Highly Capable Vision

  • UPDATE: After careful consideration of our continued equity focus within the Highly Capable Program (HCP), and collaboration with our district and regional partners, we will not be administering the CogAT assessment within this remote setting during the 2020-21 school year.

    Instead, we will complete a data review on all HCP K-11 referred scholars and all 2nd grade scholars. This allows us to identify highly capable learners in an equitable way across our system.

    • If your scholar is identified as a highly capable learner, you will receive notification and they will start to receive specialized instruction and support to meet their needs starting school year 2021-22.
    • If your scholar is not identified as a highly capablelearner, you will receive notification that will include information about an appeal process and timeline.
    UPDATE 2: Based on recent developments, we will need to adjust the Highly Capable Referral Timelines:
    • May: 5/3/21 – 5/7/21 Consent Letters sent home. Eligible/Not Eligible letters sent home.
    • May: 5/10/21 - 5/18/21 Appeal window open
    • May: 5/21/21 Parent consent for HC services for the 2021-22 school year due
    • May: 5/24/21 Lists of eligible scholars with consent on file sent to principals


    In Federal Way Public Schools, we strive to:

    • Recognize the learning differences, developmental milestones, and cognitive/affective characteristics of highly capable scholars, including those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and identify their related academic and social-emotional needs
    • Design appropriate learning and performance modifications for scholars that enhance creativity, acceleration, depth and complexity in academic subject matter and specialized domains
    • Select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning for scholars.

Referrals for Highly Capable Services

Highly Capable Characteristics

  • Intellectual Characteristics 

    • Intense absorption in listening, observing or doing
    • Varied interests and likes to spend time beyond the ordinary on things of interest 
    • Self-initiated learner OR nothing is ever good enough and can't finish because it isn't correct 
    • Makes profound observations and asks provocative questions 
    • Excited about discoveries and is eager to tell others 
    • Boldness of ideas; original and unusual; has clever responses 
    • Shows initiative; eager to do new things OR shows little interest in what is to be learned 
    • Learns quickly through experience OR shows reluctance to do some assignments because s/he already "knows" 
    • Retains and uses ideas and information well OR plays around and tests well
    • Resourcefulness; ability to solve problems by clever methods

    Academic Characteristics 

    • High mathematics ability; one to two years above grade level in mathematics 
    • Reads one to two years above grade level 
    • Enjoys reading and reads a lot 
    • High levels of verbal ability; strong language skills; advanced vocabulary 
    • Excellent memory OR good guesser
    • Draws inferences 
    • Enjoys learning 
    • Needs one to two repetitions for mastery

    Creativity Characteristics 

    • Likes to invent new things
    • Imaginative story telling; language rich in imagery 
    • Shows interest and/or ability in fine arts (music, art, drama, dance) 
    • Imagination in thinking 
    • Originality and creativity in thinking 
    • Mature or keen sense of humor; may have difficulty relating to peers due to sophistication of humor 
    • Shows relationships among apparently unrelated ideas; uses analogies OR difficulty staying focused due to random thoughts and ideas 
    • Resourcefulness; ability to solve problems by clever methods; offers unusual, unique, clever responses

    Social/Emotional Characteristics 

    • Shows strong feelings and opinions 
    • Is highly self-critical 
    • Displays leadership ability in peer group 
    • Early onset of idealism and a sense of social justice 
    • Can conceptualize about many emotions he or she hasn't yet experienced 
    • Heightened sensitivity to expectations and feelings of others 
    • Awareness of his or her own differences 
    • Displays non-conforming behavior OR behaves in a way that is unique or different from peers 

Highly Capable Information

    • School Board Policy 2190 and Procedures 2190P
    • Federal Way Public Schools provides a K-12 model of services for Highly Capable scholars.

    Questions about individual school programs should be addressed to the school principal.

Opportunities in Secondary Schools

  • The Highly Capable Program ensures a continuum of services is provided for designated scholars K-12.  Upon designation, services for scholars will continue each year until a scholar exits the FWPS system (graduation or moving out of the FWPS service area).


    FWPS provides academic challenges and opportunities for enrichment through Academic Acceleration, strategic partnerships with outside agencies, and by offering a variety of Advanced  Programs that are available in all our middle and high schools. Scholars have opportunities to participate in Advanced Placement classes, International Baccalaureate course work, and the Cambridge Preparatory program.

  • Characteristics adapted from Riverview SD

    Vision adapted from NAGC

Contact Us

  • For immediate assistance, please contact your school.

    For district level questions, contact:

    Doug Ouellette

    Director of Highly Capable and Advanced Learning