Public Schools Eight school districts provide primary and secondary education to the majority of Thurston County’s students. These districts range in size from rural Griffin, with a total of 649 students, to the more urban North Thurston Public Schools, which had 15,724 students during the 2019-2020 school year.
The majority of students attend school in the Lacey–Olympia–Tumwater area, accounting for approximately 75% of total public school enrollment. The fastest growing school districts between 1990 and 2019 were Yelm and Rochester. Tenino School District is the only district in Thurston County with fewer students in 2019 than it had in 1990.
Private Schools In addition to the educational opportunities offered by public schools, 18 State Board of Education-approved private schools in Thurston County provided schooling to a total of 2,019 students during the 2018-2019 academic year. Overall, 181 additional students have been enrolled in private schools since the 2000-2001 academic year - a 10% increase.
Most students enrolled in private schools are in elementary and middle school grades. Seven private schools serve high school students, with two serving such students exclusively (Northwest Christian High School and Pope John Paul II High School).
Home-Based Instruction Washington state law recognizes the right of parents to educate their children through home-based instruction. Parents must file a declaration of intent to provide home-based instruction with the school district's superintendent, and the school district tracks the number of students receiving such instruction. For the 2019-2020 school year, 1,486 students in Thurston County were provided a home-based education.