Washington Federation of Independent Schools

As the policy watchdog for private schools, WFIS reacts to thousands of education bills created by legislators in Olympia and crafts bills to alleviate issues in our schools. WFIS is the sounding board for legislative ideas, providing an “on the ground” perspective of how policy affects our schools.


We work with all recognized accrediting bodies in Washington State that set standards of quality for private schools. Washington public or private schools voluntarily seek accreditation through recognized accrediting bodies.  We work with the all accrediting bodies in the state – particularly those that set standards for private schools.

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Legislation and Policy Advocacy

We work with legislators and policy makers to ensure that legislation in Olympia affecting schools and education is crafted with the particular needs of private and independent schools in mind.

Agencies and Committees

WFIS represents the interests of private schools on agency boards and working groups and serves as the official liaison organization for independent schools with OSPI and the Department of Early Learning.

Professional Learning

Educators have countless opportunities for professional learning – but WFIS provides professional learning programs that are carefully tailored to the specific needs of private schools.

About Us

WFIS is a membership organization started in 1970 for private, independent State-approved schools in Washington. We have 250 member schools that include religious, nonsectarian, independent, accredited and non-accredited schools in rural and urban settings. Schools range in size from over 2,000 to under 10 students.

WFIS brings together school Superintendents, Principals, Teachers, education advocacy organizations, State agency leadership from OSPI and DEL, Executive Directors of Accreditation Organizations, and Legislators to discuss and protect the required independence for private schools.

Through discussion, consensus building and action, WFIS has had amazing success at stopping damaging and crafting supportive legislation. WFIS also provides excellent professional, development bringing together staff from all of the different kinds of schools around topics of interest for all.

Our Mission

The Washington Federation of Independent Schools exists to strengthen education for the students of Washington Sate as the advocate for and voice of independent schools.


Educational Freedom and Independence – WFIS values the freedom of families to choose how their children will be educated and upholds the independence of educational institutions to deliver the curricula that most effectively supports the mission of its school.

Diversity – WFIS honors the diversity of families, students and educational institutions in Washington State. We celebrate the many unique educational missions of our member schools and recognize that diversity in our membership makes us a stronger voice for independent schools.

Cooperation and Collaboration – WFIS values working with its partners in a cooperative and collaborative spirit to support all students in its member schools.

WFIS member schools are actively engaged in the protection of private education. Our schools range in size, location, and affiliation and are bound by the belief that each unique school serves a purpose in providing the most important component to great education- CHOICE for parents and children.

Private schools support the needs of their communities. Not all students do well in one type of school environment; not all parents share the same moral values. WFIS is the framework for bringing the voices of private school leadership together. One voice, one purpose: Keep private schools viable and protected in Washington.

  • Average private school acceptance rate 83%
  • Private schools that are religiously affiliated 53%
  • Washington schools that are private/independent 22%

“As a former board president and current member of WFIS, I understand how vitally important it is for every private or independent school in the State of Washington to have a strong voice in shaping the future of education for our children.  Having an advocate in Olympia like Suzie Hanson, who passionately and articulately represents the best interests of all private and independent schools in Washington is essential to insuring that all families have the freedom to choose the best schools for their children.”  – Trish King, Head of School, The Island School

Benefits of Membership

Legislative and Policy Advocacy

We work with legislators and policy makers to stop damaging bills, and craft supportive legislation that protects and supports the unique needs of our member schools throughout the state.


Agencies and Accrediting Organizations

WFIS brings together school teams, education advocacy organizations, agency leadership from OSPI and DEL, Executive Directors of Accreditation Organizations, and Legislators to discuss and protect the required independence for our member schools.

Professional Learning Resources

WFIS provides professional development programs for members that bring together staff from diverse schools around topics of interest that are relevant to private schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

We regularly get questions about requirements, government policies and legislative actions, funding opportunities and a variety of other issues of interest to private schools. Our FAQs provide answers to many of the questions we hear frequently.

Wherever possible, we also provide links to appropriate resources.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us directly, and we’ll do our best to get you an accurate answer.


What forms do private schools need to submit to OSPI by particular deadlines?

Compliance Requirements for Private Schools
There are five reports throughout the school year that require a response from private schools to remain in compliance with Washington state law. Information regarding these reports is e-mailed to private schools before the required reporting time.

  • October – Annual Private School Personnel and Enrollment Reports (P105B). You will be asked to electronically submit updated school information and provide enrollment and personnel information. This is a mandatory requirement. This year’s reporting period is October 3 thru November 16.

    New schools need to fill out the staff report by entering all teaching staff and head of school, beginning with certificated staff first. Following years, the staff report will show the previous year data to be updated with new staff or deletions of staff no longer at the school.

  • November – Immunization reports are due to DOH by November 1, 2016. All private schools are required by law (RCW 28A.210.110) to report school immunization data to the Department of Health. Use this form with step-by-step instructions.
  • February – Private School Participation in Federal Programs.  Application needs to be completed only by those schools with non-profit status. This allows approved private schools to receive services from your resident public school district provided through Federal Title and Perkins funds. The enrollment numbers used for Private Participation come from the October enrollment reporting. You will be asked to electronically submit information on whether or not you might like to participate in federal programs.
  • April – Annual Private Education Approval. You will be asked to electronically submit the State Standards Certificate of Compliance, the Computation of Total Instructional Hour Offerings, and if applicable, the Inservice Approval and Record Keeping.

    Two closing dates: April 11 for May State Board approval; June 13 for July State Board approval. July is the last opportunity for renewal for the upcoming school year.

  • June – Weapons Report. You will be asked to electronically submit whether or not you have had any weapons violations during the current school year.
How many Washington certificated teachers do schools need on staff?

Schools are required to have at least one Washington State certificated teacher, administrator or Superintendent per building.

How do I find out about Federal Title Funds for support of students and teachers?

Please go directly to http://www.k12.wa.us/ESEA/default.aspx for a list of the current programs for which your school is eligible.

Private Schools let OSPI know in February whether they plan to utilize their equitable share of Title Funds. They then should be in contact with their Public School District to begin to build a relationship with the Title Funds Team to be included in consultation on best use for Title Funds.

It’s important for legislators to understand the perspective of the state’s private schools while making key decisions related to educating future generations… WFIS helps to bridge knowledge gaps and make sure that the experiences of all of the state’s students are considered.

Senator Christine Rolfes

23rd Legislative District

Educational choice, private or public, is an important part of American life. The Washington Federation of Independent Schools provides incredible expertise, strong advocacy, and a unique forum that help makes a choice possible, fair, and able to meet the needs of the diversity of students in our many uniquely different and wonderful private schools.

Al Falkner

President Gonzaga Preparatory School

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction oversees all public schools in Washington. The agency also cares deeply about the private school students in the state. To that end, OSPI works closely with the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, and both organizations strive to provide solid leadership and advice to the member schools.

Dan Newell

Assistant Superintendent, Secondary Education & Student Support, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Our Schools


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PO Box 31019
Seattle, WA 98103

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We’re happy to answer any questions you have or provide you with the right resources.

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