By Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, career school administrator, Snohomish County resident, and south Everett charter schools advocate.
In 2012 Washington State voters approved a charter school initiative, making it the 42nd state to offer charter schools. Charter schools are an important tool in the broader public education system. With eight new charter schools opening in the fall, Washington families will have additional, high-quality education options for their kids.
Spokane, Pierce and King counties have approved charter schools. Spokane School District is the only district of the 295 in the state that has chosen to be a charter authorizer. It is opening PRIDE Prep and Spokane International Academy in the fall. Other districts are exploring collaborative roles.
It is Snohomish County’s turn. We have formed South Everett Charter, the goal of which is to provide an innovative, high-achieving 6th-12th grade school, responsive to at-risk youth and collaborative with the community and parents. Our tentative plans are to locate the school in the Casino Road area.
Providing experiential learning, STEM education, and 21st Century Skills, the school will help decrease the state’s 24% drop out rate.
With Washington 49th of the states in terms of preparing students for STEM jobs, it’s very important that the charter school has a STEM focus.
As a passionate advocate of learning being accessible to all adolescents, I have begun to meet with community leaders and am holding brainstorming sessions.
Washington Charter Schools Association is the non-profit organization providing consistent information to all constituency groups. They stated, “Most public charter schools will be led by local educators and community members who are inspired to make a difference at home. All have established deep ties to their communities, so teachers and administrators will be driven to provide the best quality education they can to benefit students and families.”
“Teachers at these new public charter schools are given more flexibility to personalize and customize curriculum for individual students.”
Washington Charter Schools Association also provides support for grassroots charter schools as they complete the lengthy state application and prepare to open their schools.
A few facts about charter schools:
- Washington’s charter law requires charter schools to focus on educating underserved children.
- Charter schools have more flexibility to innovate and personalize curriculum to meet individual students’ needs, and are held to strong, meaningful accountability standards.
- Charter schools are a type of public school; they do not charge tuition and are publicly funded.
- As a charter school, students from all parts of Washington are eligible to attend - district boundaries don’t limit eligibility.
- All students are welcome, regardless of household income, language level, or special education needs.
Community involvement is crucial. Email email@example.com to find out more and to get involved.
Together, Snohomish county citizens can provide youth with a new high-achievement learning opportunity.