Admissions FAQ's

What are the grades of the students who attend ASD?

The Academy for Science and Design is for New Hampshire students in grades 6 - 12. The school day runs from 8:15 am - 3:25 pm.

What does "bring your own device" mean?

We ask that all parents at ASD join in an initiative that is taking place at the national level to address the needs of schools regarding technology:  Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).  BYOD enables ASD to continue to challenge our students with rigorous and personalized academic experiences, foster innovative methods of teaching and learning, access up to date information and emerging technologies. 

The concept of BYOD is not new to ASD and has already been successful for many years.   We encourage all parents to consider purchasing a device for their child's use at school.   While this is a substantial family investment, it is needed to solve a significant problem our students and faculty will have in terms of resources. 

While we will have two computer labs up and running with some desktop computers often, classes are being held in these computer labs.    While it certainly comes with its own set of challenges, participating in BYOD will advance instruction at ASD in terms of 21st Century Learning.

What does it mean that ASD is a Chartered Public School?

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.

Why would I choose to attend ASD?

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:

  • Inspire 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 love in it's 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.

How do I know if ASD is right for me?

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 unique community of learners who share common interests in STEM-related topics and many students come from great distances to attend.

What is a Charter School?

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 website.   More information on charter schools in New Hampshire is available from a number of sources, including The New Hampshire Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the New Hampshire Department of Education websites.

Is ASD affiliated with the Nashua school district since it is located in Nashua?

While ASD is currently situated in Nashua, NH, it operates independently from the Nashua school district. Having said that, ASD's administration has an excellent relationship with Nashua schools and 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 2017 - 2018 school year, ASD had students from 32 different New Hampshire school districts.

Does ASD charge tuition?

ASD is tuition-free for residents of New Hampshire.   In order to best serve our students, ASD may charge some nominal fees for specific but optional services and support.

How is ASD funded?

Charter schools are public schools. When a child attends a charter school the state portion of adequacy aid (about $3,600 FY17) is sent directly to the charter school, local taxpayer dollars remain in the district and do not forward to the charter school.   Because New Hampshire charter schools do not receive local tax dollars, the state legislature provides charter schools with an additional $3,036 per pupil FY17.

Since ASD is a STEM school, what does that mean for other courses of study?

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, and German.

What does it mean to attend an academically rigorous school?

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.

How are extracurricular activities handled at ASD?

Extracurricular activities are typically held in the hour after school dismisses each day.  

What extracurricular teams are available at ASD?

Beginning in 2013, ASD fielded our first athletic team: Cross-Country Running at the middle school level and in 2015 boys soccer and track were added at the middle school level.

What extracurricular activities are available at ASD?

There is a wide variety of activities available to ASD students, including, but not limited to:  Math Counts, Student Council, Chorus, Destination Imagination, Granite State Challenge, Drama Club, Helping Hands Youth Social Club, Environmental Club, Yearbook, Civil Air Patrol, Poetry Club, Debate, HS Coding Club, Ski Club, ASD Outdoor Club, and Science Quiz Bowl. These are run by parent or faculty volunteers and are subject to change at any time.

What are the qualifications of ASD's faculty and staff?

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 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. 

How many students attend ASD and in what grades?

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. For the 2017 - 2018 school year, our student population was 525 students, spanning grades 6-12.

What is the school's projected growth?

The exponential growth of the school over these past ten 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. 

Since ASD is a public school, can any student attend?

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 to the school than there is space available, the school will hold a lottery. More information can be found about the admissions procedure under the Admission page on this website.

Applicants need to reside in the state of New Hampshire to be eligible for the admission lottery should one be needed.  As a public charter school, we must follow New Hampshire State laws that govern NH public charter schools.

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 in STEM-related disciplines, and our admissions process is in place to help families make an informed decision when considering enrolling at ASD.

Is there school bus transportation to and from 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. 

Does ASD provide transportation for field trips?

Yes, when students go on field trips, 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 driver's license and adequate insurance.

Does limited funding jeopardize the school?

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 equitable 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.

What are the drawbacks to attending such a "young" school?

As ASD is entering its tenth year of operation and has grown from an initial number of 30 to 525.

Who is involved with ASD?

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 demonstrate 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.

What is the Academy for Science and Design Educational Foundation?

ASDEF is ASD's parent/teacher organization, which is a 501(c)3 organization created to provide additional support for the school.

Who were some of ASD's founders and earliest leaders?

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), Joseph 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.

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