HiCap Policies and Standards

Serving our highly capable students is mandated by the state.  We’ve consolidated resources you can use to ensure your programs are meeting national standards and best practices.  These are also great tools for advocating for the work you do and the students you serve.


Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and Washington Administrative Code (WAC)

Washington’s Highly Capable Program is established in state law and administered through program rules codified in the RCW and WAC. The need to guide and support districts as staff identify and serve Highly Capable students intensified following a landmark change in Washington State’s Basic Education Act. In 2011, the Legislature acknowledged the need to widen capacity for the identification, delivery, and evaluation of Highly Capable services with state law RCW 28A 185.020, which codified the education of Highly Capable students as basic to a K–12 public education in Washington state.

  • RCW 28A.150.220(3)(g)(3)  The instructional program of basic education provided by each school
    district shall include: (g) Programs for highly capable students under
    RCW 28A.185.010 through 28A.185.030.
  • RCW 28A.185.020 The legislature finds that, for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.
  • WAC 392-170-012 For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced
    instruction is access to a basic education. School districts may access
    basic education funds, in addition to highly capable categorical funds,
    to provide appropriate highly capable student programs.

WAC Cheat Sheet

This downloadable PDF provides an overview of Washington State Administrative Codes pertaining to Highly Capable Programs.  It’s a great tool to help you understand and explain the state mandates.

Download the WAC Cheat Sheet

Pre-K to Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) has developed national standards in programming and services and teacher preparation to guide high quality education for the nation’s estimated 3 to 5 million gifted and talented students.  The standards were developed with input from a variety of stakeholders and review of current research and best practice. The standards continue the focus on diversity and collaboration – two powerful principles that guide high quality programs and services. The standards use student outcomes for goals, rather than teacher practices, keeping them in line with the thinking in education standards generally. Because these standards are grounded in theory, research, and practice paradigms, they provide an important base for all efforts on behalf of gifted learners at all stages of development.

Introduction to 2019 Programming Standards

Glossary of terms for the standards


Highly Capable Program Handbook

The HCP Handbook was created for the single purpose of supporting Washington school districts in the implementation of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 392-170.  This WAC establishes policies and procedures for administration of programs for the education of K-12 highly capable students [WAC 392-170-010] as authorized by the Superintendent of Public Instruction [WAC 392-170-005].  The handbook is available as a PDF file that may be accessed and downloaded for individual district use.

Download the Highly Capable Program Handbook


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation’s schools. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.

Learn more about ESSA, including the Revised Consolidated State Plan Template here.