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Young Scholars Program: Grades K - 2

Young Scholars (testing current Kindergarteners and 1st Graders) Deadline is April 7, 2023

If you are interested in the Young Scholars program, current kindergarteners and first graders, please apply online by the April 7, 2023 deadline for possible placement in the 2023-24 school year. If your 1st - 2nd grade child is new to the district for the 2023-24 school year, please complete the highly capable online application in July 2023.  We will contact you with a testing date in August 2023.  Kindergarteners new to the district will test in October 2023 for possible placement in January 2024.

We continue to meet with our current kindergarteners, 1st and 2nd grade Young Scholars in small groups throughout the district at each elementary school.  

2023-24 1st and 2nd grade students who have been participating in Young Scholars in the 2022-23 school year do not need to reapply or retest. 

Young Scholars Program Grades K-2

The Young Scholars Program is for highly  capable students in kindergarten, first, and second grade. Identified students at each elementary school participate in a multi-age group for two 30-minute sessions each normal school week.

The learning activities in the Young Scholars Program are designed for highly capable students. The activities extend basic skills and supplement regular classwork. In the Young Scholars Program, students study patterns in language and learn about the world around them through science topics. The activities help students develop a rich vocabulary and encourage them to think deeply. The multi-age  grouping gives students a chance to work with other students who have similar learning needs.

Application Deadlines for the Young Scholars Program

April 7, 2023: Spring kindergarten and first grade testing. (Students currently in Young Scholars need not apply.)

Highly Capable Students

Highly capable students are students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Outstanding abilities are seen within students' general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. These students are present not only in the general populace but are present within all protected classes. WAC 392-170-035

Students who are highly capable may possess, but are not limited to, these learning characteristics:

  1. Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, to retain what has been learned, and to transfer learning to new situations;
  2. Capacity and willingness to deal with increasing levels of abstraction and complexity earlier than their chronological peers;
  3. Creative ability to make unusual connections among ideas and concepts;
  4. Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength; and
  5. Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus.

Parents, teachers, staff, students, or members of the community may refer a student. Forms are available on the district website.


253-841-8646 or 253-864-5811

Spring Kindergarten - First Grade Identification

Identification steps for students currently in kindergarten or first grade:

  1. Interested parents complete a Highly Capable Application online by April 7th
  2. Students with applications on file are given ability and achievement tests at the Kessler Center on a school day. Parents provide transportation.
  3. Additional information about the student is provided by the teacher.
  4. The data is reviewed by a selection committee.
  5. The committee decision is based on:
    1. A preponderance of evidence from the profile data demonstrating that a student is among the most highly capable;
    2. Evidence of clear need for highly capable services; and
    3. Determination of which students would benefit the most from inclusion in the district’s program.
  6. The assessment results and placement decision are mailed to parents.
  7. Identified students begin Young Scholars in late September.