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Exeter charter school's goal is to make everyone a grad

Union Leader Correspondent

November 13. 2012 11:24PM

EXETER - Seven years ago, the Great Bay Charter School was founded to address the growing need to provide alternatives for students who were not succeeding in a traditional high school setting.

Since then, the school has grown to accommodate five grade levels and about 150 students on a daily basis at the Tuck Learning Campus.

Now the charter school is offering a program to help high school students reach "the finish line." The free program is targeted at students in danger of not finishing high school.

Executive Director Cheryl York McDonough said it may also be a viable choice for students who would benefit from a late-day start or an alternative schedule.

"The Finish Line" program will begin in January and will typically be in session from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. daily.

McDonough said students will work with certified teachers who will function as a coach, instructor and/or mentor to students as they create individualized learning plans and customized academic schedules.

As a charter school, McDonough said Great Bay is able to be more flexible and creative, and combine academic programs with internships, externships and career/technical opportunities.

With state law requiring students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18, it is the job of educators to find options for every student, she said.

"There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all education," McDonough said.

She said "The Finish Line" program is open to any New Hampshire student. The late schedule could work for students who have to work during the day to help support their families, those who want to do externships, or students who might need to make up a class, she said.

"It could be a high school dropout, it could be someone in a traditional school who knows they need another way out because they aren't going to make it," McDonough said.

For information, call 775-8638.

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Gretyl Macalaster may be reached at

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