covid-19 closure resources for students and families
The Blaine School District seeks to create an environment that can support the continuous growth and development of each and every learner. Growth requires opportunities to stretch; to reach beyond one’s current level of development in any given context. In pursuit of this principle, we offer a Highly Capable Program - REACH - to help meet the unique needs of students whose exceptional levels of talent or giftedness indicate a need for work that is accelerated and/or that incorporates even greater levels of depth and complexity than the rich core instructional program we seek to provide all students.
We are working to support this through a variety of facilitative structures, including cluster grouping, opportunities for compacting and acceleration, extensions of depth and complexity, advanced placement, project-based learning, independent study opportunities and mentoring relationships.
We are working to ensure that the staff charged with meeting the needs of highly capable learners has the necessary resources and training to meet the unique needs of this population.
DEFINITION OF HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENTS
(Washington Administrative Code 392-170-035)
Highly capable students are students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Outstanding abilities are seen within students’ general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. These students are present not only in the general populace, but are present within all protected classes.
Common characteristics of highly capable learners:
(Washington Administrative Code 392-170-036)
"…students who are highly capable may possess, but are not limited to, these learning characteristics:
- Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, to retain what has been learned, and to transfer learning to new situations;
- Capacity and willingness to deal with increasing levels of abstraction and complexity earlier than their chronological peers;
- Creative ability to make unusual connections among ideas and concepts;
- Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength;
- Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus” in an area of interest."
HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENT ASSESSMENT REQUEST
If you would like to have a student considered for REACH, Blaine School District’s highly capable program, you may complete our digital referral form or a paper option. If you wish to use our paper option, please either print the form using the link below or pick up a form at any school building, and return the request form to your student’s school, the Building REACH Coordinator, or Dawn Cottnair, the District REACH Program Coordinator.
REFERRAL AND SCREENING
Referrals for the REACH program may be made by a teacher or through a district wide data review. Data that may be used to scan for possible candidates might include state and building assessments, language acquisition data, and portfolios or work samples.
Parents/guardians and other community members may also make referrals using the referral form posted on this site. Students may also self-nominate using the same referral form.
If a student is found to be a candidate for testing or further evaluation, parents who have not already given signed permission for assessment on their personal referral form will be sent a permission to test form that must be returned in order for the student to test. Usually, this would be the Cognitive Abilities test (CogAT) which helps assess “general intellectual aptitudes” and certain “specific academic abilities”.
A Multidisciplinary Selection Committee (MSC) consisting of, at minimum, the building principal, a special teacher (WAC 392-170-070), the Coordinator of the Highly Capable Program, and a school psychologist or other personnel with the training to interpret cognitive and achievement test results, will consider whether there is sufficient evidence of a need for enhanced and accelerated instruction in order to support exceptional “intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, or creative productivities within a specific domain.”
Such evidence will be drawn from multiple criteria and may include superior scores on the CogAT, significantly advanced scores on state assessments, surveys of gifted characteristics and other evidence demonstrating exceptional cognitive or creative abilities or potential.
Parents/Guardians will be notified in writing with the MSC’s decision. Parents/guardians will also receive a copy of the student’s scores for any test(s) administered during the identification process.
If a student is identified as needing highly capable services, parents/guardians will be notified in writing. If permission was not already given through the referral process, the parent must return the signed Permission to Participate form that will be sent home with the letter of identification.
Once a student enters the REACH Program at the Blaine School District, they will continue in the program until Graduation, unless the parent, student or District requests withdrawal in writing.
Parents may appeal the decision of the MSC if they feel their student should have been screened and/or selected for the REACH Program. This appeal must be in writing using the form included on this website and sent to Dawn Cottnair, District REACH Coordinator, 765 H Street, Blaine, WA 98230. The Appeals Committee will meet to review all appeals and return their decision in writing.
HIGHLY CAPABLE PROGRAMS AT THE BLAINE SCHOOL DISTRICT
K-3rd Grade REACH: Students will primarily work in their grade level classrooms. Their classroom teachers will differentiate the curriculum as appropriate for each child. Students will also be involved in weekly pull-out services using Google Meet. These 30 minute weekly sessions will focus on logical problem solving skills, pre-algebra skills, creative thinking skills, and engineering skills. Each REACH student will have a REACH Folder that includes work for our weekly sessions as well as homework to be done during any school time when they are not already involved in meets or assignments.
4th-5th Grade REACH: Students will primarily work in their grade level classrooms. Their classroom teachers will differentiate the curriculum as appropriate for each child. In math, teachers will offer Concept Quests, a curricular extension opportunity that allows students to develop depth and complexity in their mathematical understanding. In addition, due to the unique nature of the 2020-2021 school year, teachers will provide resources and menu type activities for afternoon and Friday learning menus that allow for extension and acceleration of skills. Students in grades 4 and 5 will also be given IXL accounts, which allow for more individualized extension and acceleration opportunities online. Students can explore concepts of interest, as well as accelerated skills in math, reading, social studies, and science. We are also planning a few Google Meet type events throughout the year where students can interact with each other and work collaboratively.
MIDDLE SCHOOL - The middle school REACH program provides opportunities for accelerated learning and complex thinking. The cornerstones of our program include clustering our gifted students together in classes, and offering project based learning and opportunities for acceleration. Clustering enables teachers to develop appropriate curriculum for gifted students, at a pace and level of complexity that works for these students. It also enables gifted students to work with their intellectual peers and develop social-emotional skills. Opportunities for accelerated learning include Advanced Math in Seventh Grade, Algebra in Eighth Grade, advanced literature options in Language Arts, project based inquiry in Social Studies, as well as modified work as needed in the Core classes.
HIGH SCHOOL - Services include the following:
- REACH Advisory group for each grade level, which meets once a week.
- Student Learning Plan with a focus on talents and interests, goal setting and 13th year plans.
- REACH students lead their peers in extracurricular activities such as clubs, community events, athletics, and the arts.
- College and Career planning using WOIS platform.
- Guest speakers.
- Advanced Placement and College in the Classroom course opportunities.
- Accelerated placements, especially in math and science.
- Students are able to take an intensive summer course and move ahead in the math sequence.
- Students are able to double up on science and math courses.
- Students are able to take AP courses as sophomores.
- APEX courses in areas of interest and passion for courses not offered at the high school.
- Summer enrichment courses in areas related to their 13th year plan.
- *Field trips for exposure to college and career opportunities and for personal enrichment, such as Amazon, Microsoft, UW Medical Center, Western Washington University, Boeing Company, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Art Museum, Pacific Science Center Exhibits, and Boeing Stem Signing Day
*There will be no field trips for 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19