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We have two (companion) bills on highly capable programs before the Legislature. SB 5354 and HB 1641:  Concerning Programs for Highly Capable Students. You can read the bill in its entirety here.

Getting a bill introduced is only the first step. 

Bills must get a public hearing in the policy committee(s) before the cut off date. Sometimes this is difficult to do. Over 1100 bills have already been filed this session with more to come and there will not be time to hear them all.

We want to be sure our bills get an early hearing in both the House Education Committee (HB 1641) and the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee (SB 5354). We ask your help in getting a hearing scheduled.

Below is a list of the members of the House and Senate education committees. If any legislator listed for either committee is yours, PLEASE email or use the hotline 1.800.562.6000 and request that they ask the committee chair to schedule an early hearing date. Be sure to give the appropriate bill number.

Not sure of your district or legislators? Go to https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

h_s education committees contact list.numbers

Please take this first step within the next 72 hours. Sooner is better than later.

There will be subsequent opportunities to advocate for these bills including one we’ll be sending out next week, but this is the first and most important. Without a hearing, the bills are dead and we’ll have to start all over again next year.

Thank you for taking this important step for our highly capable students!

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gifted ed day flyer 2019 - sb 5354 & hb 1641Download a PDF of this document here.

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Time is running out to get the HCP funding formula changed. The last bill alive is HB 2051, which was heard in the House Appropriations Committee this morning. Because of the short notice given on this bill HCP advocates were not able to testify. We need you to flood the House Appropriations Committee with messages before the executive session tomorrow (April 23) at 1:30.

We oppose Section 3(10)( c) of HB 2051 for Highly Capable Program funding. The Legislature asked OSPI and the State Gifted Advisory in 2010 to define what constitutes a basic education program for Highly Capable students. These recommendations, including an appropriate state-level funding structure, were sent to the Quality Education Council which has three times adopted them and sent them to the Legislature.

Yet, Highly Capable is the only basic education program that has not received increased funding in the $1.3 billion McCleary appropriations proposals before the Legislature.

Highly Capable Programs are an integral part of basic education which means Highly Capable students as a class are entitled to a basic education. A basic education no matter what district they attend. Students who are sometimes identified as behavior problems in elementary school or who might become drop outs in middle and high school are often unidentified gifted students whose needs have not been assessed and addressed. Gifted students in small, rural, and high poverty school districts are entitled to the same opportunities for a basic education as those in urban and wealthy districts. Current funding levels do not provide this opportunity. Requiring parents of Highly Capable students to lobby their school board to ensure access to a basic education in NOT equitable, yet that is what the current level of state funding requires them to do.

Ask legislators to please fund Highly Capable Programs at the 5% of FTE level and at the hours recommended by the QEC. Providing Highly Capable Students a basic education is good for both the students and the State.

Please contact the members of the House Appropriations Committee as soon as possible. Use any of the information provided above to formulate your message. A list of committee members follows. Because using the Legislature’s email service requires you be a resident of the district, you will need to email each member separately. The format for names is FirstName.LastName@leg.wa.gov. It may be easier to use the Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000.

If you do so, be sure to write out your message before placing the call. Operators take down your message verbatim and send it on to the legislators so having it written out before you begin ensures your message is clear and gets to the legislators as you composed it.

Ross Hunter, Chair
Timm Ormsby, Vice Chair
Gary Alexander, Ranking Minority Member
Bruce Chandler
J.T. Wilcox
Vincent Buys
Reuven Carlyle
Eileen Cody
Cathy Dahlquist
Hans Dunshee
Susan Fagan
Tami Green
Kathy Haigh
Larry Haler
Paul Harris
Zack Hudgins
Sam Hunt
Laurie Jinkins
Ruth Kagi
Marcie Maxwell
Dawn Morrell
Kevin Parker
Jamie Pedersen
Eric Pettigrew
Liz Pike
Charles Ross
Joe Schmick
Larry Seaquist
Pat Sullivan
David Taylor

This may well be our last chance to influence the budget this session. Please contact the above legislators before 1:30 Tuesday afternoon!

Thank you for your advocacy for and support of our Highly Capable students.

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A number of Legislative positions (in the 17th and, possibly, the 47th Legislative districts) will not be decided until recounts are concluded in early December. Otherwise the makeup of the Legislature is pretty well settled. If you want to check it out, go to www.vote.wa.gov  and click on election returns.

The Quality Education Council (QEC) and the Joint Task Force on Education Funding (JTF) are getting close to finalizing their recommendations to the Legislature. The Coalition has made presentations to both groups at their public meetings and submitted a position statement to them on Highly Capable funding.

Based on the most recent revenue forecast, it appears there will not be sufficient revenue to fund the increase in basic education funding necessary to meet the requirements of the McCleary decision. Governor Gregoire will be submitting her proposed budget in December (as required by law) and Governor-elect Inslee will submit his proposal after he takes office in January. No doubt there will be several budget proposals floated in the Legislature from both houses and both parties. All of this is going to make for a most difficult session. There are unverified rumors that some parts of basic education may be suspended for a year or two. I do not know if this is possible; the Coalition will do its best to keep you informed as to what is happening and to let you know when you need to contact your Legislators about HCP funding or other vital issues. Look for our regular messages and follow us on Facebook.  http://www.facebook.com/wagifted 

Gifted Education Day on March 19th is going to be an important piece of our advocacy efforts. Please plan to join us in Olympia. An XXL turn-out is vital to our chances to get a new, more equitable, funding formula for HCP into the budget.

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We invite you to join us at our general meeting on Friday, November 30 at the Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Avenue SW, Burien, beginning at 10 am. We will be planning our strategy for the legislative session and begin organizing for Gifted Education Day. If you live in the Puget Sound area, please join us. Everyone is welcome!

On the agenda are (1) HCP funding issues, (2) The McCleary Decision and what it means for HCP, (3) Strategy for the upcoming legislative session, (4) Reports from observers at the QEC and JTF meetings, (5) Discussion on continuing to offer the Joint Membership with WAETAG and NWGCA, (6) Planning for Gifted Education Day.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to wagifted@earthlink.net so we know how many to plan for.

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Opportunity for Training.

The League of Education Voters is holding their 3rd advocacy training session in January. For more information go to the LEV Website.

More opportunities to learn about gifted.

SENG will hold its 2013 Annual Conference in Orlando from July 19-21.  More details are on SENG’s website.

The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children will hold its biennial 2013 conference August 10 through 14, 2013 in Louisville Kentucky. For more information, go to http://www.worldgifted2013.org/

Last, and certainly not least, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  We are thankful for your support.

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“…for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning
and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.”
ESHB 2261, Sec. 708

Helping students learn and grow is a goal of every school. Implicit in that goal is an understanding of how to work with special populations of children. Gifted and talented education (known as Highly Capable Programs in Washington State) encompasses the expertise needed to properly identify and serve not only the students who demonstrate high achievement, but also those who have the ability to achieve at high levels. The term also  covers the specific services and programs offered as well as the teacher training necessary to provide the academic guidance gifted students need in order to thrive. Gifted and talented education, then, is the system by which districts recognize and serve this special population of children. (National Association for Gifted Children).

In our state, basic education for Highly Capable students is a program that allows these students to continue to show measurable growth. A portion of the students any district serves are Highly Capable. Some of them are identified and programs provided; some are not identified and have no services available. Our intention with this statement is to provide information to assist you as you develop a proposal for a reliable and dependable funding mechanism to support basic education programs, including Highly Capable Programs.

The basic costs of educating a student are a classroom, a teacher, curriculum materials, and maintenance, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC). These basic education costs apply to all students. Since Highly Capable  Programs are an integral part of basic education, these funds should be used to provide HCP program services for these students.

There are additional costs for educating a highly capable child including identification and curriculum materials. The Legislature provided funding for these additional costs based on 2.314% of FTE. The current biennial budget provides $8,745,000 for FY 2012 and $8,788,000 for FY 2013.

Districts may, and many do, expend additional funds to reach more students. Based on the most recent annual report, for the year 2008-2009, the Highly Capable Program grant of $8,938,800 funded services for 24,428 students. Districts used local funds of $34,532,205 to serve an additional 21,762 students. In total, districts spent $43,471,005 in state and local dollars combined to provide highly capable program services to 46,190 students. Thus for each $1 the state spent, districts spent up to $5 of their own funds. State and local dollars combined to provide highly capable program services to 46,190 students. With an estimated one million students in Washingtonʼs K-12 schools, this equals 4.62% of FTEs rather than the 2.314% in the formula.

With the passage of HB 2261, the Legislature authorized the Funding Formula Technical Working Group to study the costs of basic education and supplemental allocations.

Based on information provided to it, the FFTWG determined that the 2.314% funding basis was too low and recommended that a research-driven study be commissioned to determine the appropriate percentage. The recommended study has not been authorized.

The FFTWG also recognized that the new formula might create allocations for small districts that are too little to provide any meaningful Highly Capable Program; thus a floor may need to be developed.

Subsequent legislation established the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group which was composed of experts from higher education, classroom teachers, parents, and representatives from state commissions for cultural, linguistic and racial minority groups, persons with disabilities and state Tribes. The HCPTWG submitted the report and recommendations to the Legislature In studying the question of funding and identification, the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group:

  • Determined that the current enrollment limit of 2.314% is a constraint based more on funding than comprehensive identification of eligible students.
  • Found that HCPSs comprise at least 5 % of total enrollment.
  • Recommended that the “enrollment assumption be revised from 2.314% to 5% to mitigate the number of identified but unserved highly capable students” (HCPTWG Recommendations, page 24) and that the hours in the formula be increased to 5.

Current state funds alone do not provide an appropriate educational opportunity for all highly capable students in Washington state. The Quality Education Council reviewed the FFTWG and HCPTWG reports and has recommended to the Legislature that it base funding for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 on a minimum of 5% of FTE using the class size and hour recommendations of the QEC from the August 13, 2012 review of Prior Recommendations.

We support this recommendation and also request that:

  • The Legislature provide funding equivalent to the total of state and local funds currently spent.
  • A study be authorized to determine the appropriate percentage of FTE to be included in the funding formula.

If Washington is to continue to be a global leader in creativity and innovation, it is essential that we give our best and brightest young people the finest education we can.

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This message has five sections.

1. A reminder that the Coalition leadership group and those wishing to become more active in the Coalition will meet on Tuesday, October 25, at the Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Ave. SW, Burien. We will be “open for business” at 11:00 and available to talk with you before the meeting proper begins at noon. We anticipate being done by 2 pm. Please join us!

As you know, on October 24th the Governor is scheduled to present  her proposals for a supplemental budget to be considered by the Legislature in their special session scheduled for November 28. It is anticipated that this will be a major topic of discussion.

2. Highly Capable Programs have acquired several strong endorsements and some publicity in recent weeks.

A. The Washington State School Directors Association reaffirmed their long standing position on HCP services at their September Legislative Assembly.

7.1.7 Education for Gifted

The WSSDA shall initiate and/or support legislation which would assure funding for the education of gifted students at a level of 10 percent of the student population, place that funding within the basic education allocation system and set a minimum number of students to be funded in small school districts. (Adopted 1987; Amended 2005)

Their number one priority for the coming legislative session is

1. Full Funding of Basic Education

WSSDA shall initiate and/or support legislation that fully funds and implements all aspects of Washington’s redefined program of Basic Education as outlined in ESHB 2261. (Chapter 548, Laws of 2009)
and since HCP is now a part of basic education, that includes HCP funding.

B. KIRO radio in Seattle broadcast a piece on HCP and the transcribed version is available at http://mynorthwest.com/11/560022/Above-average-students-need-help-too. WSSDA included it in their daily eClippings, which go electronically to all members and others statewide who have signed up to receive them.

C. At their Legislative Assembly last weekend, the Washington State PTA voted unanimously for the following proposition, which also scored highly in their recent on-line survey:

HIGHLY CAPABLE: The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that ensure highly capable children (K-12) receive an appropriate basic education, which includes access to highly capable programs (K-12).

The Washington State PTA recommends that the Legislature and Quality Education Council build on the work of the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group. This shall include, but not be limited to:

Advocating for a standard definition of highly capable and working to ensure students who are both highly capable and students of color, who are poor, or who have disabilities, have equitable access to the state’s highly capable program.

Further, Washington State PTA supports the recommendation that districts that do not currently offer highly capable programs refer to the guidelines set forth in the report of Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group.

3. Don’t forget the WAETAG State Conference at the Convention Center in Wenatchee on October 28 and 29.  More information is available on their website at http://www.waetag.net.   There will be sessions for parents.

4. You can help us gather some much needed information. What services does your district provide for students who are gifted in one area but not another, i.e. strong in writing/reading, but not strong enough in math to qualify for whatever program the district offers. We know some districts provide enrichment and/or acceleration in the domain of strength while others do not. What does your district do?

Please send your responses to wagifted@earthlink.net. Thank you.

5. Don’t forget to renew or become a member of the Coalition or the Joint Membership. All three groups need your financial support. As you can see by the items above, we still have lots of work to do!

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The Legislative session has finally come to an end. In virtually last minute votes, the Legislature approved a budget (E2SHB 1087) which is “kind” to gifted programs; enacted the new “minimum instructional program of basic education” and the HCP funding formula in ESSB 5919, effective September 2011; and failed to enact the Recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group (bills 1443 and 2111).

It will take us awhile to sort out the details of what this all means and where it leaves gifted programs for the next school year, but here are some preliminary remarks.

• The budget has two parts. Another supplemental for the current year was part of 1087. It made no changes to HCP funding, beyond what was done in the 5th supplemental (HB 1086).

• In the biennial budget for 2011-2013, enhanced funding is provided under the new formula for HCP. It is both good news and bad. Depending on what base line you use, the funding for districts took a cut of between $200,000 and $250,000. Harder hit were our associated programs. Centrum took a 50% cut in its funding and Future Problem Solving/Destination ImagiNation took a 100% cut in funding.

• ESSB 5919 authorizes the implementation of education reform measures  (the “minimum instructional program of basic education”) beginning September 2011. Among its provisions is the new formula for calculating HCP enhanced funds. See Sec. 2(10)( c ) of the bill. This means that HCP services will be a mandated part of basic education. Nothing in either this bill nor the budget requires districts to offer any particular program or service, only that appropriate services must be provided. Districts remain free to determine what level of services are needed within the district. Districts will need to apply to OSPI for the enhanced funds, as they have for the categorical funds in the past. and submit their plan for approval.

While becoming a mandated part of basic education with an adequate funding appropriation is fulfillment of a long time Coalition goal, in view of the draconian cuts to education and social services, we aren’t celebrating too loudly.

What we do say loudly is a big vote of THANKS to all the advocates in the state whose efforts made this possible. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Below is section 511 of the biennial budget

NEW SECTION. Sec. 511. FOR PROGRAMS FOR HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENTS

General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2012) . . . .$8,741,000
General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2013) . . .  $8,794,000
TOTAL APPROPRIATION…………….   $17,535,000

The appropriations in this section are subject to the following conditions and limitations

(1) Each general fund fiscal year appropriation includes such funds as are necessary to complete the school year ending in the fiscal year and for prior fiscal year adjustments.

(2)(a) For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, the superintendent shall allocate funding to school district programs for highly capable students as provided in RCW 28A.150.260(10)(c). In calculating the allocations, the superintendent shall assume the following: (i) Additional instruction of 2.1590 hours per week per funded highly capable program student; (ii) fifteen highly capable program students per teacher; (iii) 36 instructional weeks per year; (iv) 900 instructional hours per teacher; and (v) the district’s average staff mix and compensation rates as provided in sections 503 and 504 of this act.
(b) From July 1, 2011, to August 31, 2011, the superintendent shall allocate funding to school districts programs for highly capable students as provided in section 511, chapter 564, Laws of 2009, as amended through section 1409 of this act.

(3) $85,000 of the general fund–state appropriation for fiscal year 2012 and $85,000 of the general fund–state appropriation for fiscal year 2013 are provided solely for the centrum program at Fort Worden state park.

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