University Cooperative School

(206) 524-0653

5601 University Way NE

Seattle, WA 98105


Frequently Asked Questions

What is it like to be a part of your co-op community?
Family involvement benefits parents and guardians, students, and educators alike. U Co-op kids get to see their parents/guardians and teachers working together to create a learning environment that puts their needs first. They gain the confidence that comes from being cherished for who they are. University Co-op is a community where parent/guardians can learn, grow, and help each other through this precious, fleeting, and challenging time of parenting young children.

What criteria do you use to select students? We look at a number of different things including parent/guardian-supplied information and teacher evaluations. We are looking to build a diverse class of inquisitive learners and enroll families who support our mission.

How many spots do you typically have? We have an average class size of 16 students.

What happens if we are not accepted? If your child meets our admission criteria, but we are unable to offer a spot to your student initially, your application is placed into a wait pool and will be considered should any openings occur.

Are siblings given priority for enrollment? Siblings receive special consideration. If we determine that we can meet the needs of a sibling applicant, their application is given priority.

What is the age requirement for Pre-K? Children need to be four years old by September and toilet-trained.

What is the age requirement for Kindergarten? Children need to be five years old by September 1.

Do you have before or after-school care? Yes, we have both! For K-5 students, we offer before school care an hour before school starts and after-school care until 5:30 PM. We have an after-school extended day option for Pre-K students until 4pm. Learn more about our Extended Day Program.

What are the parent/guardian responsibilities?  We offer flexibility. Many parent/guardians 1) work in the classroom one period a week for half the year, or for one period every other week for the entire year 2) have a volunteer job at the school, and 3) attend monthly meetings, and participate in school-related activities such as fundraising and facilities maintenance. We don’t want time constraints to be a barrier for anyone to send their child to University Co-op. We work with families to find meaningful ways to contribute to and connect with the school community.  Learn more about the role of our parent/caregiver community here.

Do parents/guardians have a say in the curriculum? Curriculum is the responsibility of our teachers and Education Director.

Do parents/caregivers teach the children? Families assist teachers in the classroom. The volunteer time in the classroom may involve working with small groups of students or performing various tasks to support the classroom as directed by the teachers.

Do students get homework? We believe that students work hard during the school day and that after-school time should be primarily reserved for play, friends, family, and pursuing personal interests like sports, theater, and music.   There is no homework in the PK-2 Grades, with the exception of occasional project work. A light amount of predictable and easily managed homework is given in Grades 3-5 as a way to connect parents with classroom learning and to help establish routines such as regular reading time.

How are student assessments done? Do you do standardized testing? We primarily rely on authentic assessment tasks that are not separate from the actual instruction but are part of the learning process. In addition, in Grades 1-5, we have ongoing reading assessments. As students prepare to transition from University Cooperative School, they learn test-taking strategies and take a practice ISEE test in fourth grade as a means of providing them with familiarity and experience with this test which many students will take as part of their application for middle school.

Can University Co-op support students with learning differences?  As a small school, we do not have special education services or a learning specialist on staff. The nature of project-based learning, our team teaching, and multi-age groupings can be difficult for students with learning differences that make transitions and movement between classrooms especially challenging. U Co-op makes admission decisions on a case-by-case basis. If you have specific questions about your student, we encourage you to contact us.

Are your teachers certified? Yes, all of our core teachers are certified teachers, and many of them have advanced degrees as well. Learn more about our extraordinary educators.

Do teachers participate in professional development? Yes, every year teachers attend a variety of professional development conferences, seminars, classes, and workshops.

What is the role of the specialist teachers?  We offer a robust arts program. Typical arts offerings include: visual art, instrumental music, singing, drama, dance, and Capoeira. Many of our specialists are working artists in the Seattle community.

What is the administrative structure of the school? We have a Co-Head of school structure. The Director of Education directs the educational program of the school, including overseeing teachers and curriculum. The Director of Business directs the business operations of the school.

What is the role and makeup of the Board of Directors? The Board of Directors is made up of current and alumni parents and University Cooperative School educators. The board holds fiduciary responsibility for the school, supports the school directors, raises funds, ensures legal and ethical accountability, and upholds the mission of the school.

What are your affiliations? We are a subscriber school of NWAIS (Northwest Association of Independent Schools), a member of PSIS (Puget Sound Independent Schools), WFIS (Washington Federation of Independent Schools) and PEN (Progressive Education Network). We are also a state-approved private school with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

How long has your school been in operation? Nearly 50 years! University Cooperative School has been going strong since 1975. Learn more about our history here.

Tell us about your building. We purchased the historic Maxwell Building at 5601 University Way NE in 2003. Since then we have done several renovations, including earthquake retrofitting, addition of two library spaces, a gym, art room, music room, kitchen, great spaces and beautifully lit, comfortable classrooms. We have another renovation project planned to expand our learning spaces.

Tell us about your neighborhood. We are in the North University / Ravenna neighborhood.  We make full use of our vibrant surroundings and community by going to Cowen Park every day and making frequent trips to Ravenna Park, our neighborhood pea-patch, the University of Washington, including the Burke Museum, the Center for Urban Horticulture, and the Henry Art Gallery, just to name a few. We use readily available public transportation in our neighborhood to travel to Seattle Children’s Theatre, and make many other around-town excursions.