Bellevue Public Schools
A FULL DAY CURRICULUM OPTION
FOR HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENTS IN GRADES 1-5
Bellevue Public Schools
P.O. Box 90010
Bellevue, WA 98009-9010
Phone: (425) 456-4136 Fax: (425) 456-4176 Website: www.bsd405.org/gifted
A FULL DAY PROGRAM OPTION FOR GIFTED STUDENTS
The Bellevue School District serves a diverse population of approximately 17,000 students. The school district is
comprised of sixteen elementary schools, five middle schools, two alternative middle schools, four high schools
and two alternative high schools.
PRISM, a self-contained program, is part of the Bellevue School District’s Gifted Education program. The
elementary PRISM program currently serves over 200 students in a multi-aged, grade two through five setting.
The program is located at Stevenson Elementary School (14220 NE 8th Street) for grades two through five.
Stevenson is centrally located, and the program draws students both from inside and outside the Bellevue School
The PRISM program serves students of exceptionally high academic and intellectual ability and students must meet
specific entry criteria. While PRISM provides highly capable students with advanced and accelerated curriculum in
the areas of mathematics, science, social studies and language arts, it is not a program that will meet the needs of
all students who meet the entry criteria. In some instances because of their age level, students may have difficulty
organizing time or spending the time needed on certain tasks to be successful in the program. The PRISM
program requires dedication, commitment to academic achievement on the part of each student, and support
from the parents and classroom teachers. The curriculum is balanced between academic acceleration and
enrichment, and is designed to move beyond what is taught in the regular classroom in order to meet the needs of
students who have demonstrated the ability (academic and behavioral), interest, and need for academic
acceleration. In lieu of skipping grades, and because they are few in number and differ from other children in
cognitive development, it is preferable to combine these students in a single, full-time core course program.
Grouping these students allows them to advance through the curriculum at a rate commensurate with their
abilities and to interact with like ability peers.
The PRISM program provides a challenging and supportive educational environment for intellectually gifted
students with high academic potential who demonstrate the need, ability (academic and behavioral), interest and
dedication required for academic acceleration.
The PRISM program is also consistent with the Bellevue Public School Mission Statement, which encourages
meeting the individual learning needs of students in order for them to identify and realize their potential, to
develop the skills and attitudes compatible with life-long learning, and to be knowledgeable and productive
PRISM meets the needs of the highly capable student by fostering academic excellence through the challenges of
an accelerated, compacted, integrated and enriched curriculum, as well as through the stimulation of working with
highly capable peers. Students are encouraged to work both independently and in cooperative groups. The PRISM
program is designed to recognize that, despite high intellectual ability, students differ in levels of organizational
ability, personal maturity, academic competence, values and family background.
PRISM teachers work as a team sharing expertise and knowledge to coordinate and continually develop the
To provide enriched and accelerated academic opportunities for students with high intellectual and academic
To offer a rigorous academic curriculum that will prepare students for advanced high school and college
To offer an environment where highly capable students are encouraged to reach their full potential.
To address the social and emotional needs of highly capable students through teacher support, peer interaction
and by fostering a sense of community.
To prepare students for future contributions to society and to encourage life-long learning.
The PRISM curriculum is designed to offer students acceleration, compaction, integration and enrichment using
the Bellevue School District curriculum. Equally important in the program is the exploration of subject matter in
depth, commitment to the social and emotional needs of students, and fostering a sense of community. Central
to the PRISM curriculum are the development of higher-level cognitive processes, critical thinking skills, a focus
on interdisciplinary thematic teaching and the use of technology. Students are taught to evaluate their work using
intellectual standards such as clarity, accuracy, precision, depth, breadth, relevance, logic and significance.
The elementary school program (grades two through five) is comprised of both same-age and multi-age
classrooms. The specific configuration of this grouping changes each year depending on the number of students
at each grade level. Although the curriculum is separated into subject areas, the curriculum integrates math,
science, social studies and language arts. In multi-grade classrooms, all topics identified by grade level may not
be taught in their entirety during one year. For example, a first grader could be exposed to some first and some
second grade topics and concepts in a grades one and two multi-age class. Integration with students who are not
in the PRISM program at Stevenson occurs through activities such as recess, assemblies and Student Council, as
well as special events such as Young Authors and Young Scientists Celebrations, and Talent Shows.
Students are expected to:
Meet reasonable classroom standards
Maintain a level of behavior which does not interfere with student learning
PRISM students are intellectually capable of completing academic work above grade level. In some instances,
because of age and other factors, they have difficulty organizing time and can lack the willingness to spend the
time needed for certain tasks. The staff views working on student weaknesses as important as academic
acceleration. PRISM is not a “race to the finish”, but rather the process of building skills to prepare for the rigors
of high school and college.
Because the PRISM Program provides highly capable students with advanced and accelerated curriculum, there can
be more homework than is usually encountered in the elementary school settings. Currently, at the elementary
school level, we are working to ensure that homework is an extension of academic skills that will vary from one
half hour to over one hour daily. It is important to note that these are averages, and that actual time spent on
homework will vary depending on the strengths, organizational skills and study habits of individual students, and
their use of class time for homework purposes.
At the beginning of each school year, teachers will communicate to parents in writing their homework and
grading policies. Parents will be notified if a student exhibits a pattern of missed assignments; however, students
are ultimately responsible for homework assignments as communicated by the teacher orally, in writing or posted
in an area designated by the teacher.
In case of special or unforeseen circumstances that will impact homework responsibilities, parent(s) should
notify the teacher so special arrangements can be made.
Attendance is very important to your child’s success. Vacation and other discretionary absences (medical
appointments) can significantly interfere with a student’s academic progress and performance; therefore these
should be planned in consideration of the school’s calendar. This is especially true in the PRISM program.
What is taught at school cannot just be put into a packet and sent home. Much discussion and application of
learning takes place in the classroom. Please take special note of this and make appointments and planned
vacations outside of the school calendar.
Prolonged absences due to illness will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the district
Once in the program, the criteria for assessment of students are based on PRISM academic standards, Bellevue
School District academic standards and the Washington State Academic Learning Requirements (E.A.L.R.s).
Teachers give criteria for assessment in advance to students and parents. A variety of methods are used, including
Group and individual goal setting
Observation (daily work)
Teacher and student developed rubrics (scoring guides):
o Quizzes and Tests developed by teacher and student
Standardized tests (district and state)
PRISM PLACEMENT/EXIT PROCESS
Teachers recognize that students differ in their abilities related to organization, personal maturity and academic
competence and work hard with students and parents to address any issues or concerns. PRISM, however may not
be appropriate for all students, however gifted and capable, given the focus and structure of the program.
There are three levels of formal intervention that the staff have for students who struggle with meeting the
performance expectations (academic and behavioral) of the program:
1. The parent/teacher will communicate areas of difficulty that the student is having at a parent/guardian
conference. The purpose of the conference (in addition to identifying any issues and concerns) is to
engage the parents/guardians in developing strategies for assisting the student in achieving an appropriate
level of success and performance. The conference may also include other staff (principal, counselor, etc.).
2. The teacher will review the student’s performance based on the next report card following the conference.
If the student receives a total of two or more low marks (a “1” in the elementary program) and/or has had
repeated problems with classroom success, another conference will be held. The purpose of this meeting
will be to write an improvement action plan for the student. The conference will be held in the form of a
Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting and will include other staff (principal, counselor, etc.).
3. The student’s performance will be reviewed within six weeks following the implementation of the
improvement action plan with the MDT If the expected improvement has not been achieved, the team will
make a recommendation regarding the student’s continuation in the program based on the presented
facts as to whether or not PRISM is an appropriate placement for the student.
NOTE: Students new to the program will be placed in an appropriate grade level based on their test date and
their age appropriate grade level. It should not be assumed that early entrance students or students who have
advanced a grade will be placed at the higher grade. Rather, information from their test date, their performance
in the past grade, and their birthday will be taken into consideration to determine the appropriate grade level
The middle school four- course program (grades six through eight) is comprised of both same-age and multi-age
classrooms. Each year students participate in language arts, social studies, science and math through the PRISM
program. All Bellevue Middle School students are required to participate in a full seven period schedule. PRISM
students will take electives offered through the regular program at Odle Middle School. Students engage in an
accelerated program in the four PRISM courses and will, in most cases, complete the first year of high school in
each of these subject areas by the time they finish eighth grade. As students enter high school they may a) take
tenth grade courses in Language Arts and Social Studies or b) may re-take ninth grade courses in these subject
areas at the honors level. If students choose to take tenth grade courses, the grades and credit(s) earned in PRISM
will be placed on the student’s high school transcript. If a student chooses to take ninth grade honors courses, the
grades and credits earned at the high school, not the PRISM grades/credits, will be placed on the student’s
transcript. Parents/guardians and students must make the decision about whether or not to use PRISM
grades/credits as the student enters the high school and makes his/her selections for the fall of the first year. For
PRISM math and science that is completed at the high school level, student may choose to apply any grades and
credits earned at any time during their high school years, but prior to graduation.
The teachers in the program work together to coordinate curriculum development so that, to the extent feasible, a
seamless transition occurs between the elementary and middle school components of the program. Both
elementary and middle school subject content conforms to the district curriculum and the Washington State
Academic Learning requirements. More specific information is provided each fall at Curriculum Night.
The PRISM program ends at the end of eighth grade. Several options are available to PRISM students to allow
them to continue a path of acceleration and challenge. Among the choices are:
The High School Gifted program at Interlake High School
Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses offered at all high schools in the district
The International Baccalaureate (I.B.) program offered at Interlake High School
The Early Entrance program at the University of Washington
The Running Start program at Bellevue Community College
Parents and students should work with the PRISM teachers and high school counselors to develop an appropriate
high school plan.
Should you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to call the principal or counselor at Stevenson
Elementary School, (425) 456-6000.