charter schools

Flickr Photo/WarzauWynn

Proposals for Washington state's first-ever charter schools include a wide range of educational models, from a focus on team sports to a military school.

Kara McDermott

A military school for at-risk youth.

A high school that uses sports to teach life lessons.

A school focused on special education.

These are three of the 22 proposals for Washington state’s first charter schools that made it in by last Friday’s deadline.

This is final story in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Shayna Terrell is in a good mood: It's report card night at the Simon Gratz Mastery Charter high school in North Philadelphia, and parents are showing up in good numbers.

KUOW/Kara McDermott


Supporters of last year’s charter schools initiative in Washington state promised the law would bring successful charter models from across the country and improve academic outcomes for public school students.

Flickr Photo/Rocky Lubbers

Correction 10/24/2013: This story has been changed to correct the number of schools that can be approved in the first round of applications.

More than two dozen organizations say they’ll apply to start the state’s first charter schools.

Included among them: A school for gifted early elementary students in Spokane Valley; a Tacoma branch of the national charter chain Green Dot; and a Seattle elementary for kids who have experienced extreme trauma.

Rapper Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) is the latest in a long list of celebrities lending their star power to the flourishing charter school movement. Alicia Keyes, Denzel Washington, Shakira, Oprah — all support or sponsor charter schools.

Flickr Photo/Nick Amoscato (CC BY-NC-ND)

Last November, Washington became the 42nd state to allow charter schools. Yesterday, the Washington Charter School Commission opened the statewide application process. The voter approved initiative allows for 40 charter schools to open over the next five years. Ross Reynolds talks with Steve Sundquist, Commission chair, about what they're looking for in the charter school applications.

School desk
Flickr Photo/ccarlstead (CC BY-NC-ND)

Last November, Washington became the 42nd state to legalize charter schools. The voter-approved initiative allows for no more than 40 public charter schools to open over a five-year period. The first schools could open as early as next fall.

Next week, the state Charter School Commission will begin sifting through applications from would-be charter school operators. Who are these potential operators? And how might charter schools be different from traditional public schools?

Brenda McDonald is planning principal for the Spokane School District. She’s applying to open Pride Prep in Spokane, which would serve grades 6 through 12.

Kristina Bellamy-McClain is the former principal of Emerson Elementary in Seattle. She’s applying to open a K-8 school in South King County or Tacoma.

They talked with Ross Reynolds.

Nalini Prasanna / Flickr

Thirteen Washington districts formally expressed interest in being charter authorizers this spring, but only Spokane applied to the state by the July 1 deadline.

derekbruff / Flickr

Twelve Washington school districts have formally announced they’ll apply to become charter school authorizers. Bellevue, Highline, Kent, Tacoma, Spokane and Port Townsend are among the districts seeking the power to approve charter school applications in their regions. Those districts met the State Board of Education's April 1 deadline for notices of intent to apply for authorizer status.

Last November, voters approved Initiative 1240 to establish charter schools in Washington state and today the governor announced who is going to sit on the commission that will review and approve charter schools applications. Ross Reynolds sits down with newly appointed commission member and former Seattle School Board member Steve Sundquist about how the commission will work.

The first members of Washington state’s new Charter School Commission are due to be appointed Wednesday. The commission will be able to approve some of the 40 charter schools allowed under the law voters passed last fall.

A group that includes Washington’s largest teachers’ union has formally asked state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s new charter school law.

Nalini Prasanna / Flickr

The charter school initiative appears to have passed. The first charter schools would likely open their doors in Washington next school year, at the earliest. Here's the countdown of what's next.

The charter school initiative has passed by a narrow margin, according to the Associated Press. The vote stands at 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent. That's a difference of about 44,000 votes. Statewide, 269,000 ballots remain to be counted. The No on 1240 campaign Facebook page says campaign managers won't consider the race over until every vote is counted.

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