Frequently Asked Questions about Testing and Referral:
When will the testing results be available?
Once testing is completed for all referred elementary, middle, and high school students, the tests are scored by an external agency. The scored tests, along with other data points such as state and district assessments, are reviewed by a Multi-disciplinary selection team as required by law. Final decisions about qualification along with score reports will be mailed to families 2-3 months after the referral due date.
How do I refer a student for highly capable services?
To refer a student for assessment, complete the student information/referral form and submit it to the district office. Click here for more information.
Do I need to refer my second grader?
No. All second graders in Bellingham Public Schools will be given an aptitude screener. Students whose screeners place them in approximately the top 10% of students at their school site will be automatically referred to be assessed for inclusion in the Highly Capable Program (exact percentages may vary from year to year depending on population numbers).
My student was referred in the past and was not eligible for highly capable services, can I refer them again?
Students who have not been previously identified for HCP services in Bellingham Public Schools may be referred once every twelve-month period.
My student qualified in one area. May I refer them to be tested again for another area?
No. The identification process is rigorous and the Multi-Disciplinary Team looks at data points in all academic areas. Because of the careful data review process, additional referrals will not be accepted.
My student was referred by a teacher or community member; do I need to do anything else?
The school district must have parent or guardian permission before a student can be assessed for Highly Capable Program services (WAC 392-170-047). To give permission, complete the referral form for your student and sign where indicated at the bottom of the form granting permission for the district to assess your student. Please note we do not accept permission forms which are scanned or contain an electronic signature. You may also choose to decline to have your student assessed.
Does my student need to retest every year?
No. Once identified, a student will receive Highly Capable Program services at each grade level unless formally exited from the program.
Can students be exited from Highly Capable?
Yes. A student may be exited from Highly Capable at any time by parent or guardian request. Staff may also recommend exit if they determine the services do not meet the student’s needs. Criteria for exiting the program will include a review of standardized test scores, student work samples, and/or other assessment data as needed.
I am transferring into Bellingham Public Schools next year; can I refer my student for testing now?
We can only assess students who are currently attending Bellingham Public Schools. Transfer students may be referred when they begin attending and will be assessed during the next available testing window. If your child is currently receiving Highly Capable/Gifted services and they transfer to Bellingham Public Schools, please let the school know when you register your child.
My student attends a local private school; may I refer them for Highly Capable Program assessment in Bellingham Public Schools?
We can only assess students who are currently attending Bellingham Public Schools.
If I would like to speak to someone about my child’s specific needs as a student identified Highly Capable, who do I contact?
For questions pertaining to the identification process, qualifying conditions and the district approach to Highly Capable, you are always welcome to contact Chelsea Jackson, secretary for Highly Capable. If the questions are specific to your child’s experience, you will first want to collaborate with your child’s teacher(s). If speaking to the teacher doesn’t appear to meet the needs of your child, please request a meeting with both the teacher and the principal. If, at that point, you feel additional collaboration is necessary, you may contact the district office (Chelsea Jackson, secretary for Highly Capable).
What are ways my child might be supported in their math development?
During the 2016-17 school year teachers in second through eighth grade were supported with opportunities to learn about and implement math menus. Each grade level has a set of unique rich tasks that have been developed in partnership with Western Washington University (WWU) to provide engaging and challenging math experiences. We also use our continuum of services to determine if a student may benefit from single subject acceleration. In fifth grade we identify students who may benefit from an intensive intervention by taking Compacted Math 7/8 as sixth graders. This is generally the top 1-2% of mathematicians. For more information about our middle school math pathway please click here.