4-8 and develop strategies for supporting students in grades K-3 and 9-12;

The nomination, screening and assessment of highly capable K-12 students will be based on multiple measures, and students who are currently identified as highly capable will not need to be reassessed; and

Students can be identified as highly capable who are not achieving at a high level, and conversely, not all students who are high achieving will be identified as highly capable.

The district will host a highly capable informational meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, in the district’s board room at 9530 NE High School Road.

Additional information on the presentation and details of the process for nominating students for highly capable services are available on the district’s website at http://bisd303.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=156.

 

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