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Private School Applications

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The State Board of Education approves private schools in Washington. Individuals and organizations interested in opening a private school in Washington should start by reviewing private school laws (listed at the bottom of our private school main page). The private school FAQ is also a useful resource.

The school must be approved prior to enrolling students. Approval is not needed for a planning year.

To apply to be a private school, the Head of School (the principal, chief school administrator, or superintendent of the private school district) needs to 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 needs to 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 to allow the school to move forward pending satisfactory inspections. 

More Information on the Application Period for 2020-2021 

The application will be submitted through an online survey application. The annual private school approval application for the 2020 – 2021 school year will be available on this webpage as of late February – Early March of 2020. 

The application needs to be completed by the Head of School and submitted in one sitting. You may preview the application. Please note: this preview is for you to review the questions only—the application must be submitted online, hard-copy applications will not be accepted. Be sure to review the information that will be needed to complete the application. Once you submit the application, you will automatically receive an email confirming your submittal, along with a copy of your responses for your records.

Each private school must employ at least one Washington state certificated educator. Well qualified non-Washington state certificated teachers may be employed, but they must be under the general supervision of the certificated educator. New schools are asked for information on non-certificated teachers, as well as the name and certification number of their supervisors.

The application will ask you to upload some documents to include in your application. The documents you will be asked to upload include:

  1. Documentation of your most recent Health and Safety Inspection, signed by the appropriate local official. (Review Guidance on Health and Safety Inspections for Private School Approval Application)
  2. Documentation of your most recent Fire Inspection, signed by the appropriate local official.
  3. Certificate of Compliance Signature Page

If you have questions about the process, please email