Highly Capable Services

  • The Mercer Island School District is focused on successfully preparing all students for their future. Mercer Island School District's Primary Enrichment Services (grades K through 2) are intended to serve our "most highly capable". Mercer Island Highly Capable Services is designed to meet the academic needs of our students in grades 3 through 12 who are identified as our "most highly capable" students based upon Mercer Island School District's identification and selection process. 
    Contact Jamie Prescott, Director of Learning Services

    Translated Information: Chinese | Korean | Spanish

    Primary Enrichment Services are provided to students in their respective general education classrooms in kindergarten, first, and second grade. Classroom teachers receive coaching from our Instructional Differentiation Coach to implement differentiation strategies to meet all students' unique needs.   

    Highly Capable Services, including 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.

    Service Delivery

    Primary Enrichment Services K-2: Primary Enrichment Services (PES) is an inclusive model that provides enrichment opportunities to students in Kindergarten, first, and second grade. Students who qualify to receive services remain in their general education classrooms and their general education teachers provide enrichment opportunities. These services are separate from Highly Capable Services and qualification for PES does not guarantee qualification for 3-11 Highly Capable Services. Educational research tells us that enrichment within the classroom is far more effective than a pull-out model. 

    Highly Capable 3-8: Students in third through fifth grade who qualify for Highly Capable Services are self-contained in specific classrooms at West Mercer Elementary and Lakeridge Elementary. Students who receive Highly Capable Services remain with their class throughout the day and move to their enrichment activities (PE, art, music, and library) with their class. Highly Capable Services at Islander Middle School (grades 6-8) focus 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.
    Highly Capable and PES Monitoring: As a district, and provided by state law under ESSA, we are required to continually examine our services and modify them to meet the needs of all of the students in our classes. During the 2017-2018 school year, the district underwent a review of our Highly Capable and PES services. More information about the review can be found on the September 13, 2018 MISD School Board Agenda. During the 2018-2019 school year, an advisory committee convened to discuss the review and the recommended service changes and will continue their work through the 2020-2021 school year to ensure our services align with the District's vision, mission, and core values.
    For more detailed information please see the following documents:
    Policy and Procedure:

    2020-2021 Timelines
    Highly Capable and Primary Enrichment Services 

    Testing Levels

    Additional Information