Stuart Island has had a public school since 1897. At that time, Stuart Island School
District #26 was started by an assistant lighthouse keeper, and school sessions were held in the lighthouse barn. In 1904, a carpenter built a small school for the local district on land that was donated for district use. That building is still standing and currently houses the small school/community library.
The school closed briefly during World War II and again in the 1960s after a boating accident killed most of the students. In 1967 Stuart Island School became part of the San Juan Island School District. It has a special designation by the state of Washington as a “Remote and Necessary” school because of its remote location and the difficulty of transporting students safely to the larger schools on San Juan Island. It is a kindergarten through 8thgrade facility. Over the years, the student population has grown and shrunk along with the population of the island.
In 1980, a new building was designed and built for the school with a combination of professional and donated labor and supplies. As there is no public power on Stuart Island, solar panels and a generator/ invertor provide power to the building which is heated by an oil furnace and a wood stove.
Wireless internet hook-up has recently been installed. The current school provides a rich and rigorous standards-based educational program with lots of opportunities for hands-on learning, field studies and individualized learning.
As Stuart Island is home to two marine state parks, Stuart Island School is visited annually by thousands of tourists throughout the summer and on evenings and week-ends. The library and a small museum which are maintained through the donated efforts of island residents and school staff are open to the public. Due to the number of visitors, the Stuart Island School PTSA is able to do significant fund-raising through activities such as bake sales and postcard sales. The local PTSA uses those funds to buy books, fund field trips and pay for visiting artists to supplement the educational program for the students on the island.