Voters and parents in November 2012 came together to approve the Washington Charter School Initiative, allowing for the creation of public charter schools focused on serving underserved students across the state. So what do things look like a year later? Twenty-one prospective public charter school founders—comprised of public school teachers, school leaders, and nonprofit organizations—submitted applications in just the first year to open charter schools as part of the rigorous charter authorization process. These aspiring charter school founders demonstrate the tremendous progress being made, and the strong demand in our state for high-quality public education options. Take a look at the interactive timeline below for more information on the progress being made in our state.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adam Ratliff
Twenty One Prospective Founders Apply to Open Public Charter Schools
With 21 educator and community groups striving for eight opportunities, Washington parents and communities show demand for high-quality public education options
Olympia, Wash. – Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) interim CEO Marta Reyes-Newberry issued the following statement praising the 21 prospective public charter school founders who today submitted applications to the state Charter School Commission and Spokane Public Schools:
“We are thrilled to see that 21 prospective public charter school founders have applied for just eight opportunities to open high-quality charter schools. This is tremendous interest in just this first year. Comprised of public school teachers school leaders, community groups and proven nonprofit organizations, these aspiring charter school founders demonstrate the strong demand in our state for high-quality public education options.”
The Charter School Commission received applications from 18 prospective operators, while Spokane Public Schools received three applications. Submitted charter applications include the longtime public educators of the inaugural Washington State Charter School Leadership Cohort, who all are committed to 100 percent four-year college entrance and completion for underserved students. Maggie O’Sullivan, Brenda McDonald and Kristina Bellamy-McClain spent the summer and fall in training as leadership fellows to found high-performing charter schools in their home communities of south King County, Spokane and Tacoma.
Joining with these local educators are two of the highest-performing charter nonprofit organizations in the country – Summit Public Schools and Green Dot Public Schools. Serving diverse communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, nearly 100 percent of Summit graduates have been accepted to one or more four-year universities. Operating in some of the Los Angeles’ highest-need communities, students attending Green Dot schools are nearly four times more likely to graduate ready for college than students at neighboring schools.
In November 2012, voters and parents came together to approve the Washington Charter School Initiative, allowing for up to 40 charter schools in the state over a five-year period. With eight charters granted each year, potential charter operators submitted letters of intent on Oct. 22. Following the letters of intent, Nov. 22 was the first opportunity to complete the rigorous charter application focused on improving outcomes for underserved students. The first round of approval decisions will be made by the state Charter Commission and district authorizer by Feb. 24, 2014. In July 2014, prospective operators will have the chance to strengthen their charter applications to re-apply or submit new applications to the Charter Commission and to approved school district authorizers.
This coming Saturday, Nov. 16, the Washington State Charter Schools Association will be hosting a community forum for parents and families in the Tacoma area. Exploring the question of what does a dream public school look like, this forum will feature breakfast and a discussion with WA Charters fellow Kristina Bellamy-McClain. Kristina aspires to open the SOAR Academy, a new public charter school for the community.
- When: Saturday, November 16, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
- Where: Bates Technical College Auditorium, South Campus
2201 S. 78th St. Tacoma, WA 98409
- Free breakfast and childcare
- Reserve your seat at: Please RSVP by Nov. 16
For the past for 13 years as a public school educator and leader, Kristina has been serving students in Washington, California and Alaska. She was most recently the principal of Emerson Elementary School, a high-poverty school in Seattle. Kristina hopes to open the SOAR Academy in Tacoma. Focused on providing a rigorous, engaged and personalized public educational experience, the mission of SOAR will be to prepare and equip underserved students grades K-8 for success in college, career and beyond.
You’re Invited: Community Forum
This coming Saturday, Nov. 16, the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) will be hosting a community forum for parents and families in the Highline, Burien community. Exploring the question of what does a dream public school look like, the forum will feature discussions with the individuals and groups who have expressed interest in opening a public charter school for the community, including WA Charters fellow Maggie O’Sullivan and Summit Public Schools.
A longtime local public school leader who most recently was the principal of Mirror Lake Elementary School in Federal Way, Maggie aspires to open Rainier Prep, a small, rigorous college preparatory public middle and high school. Summit, one of the highest-performing public school organizations in the country, hopes to open a local school based on their proven model that has sent 96 percent of students to four year universities.
- When: Saturday, November 16, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
- Where: Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Ave SW, Burien, WA 98405
- Free lunch and childcare
Reserve your seat at: email@example.com
If you could create a dream school, what would it look like?
Share your answers and hear from others at a forum on charter public schools.
What: Public Charter Schools Community Forum
When: Saturday, November 2, 10:30 am to Noon
Where: Burien Library
400 SW 152nd Street, Burien, 98166
Come help us build the school of your dreams. We are inviting you to a meeting to learn about a new public charter school that will be developed in your area. Maggie O’Sullivan, principal and charter leader will discuss her vision for this new school.
* Children welcome
* Free parking
* Reserve seats at firstname.lastname@example.org
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