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    Highly Capable and Advanced Learning Services

    Welcome to Advanced Learning

    The arrival of Chief of Student Support Services Dr. Concepcion Pedroza, and Advanced Learning Department Supervisor Deenie Berry have signaled a new era; the department is moving from a long-standing focus on testing to centering culturally responsive teaching and learning.

    The following changes have served as an initial public step in enacting the Advanced Learning’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist department. These are aimed at making the department’s services stronger overall. In the 2019/2020sy we have:

    • Our student skills survey has been expanded from a narrow focus on academics to a holistic picture of the student which adds creativity, leadership, and motivation.

    • Students’ talents emerge in different settings: family, neighborhood and faith communities as well as the classroom.

      • As of Aug. 28, 2020 family and community members can provide their perspective via the student skills survey, formerly only available to the child’s current teacher.

      • A survey submission is then forwarded to the family, encouraging them to refer their child for Advanced Learning services.

    • Upon receiving Highly Capable eligibility, the student’s family and teacher can now receive guidance from an Advanced Learning Program Specialist as to optimal services and placement. 

    • Logistical improvements have been made to more intentionally support students receiving special education services as they proceed through referral and testing.

    • To identify and support Black Excellence, universal testing for AL services occurs for all second graders across the city: from Rainier Beach to Northgate and surrounding neighborhoods.

    • Course titles and sequencing have been systematized across all middle schools.

    • Most barriers to access to advanced coursework at the high school level have been removed in the last year.

    Please Note Update to Referral Window

    The Advanced Learning Department has postponed the opening of the 2020-21 referral window due to the possibility of COVID-19’s effect on Saturday testing. With between 5,000 and 10,000 testing sessions scheduled each year, scheduling tests & then rescheduling would cause more confusion for families than modifying the referral window. The Advanced Learning website will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. Please contact us with any questions at advlearn@seattleschools.org.

    Tentative Referral Window Dates: August 28 - December 7, 2020 

    All schools within Seattle Public Schools are committed to providing quality instruction designed to meet the academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs of each and every student.

    For students demonstrating an exceptional ability or potential to learn and reason beyond their same-age classmates each school develops a plan for advanced teaching and learning as part of the annual school Continuous School  Improvement Plan (CSIP) process.

    Is my child an advanced learner?

    As you think about whether you should refer your child for evaluation for Highly Capable or Advanced Learning services, think about the indicators including verbal skills, learning behaviors, and social-emotional development.

    Advanced Learning News and Updates

    About Our Services

    Highly Capable (HC) Services/Opportunities for eligible students in grades K-12 provide differentiated practices unique to each building. Read more about Seattle Public Schools Highly Capable Services.

    Advanced Learning (AL) Services, for students in grades 1-8 who demonstrate high academic achievement, but who do not meet the definition of Highly Capable, are served in their neighborhood schools. Read more about K-8 Advanced Learning Services and Opportunities.

    Students in 6th through 12th grade: Read more about Highly Capable and Advanced Learning in Secondary Schools.

    Identification, Testing and Eligibility Process

    Per the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), students are referred by their parents to participate in the eligibility evaluation process. Read the WAC 392-170-080 Washington State Educational Program for Highly Capable Students.

    Delivery of advanced learning services includes students with disabilities (twice-exceptional students) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all social-economic, ethnic and cultural populations.

    Read more about: Testing and evaluation

    Exiting Services or Programs

    Students may be exited from Highly Capable Services if the services are no longer appropriate. A meeting of the parent/guardian, teacher, administrator, a representative from the Advanced Learning Office, and the student (at parent/ guardian discretion) shall precede such a service delivery change.

    Contact Advanced Learning

    Have a question?
    Contact Us


    Advanced Learning
    PO Box 34165, Mail Stop 32-936
    Seattle, WA 98124

    Key Dates

    See our calendar webpage for upcoming dates and general referral and testing windows.

    2020 Referral and Eligibility Timeline for Seattle Public Schools Students

    August 28 - October 1, 2020

    Submit online referral via the Source.

    September - December 2020

    Take cognitive assessment or other assigned test(s)

    September 2020 - January 2021

    Seattle Public Schools gathers all the data

    December 2020 - January 2021

    Seattle Public Schools MSC makes the eligibility decisions

    December 2020 - February 2021

    Eligibility notification posted to the Source account.

    January - February 2021

    File appeal if necessary

    February 2021

    Open Enrollment for School Choice

    February - June 2021

    Stay in current placement until following school year

    February - June 2021

    Communicate with your child's teacher about eligibility.

    Resources for staff

    MySPS MTSS webpage (requires login)

    Related Links

    Highly Capable and Racial Equity Services Advisory

    Advanced Learning Task Force (ALTF 2018-19)