Open House Set for Granite State Arts Academy Charter School

The Granite State Arts Academy will hold a third Open House on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Brookstone Park Building, Unit 4, 16 Route 111, Derry.
The school, expected to open in fall 2014, will be a charter high school with a focus on the arts.

The open house will include tours of the hoped-for location, a question-and-answer session, and talks with the founding board and support group, the Friends of the Granite State Arts Academy.
The organizers are making progress with the school after receiving state approval in August, Wendie Leweck, chairman of the founding board, said in a phone interview Monday.
“As a team, the Board of Trustees has been incredibly busy,” Leweck said. ‘We are fleshing out the details and filling out the important papers to receive our federal grant.”
They are also doing the paperwork for their state nonprofit status and filling out the forms for Federal 50-c-3 status, “another huge document,” Leweck said.
They have had two previous Open Houses, Aug. 31 and Sept. 7, and have added three members to their Board of Trustees. New members are Sherry Kilgus-Kramer of Salem, who will also be handling the school’s Social Media; Todd Abernathy of Manchester; and Elaine Giardina of Nashua, who will serve as board secretary. The board is looking to add two more members but at this point they should be parents of students, Leweck said.
The founding board, formerly Friends of Granite State Arts Academy, has registered with the state as a nonprofit under the school’s name, and the “Friends” name will pass to the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), Leweck said.
The board conducted a “walk-through” of its potential location with the Derry Fire Department and discovered few issues, Leweck said. “It’s a relatively new building, only 7 years old, and it’s fully sprinkled,” she said. “There is plenty of egress.”
Interest is up, Leweck said, with daily phone calls and e-mails from prospective students, students’ parents, volunteers and educators. The board will begin advertising for a Director of School soon, with the hopes of having that person in place by January; have the rest of the administrative staff hired by February; and begin receiving student applications in March.
She isn’t certain yet how those spaces will be allotted. Some schools take a certain amount of “first-come, first-serve” from the School Administrative Units (SAUs) in their coverage areas, she said, while others fill the quota with students from the town where the school is located and then hold a lottery for remaining spots. Still others have a “straight lottery” for the slots. She was planning to talk with the Department of Education this week and see what it suggested, she said.
While Leweck and much of the original founding board come from the Seacoast, she said she didn’t think transportation would be an issue. She expects more of the students to come from the Salem/Derry area. The board plans to set up “carpool hubs” and is also in talks with First Student about possible buses from the hubs.
And while they haven’t signed the contract at 16 Route 111, they are in the final negotiations, Leweck said.
It’s a good, albeit busy, time for her. “My office is a sea of papers,” she said.
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