Highly Capable Program

Program and placement information for qualifying students is coming

Families of students who have qualified will receive more information regarding program and placement, as we get into the spring.  

The Mercer Island School District is focused on successfully preparing all students for their future. The Mercer Island Primary Enrichment Program (grades K through two) is intended to serve our "most highly capable". The Mercer Island Highly Capable Program is designed to meet the academic needs of our students in grades three through twelve who are identified as our "most highly capable" students based upon Mercer Island School District's identification and selection process
Info about Highly Capable program

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Mission Statement

In accordance with the philosophy to develop the special abilities of each student, the Mercer Island
School District offers appropriate instructional programs to meet the needs of exceptionally gifted and
talented students.
Our Primary Enrichment Program serves as a pull-out and/or push-in model to enrich students' general education curriculum.  
Our Highly Capable Program curriculum, instruction and assessment practices are designed to meet the following objectives:
  • Expansion of academic attainments and intellectual skills;
  • Stimulation of intellectual curiosity, independence and responsibility;
  • Development of a positive attitude toward self and others; and
  • Development of originality and creativity.


  • To provide enriched and accelerated academic opportunities with an emphasis on the development of higher level thinking skills including application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of content and concepts.
  • To offer a rigorous academic curriculum that is at least one year above grade level in math and reading at the elementary level so as to appropriately challenge and motivate students to excel.
  • To offer an environment where highly capable students are encouraged to reach their full potential.
  • To address the social and emotional needs of highly capable students through teacher support, peer interaction, and by fostering a sense of community.
  • To prepare students for future contributions to society and to encourage life-long learning.


Program Design

Primary Enrichment Program K-2: The Primary Enrichment Program (PEP) is an enrichment program that offers pull-out instruction to K, 1, and 2 students. Students who qualify for this program remain in their general education classrooms with enrichment pull-out and/or push-in once a week. This program is separate from the Highly Capable Program and qualification for PEP does not guarantee qualification for the 3-11 Highly Capable Program.

Highly Capable 3-8: The grades 3-8 Highly Capable Program is self-contained in grades 3 through 5 at West Mercer Elementary and Lakeridge Elementary. Students in the Highly Capable Program remain with their class throughout the day and move to their enrichment activities (PE, art, music, and library) with their class. The Highly Capable Program at Islander Middle School (grades 6-8) focuses on science, English and social studies. All other content areas are integrated with the general population of students.

Highly Capable 9-12: We continue to provide services to our highly capable students in high school through honors and AP courses, which are available to all students. This continuum of service provides appropriate support and accommodation for all highly capable students from identification to graduation.

For more detailed information please see the following documents:
Policy and Procedure:
Nomination Forms:
Grades 1 & 2 (all Kindergarten students are tested in the winter)-
Grades 3-11 (all second grade students are tested in the winter)- 
Additional Information:
2016-2017 TENTATIVE Timelines for Highly Capable and Primary Enrichment Program 
•   2016-2017 Highly Capable (HiCap) Tentative Testing Timeline
•   2016-2017 Primary Enrichment Program (PEP) Tentative Testing Timeline
  • August testing is for new families and those who missed the opportunity to test in January (August 17th and 18th, 2016)
  • September testing is only for new families  
Testing Levels