Proven Charter Operators to Join Local Public School Leaders in Building a High-Quality Charter School Sector
Seattle, Wash. – The Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) today announced that longtime charter operators Summit Public Schools and Green Dot Public Schools will submit applications to create new high-quality public charter schools focused on serving underserved students in the state. Two of the highest-performing charter school organizations in the country, Summit and Green Dot joined with local public school leaders from across the Washington in sending letters of intent to the Washington Charter School Commission – the first step in the rigorous charter approval process.
“Families in Washington want access to public schools that prepare their children for success in college and career. Summit and Green Dot have proven records of providing a high-quality public school education to students whose needs are not currently being met by traditional public schools,” said Marta Reyes-Newberry, interim CEO of WA Charters. “Joining with local school leaders also committed to starting high-performing charter schools, Summit and Green Dot will help Washington’s public school system improve educational outcomes for all students. We are excited to welcome Summit and Green Dot to the Pacific Northwest.”
Summit and Green Dot joined local educators and nonprofit organizations in submitting letters of intent, which include the three longtime public school leaders of the inaugural Washington State Charter School Leadership Cohort. Committed to educating underserved students in their home communities of south King County, Spokane and Tacoma, Maggie O’Sullivan, Brenda McDonald and Kristina Bellamy-McClain spent the summer and fall in training to found high-performing public charter schools. Benefitting from the lessons of charters operating in 41 other states and the District of Columbia, McDonald, Bellamy-McClain and O’Sullivan have pledged to achieve strong results for kids by starting public schools focused on 100 percent four-year college entrance and completion.
Summit Public Schools, a leading charter management organization serving diverse communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, operates six schools enrolling 1,600 students. Summit’s mission is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to not only attend, but succeed in, a four-year college or university. Summit is ranked consistently as having one of the top high school programs in the country. To date, nearly 100 percent of Summit graduates have been accepted to one or more four-year colleges and universities. In 2011, Newsweek listed Summit as one of the Top 10 Miracle Schools in the country and US News & World Report consistently ranks their flagship school in the top 100 public high schools in the nation.
“Summit is looking forward to giving the families of Washington State another high-quality public school option for their children,” said Diane Tavenner, Summit Public Schools founder and CEO. “We bring a proven, 10-year track record in preparing a diverse and underserved group of students for success in a four-year college. In partnership with other outstanding educators across Washington, we can make a difference in the lives of all students and families.”
Green Dot Public Schools is a nonprofit organization founded upon the idea that every child in every community deserves to go to a great school. Green Dot currently runs 19 public charter schools in the Los Angeles area. With schools located in some of Los Angeles’ highest need communities, the Green Dot academic model has resulted in students being nearly four times more likely to graduate and be ready for college than students at neighboring schools. Since being founded in 2000, more than 90 percent of Green Dot graduates have been accepted to college.
“Parents should be pleased that Washington State’s leaders are working to bring quality public school choices for their students,” said Marco Petruzzi, CEO of Green Dot Public Schools. “We admire the state for seeking innovative partners in this work.”
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. The first step toward charter approval, letters of intent for potential charter operators must be submitted by Oct. 22 to the state Charter School Commission. Complete charter applications – focused on improving learning outcomes for underserved students – must be submitted by Nov. 22 with the approval decisions announced by Feb. 24, 2014.
About WA Charters
The Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) is a statewide nonprofit organization that supports the startup of high-quality public charter schools, with a focus on serving at-risk populations and students who do not currently have access to high-performing schools. WA Charters focuses on three key areas of support: providing information about charter schools to the public at large; supporting new leaders to establish high-performing public charter schools; and building community support for public charter schools across Washington. To learn more about public charter schools in Washington, please visit: www.wacharters.org.