SKSD’s Highly Capable Program enters transition phase

This will serve as a transition year for South Kitsap School District’s Quest program.

Shannon Thompson, the district’s director of teaching and learning, said Quest, which is the district’s state-funded Highly Capable Program, will be adjusted to meet requirements passed by the state Legislature.

Thompson said Marcus Whitman Junior High assistant principal Kris Christenberry will lead a task force, which will include community members, “to ensure our program meets best practice and legal requirements. We want to make sure what we’re doing is right and is going to be best for the kids in meeting their needs.”

She said those changes will be implemented for the 2015-16 school year. One change, Thompson said, will include offering some “level of service” to gifted students at their elementary school.

Through this school year, those accepted into the program that do not attend Hidden Creek Elementary School are transported from their school or home one day a week.

Maureen Dawson, Quest program teacher, told the Independent in 2010 that she had about 25 students in each level from third through sixth grades. She said runs nominees — students within SKSD’s boundaries are eligible to apply — through a battery of tests to determine whether they belong in the program. Dawson said the first involves verbal, nonverbal and spatial skills. She said students must excel in at least one of those categories to move on to a creativity exam. The final test is conducted by a school psychologist to determine cognitive ability.

Thompson said the district is in the process of implementing programs at the junior-high and high-school levels to meet state requirements. That includes the addition of Advanced Placement courses. In September, South Kitsap High School will add 13 Advanced Placement courses, while the district’s junior highs will offer Advanced Placement Human Geography and Environmental Science for freshmen.


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