Alternative Schools

  • Parents in Spokane remove about 10% of students from the public schools they are designated to attend, and place them in alternative schools.  Over 1 million students are home-schooled in the U.S., and there are 800,000 students in 3,000 charter schools.   This statistic sends a message to educators and legislators that many parents are not happy with public education.
  • Charter Schools are an excellent option for families.  Educational choice enhances school effectiveness.  The competition and innovation that result when public school systems are required to provide more education options makes all schools better.  The federal government has provided money to give parents more choices to transfer their children from a low-performing to a higher performing school.  In addition, money was allocated to build charter schools.  As schools compete for students, families gain better options, and schools gain a powerful incentive to improve.  
  • Career and technical education programs give high school students the chance to satisfy their curiosity.  They give students hands-on experience in a potential career field, as well as the opportunity to earn college credit.

  • Many colleges are looking for home-schooled students.  Schools are beginning to offer incentives like additional programs to retrieve and engage home schooled children, if only part-time, because public schools are losing state dollars for every student who is absent.  
  • Melinda (and Bill) Gates spoke at a graduation at St. George’s School in Spokane.    Melinda said, “One-third of U.S. high school students don’t graduate prepared for rigorous colleges.  This type of inequity ruins people’s lives.  And it will go on forever unless people like you rise up and change it—because you decide that the kind of education you as students got, is the kind of education everyone ought to have.”  (“Gates tells seniors to fight inequity,” The Spokesman-Review, June 9, 2007)  
  • There has been a great decline in ethical standards over the last several decades, resulting in more than 2 generations who have been raised with little moral values or character development in our schools.  As a result, many of today’s youth, politicians, and corporations are less anchored to traditional moral values.  Academic skills are needed, but they are not enough.  
  • Running Start.  This program allows high school students to take college courses while still registered in high school and living at home.  Students are allowed to leave the high school during their junior and/or senior years, and take courses on a college campus. Juniors and seniors must have a GPA average of at least 3.0 to attend classes at state universities and community colleges through the Running Start program.  In addition, some high schools offer off-campus classes via the Internet or teleconferencing.
In 2005-2006 the state’s Running Start program had 16,540 participants.  There were nearly 1,000 Running Start students at Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College.  Slightly more participated in programs run by EWU, either on campus or through high schools.  

About 10% of the state’s high school juniors and seniors now take college credits, tuition-free, through the Running Start program.  This is a trend nationwide.  
             
Students and families find benefits from Running Start, such as: 
    • An enormous savings to families because these college classes are
    • Nearly all paid for by the State; thus, they attend 2 years of college for free.
    • Students receive dual credit for classes taken, and many graduate from high school with both a high school degree and a 2-year associate’s degree.
    • Running Start programs may also increase the number of students who go on to college, and the number of actual college graduates.
    • Many students thrive in a full-time college setting.  
    • College classes challenge many students more than regular high school classes do.
(NOTE:  Running Start is not suitable for all students.) 

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Dishman Hills High School
(formerly Contract Based Education
)
115 S. University Road, Ste. A
Spokane Valley, WA   99206\
(509) 927-1100
Grades 9-12. 
Student enrollment:  360 
This is a non-traditional school in the West Valley School District.


Mica Peak High School
(formerly Barker High School)
16 N. Progress
Spokane Valley, WA   99037
220 high school students participate in 3 programs:
  1. Core full-day, on-site program Monday through Thursday with classes and teacher-led instruction.
  2. ITRACC blended-learning program with a flexible schedule of online learning and on-campus teacher support.
  3. School to Life, a post-high school special-needs transition program.

NEWTECH Skill Center
(a program of Spokane Public Schools)
Students are juniors and seniors.
4141 N. Regal St.
Spokane, WA  
(509) 354-4821  or  (509) 354-7470
http://www.spokaneschools.org/ontrack/
This program is designed for students who want real-world education, have demonstrated competency by passing 10th grade HSPE, and may or may not be behind in credits.  Students have the potential to earn college and/or high school credit. 

The Spokane Skills Center offers 16 different vocationally certified programs for our junior or senior students.  Contact the counseling office for additional information, or link to http://www.skillscenter.com

Programs offered include - Arts & Hospitality, Automotive technology, Broadcast media production, Collision repair, Computer game programming, Web development & database admin., Construction technology, Mobile entertainment installation and repair, Multimedia graphics and printing production, Cosmetology, Criminal justice, Culinary Arts, Dental careers, Veterinary assisting, Welding technology, Medical and nursing careers. 

Salish School of Spokane
4125 N Maple St
Spokane, WA 99205
Phone:  (509) 325-2018
Email: info@salishschoolofspokane.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalishSchoolofSpokane/
Website: http://www.salishschoolofspokane.org/
Offering an Early Childhood Education Assistance Program and classes to 70 children ages 1 to 11 in the Salish language.

Spokane Valley Tech Skills Center
(a program of Central Valley School District)
115 S. University Road
Spokane Valley, WA 
(509) 228-5413
http://www.spokanevalleytech.org

Serves School Districts: 
Central Valley, East Valley, West Valley and Freeman

Connects high school students
with relevant technical skills and experience for career and college readiness.  It gives students hands-on experience in a potential career field or the opportunity to earn college credit.  It offers college and career readiness to students. 

Courses are free for all high school students in Spokane County, and students can earn high school credit.  High school juniors and seniors are offered an expanded list of courses, including Advanced biomedical applications, Advanced engineering applications, Sports medicine, and the Avista Center for Entrepreneurship, Cosmetology, Finance, Fire science, and Aerospace and advanced manufacturing.  The school will be adding a computer science program with a focus on network engineering - the skills to install, maintain and support computer communication networks. 

Summer school is offered to all students entering 9th through 12th grade.  There will be 8 classes offered:  Aerospace and advanced manufacturing; Cosmetology; Energy and manufacturing; Fire science; Microsoft IT Academy; Sports medicine; Principles of biomedical sciences; and Introduction to engineering design.