Quick links: List of Approved Private Schools | Closing Private Schools | Annual Reporting Requirements | Resources and Information
Public and private schools in Washington are developing plans for a safe return to school this fall so they can deliver the best possible educational experience to their students. All schools will follow safety guidelines of official state and local health agencies. While following the same guidance, each school and community is different so schools may make different decisions on opening and on how to teach and interact with students.
*Find information and resources about COVID-19 in the SBE news section.
**Download the new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document created for Private Schools.
***Get updates about COVID-19 from the Washington Federation of Independent Schools.
For private school administrators: use this notification process the State Board of Education of your private school’s use of emergency waiver authority for state minimum credit unit graduation requirements and/or school time requirements.
Please comply with local health department, Department of Health, and Governor Inslee’s school closures. Receiving information about the details of the closure is something you should seek from your school and from the relevant authority for the closure.
Due to school closures for COVID-19, many private schools are concerned that they will not be able to meet the current law that states that the minimum school year for instructional purposes for private schools is at least a school-wide annual average of 1,000 instructional hours for students enrolled in grades 1-12 or 180 school days. Meeting either the hours requirement or the days requirement is acceptable. The State Board of Education has adopted rules that allow private schools emergency waiver authority for credit unit graduation requirements and has removed the remaining time requirements for the school year as measured by either hours or days. The emergency rules also indicate that the Board will allow private schools to operate online-only education for up to half of the 2020-2021 school year if the community deems it necessary for safety.
There is no established policy on how private online education towards hours or days is counted. Because state law is silent on the issue, it is up to the local schools to determine how they will calculate hours or days for online private education. There is no statewide definition of a high school credit based on time. In public schools, schools should assure that learning standards are being met for a credit to be offered. Private schools are not prescribed to the Washington State Learning Standards.
More than 500 private school operate in Washington, serving over 80,000 students. Private schools must be annually approved by the State Board of Education. A private school is a nonpublic school that conducts a program of kindergarten and at least grade one, or a program of any or all grades one through twelve. Private schools must be approved by the State Board of Education as offering a program that ensures a sufficient basic education to meet usual graduation requirements and that meets reasonable standards for the health and safety of private school students.
- Find approval certificates approved on July 9, 2020 on SBE's drive. (Once there, select "grid view" for easier access to your school's certificate)
- Find approval certificates approved on May 14, 2020 on SBE's drive. (Once there, select "grid view" for easier access to your school's certificate)
- Sortable list of schools approved for the 2019-2020 school year, as of the end of the September 2019 SBE meeting. See also the full data from schools approved for the 2019-2020 school year, as of the end of the September 2019 SBE meeting.
- Sortable list of schools approved for the 2018-2019 school year, as recommended to the State Board of Education by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- 2018-2019 Enrollment Data by School
- Approved private schools from previous years are listed in private school enrollment reports available on the OSPI Data and Reports webpage.
Private School Approval
Schools must submit their approval applications are received annually by April 1. If you need to submit a late application after April 1, please do so immediately.
Private schools that are closing must complete the closure form. Please ensure that records from the closing private school are transferred to a reliable person/entity for storage and that students and parents/guardians understand how to request their records.
How to Change Private School Information
By submitting the following form, a private school may change the Head of School, the Head of School contact information, the school address, and/or the school contact information.
Private schools are required to submit reports each year to comply with Washington state law. Some of the paperwork is required for the Washington State Board of Education; some for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.; some for the Department of Health.
For the State Board of Education:
- The annual approval process will open begin on March 16.. Schools need to submit student enrollment numbers for approval through the application NOT through EDS. The enrollment numbers to use for the application are the numbers from October 1. Please submit application for initial and reapproval by April 1.
- Once your school has submitted its application for its initial approval or reapproval, your application will be consider at the June State Board of Education meeting.
In order to fulfill the reporting requirements, private schools will need to use the Educational Data System (EDS). For instructions on how to gain access or receive a particular user role, please visit our EDS access page.
Depending on the topic, different offices in different state agencies may be the most appropriate to provide information and supports to private schools. The following is a list of topics with links to resources within state agencies, as well as with other organizations that work with private schools:
- Educational Data System
- Private School Frequently Asked Questions
- Fingerprinting--OSPI Office of Professional Practices
- Teacher Certification—OSPI Certification Office
- Special Education—OSPI Special Education Office
- Clock Hour Provider Information—OSPI Certification Office
- Free or Reduced Lunch Program—OSPI Office of Child Nutrition
- Federal Programs—OSPI Title and Federal Accountability Offices
- Washington Federation of Independent Schools (WFIS)
Private School Laws
- RCW 28A.195 Private Schools
- WAC 180-90 Private Schools
- WAC 392-335 Pupils—Uniform Entry Qualifications
- WAC 392-300-070 Private School Fingerprint Process
- RCW 28A.150.220 Basic Education Act—Program Requirements—Program Accessibility—Rules
- WAC 392-410 Courses of Study and Equivalencies
- WAC 180-51 High School Graduation Requirements
- RCW 28A.225 Compulsory School Attendance and Admission
- WAC 392-134 Finance—Apportionment for Part-Time Public School Attendance
- WAC 180-38 Pupils—Immunization Requirement
- RCW 28A.210 Health—Screening and Requirements
- WAC 392-182 Student—Health Records
- WAC 246-366 Primary and Secondary Schools (Minimum Environmental Standards for Educational Facilities)
- RCW 9.41.280 Possessing Dangerous Weapons on School Facilities
- WAC 181-85 Professional Certification—Continuing Education Requirement