Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Washington Charter Schools – The Data Hub

by October 28th, 2013

A burst of activity late last week brought from 23 to 28 the number of proposed Washington charter schools for which operators say they intend to seek state approval, but they’ll be competing for just eight new openings per year starting this fall. Now filed are notices of intent to apply by November 22, with the first eight winners to be picked in late February by Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Charter School Commission. We’ve integrated key data from the 28 notices of intent into an Excel spreadsheet which accents a diverse range of actors intending to shake up Washington K-12 public education and model new paths to academic success.

One sub-set of intended applicants are Puget Sound educators or education advocates well known to K-12 insiders here. These include:

  • Kristina Bellamy McClain, former principal of Seattle Public Schools’ Emerson Elementary, aiming to open SOAR Academy in Tacoma, with a rigorous college prep program serving K-1 students at first and K-8 later;
  • Maggie O’Sullivan, principal of Mirror Lake Elementary School in the Federal Way School District, who seeks to open Rainier Prep in the Highline area southwest of Seattle, a middle school that would also stress rigorous preparation for four-year college success;
  • Adel Sefrioui, executive director of Seattle Step Ahead, a full-day pre-school program, who’s lead for the proposed Excel Public Charter School in Kent, also emphasizing college prep and a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum for grades 6-7 at first and later 6-12.

  • Another batch of intended applicants represent three different charter companies based in California; Summit, Green Dot, and Academy of Arts and Sciences. They are joined by the operator of a new charter school in Ohio, Lance Weber, who is eyeing a K-5 charter in Seattle for low-income at-risk and immigrant students; and Joseph Rendon of San Antonio, Texas, who wants to open the Yakima Academy high school to solely serve at-risk students dealing with learning obstacles such as drugs, gangs and anger.

    Other pending applicants include would-be charter operators who say they would like to establish:

  • a statewide virtual academy eventually spanning grades K-12;
  • a K-8 school for Joint Base Lewis McChord students including those learning English as a second language, or with autism or other learning disabilities;
  • a middle and high school military-style academy in Aberdeen for at-risk students who’ve been unsuccessful in traditional schools;
  • an English-Russian bilingual elementary school in Clark County.

  • Twenty-one of the potential applicants say they would open their schools this coming fall, in 2014; the other seven specify 2015 starts. Of the 28 notices of intent, 11 of the proposed schools would be in King County, five in Pierce County, one in either King or Pierce, five in Yakima County, two would be statewide, and one each in the counties of Clark, Grays Harbor, Cowlitz and Spokane. Again, only eight can be approved per year by the state, under enabling legislation.

    More details for all 28 – including contact information – are in our Excel spreadsheet, which we’ll periodically re-issue with updates as the state selection process unfolds.

    RELATED: Washington State Charter School Commission (scroll down for “Submitted Notices of Intent”).

    Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

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