State Commission Authorizes Two Public Charter Schools

New public school options will soon be available to Walla Walla and West Seattle area students and families after the Washington State Charter School Commission today authorized Willow Public School and Summit Public School: West Seattle. This is the first public charter school in Southeast Washington, and the third Summit Public School in Washington state.

Willow Public School and Summit: West Seattle join Green Dot Public Schools: Seattle (approved by the Commission in 2014) as the three new public charter schools set to open for the 2016-17 school year. With the addition of these schools, Washington will have 12 public charter schools in full operation by fall of 2016.

In response to today’s decision, Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) CEO Thomas Franta released the following statement:

“Today’s authorizations are a milestone for Washington’s growing public charter school sector. On behalf of WA Charters, I want to congratulate the founding leadership teams at Willow and Summit, as well as the families and students in Walla Walla and West Seattle who demonstrated their demand for these options – and who will benefit from the opportunity to attend these two high-quality public charter schools.”

“These two schools, like the other previously approved schools in Washington state, are part of a range of solutions that help give every child access to a great education. Willow and Summit: West Seattle provide the flexibility of personalized learning and will implement new and innovative methods to help more students graduate high school prepared to succeed in college and beyond. They are also uniquely poised to provide high-quality educational services to students with various learning needs, including English language learners and students with disabilities.”

“Willow Public School and Summit: West Seattle benefit from the support of WA Charters’ leadership incubation, such as our Strong Start programming. By incubating and supporting only the strongest schools, WA Charters helps ensure all charters deliver academic rigor alongside strong community and family partnership.”

“Willow Public School and Summit: West Seattle will follow in the footsteps of eight public charter schools opening this year in Western Washington and Spokane. WA Charters is committed to quality and focused on helping schools deliver the highest quality education to students. This means making sure schools live up to their promises on student academic performance.”

About Willow Public School
Willow Public School is a project-based learning public charter middle school that is deeply rooted in the Walla Walla community. Willow will serve sixth and seventh grades its first year, and will grow into a 6th – 8th grade middle school in its second year.

“We are grateful to the Commission and to the Walla Walla community for supporting Willow in our mission to provide a great education for kids,” school founder and long-time Walla Walla public school educator Daniel Calzaretta said.

“Today, the dream of a school that is rooted in the Walla Walla community and meets the needs of all students, regardless of background, has taken a giant step toward becoming reality. Next school year, families in the Walla Walla area will have a personalized and innovative middle school option that will prepare students for honors and AP courses in high school and put them on a path to college and career success. We’ve listened to parents and students throughout this entire process, incorporating their ideas with our vision. Willow Public School will be a place where learning is joyous, has purpose, and engages kids.”

About Summit Public Schools
Summit Public Schools is a leading charter management organization serving diverse communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington state. Summit operates 10 schools enrolling more than 2,400 students. Its mission is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to not only attend, but succeed in, a four-year college or university. Summit’s schools consistently rank among the best in California and the nation. To date, 98 percent of Summit students have been accepted to one or more four-year colleges and its graduates are completing college at double the national average.

“We are thrilled that West Seattle students and families will now have another public school option,” said Jen Wickens, Summit Washington Chief Regional Officer. “We’ve already seen a lot of interest from families and we look forward to working with the community to grow and develop our school, bringing our strong mentorship program and college-going culture to West Seattle.”

Each Summit Public School’s mission is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to not only attend, but succeed in, a four-year college or university. The West Seattle campus is Summit’s third location in the Washington state (Summit: Sierra and Summit: Olympus open this fall). Summit: West Seattle will open to an inaugural sixth grade class and ninth grade class in August 2016, and will eventually expand to a full 6th – 12th grade school over the next four years.

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: www.wacharters.org

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