Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Washington State Charter School Updates

There are three letters of intent for new charter authorizers districts- Tacoma, Highline and West Valley in Yakima.

 In 2013, there had been 13 school districts from around the state that submitted a notice of intent to become authorizers.  Only Spokane followed thru.  Tacoma was in that first group but not Highline or West Valley.

Spokane School district has three letters of intent.
Moose Project (Magic of Oral and Signing Education for near-deaf/deaf students but all students may enroll) is one of them but I am working on finding out who the others are.

Update:  the other two applicants for authorization by Spokane are iLEAD (K-8),opening in 2015, and Spokane International Academy, also a K-8.  Their letter of intent does not say when they want to open. iLead has two other charter schools in California. End of update

(There is some irony about these charters starting up in Washington state because I'll outline in another thread how charters are falling apart in other states.)  

Great flowchart from the Commission of how the process works to become a charter in Washington State.

As of June 20, 2014, there are 12 notices of intent from 12 non-profits to open charter schools.  From the Washington State Charter Commission:

Clark County:
Bilingual Charter Academy 

Franklin County:
SOMOS, Educational Institute 

Grays Harbor County:
Pioneer Youth Corps of Oregon Inc., Evergreen Leadership Academy 

King County:
Out of the Box Learning Studio

Green Dot Public Schools Washington State, Seattle Charter School Quantum Leap Educational Foundation, Coral Academy of Science 

Pierce County:
Achievement Peaks Schools, Achievement Peaks Charter School, Tacoma Preparatory Academy
The Ducere Group, The Village Academy
Northwest Leadership Academy, Tacoma STEM Academy 

Yakima County:
Academy of Continuing Education, Cesar E Chavez Charter School Charter Schools of Sunnyside, Sunnyside Charter Academy 

More information about the organizations, including a brief description of the mission and vision of the proposed schools, may be found on the Commission’s website at http://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/education/commission/applicant.aspx under ‘Submitted Notices of Intent.’ 

Of the twelve, Pioneer Youth Corps of Oregon Inc., Big Picture Learning, Green Dot Public Schools Washington State, Quantum Leap Educational Foundation, The Ducere Group, and Charter Schools of Sunnyside all submitted applications in the Commission’s inaugural Request for Proposals (RFP) in 2013.

The Commission welcomes the new and returning applicants in their efforts to demonstrate how they intend to improve educational outcomes for at risk students. 

The applicants can now look forward to completing comprehensive application that is due July 15, 2014, as well as engage in in-person interviews in late August, and attend a public forum in the first half of September. The Commission will vote on which applications to approve during its October 9, 2014 meeting at the Yakima Valley Community College in Yakima, WA. 

None of these are conversion charters so no one is organizing around that idea (but something may be coming for Seattle so I'll let you know as I find out more).  

Tacoma STEM Academy would be a Pre-K-8 school to open in 2015.  They would be located in Tacoma. 

Achievement Peaks Academy Charter school would be K-6 and be located in Tacoma.  Wants to open in 2015.  This is part of a group of charters; here's their application for Los Angeles.  It's a lot of ed blah, blah, blah plus the ability for the student to be there 100% of the time or at home learning on-line 100%. 

Tacoma Preparatory would be a high school in Tacoma with language immersion and STEAM.  Desires to open in 2015.  Virtually nothing on-line about its non-profit, Auauna Mo Tupulaga except that it is registered as one. 

Out of the Box Learning Studio would be grades 5-12, located in the Rainier Valley.  Desires to open 2015.  Run by a former KIPP educator.  

Seattle Charter School is a Green Dot to open in 2016 in South Seattle for grades 6-12.  Green Dot did not check the "conversion" box but I suspect that, with that opening date in 2016, they will try to get their ducks in a row to take a Seattle school over.  That is what my Spidey sense tells me (along with a few other signs).  

Bilingual Charter Academy would be P-8 (starting K-5), opening in 2015 in Clark County.  

Sunnyside Charter Academy would be K-8 (starting K-5), opening in 2015 in Sunnyside.  (I recall this being on of the stronger first charter applicants that got rejected)

Village Academy would be 6-12, opening in 2015 in Pierce County.  It appears to be a STEM/language immersion.  They checked the "disability" box which said to list the disability served but they did not.  

Evergreen Leadership Academy for grades 6-12 would open in Grays Harbor in 2015.  They tried the first round and had a very weak application.  It is a military intervention-type school.  

Coral Academy of Science is yet another second-timer and is connected to the Gulan chain of charters in the U.S. that have had many problems.  Again, I cannot see how the Commission could consider this group unless there was a real disconnect from Gulan.   They want to open a K-12 in South King County in 2015.  

El Camino (that's the whole name listed on the NOI) would be a K-5 opening in 2015 in Pasco.  It would be a dual language/"bicultural" school.   I can't find anything on the non-profit group that submitted the application, Somos Educational Institute, except an address and that they are registered with the IRS.  

The Cesar E. Chavez school had been in the last group (I thought) but it may have just been a mention in a news article and they didn't follow-thru.  Dual-language, mentions CC.  K-8, located in Yakima.  Desires to open in 2015.

To note: there is only one charter opening this fall, First Place in Seattle.  But seven others were approved.  If there were eight more approved this round, then by Fall of 2015, you might see about 14 charters opening all at once. 


Anonymous said...

Out of the Box Learning Studio may be run by someone who was involved with KIPP, but it's about as far from the KIPP model as you can get OBLS academic model

They did not get a charter last year because they didn't have some of the logistical stuff in place. I really hope that they do this year.

-OBLS hopeful

Anonymous said...

Are you sure those aren't the letters of intent by school districts from the second cycle last year? Those are the same three districts that submitted letters of intent but did not end up submitting applications.


Anonymous said...

I have a friend in CA whose kids go to an iLead charter school. It was a parent started charter and my friend loves it. It is project based which makes it sound like TOPPS, Thorton Creek and Salmon Bay. Maybe they don't have anything like that in Spokane.


Anonymous said...

iLead values statement:

Values Statement

We are a people of purpose, establishing a new paradigm for education.

We are a caring culture that values community, which contributes to a better society.

Our focus on developing empathy allows for respect and invites an engaging, positive, rich environment.

We believe people are natural-born learners.

We provide opportunities for discovery and wonder to nurture a lifelong love of learning.

Success is demonstrated through leadership, self-direction, problem-solving skills, creativity, collaboration, innovation, and service.

We embrace stepping out of our comfort zone.
And . . .
We value joy, fun, choice, and voice, and we celebrate that our differences contribute to our common humanity.


Edu-babble said...

"Values Statement

We are a people of purpose, establishing a new paradigm for education.

We are a caring culture that values community, which contributes to a better society.

Our focus on developing empathy allows for respect and invites an engaging, positive, rich environment."

C'mon. Since when do our public schools not embrace this philosophy.

"We value joy, fun, choice, and voice, and we celebrate that our differences contribute to our common humanity"

Is someone going to imply that our public schools do not embrace differences?

TechyMom said...

Our public schools do an ok job of embracing racial, cultural, religious, and economic differences, but only OK, based on some of the feedback (Mann bldg, anyone?).

They do not embrace differences of learning styles or individuality. Sit and listen to the teacher. Fill out the ditto. Take the test. Want to do something different? Too bad.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's the thing; charters can say a lot of things but, like any other school, it's a gamble. Principals change, schools embrace only so far.

I worry that parents who have been unhappy for cultural reasons will get the impression that it's a whole lot different in charter schools. That's not my impression.

Anonymous said...

The iLead schools were started by a mom who was homeschooling her kids and wanted something different.


Josh Hayes said...

AS1 was started in something like that fashion as well, back in the day. The original goals of AS1 sound similar to that charter's claims, although the district has, over the years, brought the school more to heel as time goes by. (It began as a free school, but morphed into a student-centered experientially-based school, with an emphasis on diversity and social justice.)

Given that it still exists, it's puzzling that a charter would consider coming in to do essentially the same thing.

Anonymous said...

iLead is looking at opening a charter in Spokane. My friend tells me that they don't see Seattle as friendly to charters. I told her it was because we already have schools like iLead in SPS, though I am not sure there is one like this in the southend.