Leaders of the Smith Academy for Excellence don’t have a final location for their new charter school but are confident they will be ready to open Aug. 13.
Most recently, backers of the school had hoped to open the charter school at Fort Wayne Christian Center, 6901 Hanna St. But on Wednesday, school officials said that deal has fallen through.
In March, Grace College granted a seven-year charter to former Wayne High School Principal Thomas Smith and his two sons, who wanted to start an all-boys school on the city’s southeast side.
The Smiths say the school – one of two new all-boys charter schools in the state – will emphasize college preparation, character education and service learning while giving students exposure to sports.
Corey Smith, chief academic officer for the school, said the school has three, and possibly four, locations it is considering. He declined to name the locations while negotiations were continuing, but said one of the locations was guaranteed.
Originally, the Smiths wanted to build a school from the ground up at Paulding and Hessen Cassel roads. But that fell through when the seller changed plans, according to Thomas Smith.
The Smiths plan to serve boys in grades 6 through 9, with expansion by one grade level higher and one grade level lower each year until it is a kindergarten- through-12th-grade school.
To date, 78 students have preregistered for the school. Although the school was aiming for 198 students, Corey Smith said the school could open with lower numbers.
Despite not having a location lined up, Corey Smith said he was feeling positive about the start of the year.
“We’ve had great support even though we’re still working on finalizing the location,” he said. “Parents have said, ‘Let us know where to show up and we’ll be there.’ ”
No teachers have been officially hired for the school, Corey Smith said. But teachers who have interviewed for positions have been invited to participate in a boot camp to expose them to the school’s philosophy.
The school will have in-take conferences today from 3 to 4:30 p.m., 4:30 to 6 p.m., and 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Don Hall’s Guest House on Washington Center Road for those who want to attend the school.