MANCHESTER >> This January marked the 10-year anniversary of the Northshire Day School in the new building on Main Street, which has allowed the school to offer increased educational opportunities to more students.
The building was completed thanks to a $4 million capital campaign, and opened to students in January of 2006. The 10,750-square-foot, seven-classroom facility is licensed to serve 96 children.
According to Executive Director Cristina Maddocks, the school, which serves children from six weeks through pre-kindergarten, and then has after-school and summer programs for students through 12 years old, was founded in 1968, and operated out of a ranch house on Highland Avenue. In the early 2000s, the board of directors recognized a regional need for increased capacity, and began reaching out to the community to raise the funds for a new building. Over the next several years, the school received donations large and small from long-time supporters and new donors alike, including a $280,000 Community Challenge Grant from the Kresge Foundation and a $70,000 donation from Casella Waste Management CEO John Casella, and his wife Susan, that allowed the campaign to come to a close.
Maddocks said the facility, which includes plenty of outdoor green space and is right down the street from the new Manchester Community Library, is "a nice location for the children." Despite the expanded offerings however, the demand in the community continues to outpace the school's openings. "We still have a lengthy waiting list to date," she said, and while they are not looking to expand the building at this time, "we've looked into creative ways to allow for future growth."
One option, which Maddocks described as a "pipe dream," was to convert a historic barn on the property into a learning space. Another long-term goal is to open a Family Resource Center that would provide comprehensive services and resources for pregnant mothers, young families, children with special needs, and more. She described a program like this, while it is still a ways off, would allow the school to have a greater reach and serve more families in the community than they have capacity for.
One of the biggest projects going on at the school currently is improvements to the school's food program, which serves the students breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. Maddocks said they are working on expanding relationships with local growers, have started a school garden, and are working on implementing a composting program.
"I feel very proud about the day school here," said Maddocks, "The previous director, Carol Kern, saw the school through the capital campaign and left me an amazing foundation to work on."
To learn more about the school, you may visit their website at www.northshiredayschool.org, or call them at 802-362-1395.