Members present: Lora McHugh, Linda Coulter, Anita Rao, Tanya Rizzo, Julie Uyeda, Desiree Ohrbeck, Francine Wiest, Margaret Li, Jingjing Tang, Karen Roper, Laura Van Horn, Sima Sarrafan


Gifted testing is complete, and MDT meetings are being scheduled to make determinations.

A question was raised about communication for gifted testing. We send out gifted testing information electronically for schools to include in first day packets.  We also send information to all principals to include in their school newsletter and to share with teachers.  We advertise in the Bellevue Reporter, and we place information about testing on the main page of the BSD Website. There were questions about whether the schools passed out this information or posted information in their newsletters?  Lora will work to communicate more clearly with schools about the importance of ensuring this information is communicated.

Lora shared that testing takes place at Title 1 schools, Woodridge and Phantom Lake on site during the school day, and these students do not have to travel to a test site on Saturday.  This is something we would like to do at all schools, but with the difficulty of securing proctors, we have continued this practice in these sites only for now.

We make decisions about K-1 students in need of services in January.  Teachers complete jot down forms in the fall, which provide information about students exhibiting gifted behaviors/characteristics.  Students who move into file review are provided additional math assessments.  If a student has not been identified as gifted but is high performing, they can still be grouped with the identified students in the classroom for instruction.

We are no longer accepting out of district students in the high school program, as it is full.  It’s going well with the new high school developers.  Often just one teacher has been teaching each class and therefore the curriculum is not written down to be shared with others.  Now they are writing it down so it can be shared with other teachers as the program grows.  UW teachers no longer come to Interlake to teach.  We use Interlake teachers now for our college level English and Humanities.  The kids love the Interlake teachers teaching the senior level classes.  The curriculum that they are writing will also be available to the other Bellevue high schools.  The senior Economics class counts as a year of history.  One GAC member offered to connect us with UW if needed in the future for the senior level courses.

One parent shared a concern that Interlake does not have high level chemistry classes, but maybe this is because there are not enough kids interested.  Now that classes are getting bigger, maybe we would have enough kids in the future.  All kids love the Interlake teachers.  They are really good teachers.

There has been a concern that students are not choosing to go to Interlake because they think they can get a higher GPA at other high schools.  Interlake’s goal is for all students to get A’s in gifted classes.  Concerns were shared about taking World Language courses when a student is a native speaker of that language.  Another concern was the comparison between AP classes and gifted classes regarding grades.   Lora shared and discussed a hand-out showing the grades received by gifted students in the 4 core areas in gifted classrooms at Interlake.  95% of gifted Interlake students receive A’s and B’s in English and Math, 93% in Science and 97% in Social Studies.

In 9th grade the former Prism and GMSP students are mixed.  8th grade this year is the last year of Prism.  Lora shared matriculation data.  One parents stated, “The registrar at Interlake knows the schools where the transcripts were sent so we have a good idea where the kids go after they graduate.”  This data can also be retrieved from Navience.

One parent expressed concerns about students not writing enough at elementary school.  There is no writing resource across the district.  District is working on it.  Maybe offer more PD.  Some parents have offered to pay for teacher PD on writing.  At middle school, some parents are not seeing depth of analysis in writing.  One parent mentioned, “Not all kids have at home help so help has to come from school first.  Parents are not seeing enough good writing.  It is easier to test for knowledge in math. “

Novel Review

We are looking to include a new novel at 8th grade.  Francine Weist worked with KCLS to come up with a list of books that the teachers can consider.  A handout with a synopsis of each book was provided and parents were asked if they were interested in reading a book or two to give their input? We need books read by May 1 for reviews and ordering purposes for next year.  We want something more current and multi-cultural.  One parent mentioned that the books don’t have to be at a high level.

Gifted Program Name

Why do we call our program gifted?  Many stakeholders, focus groups and parents don’t like the name.  We want a naming challenge.  Students, parents and teachers are invited to participate.  Something historical or geographical to align with other BSD programs, like the Cascade Program.  We don’t want a term that implies the kids are advanced.  We want a generic term.  Gifted will still be on the report card and transcripts.  Since so many students have asked for this change, we want to honor their wishes.

Domain Specific Services/Universal Testing

We are going to start working on identifying students by domain.  If a student is gifted in math only, they will stay at their home school and receive differentiation in math, and just because a student is not identified as gifted doesn’t mean the child cannot receive the same services.

Parent question: What is going to happen with the program when the new Superintendent starts?  The law states that highly capable students must be identified and served, so it is not a choice.  Universal testing will be piloted next year, where we test all students at one grade level.  We are looking at 2nd grade testing in just three schools next year, and then we will roll out to all elementary schools.


We are unsure about the appropriateness of standardized testing for K-1.  Based on research, some students will perform very high when tested at a young age but then will level out as they get older.  Others, who have not had exposure to this type of thinking, will not perform well, thus we will not see their true ability.  We will stop using the CogAT Screener.  We already have enough data to use to identify kids.  Beginning next year, students identified in K will receive differentiated services in K-1 and can remain receiving differentiated services through 12th grade.  However, they will need to take the full CogAT during 1st grade if they wish to receive services in the full time program.