Salem-Keizer Public Schools currently sponsors four local charter schools: Howard Street Charter School, JGEMS Charter School, Valley Inquiry Charter School and Optimum Learning Environments Charter School.

Charter Schools are independently operated, publicly funded schools. The charter school establishes a contract (a charter) with a sponsor, often a school district (such as SKPS), university, or public educational institution depending on the state, to which they are academically and financially accountable.

You can learn more about charter schools on the Oregon Department of Education website.

Applications for SKPS charter schools

Over the next several months, Salem-Keizer’s four sponsored charter schools will be accepting applications. All charter schools accept applications annually and students are admitted through a lottery system. Below, find additional information on each charter and their application process.

Optimum Learning Environments: Grades K-5


The mission of Optimum Learning Environments Charter School is to enable students to be 21st Century lifelong learners and workers who are prepared for the environmental, technological, and social challenges of an increasingly diverse and advancing society.

Students will be successful in meeting state standards and will develop lifelong skills in:

  • Civic Responsibility
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Technology
  • Leadership, Collaboration, and Problem Solving

Through the integrated and linked learning environments of family, community, and school the child will develop the academic and social assets to be successful.


  • Nancy Cieri, office manager
  • Phone: 503-399-5548, email
  • Application window: January 18- February 28
  • Information night: January 25, 2022 – 7 p.m.
  • Lottery draw: March 14, 2022
  • OLE school website

Valley Inquiry Charter School: Grades K-5


To further develop a primary school where children of all backgrounds and abilities can share in the joy and discovery of each day; acquire the skills to approach new problems thoughtfully and creatively; develop an appreciation and understanding of other cultures and traditions; and become actively engaged in their communities.


  • Sandra Acosta, office manager
  • Phone: 503-399-3150, email
  • Application window: January 1- March 15, 2022
  • Information night: March 9, 2022
  • Lottery draw: March 30, 2022
  • Valley Inquiry school website

Howard Street Charter School: Grades 6-8


Howard Street Charter School is a public middle school with an emphasis on a well-rounded education. Students have a large core of classes around the 3Es:

  • Einstein (Science, Math, Health, Technology)
  • Ellington (visual art, graphic design, music, dance, theatre)
  • Esperanza (social studies, English, Spanish).

The school uses project-based learning and proficiency-based assessment to teach students to be independent, confident learners. All students are assigned an advisor to guide students in their social-emotional learning and learning the EMBER (excellence, mindfulness, be creative, empathy and responsible risks) habits of a successful learner. Students leave Howard Street fully prepared for their high school experience.


  • Christina Tracy, teaching principal
  • Phone: 503-399-3408, email
  • Application window: January 10-March 4, 2022
  • Information night: February 22, 2022
  • Lottery draw: March 8, 2022
  • Howard Street school website

Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School: Grades 6-8


The Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School will provide an engaging and meaningful focus for students to achieve Oregon academic standards. Through partnerships with community and governmental organizations, an integrated curriculum design and an emphasis on field-based projects, students will actively apply their knowledge and skills as they improve our local and global environments.

If you have questions regarding charter schools, including the application process, please connect directly with the charter school.


  • Shauna De Vos, office manager
  • Phone: 503-399-7070,  email preferred
  • Application window: March 1-11, 2022
  • Information night: March 1, 2022
  • Lottery draw: March 16, 2022
  • JGEMS school website