First Wash. charter school plans take shape in Spokane



Posted on April 22, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 22 at 6:22 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.—Plans are taking shape for the first ever charter school in Washington. Organizers said Tuesday that they planned to announce where the Spokane area charter school would be located by July 1.

Tuesday marked three months into April since Spokane Public Schools authorized the first charter school in Washington State. A group was working to get the school ready for students for the fall of 2015. 

The CEO of Pride Prep, Brenda McDonald, said one year was plenty of time to open the first charter school in Spokane. McDonald said she needed $2 million to get to the first day of classes.

READ: Pride Prep chosen as first charter school in Washington

Leaders for Pride Prep signed their charter on Tuesday.

"We're trying to really think about how we can better prepare our kids, and interest them in careers involving technology or science,” said McDonald.

McDonald said her students would take twice as many science classes as traditional schools. The students would also each get their own laptop or tablet to emphasize more technology in the classroom.

Pride Prep was set to have, at most, 125 students in sixth and seventh grades during its first year.

“Our young people have a tendency to leave, and we'd like to show them what Spokane has to offer,” said McDonald.

The school hoped to get students thinking about careers at an earlier age and keep them in town.

Spokane Public Schools would oversee Pride Prep. Funding would not come from Spokane Public Schools. The charter school would get state and federal funding after opening. It all depended on grants and community support for the first year.

"I think it's completely doable, I think we'll have a great first day of school,” said McDonald.

Pride Prep officials hoped to hire five teachers and some other staff in the summer of 2014. They said they would begin to explain the enrollment process in the fall.

There would be a lottery in March if more families apply than they have room for. The school was set to open several months later. The school would most likely be located within the Spokane School District.

McDonald said she wanted Pride Prep near college campuses for students to be near potential mentors.

"We're compelled to make sure our schools are amazing,” said McDonald.

Pride Prep hoped to announce where the school would be located by July 1, 2014