A bill introduced in the State Senate could significantly revise the way school districts use funds earmarked for Highly Capable Services, the legally required programs provided for students identified as “gifted” or specially talented. Especially notable is in the bill is a mandate that every student be screened for HC eligibility by Grade 6.
Senate bill 5354, as introduced:
- Requires districts to conduct Highly Capable (HC) screenings of each student at least once in or before second and sixth grade. While some districts already have this “universal” screening, in Seattle parents or guardians must request testing, and the student must demonstrate potential eligibility.
- Requires professional development for principals, counselors, and instructional staff, as well as the members of a district committee that decides which students are eligible for an HC program.
- Requires collection and reporting of HC program data.
- Provides “to and from” transportation for HC program students.
- Requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to designate staff to provide guidance to school districts regarding HC programs.
Current law mandates Highly Capable Services as necessary “basic education” for gifted students, and districts receive money earmarked to help provide services. Seattle expects to receive $1.6 million in these funds this year.
The bill’s information page also offers citizens an opportunity to comment.