Highly Capable Program

Port Townsend School District's Highly Capable Program Coordinator is  Diane Lashinsky
Her email address is: [email protected]

In Washington State, there is no mandate to provide special services for students who are identified as highly capable.  However, a small grant to be used for the benefit of these students (requiring compliance with state regulations for nomination, assessment, selection, appeals and programming) is available annually by application.  Currently, Port Townsend School District's highly capable program is funded only by the grant.

We do not identify students to create a select population, but, rather to acknowledge and contribute to meeting the needs of students who have demonstrated an exceptional capacity for learning and/or performed at a level significantly exceeding that of their peers.

We select students for our program in the fall of 4th grade.  Once selected, a student remains on the highly capable role until he/she graduates.  Transfer students identified as highly capable at a former district are automatically included.

An aptitude test, the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is given to all 3rd graders each spring.  Parents are notified in writing, and have the option to opt their student out of this testing.  Data is also used from the 3rd grade reading and math Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) exams.

A parent of, or a student nominated but not selected to participate in the highly capable program may appeal using the following process:

•  Submit a written request to the Program Coordinator to review test scores and other critera used for selection.
•  Meet with the Program Coordinator to review the data.
•  If the appealing party is not satisfied, he/she may appeal to an appeals committee consisting of the building principal, school counselor and at least one of the student's classroom teachers.
•  If the appealing party is still not satisfied, the appeal may be presented first to the district superintendent, and if needed, the district board of directors.


•  Oversee nomination, testing selection, appeals and evaluation processes.
•  Oversee administration of the Cognitive Abilities Test to 3rd grade students each May.
•  Assists with staff development
•  Encourages teachers to differentiate instruction in the core curriculum by adjusting pace, content and/or products;
•  Provides workshop to teachers on differentiating instruction.
•  Provides small group classes, and mentors students with independent studies.
•  Coordinates and trains adult volunteers for Destination Imagination and First Lego Robotics.
•  Serves as the district contact for High Capable.

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