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Charter School Authorization

Proposed charter applications will be reviewed at a regularly scheduled State Board of Education meeting twice per year, January and June or the next meeting with a quorum.

Persons or entities eligible to submit an application to establish a public charter school include:

(a) A nonprofit organization including, but not limited to, a college, university, museum, service club, or similar entity
(b) A group of 2 or more NH certified teachers
(c) A group of 10 or more parents

There are two forms of charter school authorization in New Hampshire:

1. Local Authorization
2. State Board Authorization

Local Authorization (an existing school district that directly supports the establishment of the charter school):

Locally authorized charter schools receive approval to open from the local legislative body (voters or city council)

  • Proposed applications (for application requirements please see RSA 194-B:3, II) to establish a charter school are submitted to the prospective school board where the school intends to be located. Upon review, the school board grants or denies the proposed application.
  • The proposed application is then forwarded, by the local school board, to the New Hampshire State Board of Education for authorization to establish a charter school.
  • Upon receiving charter authorization from the State Board of Education, the school board submits a warrant article to the school district legislative body for ratification or denial to fund the school.
  • Funding is received directly from the school district. The amount of funding is determined by an agreed upon contract between the charter school and the local school board.

State Board Authorization:

  • Proposed applications to establish a charter school are submitted directly to the New Hampshire Department of Education. Please see the process for charter school authorization below.
  • Authorization to establish a charter school is given by the State Board of Education.

STEP 1 - Process for Charter School Authorization

To apply for authorization to establish a charter school:

  • Review and become familiar with New Hampshire Charter School law, Chapter 194-B, Chartered Public Schools, Part Ed 318 Charter School Administrative Rules and Helpful Resources.
  • Complete an "intent to submit"Word document form and send it to Michelle Gauthier, NHDOE charter school office.
  • Develop a proposed charter school application. The Charter School Application Guidelines Acrobat Reader will assist the applicant in developing a proposed application. Applications must be consistent with the alpha numbering and give a detailed description of the required components outlined in the guidelines. The application guidelines refer to RSA 194-B:3, II.
    To view previously approved charter school applications, scroll to the end of this page.

Requirements for Submitting an Application

  • Complete applications shall include an application cover sheet Acrobat Reader and table of contents. Letters of support are strongly encouraged.
  • Application format: double spaced, at least 11-point font and all pages must be numbered. Applications shall not exceed 50 pages (not including appendices, i.e., letters of support, proposed five-year budget).

Applicants must submit the following:

  • One (1) original application and three (3) copies to:
    Michelle Gauthier
    Charter School Office
    New Hampshire Department of Education
    101 Pleasant Street
    Concord, NH 03301

Charter School Application Review for State Board Approval

  • Within 10 business days, the Department will acknowledge receipt and completeness of the submitted application.
  • The application shall be reviewed within 60 days after receipt of a complete application.
  • A legal consultant, designated by the charter school office, shall review the application to ensure compliance with Chapter 194-B, Chartered Public Schools.
  • A committee of peers shall also evaluate the application to determine the quality using the criteria within the evaluation scoring guide Acrobat Reader. The Summary of Charter School Criteria Acrobat Reader shall also be used as a guide.
    For Peer Reviewer use only: Peer Reviewer Conflict of Interest form Acrobat Reader
  • The applicant shall be provided with written comments, including suggested amendments or modifications, if the Department determines that amendments or modifications are needed. The applicant shall provide a written response to the legal consultant's review.
  • The Department will inform the applicant in writing when they shall meet with the Commissioner of Education concerning the application to establish a charter school.

Charter Schools Authorized by the State Board of Education 2010-2016

State Board of Education meeting dates, agendas and minutes can be found on the the State Board of Education website along with a video for each meeting provided by Exquisite Productions of Newport.

PACE Career Academy Charter School Acrobat Reader - SAU # 53 Pembroke School District. Approved December 8, 2010
The Pembroke School District submitted an application for a Charter Alternative High School. The SAU #53 Alternative High School Task Force has consulted with stakeholders, researched options and collaborated with colleagues. We feel that our proposal will provide struggling high school students with an alternative pathway to completing their high school diploma while providing a bridge to their adult lives. On March 5, 2011 the Pembroke School District approved the creation of a district-sponsored charter school, PACE Career Academy, intended as an alternative program to help improve the graduation rate.

PACE Career Academy Charter School and SAU # 53 agreement Acrobat Reader as a locally authorized charter school

Mill Falls Charter School - Bringing Montessori Public Acrobat Reader - Manchester. Approved March 9, 2011
Mill Falls Charter School is New Hampshire’s first Public Montessori School. It launches in September 2012 beginning with grades K-3, and by year four, plans to offer a full elementary program for children grades K-6. Located in Manchester, Mill Falls brings together children of all backgrounds and learning styles in mixed-age classrooms that merge the Common Core Curriculum with the individualized and academically integrated Montessori approach. Students’ emotional and social growth is cultivated along-side their academic achievement in an inclusive and diverse public school setting.

Making Community Connections Charter School (MC2) Acrobat Reader - Manchester. Approved March 9, 2011
Built on the footprint of the original MC2 (Monadnock Community Connections School in southwest New Hampshire), Making Community Connections Charter School incorporates the successes of the original model, as well as the lessons learned through that eight-year development and pilot cycle.The Making Community Connections Charter School mission is to establish a sustainable network of multiple preschool through graduate school pathways for high quality learning that are student centered, mastery based, and community oriented. On March 9, 2011 the State Board of Education voted unanimously to accept MC2's application and granted them charter school status.

TEAMS Charter School Acrobat Reader - Penacook. Approved June 8, 2011
Grade level to be serviced 9-12. The mission of this charter school is to expand opportunities for all students especially those who face the perception of bleak prospects because of where they live. TEAMS (Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Science) will offer a sound college prep program with a career focus and emphasis on technology, mathematics, science and engineering.

Polaris Charter School Acrobat Reader - Manchester area. Approved October 12, 2011
Polaris Charter School will serve elementary-aged students five to eleven years old at the time of entry. The mission of Polaris Charter School is to create a joyful and exciting learning community for intellectually curious elementary-aged children. Through an engaging, inquiry-based curriculum, our students will develop the ability to communicate effectively, work collaboratively, think critically, and excel academically. Our program fosters creativity and the development of social and emotional skills, instilling a positive attitude about future studies and ensuring students are well-prepared for the challenges of an ever-changing world.

Robert Frost Charter School Acrobat Reader - Conway area. Approved October 12, 2011
Robert Frost Charter School creates life-long learners by providing an intellectually rich and challenging experience delivered through the combination of the Montessori tradition and Project-Based Learning. In a safe and peaceful setting, dedicated educators foster students’ individuality, creativity and critical-thinking skills to fully prepare them for future scholastic, civic and personal success. The first phase of the School will begin with an elementary classroom of mixed ages (grades 1- 3), and gradually add additional lower elementary classrooms as well as upper elementary and junior high classrooms (grades 4-6 and 7-8). We will also add kindergarten in the second year after the School is established.

The Birches Academy of Academics & Arts: A Public Charter School Acrobat Reader - Salem. Approved January 18, 2012
The mission of The Birches Academy is to provide a learning community that supports excellence in core academics and the arts while cultivating the individual qualities and strengths of each child. The Birches Academy will open with 4 multi aged classrooms in grades 1-8. Expansion into kindergarten and additional classrooms will be added in future years.

Next Charter School Acrobat Reader - Derry. Approved June 20, 2012
Next Charter School will meet the needs of students not fully served within a traditional high school educational program and to employ a system of instructional and assessment practices that values competency, inquiry, flexibility, and the social nature of learning so that all students will graduate and initiate post-secondary learning options. Grades 9-12.

The Founders Academy Chartered Public School Acrobat Reader - Londonderry area. Approved July 18, 2013
The Founders Academy will develop leaders who understand and apply the lessons of the past, demonstrate exceptional character and lead by example. The Academy recognizes the importance of balance in the development of the whole person and respects each student's journey. (appendices not included)

Gate City Charter School for the Arts Acrobat Reader - Nashua. Approved July 18, 2013
Gate City Charter School for the Arts will use an arts-integrated curriculum to educate all interested students in grades K-8, to produce graduates who excel in both academics and the Arts and have the knowledge, creativity and inquisitive nature that foster a life-long love of learning. (appendices not included)

Mountain Village Charter School Acrobat Reader - Plymouth. Approved July 18, 2013
Mountain Village Charter School will foster an engaging educational community with a nature-based Montessori approach, inspire abstract thinking, creative thought and critical reasoning, and emphasize equally rigorous academics, artistic expression, social development and community engagement.

Granite State Arts Academy: A Public Charter School Acrobat Reader - Derry. Approved August 19, 2013
Granite State Arts Academy will nurture creative thinkers, active citizens and independent learners with a curriculum that integrates the arts and academics. Grades 9-12

MicroSociety Academy Charter School (MACS) Acrobat Reader - Nashua. Approved August 14, 2014
MACS will actively engage K-8 students in a diverse, challenging learning environment that will prepare them for college, the workforce and citizenship in a 21st Century global society. First year of students: K-5 in the fall 2015.

Compass Classical Academy: A Public Charter School Acrobat Reader - Lakes region. Approved October 9, 2014
Compass Classical Academy will provide students a rigorous classical, liberal arts education that includes a strong emphasis on civics and good character to equip students to understand and uphold America's founding principles. First year of students: K-5 in the fall 2015.

STEM in the Middle Charter School Acrobat Reader - Merrimack. Approved November 17, 2014
STEM in the Middle will provide excellence in STEM education to middle school learners and to adults who support them in their project-based learning environment that encourages inquiry, discovery and demonstration of learning. School open date: Fall 2016 to students in grades 5-8.

The LEAF Charter School Acrobat Reader - E. Alstead. Approved January 7, 2016
The LEAF Charter School will provide expanded educational opportunities for all students, through an intellectually rigorous STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) curriculum and strong partnerships with creative professionals. The LEAF Charter School students will graduate prepared for 21st century careers and communities. The school name embodies the major tenets of the charter: Learning for Local Leaders, Experiential Education, Arts Integration and Academic Achievement, Freedom and Flexibility. Proposed school open date: Fall 2016 or fall 2017 serving students in grades 9-12.

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New Hampshire Department of Education
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Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711