West Seattle schools: New ‘pathway’ planned for ‘highly capable’ students – Fairmount Park, Madison, WSHS

Thanks to the reader who called this to our attention. Seattle Public Schools is setting up a “pathway” through local schools for students identified as “highly capable,” the first of its two tiers of advanced-learning programs, the one that was formerly known as APP, and it’s looking for interested people to be part of a focus group. As explained in this letter, the pathway would start with Fairmount Park Elementary, which offers “highly capable” placement now, and would continue with Madison Middle School and West Seattle High School:

The Office of Advanced Learning is collaborating with school and community members to develop a Highly Capable Cohort pathway for students in West Seattle. That is, when the pathway is established, students identified as Highly Capable could eventually be served from kindergarten through 12th grade in HC classrooms at schools located in West Seattle.

We are forming a Focus Group to provide an opportunity for school leaders and community members to collaborate on implementing new HC services at Madison Middle School and West Seattle High School. If you are interested in joining the Focus Group, application forms will be made available by mid-April on the Advanced Learning website www.seattleschools.org/advlearning.

The pathway will take time to develop and will not be fully in place by next school year, but we want to help families understand their options for this fall:

Fairmount Park Elementary became a Highly Capable Option School this year – the first in West Seattle. At Highly Capable option schools, HC students are clustered in classes, where they learn together at an accelerated and/or deeper level. As the numbers of HC students grow, HCC classrooms will be formed. When students are identified through our testing procedures as eligible for HC, families may enroll them in Fairmount Park. Alternatively, a number of West Seattle’s elementary schools offer advanced learning opportunities or Spectrum programs.

Note that eligibility for Spectrum and HC requires following the Advanced Learning identification procedures. HC-identified students are automatically eligible for both advanced learning opportunities and Spectrum. See our web pages and the administrators at your neighborhood school for more information.

Madison has been identified as the West Seattle middle school that would offer the Highly Capable option. Establishing Madison as an official HC option school would be the next step in establishing the full K-12 pathway, with fall 2016 as the target date for implementation. As with Fairmount Park, HC students at Madison would be clustered in existing classes or placed in self-contained classes, depending on enrollment. Families wanting their HC-identified students in a guaranteed self-contained cohort may enroll them in Washington Middle School. HC students who attend Madison, however, are guaranteed places in the school’s Spectrum core subject classes, which offer learning at an accelerated or deeper level, where teachers will appropriately differentiate the instruction based on student need/level.

High School
West Seattle High School is seen as the Highly Capable option site in the WS pathway, and has already begun to expand its menu of Advanced Placement courses in preparation. An official target date has not yet been established. Meanwhile, current HC students may choose to attend Garfield (which offers a robust menu of Advanced Placement courses) or Ingraham (which offers the accelerated International Baccalaureate program). Note that Chief Sealth International High School offers the IB Diploma program, and is planning to introduce the IB Career Path in the future.

We welcome the opportunity to expand Highly Capable services in the West Seattle neighborhood. Please see our web pages to learn about testing, enrollment, program sites and more.

Stephen B. Martin
Supervisor, Highly Capable Services
Seattle Public Schools

The district has a Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee which in fact has its next meeting in West Seattle, 6:30 pm next Tuesday, April 7th, in the library at Fairmount Park (38th/Findlay).

3 Replies to "West Seattle schools: New 'pathway' planned for 'highly capable' students - Fairmount Park, Madison, WSHS"

  • NWMama April 3, 2015 (9:59 pm)

    This is the best news I’ve heard all day!!!

  • Lynn April 4, 2015 (10:04 am)

    I’d like to hear from a current (or recent) Madison parent. How do you feel this program will fit into the school? Are the staff generally supportive of advanced learning?

    I have heard from the principal recently that there are no Madison 6th graders taking 8th grade math. I’m sure there are some (particularly coming out of Schmitz Park’s Singapore Math) who are ready to work two years ahead.

    I’m not convinced the benefit of reduced travel time will outweigh the advantages of the program at Washington Middle School. I’m ready to hear what other people with experience at either Madison or Washington think.

  • Brenda April 7, 2015 (11:31 am)

    Great news! We have a child that will start Kindergarten in the Fall. I thought that HC programs started in 1st grade but above says a K-12 program. Does anyone know if there is a Kindergarten option?

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