How It Works

Highly Capable Program

Is your student up for an academic challenge? Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) can be a great choice for advanced learners.

WAVA supports each student’s unique academic, social, and emotional growth. We offer our Highly Capable (Hi Cap) program to meet the needs of students who qualify for advanced learning opportunities.

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What is the Highly Capable Program?

WAVA’s Highly Capable Program provides enrichment services for the most highly capable students in grades 1–12 as determined through a formal nomination and approval process. Designed to provide additional challenge and rigor for gifted and talented students, this program offers additional coursework and instruction from a team specially trained in the needs of advanced learners.

Enrichment Opportunities for Qualifying Students

Here are examples of what highly capable students can expect by grade level. Class offerings can change each year depending on students, grants, scheduling, and teacher offerings.

Elementary Grades 1–5

Required Class
STEAM: All Highly Capable elementary students participate in a live weekly STEAM class. This is a hands-on, project-based course.

Independent Optional Classes
World Languages: We offer Spanish, French, and Chinese. Each language has at least 2 course levels, each intended for one full academic year.
This class covers music theory, elements of harmony, melody, rhythm, and composition.

Other Optional Live Classes
Numbers Club (2–3): This class is all about numbers! From playing math games to thinking critically about math problems, this class allows kids to explore all the different ways to solve problems and enjoy math.
Creative Writing (3–5): This class allows students to write creatively and share their stories and ideas. This class promotes writing for enjoyment and creativity.
Explorers (3–5): This class encourages students to explore outside the classroom and challenges them to take learning to the next level by teaching their peers about their explorations.

Middle School Grades 6–8

Classroom teachers serve highly capable students in the regular classroom for core courses. Advanced coursework may be considered with supporting data and teacher input on an individual basis.

Independent Optional Classes
World Language
: Languages offered are Spanish, French, and Chinese.
Music as independent study with offering for grade 6 or grades 7–8.

Optional Live Classes
Offerings include Creative Writing, Math Challenge, and STEAM classes.

High School Grades 9–12

WAVA meets the unique needs of our highly capable high school learners through their High School and Beyond Plan. This may include advanced math placement; honors classes in science, social studies, and ELA; and Career Technical Dual Credit classes.

Optional Clubs: Robotics Team, Music Club, Book Club.

Career Clubs: FBLA, TSA, HOSA, FCCLA, Skills USA.

Who is eligible for the Highly Capable Program?

Highly capable students are those who perform, or show potential to perform, at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Highly capable students generally have outstanding abilities in intellectual aptitude, specific academic abilities, and creative productivity within a specific domain. Students selected for this program typically rank in the top 5% of students as measured on a Cognitive Abilities assessments (95–99th percentile).


“The gifted and talented program at WAVA has been instrumental in this progression. It not only showed him how quickly he could advance but also provided supportive teachers who encouraged his rapid development. The program continuously challenged him with increasingly difficult coursework, proving to him that he could excel at the college level despite his young age.”

James (father of Ari, who graduated from WAVA at age 14)

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Nomination Referral and Permission

Students must be nominated and assessed to be considered for acceptance into the Highly Capable Program. Although anyone may nominate a student for the program, they are most commonly nominated by their parents, Learning Coach, or teacher.

Once nominated, students are academically assessed to help determine their eligibility. Parents must provide written permission to assess their student, which is done via the online nomination form. If a student is nominated by a teacher, the parent will be contacted and asked to fill out the parent nomination form and give permission for their student to undergo assessment.

The nomination/referral form is only available during open nominations in the spring.

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A Multidisciplinary Selection Committee consisting of Highly Capable teachers, principals, psychologists, and certified administrators will analyze a variety of academic assessments to make placement decisions.


How do I know if my student should be nominated for the Highly Capable Program?

Students who are highly capable may show:

  • Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, retention, and application
  • Early tolerance for increasing levels of abstraction and complexity
  • Creative ability to make unusual connections among ideas and concepts
  • Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength
  • Capacity for intense concentration and focus

How does the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee determine eligibility?

The committee considers a wide range of academic assessments and observations, including but not limited to the following:

Academic Achievement Assessments, including but not limited to:

  • Reading: Star 360, DIBELS
  • Math: Star 360
  • Washington Smarter Balance Assessment (SBA)

Intelligence and/or cognitive ability assessments, including but not limited to:

  • CogAT Cognitive Abilities Complete Test

·Qualitative assessments, including but not limited to:

  • Parent input: Highly Capable Program Nomination Inventory
  • Teacher observation: Highly Capable Program Nomination Inventory Teacher

Highly Capable Program Team

Melanie Wyckoff