For Immediate Release: Jan. 23 2014

First Public Charter School Approved in Washington State

Spokane Public Schools Approves PRIDE Prep Led By WA Charters Fellow Brenda McDonald

Spokane, Wash.Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) interim CEO Marta Reyes-Newberry issued the following statement on the Spokane Public Schools Board of Directors’ action last night to approve PRIDE Prep Schools as the first public charter school in the state. Founded by Brenda McDonald, a longtime local public educator and fellow of the inaugural Washington State Charter School Leadership Cohort, PRIDE Prep will aspire for 100 percent four-year college entrance and completion for underserved students.

“With the first public charter school approved in Washington, today is an historic day for families statewide,” said Marta Reyes-Newberry, WA Charters interim CEO. “A Spokane native, Brenda McDonald has worked tirelessly, building on her years of experience as a public school teacher and administrator to design a high-quality charter school to meet the needs of her community. WA Charters joins with Brenda and her team to open PRIDE Prep, a new charter public school that is committed to preparing students for success in college and career.”

 As an inaugural member of the Washington State Charter School Association’s Leadership Center Cohort, Brenda McDonald has spent the past year preparing her application in preparation to open a high-performing public charter school to educate underserved students in her home community of Spokane, Wash. An experienced school leader for the past 15 years, Brenda was most recently the principal at Garry Middle School in Spokane, a position she held for the past eight years. Throughout her time as a public school teacher and administrator, Brenda focused on closing the achievement gaps in high-poverty schools with proven success. Coming from a family of educators, she began her career as a special education teacher and math specialist in Walla Walla, Wash. Brenda holds two master’s degrees, one in school administration from Whitworth College, and one in curriculum and instruction from Eastern Washington University.

“My team and I are honored to be the first public charter school authorized in Washington – importantly by my home district of Spokane Public Schools. Regardless of the circumstances into which they are born, all children are entitled to the highest-quality public education and we are just so excited to be able to open our doors soon to provide the best learning experience possible,” added Brenda McDonald, founder of PRIDE Prep. “Students, families and the community of Spokane deserve to have high-quality public schools that provide options to meet each individual need for students and families.” 

PRIDE Prep will be a small public charter school, eventually serving approximately 630 students in grades six to 12. The school intends to open in the fall of 2015 with grades six and seven. PRIDE Prep’s early-college model and focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will aspire to 100 percent high school graduation with acceptance to four-year universities while aiming to double the number of underserved and female students pursuing STEM careers. PRIDE Prep is also committed to being a collaborative partner with Spokane Public Schools to help create one of the highest-performing public school systems in the country.

About WA Charters
The Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) is a statewide nonprofit organization that supports the start-up of high-quality public charter schools, with a focus on serving academically and economically disadvantaged communities. WA Charters focuses on three key areas or support: providing information about charter schools; supporting leaders to grow high-performing public charter schools; and providing support and services to help charter schools operate. To learn more about public charter schools in Washington, please visit: www.wacharters.org.

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