DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

November 7, 2013

Arts charter school aims for 2014

New charter school aims for 2014

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — DERRY — Students who love to sing, dance and act will have a new option for high school.

The Granite State Arts Academy, a public charter school, is scheduled to open in September 2014 at 16 Route 111, Brookstone Park.

The school received its state approval this summer and will offer 160 students in grades 9 through 12 a chance to learn all core academic subjects, while putting a strong focus on the arts, including theater, music, dance and visual arts, allowing for personalized learning while offering a space where student talent can flourish.

Public charter schools receive $5,450 per student in state adequacy money.

School founder Wendie Leweck said the new school found a great home at Brookstone Park.

The school will employ eight teachers and have four administrative staff members. Leweck said the location perfect to serve students from Derry, Salem, Atkinson and elsewhere.

“The state Department of Education liked the Derry location a lot,” Leweek said. “They supported a charter school here.”

The space is a two-story building with classrooms and larger spaces for dancing and music classes. It is ADA compliant, with an elevator already installed.

Granite State Arts Academy is one of four charter schools approved by the state this past summer.

Others include Londonderry’s Founders Academy, Gate City Charter School for the Arts in Nashua and Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth.

Derry opened its first charter high school, NEXT, in August with approximately 30 students.

For Leweck, it’s a chance to bring the arts to students in a charter school setting, where they can receive individualized attention and alternative learning style with strong emphasis on creative thinking and how to solve problems.

Leweck attended a performing arts high school in California and found it forged a strong sense of community among artists.

That’s what she wants to bring to Derry.

“I’m still very much in touch with about 80 people (from high school),” she said. “I just want to give that as a gift to the next generation of artists coming up.”

Leweck said artists share strong bonds and are a good support system for each other. She said her new school will be a “gathering of talent.”

She will be applying for federal grant money to help offset the start-up costs of opening the school.

Sherry Kilgus-Kramer sits on the school’s board of directors and said having the Granite State Arts Academy gives students an option in education with an added perk of performing arts studies.

“It’s very much needed,” she said.

Granite State Arts Academy can be found on Facebook or at granitestateartsacademy.com.