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Private School Approval

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A private school is a nonpublic school that conducts a program of kindergarten and at least one grade, or a program of any or all grades one through twelve. Under RCW 28A.195.010, the Legislature requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to annually approve private schools to operate in Washington. Private schools must not only be annually approved by the State Board of Education, but also must maintain a program that ensures a sufficient basic education for students to meet usual state graduation requirements, and meet reasonable standards for health and safety of private school students. 

Private schools approval statuses (updated April 9 at 3:30 p.m.)

All 2024 - 2025 Private School Approval Applications are due April 1, 2024. 

Samples of both the New School Approval Application and the Renewing School Approval Application  are available for download.

Below you will find information concerning:

Required Paperwork for All Approval Applications

You will be asked to upload various documents to your approval application. Schools frequently experience issues using Google Chrome. If you are unable to download or upload your staffing report, please try a different browser.

NOTE: A significant number of applications are submitted each year with blank or incorrect documents. When you sign and save your completed paperwork, be sure to name and save them in a way that makes them easy to identify and access. If you have multiple documents to upload in addition to the Certificate of Compliance, consider creating a specially designated and accessible folder.

Quick View:

  • Certificate of Compliance: all schools
  • Staffing Report: schools who engage teachers who are not certificated in Washington state in addition to their Washington state-certificated teachers
  • Health and Fire Inspection Documentation: new and recently renovated schools, or schools that have moved

Additional Details:

Certificate of Compliance

At the end of the application, you will be asked to upload a signed Certificate of Compliance Signature page. Please download, sign, and then scan this form for upload. By signing this document, the head of school certifies that the private school is in compliance with all requirements. 

Teacher Information

See our bulletin for more information about Teacher Certification Requirement for Private Schools.

If your school employs teachers who are not certificated in Washington state, you must submit a completed staffing report, including the following information:

  • The name of your school (column A)
  • Your school’s Building Code – disregard if your school is new (column B)
  • The name of each non-Washington state certificated teacher (column C)
  • The circumstances by which the private school program is improved by employing the non-Washington state certificated teachers (column D). Minimum qualifications must include at least one of the following:
    • 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 (column E)
  • The certification number of the Washington state certificated educator who will supervise this teacher (column F)

Health and Fire Inspection Documentation

Ensure that your school is retaining documentation of inspections. WAC 180-90-160: “The physical facilities of the school are adequate to meet the program offered, and all school facilities and practices are in compliance with all reasonable health requirements and all reasonable fire safety requirements, as defined in WAC 180-90-112, and substantiated as required by current inspection reports of appropriate health and fire safety officials which are on file in the school or district administrator’s office;”

Renewing schools that have not moved or undergone a major renovation will be asked to confirm the dates of their latest inspections.

If your school is new, has changed location, or has undergone a major renovation, you will need to submit inspection documentation. 

  • 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 local health codes may differ from area to area.
  • Before you are able to obtain a health inspection, new schools will be required by the local health department to submit a plan review. This may involve a review of the school site, the building, playground, and kitchen.
  • Identifying a licensed fire inspector or an appropriate governmental fire inspection organization can sometimes be challenging due to the varying type and availability of fire inspectors differs throughout the state. 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 address. Options that may be available are a county, city, or other licensed fire inspector. 
  • Please retain documentation of health and fire inspections in the school's main office.

New School Approval 

 Individuals or groups interested in opening a school should first review:

See also a 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 online. (You can download a sample New School Approval Application here.)

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.

Approval for Existing Private Schools Opening or Operating an Additional Campus

Note that existing schools seeking approval for an existing additional campus or a new additional campus / location will use the 2024 - 2025 New Private School Approval Application. No login is required. Your new campus will be assigned a building code after approval.

Renewing Private School Approval

Renewing private schools will log in to submit a separate application for each campus or location using its unique building code as the password. You can download and preview a sample Renewing School Approval Application here.

If you do not intend to renew your approval because your school has closed, please submit the Private School Closure Form.

Zoom Information Sessions

If you have questions about the approval application process, stop in during Zoom office hours, Wednesdays 11:30–12:30:

  • March 6
  • March 13
  • March 20
  • March 27

Approval Notification & Certificates

You will receive a confirmation email after your approval 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 by the Private Schools Manager and given ample time to complete your application file.

If your application is received by the deadline, April 1, 2024, the State Board of Education will review and vote to either fully or provisionally approve private schools at the June 2024 board meeting. Applications received after the April deadline will be reviewed and considered for approval at a later State Board of Education meeting. See our website for a complete list of 2024 Board Meetings | SBE (

Although late applications will be reviewed and presented to the board for approval, note that per WAC 180-90-130:, at least 90 days before the beginning of the annual school term or period, the school “shall file with the state board of education a certificate of compliance as set forth in WAC 180-90-160.”

You will be notified of your approval within two weeks of the meeting. Note that we do not email Certificates of Approval to schools. Instead, Certificates of Approval will be available for download on the private schools page.

Fully approved schools may contact the private schools manager for a web badge indicating approval.

Online-Only Private Schools

An approved Washington private school may have an online program. (RCW 28A.195.090). 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))

Additional Information

Please refer to the private schools web page for a list of FAQs. If your concern is not addressed, please contact the private schools manager.