Education & Academics
Finding the right schools and educational opportunities for each family member is an important part of any move. This chapter outlines Spokane County’s public schools system, private schools, charter schools and home schooling criteria, as well as local libraries and higher education institutions. To be enrolled in a Washington school, a child must be at least 5 years old by Aug. 31 of the academic year. Those wishing to register their child in school should take the following to the school office: a birth certificate or other proof of the child’s age, the child’s previous school records and immunization records. Check with the school for additional requirements. For more details on Washington’s minimum vaccine requirements for students in grades K-12, visit the Washington State Department of Health’s website at https://tinyurl.com/k8zv5aq.
In 2010, Washington, along with most other states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Department of Defense Education Activity, adopted Common Core State Standards that provide a consistent set of educational expectations for students regardless of ZIP code. When a family moves, a student’s education is often disrupted because the student may be forced to repeat material or learn at a different level at the new school. With common standards across states, this disruption will be reduced — of particular interest to military families. At present, national Common Core State Standards exist only for English language arts and mathematics though Washington has state standards across the full curriculum. For more information, visit www.corestandards.org.
Charter schools are public schools of choice that are tuition-free, serve all students and have open enrollment. For more information or a listing of charter schools in Washington, visit the Washington State Charter School Association’s website at www.wacharters.org.
For an introduction to home schooling in Washington, visit the State of Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction website at www.k12.wa.us. Here you will find information on home-school rules and regulations, testing information, home-school curricula and more.
State of Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction
Office of Private Education
600 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98504 360-725-6433
Washington law recognizes the desire of some parents to seek a home-based instruction for their children. Learn more about exercising that right — including PDFs of regulations, school contacts and annual reports — at the state’s website.
Washington Homeschool Organization
P.O. Box 66960
Seattle, WA 98166 425-251-0439
The Washington Homeschool Organization is a statewide, nonprofit membership organization that serves the diverse interests of home-based education in Washington. WHO’s goals include helping home schooling parents network with each other and their community, answering home-school questions and supporting parents in creating the most successful home school experience possible.
To search for local private schools in Washington, visit the National Center for Education Statistics website and use the private school search tool at www.nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/privateschoolsearch. Users may search by location, religious affiliation, school type and more.
Choosing a School
Choosing the right school is important so be sure to research each one before deciding. Contact the school by phone or by visiting its website, which is a valuable source to learn about school district statistics and curriculum. Talk to people in the area, especially friends and colleagues who already live there.
If the school shows promise, schedule a visit and bring a list of written questions about student-teacher ratios, computer availability, extracurricular activities, sports programs, music programs, gifted programs and grading standards.
Discuss the potential school with your children: what they liked and what they didn’t like. Your family’s ability to readily adapt to a move and to find happiness in your new home may depend, in part, on how happy your children are in their new school.
Central Valley School District
19307 E. Cataldo Ave.
Spokane Valley, WA 99016 509-228-5400
Central Valley School District has an enrollment of more than 13,000, serving students who live in the Spokane Valley including Liberty Lake and Greenacres. There are three high schools, five middle schools and 12 elementary schools. There are also K-8 nontraditional schools and a K-12 parent partnership program as home-school alternatives. Additionally, many high school students attend NewTech Skills Center, which offers technical and professional training at no cost.
Cheney School District
12414 S. Andrus Road
Cheney, WA 99004 509-559-4599
Cheney School District has an enrollment of 4,550, serving students who live in Cheney, Airway Heights and the surrounding area near Fairchild AFB. The district is a fast-growing area just southwest of Spokane. It has two high schools, two middle schools, one K-8 school and five elementary schools. The district has been nationally recognized for its efforts to combat obesity by converting its school meal program from unhealthy processed foods to healthy “scratch” cooked meals.
East Valley School District
3830 N. Sullivan Road
Spokane Valley, WA 99216 509-924-1830
East Valley School District has an enrollment of 4,000, serving students living in Spokane Valley in a district that extends from the Spokane River north to the foothills of Mount Spokane and east to the Idaho border. The district has one high school, one middle school and four elementary schools. It also has two choice schools: a K-8 school and a K-12 arts and technology academy.
Mead School District
2323 E. Farwell Road
Mead, WA 99021 509-465-6000
Mead School District serves nearly 10,000 students who live just north of Spokane. There are 16 schools including two high schools, two middle schools, eight elementary schools and several alternative schools. The alternative schools offer options that include a project-based learning program that is largely student-directed and includes community service projects; a parent-partnership for a home-school option; and a K-12 alternative school.
Medical Lake School District
116 W. Third St.
Medical Lake, WA 99022 509-565-3100
Medical Lake School District is just 3 miles from Fairchild AFB, serving children who live on base and in the surrounding community. It’s a small district with one high school, one middle school and two elementary schools including one that is on base. The district offers full-day kindergarten. The district also has an alternative high school that serves students age 14 to 21 that uses traditional methods as well as online learning to accommodate student needs and schedules.
Spokane School District
200 N. Bernard St.
Spokane, WA 99201 509-354-5900
The Spokane School District is the largest school district in eastern Washington and the second-largest in the state. It has an enrollment of 29,275 students. The district has seven high schools, six middle schools, 34 elementary schools and five alternative schools. The Spokane district offers full-day kindergarten at all its elementary schools plus several alternative programs, including Montessori, gifted classes, parent participation programs and programs for at-risk students.
West Valley School District
2805 N. Argonne Road
Spokane Valley, WA 99212 509-924-2150
West Valley School District has an enrollment of more than 4,000, serving students who live in Spokane Valley. There are four high schools, including two alternative schools; two middle schools; and four elementary schools. It also has an early childhood education program and an outdoor learning center.
Spokane County offers plenty of opportunity for continuing education. These include two private universities, two public universities and a technical college. In addition, Spokane has a community college system with three campuses. Use the following contact information to start your search for the school that is right for you.
6 W. Castle St.
Fairchild AFB, WA 99011 402-830-6594
Community Colleges of Spokane
501 N. Riverpoint Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99202 509-434-5162
Eastern Washington University
526 Fifth St.
Cheney, WA 99004 509-359-6200
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
6 W. Castle St.
Fairchild AFB, WA 99011 509-244-3832
502 E. Boone Ave.
Spokane, WA 99258 509-328-4220
6 W. Castle St.
Fairchild AFB, WA 99011 509-244-2020
Washington State University
412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99202 509-358-7500
300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251 509-777-1000
Residents can enjoy and make use a variety of academic and public libraries in Spokane County. Get information about services, hours and events by visiting the branches’ websites. For a full list of libraries in Washington, visit the Washington State Library website www.sos.wa.gov/library.
Spokane County Library District
The Spokane County Library District has 10 branches with services that include internet access, online card catalogs, children’s reading programs, Science Saturdays, tween clubs, Kids Explore & Discover Clubs, and many other programs and events. Each library has different hours and offerings, so call or check the main website for library hours and activities. To visit a branch library website, click on “Locations” on the main library website.