Charter Sector Community Update: Action, good news, and more

Jun 23, 2020 | Blog

As our nation has a collective reckoning with its systemic racism, The Washington State Charter Schools Association remains committed to achieving educational equity for students across Washington state and unequivocally supports the Black Lives Matter movement and the racial justice reforms that it demands. 

Equity in education has always been at the center of our work and that value has become even more imperative as schools transitioned to distance learning platforms – particularly for our graduating seniors. 

As we rapidly approached the end of an unprecedented school year, school staff kept seniors on track and focused and the class of 2020 finished strong, with one high school already reporting a 100% graduation rate and a 100% admissions rate. 

Here are a few highlights of what our sector has accomplished over the past month.

A Time to Act: Our CEO Patrick D’Amelio issued a statement on racial inequity, the need for action, and what our sector is doing to be actively anti-racist. 

The WA Charters board also issued a statement expressing the sector’s continued commitment to dismantling systemic racism in education. 

This is just a start and we know we have far to go. Some of our small but very intentional initial steps include:

  • Supporting organizations that dismantle racism and address injustice across our communities.
  • Adding staff capacity to support this work and to lead anti-racist action across the charter public school sector. 

WA Charters Welcomes a New Chief Equity Officer

Following a twelve-month position development and recruitment process the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) announced that John Scott, Ph. D. will be joining the staff as the organization’s Chief Equity Officer. In his role, Dr. Scott will develop and guide the organization’s strategy around diversity and inclusion, helping to ensure ongoing and strategic action toward a more equitable organization and charter public school sector.  

COVID-19 Response

Co-hosted with the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) and the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), WA Charters hosted a webinar focused on sharing accessible, intentional, and equity-centered instructional practices as leaders plan for a range of back-to-school scenarios. 

More than 150 attendees tuned in to hear from local school leaders from Bellevue School District, White River School District, and Impact Public Schools.

COVID-19 Resource Page: WA Charters remains committed to supporting our community through this crisis. We continue to compile members-only and publicly available resources for our schools and our network. Review our COVID-19 resource page for access to our public resources.

Schools continue to work toward opening in the fall: Cascade | Midway Academy, Catalyst Bremerton, Impact Salish Sea Elementary, and Lumen High School are all continuing to plan for opening their doors for the first time this fall!

The team at Cascade |Midway Academy has been working hard to connect with future students and families, as well as the community around Des Moines and the South Seattle region. When COVID-19 hit, the Cascade team mobilized a nuanced social media strategy to connect with parents and students to ensure that every incoming family was getting the support they needed. Learn more and enroll here.

Charters in the news

  • Impact Public Schools was featured in a King 5 news story, highlighting the work the school is doing to support students and families through distance learning and COVID-19. The school was also included in a KOMO news story about how schools provided students with the technology  needed for distance learning
  • Lumen High School was mentioned in a Spokesman-Review story about a new early learning center that will open in the school’s building. 

Celebrating 2020 Graduates

  • Summit Olympus grads also attended their virtual graduation on June 16. Students had a 100% graduation rate and a 100% college admission rate. 
  • Rainier Prep celebrated promotion for its 8th graders.
  • WA Charters produced a video celebrating the accomplishment of 2020 grads.

Enrollment and recruitment

Washington charter public schools across the state continue their push to recruit new students and families for the upcoming school year, especially those schools preparing to launch in the fall. 

  • New school Catalyst Public Schools in Bremerton is also currently enrolling for Kindergarten, 1st, 5th and 6th grades. The school is also hosting Camp Catalyst, a free, online camp for students across Kitsap County and beyond.  Camp Catalyst provides  high quality, engaging distance learning that eases the burden of homeschooling on parents and allows scholars to connect.