What is highly capable?

What we mean by highly capable at NOVA.

We recognize that gifted students often:

  • Yearn for deep learning.
  • Need accelerated learning opportunities.
  • Benefit from support for executive functioning.
  • See the complex relationships between content areas, actions, and consequences.
  • Can be a complex mix of developmental levels; they might be mature academically but immature socially, for instance. 
  • Feel deeply about social justice issues.
  • Are deeply curious and ask a lot of questions to gain understanding.
  • Are intense and hyper-focused.

No two highly capable students are alike! And each student may not exhibit every quality listed. Here are just some of the words that best describe NOVA's highly capable students.

Do you recognize any of the following characteristics in your child?

At NOVA, we believe that test scores and grades are only part of the picture. 

According to Washington State, a highly capable or gifted learner in Olympia is a student who demonstrates academic advancement in one or more areas. Typically, students qualify for accelerated programs with high grades and by achieving a high score on a single test.

Not all gifted students score well on standardized assessments. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a highly capable student to shine in some areas and struggle in others, such as the student who soars past classmates in math or science but frequently misspells common words.

In addition to—or instead of—a high test score, highly capable and gifted students also display traits such as creativity, intensity, intuitiveness, heightened self-awareness, impulsivity, enthusiasm, or an elevated sense of justice. 

In other words, giftedness is complex. We don’t believe it’s possible to discern which students will benefit from an accelerated academic program through a one-and-done assessment. 

At NOVA, we look beyond testing and cast a wider net to identify which students are highly capable learners. This whole-student approach allows us to offer more students the opportunity to benefit from our advanced curriculum. We believe a high-quality academic experience for a wide range of highly capable learners gives opportunities to more students and is a necessity in every community.

How does NOVA serve highly capable students?

At NOVA, we understand and appreciate that our students, developmentally, have distinct neurologic needs and are experiencing significant physical and emotional changes. We strive to make NOVA a safe place to learn and grow, a place where failures are opportunities to learn, gain skills, seek deeper understanding, and build confidence and ownership of their educational journeys. 

To serve them well during their middle school years, we’ve developed an academic approach that balances acceleration and depth of content. We encourage students to analyze, think critically, and push themselves outside of their comfort zones. 

Highly Capable and Gifted Resources

We've compiled a list of websites and texts to support your highly capable learner.

Explore Resources

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