THE STORY The Delaware State Board of Education approved an application in June for a charter school – First State Military Academy – which is looking at possible locations in the Smyrna-Clayton area.

FSMA Board Chairman C. Scott Kidner said at that time the military academy was looking at potential sites in Smyrna or Clayton because of the location, which he said makes sense when thinking about potential students. Having a location in northern Kent County would give students in the central and southern part of the state an option, and it also would give students wait-listed from the Delaware Military Academy opportunity as well.

"We believe that this is going to provide a great opportunity for kids in the lower part of the state in Kent and Sussex counties and the lower part of New Castle County," Kidner said.

The school will blend a traditional JRTOC culture with project-based learning, which is also something Kidner and the board are excited about.

"We're really looking forward to bringing this educational model to Delaware," Kidner said. "This is a win-win for everybody."

WHAT'S NEW Since the school board's approval in June, board members have been busy at work preparing for the school to open its doors in September of 2015. According to the FSMA website, the founding commandant, Kelly Carey of Ocean View, was selected. Moreover, the board has worked on securing funding and financial support. The school has been acknowledged by the Longwood Foundation with an unrestricted grant to support the group's efforts in purchasing a property as well as start-up costs. They've also received a letter of commitment from the USDA Rural Grant Program for renovations and construction of the school facility.

WHAT'S NEXT The FSMA website states the board is close to purchasing a property in the Clayton area for the school. The board has been in conversations with the property owner and hopes to announce the purchase in January 2014.