The Academy for Science and Design (ASD) is a Chartered Public School, which means that it is a public school that is based upon a mission and charter rather than on a geographic area defining a local school district. Students who believe that this school’s charter would best fit their educational needs may choose to enroll at ASD. As a New Hampshire public school, it is tuition-free for New Hampshire residents, and any student residing anywhere in New Hampshire may apply for admittance.
The Academy for Science and Design recognizes the critical importance of providing New Hampshire students with a world-class education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In response to the growing need for sustaining our state and national leadership in an increasingly technical world, ASD seeks to:
- Identify youth possessing exceptional interest and talent in STEM
- Strengthen and expand students’ understanding of science and technology within a supportive environment for active, individualized learning
- Advance students’ awareness of and commitment to pursuing academic and career pathways in STEM-related fields
ASD is a school and community driven by a passion for learning and education. The school's goal is to instill and nurture that passion in its students and foster their pursuit of their potential. While there is a particular emphasis on mathematics and the sciences, the overall emphasis is to provide students with a solid educational foundation.
The Academy for Science and Design is a school driven by the curiosity and motivation of our students and faculty in the realm of mathematics and the sciences. All students select an area of focus within the STEM disciplines and pursue in-depth subject mastery in their courses. The academic rigor of the school is high, and students who choose to attend ASD do so because they are looking for a challenge. ASD is also a very unique community of learners who share common interests in STEM related topics, and many students come from great distances to attend.
A charter school is a public school which operates according to specific guidelines stated in its charter. It is tuition-free, non-sectarian, and independent of most state programs and initiatives to allow for innovation and a focus on its specific educational goals. ASD's charter is posted on this web site. More information on charter schools in New Hampshire is available from a number of sources, including the New Hampshire Center for School Reform and the New Hampshire Chartered Public School Association.
While ASD is currently located in Nashua, NH, it operates independently from the Nashua school district. Having said that, ASD’s administration has an excellent relationship with Nashua schools keeps an open line of communication. Nashua does provide busing for ASD students who are residents of that district, so ASD generally follows the Nashua school district calendar. In the 2012-2013 school year, ASD has students from 37 New Hampshire school districts.
ASD is tuition-free for residents of New Hampshire. Out-of-state students may attend if space is available, however, they must pay tuition to attend. In order to best serve our students, ASD may charge some nominal fees for specific but optional services and support.
New Hampshire charter schools are funded directly by the state. This year, ASD received $5450/child which is less than half of the statewide average cost to educate a child. An Annual Fund is run every year in order to collect the financial support necessary to provide our students with the appropriate resources.
ASD recognizes the importance of a well-rounded education. A review of our Program of Studies will demonstrate that innovative approaches to teaching and learning are happening across disciplines, including an integrated Humanities program and well-developed foreign language programs for Spanish, Mandarin, French, and German. The school offers quality courses in Art and Musical Ensemble, as well as a wide array of “Short Courses.” Short courses are six to eight week seminar courses in focus areas, as well as other areas of student interest are offered by faculty, parents, and other community members with expertise in a variety of topics as resources permit, usually during the extracurricular period.
Students who attend ASD are looking for a challenge. While participating in advanced courses can be very exciting, there is a significant level of commitment that students and families must have to support their work here. Many students find that there is a significant amount of homework, which is often more than the student’s previous school. ASD's goal is for homework to be as productive as possible to aid students in achieving mastery of the subjects they are taking. It is also expected that students show discipline and initiative to achieve mastery. The homework levels are designed to prepare students for the rigors of college and/or work. Most students and parents find that proper organization and planning are some of the best tools for keeping our students on track with their academic performance.
Extracurricular activities are held in the hour after school dismisses each day. There is a $20 activity fee for each after school activity in which a student participates. Students at charter schools also have the opportunity to participate in any team sports from their sending district, and are encouraged and supported in pursuing those activities.
Beginning in 2013, ASD fielded our first athletic team: Cross-Country Running at the middle school level. Student teams coached by parents competed in several competitions, with a number doing exceptionally well: Lego League, MathCounts (regional winner), Future Problem Solvers (qualified for International Conference), Destination Imagination (qualified for DI Global Finals), and the FIRST competition.
There is a wide variety of activities available to ASD students, including, but not limited to: Future Problem Solvers, MathCounts, Student Council, Chorus, Technology Student Association, Destination Imagination, Math League, Science Quiz Bowl, and Yearbook.
Besides the extracurricular activities and clubs held after school, ASD Student Council periodically holds dances. We have spirit week. ASDEF, our parent/teacher association runs a bowling night and a family picnic.
The esteemed faculty and staff at the Academy for Science and Design come from various backgrounds, both from the educational realm and from STEM-related industries. This diversity is one of the greatest strengths of the school, as the different perspectives that each individual brings with them only strengthens the teaching and learning that takes place at the school. ASD is in accordance with all regulations on Charter schools required by the New Hampshire Department of Education as well as the State Board of Education. As with any public school, all ASD staff are required to have police background checks. Learn more about our faculty and staff.
ASD opened in the Fall of 2007 with a small group of 32 students. Each year has brought with it very rapid growth, as the demand for a strong STEM education is high. Founders of the Academy for Science and Design set a limit for our total enrollment at 450 students. Currently, our student population is 444 students, spanning grades 6-12.
The exponential growth of the school over these past six years has resulted in some slight variations in class size, but the expectation is that the student body will begin to normalize in volume to contain a similar number of students.
Any New Hampshire resident who wants to attend the Academy for Science and Design is welcome to pursue enrollment at the school, however, if there are more students seeking admission into the school than there is space available, the school will hold a lottery. More information can be found about the admissions procedure at www.asdnh.org/admissions.
As ASD is a school of choice, it is important for any student considering enrolling at ASD to be certain that he or she is interested in pursuing an education within the mission and charter of our school. Our school seeks to serve students with an interest and talent for STEM-related disciplines and our admissions process is in place to help families make an informed decision when considering enrolling at ASD.
Students residing in the Nashua school district are provided transportation to and from ASD by the Nashua school system. Because of this, the Academy for Science and Design generally follows Nashua’s calendar. Carpooling is often an excellent solution for our families. ASD’ s electronic community maintains a student directory of contact information so that parents can work out carpooling arrangements among themselves, and quite a few families do carpool as it is usually beneficial for both parties involved.
Yes, when students go on a field trip transportation is provided – typically a bus. The fee for the busing is usually included in the fee for the trip. For smaller classes, teachers or parent volunteers may provide transportation. All drivers are vetted for current drivers licence and adequate insurance.
Parents should be aware that funding is a serious constraint. ASD strives to provide the best possible education within these funding limitations, but with the level of state funding at barely half the statewide average expenditure per student, it is a serious and continuing concern. If not for special grants and philanthropy, the school would likely not be in operation. Our hope is to build public support by demonstrating excellence with the level of state funding we do have, along with private donations, while also lobbying the state for better funding.
The school currently relies on direct state funding, which can vary depending on legislative issues. While we will continue to argue for more reasonable funding, and encourage families to let their legislators know they support increased funding for charter schools, there is always the unfortunate possibility that funding will not be sufficient at some point.
As ASD is in it’s sixth year of operation, has roughly doubled in size each year, and has managed to move from Merrimack to Nashua, there are tremendous changes that happen frequently in terms of curriculum, personnel, programs, resources, schedules, etc. Families must have the flexibility to grow right along with our changing school, and have tolerance when the school encounters new challenges.
Two particularly relevant bills for the current legislative session were HB1642 (transitional charter school funding for 2008/2009) and SB539 (which provides more funding for 2009 and beyond, but still relatively low.) You may also want to explore NH government or charter school links. ASD is chartered under NH RSA 194.
The Academy for Science and Design has a strongly united school community, including educators from various backgrounds, students, and families. ASD has a highly devoted Board of Trustees who demonstrates a tremendous commitment to the success of the school. ASD has also advanced its mission through outreach to several community organizations and higher educational institutions. Our school focuses on how resources from the community can strengthen teaching and learning at ASD, as well as how our school community can help to improve the surrounding community.
ASDEF is ASD's parent/teacher organization, which is a 501(c)3 organization created to provide additional support for the school. ASDEF provides a variety of services for the school, primarily in terms of fundraising and making other positive contributions to the school community, such as teacher appreciation luncheons and back to school picnics, as well as providing oversight for an electronic discussion forum.
Many different people have helped bring ASD to where it is now. ASD School Board oversaw the conception and charter of ASD and has included (alphabetically) Dr. Michael Fishbein (Provost, Daniel Webster College), Kent Glossop (ASD parent), Dr. Karen Graham (Director, Leitzl Center, UNH), Dr. Susan Hollins (NH Center for School Reform), Patricia Humphrey (M.S. Ed.), Lucille Jordan (President, Nashua Community College), Joeseph Klewicki (Dean, UNH College of Engineering), Robert (“Skip”) Myers (President, Daniel Webster College), Shanthi Nair (ASD parent), Thomas Popik (Principal, Geosegment Systems), Izuh Obinelo (Director, Degrees Control, Inc.), and Jennifer Starr (ASD parent). Dr. Susan Hollins carried out the monumental task of opening the school, and initially served as its Interim Director; Chris Franklin (ASD parent) was then appointed Director, providing invaluable leadership and drive, with Assistant Director Regina Rubery (ASD parent) providing crucial additional support and oversight.
While many of these individuals are still involved with ASD, the school has grown to incorporate even more community members and leaders that have continued to guide the school in the direction of the vision and mission set forth by its founding members.