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Private Schools

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Quick links: List of Approved Private Schools  |  Closing Private Schools  |  Resources and Information  |  FAQs

Approximately five hundred private schools operate in Washington, serving over 80,000 students. A private school is a non-public 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.

Annual Reporting Requirements

Private schools are required to submit reports each year to comply with Washington state law.  Only some of the paperwork is required by the Washington State Board of Education, listed below. Schools may also need to submit information to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (Private School Participation in Federal Programs) and will need to report to the Department of Health (School and Child Care Immunization).   

For the State Board of Education:

  • SPRINGAnnual Approval Applications are submitted in the spring. After initial approval or reapproval, your application will be reviewed at the June State Board of Education meeting.
  • FALLAnnual Enrollment Reporting is due later in the year—the number of pupils enrolled at your school on October 1, 2021. The enrollment reporting will be submitted through an application here (coming later this summer) not through EDS.   

Private School Approval

All private schools are approved annually by the State Board of Education. Applications for approval for the 2021-2022 school year will be accepted from March 15 through April 16, 2021.   

Safe Return to School

Public and private schools in Washington are developing plans for a safe return to school 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 all schools will follow the same guidelines, each school will make their own decisions about opening and interacting with students based on the needs of families and the community.

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.

Emergency Waivers

In response to COVID-19 disruptions, the Spring 2021 emergency waiver program allows school districts to waive certain credit and subject area graduation requirements on an individual student basis for students who were on track to graduate. Schools whose educational program was disrupted so that the school will be unable to meet hour or day requirements may also waive this requirement. Schools who use this waiver program must notify the State Board of Education by filling out this Private School Emergency Waiver Notification by July 31, 2021.

To follow developments, please consult the Emergency Waiver Program page.

Please comply with local health department, Department of Health, and Governor Inslee’s school closures guidelines. 

Lists of Approved Private Schools

How to Close a Private School

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.

EDS Access

To access certain state programs, such as fingerprinting and the free or reduced lunch programs, private schools will need to use the Educational Data System (EDS), which is supported and maintained by OSPI. For instructions on how to gain access or receive a particular user role, please visit our EDS access page.

Information Links and Resources

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:

Private School Laws