First Day of School for New Public Charter Schools in Washington State

WA Charters celebrates schools that will serve more than 1,100 students in Western Washington and Spokane

SEATTLE, Wash. — August 17, 2015 – Today, the first three of eight new public charter schools opened their doors, kicking off a school year in which the new public charter schools will welcome more than 1,100 students.

SOAR Academy begins classes today in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma. The school welcomes full kindergarten and first-grade classes this year, and will ultimately offer grades K-8.

Summit Olympus, the new Tacoma high school opened by Summit Public Schools, welcomes a new ninth-grade class in 2015-16. The school will expand to serve grades 9-12 by the 2018-19 school year.

Summit Sierra, the new high school opened by Summit Public Schools, welcomes a new ninth-grade class in 2015-16. The school will expand to serve grades 9-12 by the 2018-19 school year. The school is located in Seattle’s International District.

Over the next few weeks, five more public charter schools across Washington will open: Excel Public Charter School in Kent on Aug. 18; Green Dot Destiny Middle School in Tacoma on Aug. 24; Spokane International Academy in Spokane on Aug. 26; Rainier Prep in South Seattle on Sept. 1; and PRIDE Prep in Spokane on Sept. 2.

“Today marks an important milestone for the growing public charter school sector in our state, and I want to congratulate all of the schools opening this year,” said Thomas Franta, CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). “The amount of preparation that school leaders, staff, and teachers have poured into these schools is remarkable—and I’m looking forward to seeing that delivered in the form of high-quality education for Washington kids.”

Public charter schools in Washington are open to all students, do not charge tuition, and, like all public schools in Washington, receive funding based on student enrollment. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Washington has one of the strongest charter laws in the country, which voters approved in 2012.

Parents have responded to these new charter schools with great interest. All eight schools spent significant time engaging with families and students over the last year and met enrollment targets. Schools will welcome more than 1,100 students through their doors on the first day of school.

Each of the eight schools opening this year received over a year of in-depth training and support from the WA Charters Leadership Center, which provides leaders with academic, organizational, financial training, and funding to prepare them for a successful opening.

All eight schools will open between the dates of August 17 and September 2. Below is a list with specific first dates and enrollment details:

2015-16 enrollment: Kindergarten-1 | Will ultimately offer K-8

2015-16 enrollment: Grade 9 | Will ultimately offer 9-12

2015-16 enrollment: Grade 9 | Will ultimately offer 9-12

2015-16 enrollment: Grades 6-7 | Will ultimately offer 6-12

2015-16 enrollment: Grade 6 | Will ultimately offer 6-8

2015-16 enrollment: Grades K, 1, and 6 | Will ultimately offer K-8

2015-16 enrollment: Grades 5-6 | Will ultimately offer 5-8

2015-16 enrollment: Grades 6-7 | Will ultimately offer 6-12


Three additional schools will open in the 2016-17 school year. Green Dot Public Schools was authorized in 2014 for a South Seattle charter, and is joined by Summit Public Schools: West Seattle and Willow Public School in Walla Walla, both recently approved by the Washington State Charter School Commission, one of two authorizing bodies in the state (along with Spokane Public Schools).


About WA Charters

WA Charters is an advocacy and professional membership organization that advances Washington’s movement for high-quality charter schools, through state and local advocacy, development of local leadership and talent, and resources for member schools.

Our Mission: As a catalyst to improve academic outcomes for every student in Washington, we partner with communities to advocate for and support high-quality public charter schools that meet the needs of historically underserved students.

Our Vision: Empowered communities with high-quality public schools for all students.

To learn more about public charter schools in Washington, please visit:

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