PEP and HiCap FAQs

  • Is the district planning to discontinue the PEP and HiCap programs?
    As part of a regular evaluation cycle, the district contracted with the Center for Education Excellence to conduct a program review of our HiCap Program during the 2017-2018 school year. The review was to determine effectiveness in meeting the program goals, expectations, and compliance with regulations. We received the review earlier this year and shared it with the board and teachers and invited parents to attend the meeting to learn more about what was stated in the report. The next step of the process is to convene an advisory committee to digest the review and provide guidance as we proceed to research and implement best practices. The HiCap Advisory Committee will meet for the first time in late December 2018. Since the committee has yet to convene, any conversation about what is or is not happening with the HiCap program is conjecture. Per state law we need to provide a program for Highly Capable/Gifted students - we will continue to offer these services and meet our legal obligations, we just don't yet know exactly what the program may look like in the future.
    What score does my child need to get into the program?
    MISD uses a matrix for qualification, to see this matrix, please review our Highly Capable Procedure found on our Highly Capable web page. 
    How often can my child test?
    Students may only test once every 12 months.
    How do I nominate my child for testing?
    Visit our website. Nominations are filled out online during the nomination window. Nomination windows are firm and no exceptions are made. 
    How will I know the nomination was received?
    Google will send you an email of receipt. You may have to check your spam folder.
    How do I prepare my child?
    Students need not be prepared. In order to get an appropriate result and subsequent placement, we want to ensure that the results are accurate. Each student will receive practice questions on the day of testing.
    What tests do you give to qualify students?
    K-2 PEP: Students take the CogAT Form 7 Screening Form. If they qualify on that, then they will receive a portfolio review which includes additional math testing.
    3-12 HiCap: Students take the CogAT Form 7 Full Battery and the ITBS in Reading and Math.
    When is testing? What if I am not in town?
    Please see the testing and placement tables on the Highly Capable web page.
    Will you take outside testing scores?
    Potentially—we will examine previous scores to determine eligibility once your child is enrolled in our district. 
    How do I transfer into the program, if my child is coming from a program elsewhere?
    After enrollment, please send the following information to Jamie Prescott, either by email; US postal service– 4160 86th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040; or Fax– 206-236-3370: All test scores (test scores must be on official letterhead or testing company report) along with an overview of the current program information, including qualification requirements. After our assessment of the information you send, we will either place your child in our HiCap program or require that your child take further testing in our district. If further testing is needed, your child will have to adhere to our regular HiCap testing schedule. 
    What if my child does not qualify?
    PEP and HiCap are specialized programs intended for a small population of students (similar to Special Education). Teachers in all classrooms work to differentiate in their classes to meet the needs of all.
    Why is HiCap only held at West Mercer and Lakeridge, and not at all four elementary schools?
    We do not have a large enough Highly Capable program to sustain in all four elementary schools. HiCap students who live in the Island Park and Lakeridge neighborhoods attend Lakeridge (HiCap South). HiCap students who live in the Northwood and West Mercer neighborhoods attend West Mercer (HiCap North).
    PEP is held at all elementary schools.
    How is transportation handled if my child lives outside the designated HiCap elementary school neighborhood?
    Please see information at MISD Transportation.