Next Steps for Washington State Charters

There have been some exciting recent developments toward the development of high-quality public charter schools in Washington. Earlier this month, the State Board of Education approved Spokane Public Schools’ request to become a charter school authorizer, the first school district of its kind in Washington.

Potential charter school operators are moving fast to apply. The Spokesman-Review recently reported on the efforts of former principal Brenda McDonald to submit an application to Spokane Public Schools to start Pride Prep for sixth- through 12th-graders considered to be at risk for slipping in school.

The Seattle Times reported on Brenda and our two additional charter school leadership fellows, Kristina Bellamy-McClain and Maggie O’Sullivan. Columnist Lynne Varner believes that “these women can be another smart tool in the educational toolbox.” She also encourages these three leaders to build lasting ties with public schools, because “the smartest people in education will know you’re not a competitor, but a potential partner.”

Applications for charter schools in Spokane are due by November 22. You can read more about Spokane Public Schools’ charter school authorization process at the Office of K-12 Options & Innovation.

Earlier this week, the Washington State Charter School Commission—the other authorizing option in the state—issued a request for proposal for potential operators to begin the process of opening charter schools. By October 22, schools or nonprofits must submit a letter of intent, with applications due by November 22.

There are a number of resources available for teams thinking about applying to become some of the state’s first public charter schools. WA Charters is offering a new membership program for Washington charter school development teams, which will include technical assistance and information for members, including proposal reviews. In addition, the Washington State Charter School Commission is expected to offer training webinars for potential applicants.

This fall promises to be an eventful season for the movement to bring high-quality public charter schools to Washington state. To stay up to date and informed, be sure to sign up for alerts, check out our Events page, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.