Posts Tagged ‘HCPTWG’

“…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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The legislature is going into special session beginning Monday since they have been unable to agree on a second supplemental budget during the regular session. While we all hope they will limit themselves to the budget, any bills may be considered so who can guess what will happen.

All the various budget proposals with even a breath of life in them treat Highly Capable Program funding similarly. The small differences in the total amount to be allocated result from different case load counts and pension adjustments and do not reflect an intent to decrease funding to the districts.

Last minute actions kept levy equalization funding at the current level while prior versions of the budget made a big cut. It is hard to know what the compromise that eventually emerges will do so, if you have strong feelings about LEA, contact your legislators now.

More information may be posted but as of right now, the most recent budget proposal is in amendment 1344 on the ESB 5967 page at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5967&year=2011


Several bills which would have enacted some of the recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group, including a new definition of a highly capable student and guidelines for identification, got caught in an intramural squabble and failed to get out of committee in both houses. The Coalition had serious concerns about these bills, so this is not entirely a bad thing – better no bill than an unsatisfactory one – and we will be back to work on the issue in the next regular session. Meanwhile, we will continue our work with OSPI to get as many of the recommendations as possible included in the necessary rewrite of the Washington Administrative Code (WACs) and to get the rewrite done as soon as possible. Your strong showing on Gifted Education Day makes our work easier.

With all the various educational issues that came before the legislature, you may wonder why the Coalition did not call your attention to any of them. This is because the Coalition is a single issue political advocacy organization: appropriate educational opportunities for highly capable students. We advocate with legislators and administrators for these students and usually do not become involved in other issues, thus leaving our supporters free to take individual stands as they see fit.


We have been successful in obtaining a permit to use the Columbia Room for Gifted Education Day 2013 on February 8. The date is early enough in session to avoid conflicts with cut off dates which make it difficult to get appointments with legislators and, so far as we know, does not conflict with school holidays. Please mark your 2013 calendars now!


The following comes from the National Association For Gifted Children, our national organization which lobbies with the Congress.

No Federal Funding For Gifted Ed In 2012 – Congress Directs Department To Continue Research

In mid December, 2011 the Congress approved a package of appropriations bills to fund federal agencies and programs through September 2012.  The “omnibus” bill does not include funding for the Javits program, which was de-funded in 2011, but the report that accompanies the omnibus appropriations bill includes some supportive language for gifted education.

The “report language” urges the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), the U.S. Department of Education’s research arm, to continue research into the learning needs of gifted and talented students, to retain a national research center on the gifted, and to include gifted and talented children in the key data collection efforts and reports developed by IES.  NAGC and CEC will discuss with Department officials several ways in which IES can meet Congress’s intent to continue this critical research.

Gifted students have been fortunate to have long-time friends in the Congress who lead the effort to secure support for funding for the Javits program each year. Gifted education supporters have done a great job in developing bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for the needs of gifted students.  It’s imperative that we keep up the education and advocacy efforts with every Members of Congress so that there is increased understanding and support that can be translated into federal initiatives.

The annual federal budget process is now underway in Congress. To find what you can do regarding funding for Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, please go to


We need you to take action by March 16th.

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A number of bills are in public hearings this week and we are keeping track of them. We have advocates down in Olympia to testify.

SB 5475, which would delay implementation of inclusion of HCP into basic education for two more years. There was a public hearing on Monday in the Senate K-12 committee and everyone who testified on this bill, including seven HCP advocates, thought it was seriously flawed. The chairman indicated it will be revised. We testified against it and wrote offering to work with the committee on the necessary changes. We’re waiting for a response…

HB 1443, which states it is incorporating the recommendations of the QEC. We will testify at the public hearing on Friday. The section on HCP definition and identification are not in agreement with either the QEC Report to the Legislature or the HCPTWG Recommendations. We are working with the committee to amend this bill but may not be successful.

Supplemental Budget, ESHB 1086. The House passed its version of the supplemental budget last week. Senate W&M public hearing 3:30 on Wednesday on its version of the budget which has just been released.

 Funding in House version  Section 508   $9,171,000
 Funding in Senate version  Section 507   $9,162,000

Now we need to survive executive session, floor vote, and conference committee since the two versions are different. We will let you know when action is needed.

If you want details of the budget, it is not on the bill page yet but can be found at http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/default.asp  Click on Legislative Proposals New. On the next page top line, click on Operating Senate. Next page, click on Amendment.


Biennial budget

If implementation is delayed to 2013, the biennial should contain at least $18 million in categorical funding under the present system for a maintenance level. We understand there may have to be cuts to funding.

The Governor’s proposals (SB 5475 and SB 5094/HB 1087) call for delayed implementation and $0 (zero dollars) in funding.

If implementation occurs in 2011, the biennial needs to contain

 Section 708 supplemental funds using either the
 current formula of 2.314%, or the proposed formula of 5%.

[When implemented, the basic ed portion of HCP is covered under the basic ed allocation with no specific $ amount for HCP stated.]

Attached is a Gifted Education Day reminder and information on how you can participate even if you can’t get down to Olympia on February 11.

We look forward to seeing you in Olympia on February 11. We still have a lot of persuading to do!

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Mary Ruth Coleman, Ph.D., is a senior scientist, emerita at the FPG Child Development Institute at the The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and research associate professor in the School of Education. Her research focuses on students with exceptional learning needs, in particular students with learning disabilities and students with gifts.  She recently served on the Washington State Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group convened by the legislature.  Dr. Coleman provided this response on hearing the news of the possible elimination of highly capable program funding in Washington State.

“Washington State took a huge leap forward when the legislature determined that appropriate education for students with gifts and talents was part of their “basic education”.  The legislators found that access to accelerated and enriched learning, in their area(s) of strength, is a necessary feature of an education for students who have been identified as gifted.  This landmark finding places Washington State in the vanguard of Educational Reform showing an understanding that appropriate education for all students must include opportunities to nurture and support learning at the highest levels.  In placing Washington State in this leadership position the legislators have laid the foundation for the following positive outcomes:

1.  Research-based teaching practices, drawn for gifted education, that can be use to enhance learning for students in their strength areas, and this will have a positive impact on all students as a rising tide of best practice.
2.  Strength-based approaches to teaching and learning that nurture high-potential as part of every students “basic education” and should help Washington State address the disproportionate underrepresentation of culturally/linguistically diverse, economically disadvantaged and twice exceptional learners within gifted education.
3. High-end learning with a focus on expanding excellence should lead to a more highly qualified work-force ready to address the challenges we currently face and the one we will certainly face in the future.

The leadership that Washington State has taken on this issue sets the bar high for other States who wish to focus on students’ strengths and offer opportunities for students to achieve at the highest level.  To undermine this leadership now by eliminating funding would be a major step backwards and the opportunity for true strength-based school reform would be lost.”

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The Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group delivered its recommendations to the legislature this morning.  The full report can be viewed here.  The proposal represents the work of national and state leaders in the field of gifted education, and members of the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education were proud to have participated in the process.  Earlier this month a draft of the recommendations was presented to the Washington Quality Education Council.  It is now up to the QEC and the legislature to decide what the next steps for gifted will be.

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TVW has a recording of Gayle Pauley’s testimony before the Quality Education Council available for viewing. Her testimony is at the very start of the video.

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Gayle Pauley, Director in the OSPI who oversees highly capable programming, has delivered the proposal of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group to the Quality Education Council.  The full text of the HCPTWG proposal is available to view here.  TVW is broadcasting the QEC hearing live — we’ll look for a recording of the event to become available later.

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