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Regional News

Spokane Charter School Renewed For Another Five Years Of Instruction

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Courtesy of Spokane International Academy/RL Miller photo
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A Spokane charter school is one of four in Washington that will be allowed to continue teaching for the next five years. The Spokane International Academy is one of the state’s four original public charter schools. It has plans to start its own high school, beginning next fall.When it opened in 2015, the Spokane International Academy welcomed 150 kindergarten, first and sixth graders to the former St. Patrick Catholic School in northeast Spokane. Over the years it has grown to a kindergarten-through-eighth grade program with 600 students, says academy CEO Travis Franklin.

“We just moved to our brand new campus, just off Magnesium and Nevada, and it will allow us to grow our enrollment over the next five or six years to around 950 students," he said.

Some of those will be in grades nine-through-12.

“We’ve been planning it for a couple of years. We just haven’t had the facilities available to be able to roll into a high school program. When we moved to our new home, it provided a perfect opportunity to start more serious planning," he said.

Franklin says the ninth and tenth grades will be an extension of the school’s emphasis on global and environmental perspectives. The last two years students will have two options: attend the Running Start program through the community colleges or the NewTech Skill Center to explore a technical career.

“The real goal here is to have students leave high school with a plan of what they think they want to do when they graduate," he said.

Franklin says the Spokane International Academy is a popular option for parents. It receives about 400 applications a year from families and expects to have about 300 on its waiting list next fall.

“I think our families love the fact that we study Spanish from kindergarten-through-eighth grade. That’s a unique feature for our region. I think a lot of our families, too, are passionate about the discussion of global topics, especially given our current state of the world and the idea that their kids can develop critical thinking skills through tackling some pretty heavy topics, regardless of their age," he said.

The academy is one of 12 state-approved public charter schools in Washington. Seven more are scheduled to open during the next two years.