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Private Schools

A private school is a non-public school that conducts a program of kindergarten and at least one grade, or a program of any or all grades one through twelve. Approximately five hundred private schools operate in Washington, serving over 80,000 students.

Washington private schools are approved annually by the State Board of Education. Approval indicates the school has met the minimum requirements to insure the health and safety of students, and that the school offers a sufficient program of basic education to meet usual graduation requirements. Approval by the Board does not carry with it an endorsement of the school or its programs. 

Below you will find general information concerning:

And for Private Schools:

Private School Enrollment

The Washington State Board of Education annually collects private school enrollment data. Participation in enrollment reporting is not required for private school approval, although enrollment data may be used to verify information used in the approval process. Enrollment data is used in distribution of federal funds.

Private schools are encouraged to submit enrollment information. Enrollment numbers are self-reported and are not verified by the State Board. However, the State Board is continually working to improve the process and seeks to report private school enrollment as accurately as possible.

Private Schools

School Year

PreK

KG

1

2

3

4

5

 6

 7

 8

 9

 10

 11

 12

Total

487 Schools

2019-20

8338

6031

5457

5165

5157

5086

5050

5596

5432

5146

4493

4413

4053

4191

73608

449 Schools

2020-21

7209

6466

5625

5599

5426

5245

5427

5564

5396

5473

4555

4548

4254

4069

74856

495 Schools

2021-22

10340

7976

7209

6635

6369

6230

6135

6531

6078

6012

5233

4668

4416

4253

88058

538 Schools

2022-23

12437

8099

7542

7211

6684

6634

6624

6742

6638

6206

5367

5084

4345

4259

81959

Enrollment Data by School

Lists of Approved Private Schools

Note that approval by the State Board of Education is mandatory for private schools in Washington, while accreditation is voluntary. Accreditation is a well-defined process to grant public recognition to educational institutions that meet specific external standards of quality by an external accrediting organization. State law does not require public or private schools in Washington to be accredited.

Approved Private Schools

Approval Certificates

Online-Only Private Schools

Per RCW 28A.195.090, an approved Washington private school may have an online program. A completely online school, or a school with physical facilities located only outside of the state, may not be an approved Washington private school. Washington private school law assumes a physical facility in the state of Washington where students are enrolled and regularly attend (RCW 28A.195.010(6)).

Annual Reporting Requirements

Private schools are required to submit reports each year to comply with Washington state law. Two reports are required by the Washington State Board of Education: 

  • Enrollment Reporting. The official count day for private school enrollment is typically on or around October 1, and reports are due in mid-November.
  • Private School Approval. All private schools are approved annually each spring by the State Board of Education. 
  • Several other reports are required by separate state agencies, including the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Health. 

How to Update Private School Information

Alerting the State Board of Education of changes at your school ensures continuity of communication from state agencies. Please use the Private School Change of Information Form if your Head of School, location, or additional contact has changed since you submitted your previous year’s Private School Approval Application. 

Private schools that are closing must complete a closure form. Please ensure that records from the closing private school are transferred to a reliable person or entity for storage and that students and parents/guardians understand how to request their records.

Information Links and Resources

Depending on the topic, various offices in different state agencies may be the most appropriate to provide information and support 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:

Resources

The Washington State Department of Health