First Public Charter School in Washington State to Open

For Immediate Release | September 2, 2014

First Place Scholars Charter School to Serve Underserved Families in Seattle

SeattleWashington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) CEO Thomas Franta issued the following statement celebrating the opening of First Place Scholars Charter School – Washington state’s first public charter school. Tomorrow, First Place will begin serving 98 students in grades K-5 in Seattle’s Central District.

“For 25 years, First Place has established itself as a community-based organization that was willing to serve the most underserved student populations – including homeless youth – and has aspired to become a public school to expand upon this mission. Now, because of the efforts to allow public charter schools in Washington, they are re-opening as a public school.

“To reach this milestone, where our first public charter school can serve students in need, it has been a true bipartisan effort across the state. Believing that all children are capable of success and deserve access to a high-quality public education, Washington voters approved its charter law in 2012, which will open up doors of opportunity to countless children.   

“Washington’s charter law benefited from lessons learned in over 40 states that already allow public charter schools. With this strong foundation, our state’s charter sector is receiving strong interest from educators. In this past year alone, 31 groups have expressed interest in opening charter schools, 28 have applied and eight charter schools – including First Place – have been approved.

“First Place’s opening is truly a momentous day for the students and families whose needs were not met by traditional public schools and for everyone who worked so hard to make this day happen.”

Public charter schools will soon open in communities across Washington. Approved in January by state authorizers along with First Place, SOAR Academy, PRIDE Prep, Rainier Prep, Excel Public Charter School, Green Dot Public Schools Tacoma and Summit Public Schools Olympus and Sierra will open in fall 2015.

First Place aims to serve elementary grade children living in Seattle, who have experienced trauma as a result of extreme poverty, homelessness or the danger of becoming homeless and who, often as a result, are performing below grade level. As a public charter school, First Place will both educate and support these students to rise above their personal circumstances and accelerate academically toward college and career readiness. For more information, please visit:

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 academically and economically underserved communities. WA Charters focuses on three key areas of support: providing information about charter schools; supporting leaders to grow high-performing public charter schools; and providing the critical support and services to help charter schools operate successfully. To learn more about public charter schools in Washington, please visit: