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Our History
Since 1976 Emerson Academy has provided a secondary education program that offers personalized learning opportunities based upon the students needs and graduation plan.

The School has gone through a certification process, and is recognized by the Washington State office of Public Instruction as a State Education Center [WAC 180-90]. In accordance with State law, the educational program operates 180 days per year and is open to students referred by their resident school District. Emerson Academy is conveniently located within walking distance of numerous community services and public transit.

Emerson is a division of Youthnet, a support network for our youth. Youthnet provides caring and supportive educational and social services to youth and families to help them attain a productive and successful life. To learn more about Youthnet, you can visit

The board of directors has voted to move forward with the pursuit of opening Northwest Schools of Choice, a tuition-free public school serving Skagit and Snohomish Counties. Once approved by the Washington Charter School Commission, the new campuses would open in the fall of 2021.

The mission of the new school will be:

Northwest Schools of Choice is dedicated to maximizing academic success through rigorous teaching to prepare ALL students, regardless of background, for successful futures for themselves, their families, and their communities by providing an environment that supports the whole child. The school model will prepare all students to develop the skills needed to start and complete a college degree using a structured literacy approach and a phenomenon-based learning model.

A team of parents, educators, and community members are currently working together as a design team to fully develop the model of the new school district. If you would like additional information, please contact, Ross Baker, Superintendent.
The principal source of funding comes from per pupil fee for service charges to Districts that refer students to Emerson. The fee is based on the State Basic Education Allocation (BEA dollars) that a District receives for a student.

Operation of Emerson also depends on grants and donations, and the School receives vital in-kind support of goods and services from the community. If you would like more information about contributing to Emerson Academy or Youthnet, please contact our office.
Board of Directors
Tia Entrikin, President

May Haley, Vice President
Faculty, Skagit Valley College

Rebecca Carroll, Secretary
Attorney at Law/GAL

Sherrie Marble, Treasurer
Senior Accountant, Port of Skagit

Eileen Butler, Past President
Furlong Butler, Attorney

Debbie Hamilton
Marketing Administrator, Port of Skagit County

Bill Lupinacci
Retired Educator

Sharon Schell
Co-Owner, Schell Design Group

Pat Grenfell
Retired Business Owner

Joanne Jones
Retired Educator

Kim O'Hara
Permit Center Manager, City of Burlington

Janice Martin
Youthnet Link
Additional Youthnet Services
Youthnet works with children and families in Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, San Juan, and Island Counties. Youthnet has provided foster care services for 50 years, and we recently added a therapeutic foster care program to our services. These programs work seamlessly together, and foster families have the option to work with both programs, with kids of all ages. Both of Youthnet's foster care programs are contracted with the state to license foster homes, match kids with these families, and provide ongoing support and services.

When we provide case management, Youthnet's goal is to support the entire foster family. Fostering is tough work, and it's important to us that you know you're never in it alone.

Youthnet is a no-fee agency. There is no cost to license with Youthnet or to receive our services.
Service Delivery
Northwest Schools of Choice will have a traditional set of campuses that offer a comprehensive school experience with an athletics program, fine arts program, and career and technology courses. The schools will use a structured literacy model and a phenomenon-based learning model. We believe with the correct level of support and interventions EVERY child can read at grade level.

All campuses will provide structured support through a whole child model. Each child, in each school, in each of our communities deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. That's what a whole child approach to learning, teaching, and community engagement really is.

Emerson Academy will continue to offer two programs. The majority of students attend the Monday-Friday full day CORE program. The remaining students are served through the Contract Based program that allows for greater flexibility to accommodate students with unique health or employment considerations.

The curriculum for the Emerson program focuses on competencies identified in the Common Core. In accordance with State law, students must pass the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA): English language arts (ELA) and math tests, the
Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS): Science test and meet other requirements to receive a diploma. Students receive credits on a semester basis. Upon completion of their home District graduation requirements, students are awarded a regular high school diploma from their resident District.

The basic structure and organization of Emerson is similar to any regular school setting. Our class sizes are smaller and the students enjoy a higher level of interaction with teachers and peers. Students can receive immediate assistance and feedback on their performance. The school places an emphasis on multi-modal, experientially based instruction, and off campus learning opportunities are utilized to support both academic classroom instruction and to develop personal life competencies. Students participate in a wide array of community events and provide volunteer service to the community.

Recognizing that a number of students face special challenges in being able to complete their education, Emerson has incorporated on-site student assistance/intervention services that focus on helping students, 1) get to school, 2) stay in school, 3) succeed in school and 4) transition to independent adult living.

Emerson currently employs both full and part-time State certified teachers, a student engagement specialist, school counselors, attendance/registrar assistant, a dean of students, and the superintendent.