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FAQs

The Premier Arts Academy is a public school so it is TUITION FREE! The only costs would be textbook, technology, and lunch fees (similar to any public school).

We are excited to partner with Lifeline Youth Ministries as the owner and operator of the newly constructed HUB (located at 2721 Prairie St. in Elkhart for our school facility. The HUB is a 50,000sq/ft community-center facility under construction and scheduled to be finished this summer. Premier Arts Academy is leasing the building during school hours and will be collaborating in the afternoons with Lifeline after school programs.

The Premier Arts Academy is in the process of hiring teachers and staff. We do have our administrative team identified.  There names, position,  and short biographies are below:

Ashley Molyneaux, Head of School

Ashley is an enthusiastic educational leader with more than a dozen years of experience in teaching, administration, and in creating high-impact educational programs. Through her professional experience, she has demonstrated her capacity as a leader, the ability to motivate faculty in the pursuit of increased achievement, and has collaborated to build a student-centered culture of learning. Ashley co-founded and led the Elkhart Education Foundation to be named the #1 non-profit in Elkhart County due to the foundation’s exponential growth and positive impact on the local school district. Ashley will serve as the instructional leader for the Premier Arts Academy.

Craig Gibson, Executive Artistic Director

Founding Executive Director of the internationally recognized Premier Arts theater organization, Craig Gibson is a Muncie Indiana native who now proudly calls Elkhart home. He is an award-winning actor, director and writer who has given the gift of theater to our region for more than fifteen years. Showcasing local talent and sharing powerful stories on the stage is his passion. Children’s programming is an important hallmark of his work. Craig is also known for inspiring the next generation of theater lovers by investing in young people through arts appreciation programming. Craig will serve as the artistic leader for the Premier Arts Academy.

Kurt Weimer, Director of Operations

Kurt Weimer is an award-winning band director and veteran music educator. As the music department chair, he ushered his faculty members through new school-wide initiatives, advances in technology, the merger of two high schools into one, as well as playing an integral role in the design and oversight of a new state-of-the-art music instruction facility. He served on the Indiana State School Music Association board of directors for six years as well as committees that redefined the rubrics used for ISSMA ensemble performance evaluations. Kurt retired from teaching in 2021 to focus on honing his project management skills and working with the PA academy design team. Kurt’s role as Director of Operations will put him in charge of school logistics and facilities. His education background will allow for a deepened understanding of how operations can support the teaching and learning at Premier Arts Academy.

Dr. Dawn McGrath, Director of Special Programs (Part-Time)

Dr. Dawn McGrath has served as the Director of Special Education for the Indiana Department of Education, Director for Special Programs at Kokomo Schools, the Director of Secondary Education at Hamilton Southeastern Schools, and the Deputy Superintendent and Director of Special Education for Elkhart Community Schools. She earned her doctorate in special education leadership from Ball State University. Dawn will serve as our teacher of record for students with special needs and will lead the design of individualized instructional plans for our students. She has a great deal of experience in federal grant writing and the management and expenditure of federal funds.

Tanner Smale, Director of Communications and Recruitment

It is important to have a plan for effective communication and student recruitment, and Tanner Smale is perfectly suited for this role. Tanner has served as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Premier Arts for five years. His enthusiasm for the arts and his energy is contagious. He will be an effective ambassador to inform prospective families about the PA Academy. His role will focus on all aspects of school communication for both current families, prospective students, and the wider community including but not limited to the website, social media, e-newsletters, and open house events.

Stephanie Krol, Communications Specialist

Stephanie Krol is passionate about using her public relations superpowers for good. She founded SKPR in 2006, bringing her global agency experience to her own public relations practice focusing on helping organizations tell their stories. Stephanie’s background includes a successful career with top agencies including Edelman, the largest independent public relations firm in the world, Matrix Partners and Public Communications Inc. She has a proven track record of helping nonprofits successfully launch fundraising campaigns, rebuild their reputations and tell their stories to meet and exceed their goals and ultimately expand community services.

A charter school is a public school that operates under a contract, or charter, entered into between the school’s organizer and a charter school authorizer (sometimes referred to as a charter school “sponsor”). Under Indiana Code § 20-24, charter schools are established to serve the different learning styles and needs of public school students, to offer them appropriate and innovative choices, to afford varied opportunities for professional educators, to allow freedom and flexibility in exchange for exceptional levels of accountability, and to provide parents, students, community members, and local entities with an expanded opportunity for involvement in the public school system.Like traditional public schools, charter public schools must have open enrollment policies, may not charge tuition, and cannot discriminate based on disability, race, color, gender, national origin, religion, or ancestry.

 

The Premier Arts Academy will be utilizing the Great Minds Wit and Wisdom curriculum for English Language Arts and the Great Minds Eureka Math2 for the K-8 math curriculum. You can learn more about the curriculum choices by clicking on the links below:

K-5 Math Overview

6-8 Math Overview

K-8 ELA Overview

The dress and grooming of the student body affects the educational environment and the climate for learning in our school. We believe that helping students become aware of the appropriate dress for various activities is part of the educational process. The nature of our curriculum demands that students have the correct clothing and footwear in order to be safe and to learn effectively. 

 

Upper Garments: 

Upper garments will consist of any shirt that is available through the Premier Arts Academy apparel line. Premier Arts Academy students will have a wide selection of school gear to choose from to wear as their shirt. A wide range of colors and styles, all featuring the Premier Arts Academy logo, will be available in our school store and our online ordering portal. Students will be expected to be in a branded shirt every day unless it is a special dress-up or dress-down day. Students may wear a long-sleeve shirt (solid color) underneath their Premier Arts Academy shirts. Shirts must be properly fitted (not oversized or overly tight, and must cover the top of the lower garment). Shirts must not have holes or embellishments. Sweatshirts or sweaters available through the Premier Arts Academy apparel line may be worn during the school day. 

 

Lower Garments: 

Lower garments will consist of appropriate jeans, khaki pants, walking shorts, capris, skirts or athletic pants (including sweatpants or yoga pants). Pants and shorts must be properly fitted (not oversized or overly tight) and must not have holes. Pants must fit at the waist, or a belt must be worn to prevent them from falling. 

 

Footwear: 

Shoes or boots must have both closed heel and toe. Gym shoes are recommended. You must also provide appropriate dance shoes as necessary.

The Premier Arts Academy does not have bus transportation to and from school. We will have an efficient and safe pick-up/drop-off process. We also offer affordable before care beginning at 6am and after-care ending at 6pm for the convenience of working parents.

We will provide daily breakfast and lunch options similar to the process area schools currently provide. Packing a lunch is also an option! We will also have free and reduced lunches available to those who qualify. We will use LINQ (formerly Titan) which many families may be familiar with using for menu and payment options.

Ball State University is our authorizing organization. We report everything including calendar, finances, operational procedures, safety protocols, test scores, curriculum, staff certifications, and academic achievement to their Office of Charter Schools annually. We also are held accountable by the Indiana State Board of Education where we must report all the same metrics that other public schools do.  We are accountable to both entities as well as our local school board. 
The Premier Arts Academy will utilize the NWEA growth assessment as is required by Ball State. We will also administer iRead and iLearn as is required by the Indiana Department of Education.  You can count on the Premier Arts Academy to create a culture where standardized testing is not a primary focus and is one of many ways we assess our students’ growth and knowledge.
The Premier Arts Academy is a public school and thus will serve ALL kids regardless of demographics, test scores, or socio-economic status.  That being said, there will be a limited number of spots in our classrooms as we usher in a responsible and sustainable growth plan. When interest to enroll is larger than our classroom capacity, it is required by law that we hold a transparent and open lottery to fill our spots.  You can find the admissions policy and detailed lottery protocols in our Enrollment section.
Premier Arts Academy is excited to have the opportunity to serve kids with a plethora of different learning styles and needs.  The nature of our teaching strategies and the structure of our chosen curriculum is naturally a better fit for kids who learn differently than those in a traditional setting.  We will have certified Special Education staff supervised by our Director of Special Programs, Dr. Dawn McGrath. Dr. McGrath has decades of experience in special education having even worked for the State of Indiana as the Director of Special Education.  Students with IEPs and their families will have an intake conference to assess the best course of action for optimum growth given our teaching model. Our special education staff will work closely with families to communicate and support students. 
High Ability students will find the teaching strategies at Premier Arts Academy to be challenging and rewarding.  The small group leveled instruction will provide daily opportunities for enrichment and extension of the curriculum. High Ability students will be appropriately challenged and will graduate from the PA Academy as well-rounded, socially aware individuals who have had many opportunities to work in groups, contribute to creative solutions, and communicate effectively in real-world settings. 
The Premier Arts Academy intends to be responsive to the interests of our student body and families. We have partnered with other youth-serving organizations and local leagues to provide athletic competition opportunities.
Yes, Students in 5-8th grade will be eligible to participate in Band, Orchestra or Choir from 2:30-3:30 M-Th.  Students participating in those activities will be picked up an hour later from school.
Absolutely! Nothing will change as to the number of Premier Arts shows and youth programs. If anything, the Premier Arts Academy just adds to your opportunities!

Our larger surrounding schools have to take into account walk zones, bus safety, and students who stand at bus stops in darkness - factors that for the most part our families do not have to deal with. We do need to take into account the long distances many of our families travel each day - in some cases over 45 minutes! In the event we have “typical winter weather” we will have a normal school day but will not assess tardies until 8:30am - please drive safely!

If a travel advisory is issued we MAY elect to call a two hour delay. In this case, early care will start at 8 and classes at 10. Breakfast would be a simpler “to-go” offering.

If a travel watch or warning is issued we will cancel in-person classes. If we have advance notice of severe winter weather the day before we will make sure students have the necessary materials/devices for e-learning for the next day. In the event we are on a delay schedule and travel conditions worsen we will cancel in-person classes.

Should a 2 hour delay or cancelation occur we will notify families via email and text as early as possible. We will also share it with WNDU and ABC57