Rooted School Vancouver Opens Enrollment for SW Washington’s First Charter Public High School; Announces Executive Director and $1.35M in Funding for Fall 2023 Opening

Rooted School Vancouver Opens Enrollment for SW Washington’s First Charter Public High School; Announces Executive Director and $1.35M in Funding for Fall 2023 Opening

New school bridges inequality gaps for Vancouver’s underserved students with local workforce demands

January 18, 2023–Vancouver, Wash.– Rooted School Vancouver today announced that it has opened enrollment for its Fall 2023 class of 9th graders at SW Washington’s first ever public charter high school. Widely recognized as one of the most innovative high school models in the U.S., Rooted School’s vision is to rapidly close America’s wealth and inequality gap by connecting underserved and talented high school graduates with a college acceptance in one hand, and a job opportunity in the other. The school’s curriculum gives students a proactive role in their future careers by teaching skills that are in-demand for today’s most successful job sectors, with focus on technology.

Expanding on its success in New Orleans and Indianapolis, Rooted School was unanimously approved by the Washington State Charter School Commission in 2020 to open in Vancouver. In partnership with a board of directors comprised of local business, technology and education leaders, Rooted School has conducted extensive work in Washington to understand the need and opportunity and is excited to offer the innovative model to Vancouver students while addressing growing local workforce needs in STEM fields.

To carry this mission forward, Rooted School Vancouver’s Board of Directors appointed Steven Carney as the school’s Executive Director. Carney brings more than 20 years of experience in leading, coaching, and supporting the development of effective schools throughout the United States and abroad. In addition to creating and leading two successful educational service organizations with missions focused on building school cultures of collaboration and inclusion, Carney brings to Rooted School Vancouver experience as an Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for an award-winning charter school system in California, and as Coordinator of Curriculum, Instruction, and Staff Development for regional Offices of Education.

Carney commented: “It is a great honor to lead Rooted School’s next generation of students who have an academic model that leads them to financial freedom. With successes already seen in New Orleans and Indianapolis, I am invigorated about the future of Rooted School Vancouver’s upcoming class of students and the talent they will bring to our community.”

Rekha Bhatt, Co-President, Innovative Schools, the Washington State Charter Schools Association commented: “Given Rooted School’s track record of success in New Orleans and Indianapolis, and the clear desire within the Vancouver community for a different public-school option, WA Charters supported Rooted with start-up funding. Our partnership with Rooted School Vancouver is built on evidence of the model’s success, and a deep belief that youth and the broader community in Vancouver will benefit from the innovative school model.”

Due to the lack of equitable facility funding for charter public schools, Rooted School Vancouver has secured $350k in startup funding from Washington State Charter Schools Association and a $1 million tenant improvement loan from Raza Development Fund (RDF). RDF is continuing to expand its reach in the Pacific Northwest to help advance its mission to create financial solutions that increase opportunities for Latino and underserved families across the US.

“At RDF, we pride ourselves in providing flexible financing tools and resources to organizations and schools, like Rooted School Vancouver, that are intentionally responsive to the needs of those they serve,” says Adrian Ruiz, RDF’s Chief Investment Officer. “It is our pleasure to work alongside dedicated and passionate educators to create the best opportunities for students to succeed.”

Toby Martin, Board Chair of Rooted School Vancouver and CEO of Extensis noted: “Our partnership with RDF reflects our mutual goals to create pathways of opportunity for lower-income and underrepresented populations. Their financial support enables us to start making a difference with our opening later this year. I am excited about how Rooted School is partnering with the business community to cultivate skills that are in demand so our students can prosper.”

Families who are interested in learning more about the school and enrollment can visit the school’s website. The August 2023 opening in Vancouver’s Orchards neighborhood will serve 35 ninth grade students and will add another incoming 9th grade class each year until it reaches full capacity as a 9-12 high school, serving 135 students in 2026. The school will provide one adult for every nine students, and restorative practices will be used to build relationships within the community.

Like all charter schools, Rooted School Vancouver will be public, and focused on supporting under- represented and under-funded students. Enrollment for the Fall 2023 term is already underway, as is recruitment for teachers and staff positions.

To learn more about Rooted School and its mission, visit You can also follow Rooted School Vancouver on Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Rooted School

Rooted School is widely recognized as one of the most innovative high school models in the U.S. Its vision is to rapidly close America’s inequality gap by providing its high school graduates with a college acceptance in one hand, and a job in the other. With the right training, increased expectations, and access to opportunities, the U.S. can leverage talented teenagers to meet its increasingly demanding workforce requirements. Rooted Schools are in New Orleans, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Washington and Las Vegas, Nevada. Graduates attend colleges such as Tulane, Villanova and Case Western Reserve, and work at Fortune 500 companies including Entergy, Ochsner and Lucid. For more information, visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn.

About Raza Development Fund

Founded in 1999 as a support corporation of UnidosUS, previously known as National Council of la Raza (NCLR), RDF provides access to capital and financing solutions to non-profits, UnidosUS affiliates, and other Latino serving organizations across the country with the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty in low-income communities. Since its inception, RDF has provided organizations serving Latino and low- income families in 38 states with technical assistance and financings in excess of $1 billion, which have leveraged over $5 billion in private and public capital for education, childcare, affordable housing, social services projects and small businesses. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, RDF lends nationwide and has offices in Seattle, WA, and New York City, NY.


Media Contacts:

 Joscelyn Zell

Rooted School Vancouver 503.260.1169

Maggie Meyers

Washington State Charter Schools Association 724.263.9826