Private School Approval
The State Board of Education approves private schools in Washington. Individuals and organizations interested in opening a private school in Washington should review private school laws, listed at the bottom of our private school main page). The private school FAQ is also a useful resource. Download the one-page description of private school approval in Washington State.
To apply to be a private school, the Head of School (the principal, chief school administrator, or superintendent of the private school district) will submit an initial private school application. The Head of School is the main point of contact between the State Board of Education and the school, and is the person responsible for correctly conveying information about the school to the State Board of Education.
The private school facility must be inspected by local fire and health and safety officials. This may take several months to schedule so it is important to plan ahead. If the inspections are scheduled after the approval application is due and before students attend, and all other necessary information about the private school has been submitted in the application, the State Board of Education may award the school provisional approval for up to one year to allow the school to move forward pending satisfactory inspections.
Applications for new and renewing approval
Applications for approval for the 2022-2023 school year are available now:
- Renewing private schools: will log in to their 2022-2023 Renewing Private School Application with their credentials:
- Username: the email address you submitted for the Head of School on your previous, 2020-2021 application OR the current Head of School email address if you’ve updated your information with the State Board of Education
- Password: your school's building code, sometimes called your "EDS code."
- Existing private schools: opening an additional campus will use the 2022-2023 New Private School Application. Note that no login is required. Your new campus will be assigned a building code after approval.
- New schools: use the 2022-2023 New Private School Application.
Where do I find my school's building code?
Go to the OSPI EDS Directory Information.
- Use the "Organization Category" dropdown box to select Private School.
- Use the "Organization Name" text field to enter the name of the school, then the result of that search will populate in the lower part of that page.
- On the left-hand side of the search results, you will see the name of the school followed by the school code in parentheses.
- Enter the school code found in the parentheses.
If you have questions about finding your school code or if you have think you have two building codes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please save your login information.
What if our school has more than one campus?
Schools with multiple campuses must submit a separate application for each location or building code. Please contact the Private Schools Manager if you need assistance.
Is this the only reporting we are required to submit?
No. There are other reporting requirements to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and immunization reporting for the Department of Health.
What if I can't finish the application in one sitting?
After you log in, your information will automatically be saved. When you return to the application later, you will be taken to the page where you left off, but you'll still be able to go back to previous pages if you need to make changes.
Alchemer has a “save” function, which is useful if you cannot complete your application in one sitting. On page two of the survey in the upper righthand corner, you will find a toolbar with the label "Save and continue later" dropdown menu. When you click, you will have this option (photo below):
What paperwork will I need to upload?
- Health and fire inspections: If your school is new, has changed location, or has undergone a major renovation, you will need to submit documentation.
- Note: In some counties, the health inspection may be called "school safety inspection" or other names depending on local policy.
- Identifying a county health inspector: Identifying an appropriate health inspection organization is straightforward. Each county has a health department. Contact either the county health department directly or contact the building code personnel at the county/city to be directed to the health department. Please keep in mind that although identifying the appropriate health inspector is straightforward, local health codes may differ from area to area. Some counties offer school health inspections and others do not.
- Identifying a licensed fire inspector or an appropriate governmental fire inspection organization: The type and availability of fire inspectors differs throughout the state. Due to this variance, a good start would be to contact the building code personnel at the county/city and ask to be directed to a licensed fire inspector or an appropriate governmental fire inspection organization based on the private school building's address. Options that may be available are a county, city, or other licensed fire inspector.
- Important: Retain documentation of health and fire inspections in the school's main office.
- Teacher information: If your school employs teachers who are not certificated in Washington state, you must download the Staff Reporting document, including the following information:
- The name of each non-Washington state certificated teacher.
- The circumstances by which the private school program is improved by employing the non-Washington state certificated teachers.
- Teaching a religious course without a counterpart in the public school system
- Bachelor's degree, under the general supervision of a certificated staff member
- One year or more of experience in a specialized field, under the general supervision of a certificated staff member
- Certificated in another state, under the general supervision of a certificated staff member
- The name of the Washington state certificated educator who will supervise this teacher.
- TIP: Save your staffing report and update as needed through the school year.
- The certification number of the Washington state certificated educator who will supervise this teacher.
- Certificate of compliance: At the end of the application, you will be asked to upload the Certificate of Compliance Signature page that can be downloaded then signed and scanned for upload. By signing this document, you certify that your private school is in compliance with all requirements.
What happens after I submit my application, and how can I get my Certificate of Approval?
- You will receive a confirmation email after your application is submitted, at which point you may assume your application file is complete. If there are any issues with your application, you will be contacted and given ample time to complete your application file.
- The State Board of Education will review and vote to either fully or provisionally approve private schools at their May meeting.
My school was approved! How can I get my Certificate of Approval?
Certificates of Approval will be available for download on the State Board of Education private schools page within a week of approval. These will be posted as a bundle of certificates for approved schools. You will be able to find and print your school’s certificate by scrolling through or using “cntr-f.”. This document demonstrates to the public that you are a private school approved by the State of Washington.
What about certification and clock hour provisions?
Private schools can become a Washington state approved clock hour provider, but must apply through the OSPI certification office.
Approval of clock hour providers only occurs once a year, and the application deadline is August 20, 2022. The deadline is firm and clock hour providers may not be approved retroactively.
All questions should be addressed to the OSPI certification office.
What if I have more questions?
Please refer to the private schools web page for a list of FAQs. If your concern is not addressed, please contact email@example.com and allow 3-5 business days for a response.