VIDEO: Ribboncutting for West Seattle’s first charter school Summit Atlas, five days before first classes

Big crowd tonight for the ribboncutting celebration at Summit Atlas, West Seattle’s first charter school, about to start classes inside a renovated – and soon to be expanded – ex-church/ex-supermarket at 9601 35th SW. The school is starting with sixth and ninth graders, adding a middle- and high-school grade each year until it’s a full 6th-through-12th campus; its soon-to-be-students were invited to help cut the ribbon tonight (our video above pans along the line).

By the time we toured the school last month, almost 200 students were enrolled. As with other charter schools in our state, this one receives public funding and does not charge tuition; it’s leasing the building and site from Washington Charter Schools Development, a donation-funded nonprofit that bought it for $4.75 million from its former owner, Freedom Church/Jesus Center, which subsequently bought and moved to a new campus in Skyway. We first reported on the charter-school plan in early 2015, after discovering it in city permit files. When the state approved Summit’s plan in August 2015, the plan was for it to open in fall 2016, but the court/legislative fight over funding charter schools led to a one-year delay.

Classes at Summit Atlas start 8:15 am Monday for ninth-graders, same time Tuesday for sixth-graders. This is the third school in Arbor Heights, joining Arbor Heights Elementary – which will start its second year in its new building next month – and Westside School (WSB sponsor), which is heading into its third year at its AH campus.

12 Replies to "VIDEO: Ribboncutting for West Seattle's first charter school Summit Atlas, five days before first classes"

  • Marty August 16, 2017 (7:59 pm)

    Glad to see Charter Schools getting a chance. My granddaughter attended a charter school in Nevada and all graduating seniors were accepted at a college or university.

  • TJ August 16, 2017 (8:21 pm)

    Awesome! More choices for our kids. This should be the beginning of more charters, which will break the stranglehold SPS has on education (or lack of)

  • SueY August 16, 2017 (8:25 pm)

    I’m surprised the teachers’ unions didn’t protest the opening.  They don’t really like families having choices, now do they?

  • LarryB August 16, 2017 (8:34 pm)

    I wish the students well, but charter schools are really a bad deal for everyone. The kids don’t do as well, check the numbers, the teachers get paid less, and the profits get siphoned off to the likes of Betsy DeVos.

  • New Thinking Needed August 16, 2017 (8:55 pm)

    Please remember that WA state does not allow for profit charter schools. For further info check out

  • JRR August 16, 2017 (9:31 pm)

    Oh good, more corporate leeches sucking an already underfunded system dry. 

  • Gene August 16, 2017 (9:53 pm)

    Well LARRYB I disagree with you. I also have a granddaughter that just finished middle school at a Charter school in SoCal. To put it in your terms- it was a really GOOD  deal. 

  • Nick August 17, 2017 (8:32 am)

    Nice to have a potential better option high/ middle school. the way sps has treated families at STEM is really making me think about this as an option. Looking forward to see how it goes.

  • Melissa Westbrook August 17, 2017 (2:04 pm)

    Washington Charter Schools Development, a donation-funded nonprofit..”

    Yes, that would be the Gates Foundation that created that non-profit and they only give money to the charters they like.

    Actually you do have choice in Seattle Schools – in West Seattle, there’s Pathfinder and K-5 STEM.  Not bad choices and very popular.

    Suey, did the you want the union to come and protest? We have enough fighting in this country.  Give them some credit for having a little grace.

    As for non-for-profit, that’s kind of true. But charter schools, like Summit, farm out management and operations to a Charter Management Org (a CMO).  And no one said non-profits don’t make money; they just don’t get to use it as for-profits do.

    • WSB August 17, 2017 (2:15 pm)

      In one of our early stories, I had a link to a page on the Washington CSD (or parent Pacific CSD) website that listed donors. Couldn’t find it again or I would have linked it to the words “donation-funded” – TR

  • Mark August 17, 2017 (6:33 pm)

    Choices are good, may the students and staff have a successful year

  • Chuck August 24, 2017 (11:58 am)

    Let the taxation without representation commence. I hope they don’t steal taxpayer funds like so many other publicly funded private schools.  

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