Education

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A battle is brewing at Pembroke Academy, and it’s all over a name.

Hundreds of people, including many staff and students, have signed a petition opposing the local school board’s decision to switch the title of the school’s top job from headmaster to principal.

Leveling The Playing Field: Digital Games & Children

May 21, 2015
amanda tipton via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/c8fYHA

In 1983 Ronald Reagan gave a speech at Disney’s Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida extolling his new found understanding of the virtues of video games: “I recently learned something quite interesting about video games.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As part of our series, "The First Decade," Gov. Maggie Hassan sat down with NHPR's Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to talk about what role she sees state government playing in helping to close the opportunity gap.

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We’ve heard the claim before – low-income urban kids aren’t getting to spend enough time in the woods.  But what if outdoor education isn’t just about where you live – but how you’re being raised?

On today’s show, our station wide series The First Decade continues, with a look at environmental education. Plus, a bee researcher explains two new studies that offer increasing evidence that a common form of pesticide is harmful to wild bees. And, Dr. Kanye West?  We discuss the function and failures of honorary degrees.  

The First Decade: Early Education in N.H.

May 20, 2015
Jason Moon / NHPR

We continue our series The First Decade with early education.  Research shows that a child’s foundation for success in school is established at a very young age, through high-quality care at home or at pre-school - and in New Hampshire, moving from half to full-day kindergarten.  Yet, some also caution that how we teach our youngest kids is just as important as where.

Sara Plourde | Data: NH Dept. of Education, NH School Administrators Association

The number of New Hampshire public school districts offering full day kindergarten has been on the rise since 1999, when there were fewer than a dozen.
 

Opera North brings classical music theatre to school groups and local theaters. Its summer festival has a wide following, and its outreach program brings free live opera to school groups. Lindsey Anderson sang the role of the Julia Child in Bon Appetit! which the company brought to Upper Valley schools. 

Flikr Creative Commons/ evmaiden

 

New Hampshire's Senate is set to take up a bill giving parents at least two weeks' notice if a teacher plans to use material related to human sexuality or sexual education that some could consider objectionable.

The bill follows a controversy last year when a man complained that his daughter, a student at Gilford High School, had read a novel about bullying that contained a sexually explicit passage. William Baer said the book "Nineteen Minutes" by New Hampshire author Jodi Picoult read like "the transcript for a triple-X-rated movie."

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Audio for the full program:

In New Hampshire, Pittsfield schools have recently adopted an approach that flips the traditional model of teaching through student-led discussion and independent projects. We’re looking into how this working for Pittsfield.

Sex Ed By The Dashboard Light

Apr 12, 2015
Ben Miller via flickr Creative Commons

The talk” is a rite of passage for many young Americans. It often happens either too soon, too late and usually leads to hilarious tales of awkwardness between parent and child. But when it comes to the real nitty-gritty of sex education - that’s when the classroom takes over, for better or worse. For Word of Mouth senior producer Maureen McMurray, it was probably for worse.

Listen to what just might be the most awkward talk about the birds and the bees ever told.


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Today’s classrooms may come outfitted with iPads and gadgets, but the textbook industry has weathered the digital storm surprisingly well. On today’s show we’ll look at an unexpected threat to the textbook industry:  the rollout of the Common Core standards.

Then, between jam packed schedules and lengthy to-do lists, it’s little wonder that so many people claim they hate surprises. But what can we gain from embracing the unexpected?  A self-described 'surprisologist' makes the case for being caught off guard.

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

 

Three New Hampshire schools are taking part in a regional partnership to develop personalized learning experiences.

The Great Bay Charter School, the Pittsfield Middle and High School and the Manchester School of Technology are among 20 New England schools taking part in the initiative coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership and New England Secondary Schools Consortium.

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Last week four New Hampshire districts received federal approval to reduce the number of required standardized tests. This pilot program, the first-of-its-kind in the country, will replace most ‘Smarter Balanced’ tests with assessments written by local teachers. In doing so, the hope is to make testing more representative of what students know, and less of a disruption to day-to-day learning.

Guests:

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Across the world more than 750 million people lack access to safe drinking water, and at least two billion don’t have proper sanitation. On today’s show, we’ll look at a project aiming to solve both problems by turning waste into drinkable water. And why disgust may prevent it from becoming a reality.

Then, we investigate a problem facing many American workers: food theft. We’ll find out why some people feel it’s ok to steal treats from the office fridge. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's Republican-led House is considering bills to gut parts of the Common Core education standards.

The House will debate several measures Wednesday aimed at the standards and tests associated with them. Most have a positive endorsement from the House Education Committee, signaling a strong chance of passage.

One bill says schools don't have to adopt the standards. Opponents of the bill say it's redundant because the state board of education does not force schools to use the standards. Passing the bill will make clear the House's skepticism of the standards.

Mary Jill LaRocca is an elementary school health teacher in Manchester. She helps students navigate the barrage of unhealthy messages that kids are exposed to. She turns to Media Power Youth’s Media Smart curriculum to help her students think critically about messages that promote violence, alcohol use, junk food and more, so they can be wise media consumers. 

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Senators have passed a bill requiring public schools to continue teaching cursive and multiplication tables. The bill is aimed at making sure schools maintain those skills as schools adopt new standards and incorporate more technology in the classroom.

The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote Thursday and it will now be sent to the Senate Finance Committee.

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To protect children from predators, some schools have rules against physical contact so strict that students can be sent to the principal’s office for holding hands or high-fiving. On today’s show – are schools being too touchy about physical contact?

And a reporter profiles the inaugural class of Thiel fellows – twenty teenagers who were given one-hundred thousand dollars to drop out of higher education and pursue success as young entrepreneurs.

Plus a columnist and comedian argues college kids today can’t take a joke. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Emilia Ornellas is a student teacher at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. She works with middle and high school students in the Student Enrichment Program in the Arts, also known as SEPIA. She explains that the program offers art classes Manchester students grades K-12.

Dhahiro Osman is an outgoing student who participated in the SEPIA program. Her interest? Self-improvement. “I thought that I’d give it a try, because I’m not a good artist; I thought this might be my chance to be good at it.”

Sound In Focus

Feb 19, 2015

We have a listening problem. One music teacher is out to conquer it.

Mike Alberici is a music teacher at Maple Street School in Hopkinton, who was awarded the 2015/2016 Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation – an award that grants teachers leave to develop new ideas for classroom teaching, and covers all the costs of doing so.

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Morning Edition speaks with two experts on changes to the child restraint law this month. Scroll down to see our more recent conversation with disability rights advocate Mike Skibbie.

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2/10/15

Some New Hampshire school officials are raising concerns about a newly revised state law meant to limit the use of restraint and seclusion on students.

School districts with growing populations could benefit from two pieces of legislation that got preliminary approval today from the New Hampshire House. 

The House voted this morning to move forward a bill that would lift a cap on how much state aid growing school districts can receive, as well as a measure to provide more money for school construction projects. The House Education Committee recommended passage of both. 

Melissa Moreno / Flickr/CC

New Hampshire has been engaged in a perennial argument about the state’s role in paying for schools. In 2011, a compromise put that debate on hold. But dissatisfaction has been brewing and now a bipartisan bill would tweak the formula, igniting speculation about who would win and who would lose under a new arrangement.

GUESTS:

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  As UNH Manchester prepares to move down the road to the larger Pandora Mill building, it’s going back to the drawing board to modernize its classrooms. The school turned to its faculty and students to help design the classroom that works best for them.

This month, researchers in Manchester, England will publish a report on the impact class environment has on learning. They find factors ranging from furniture to lighting can cause a significant variation on a student’s performance. And UNH Manchester is paying attention.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The American Vacation

“Vacations were an important part of the social life of the upper class in the United States throughout the 19th century.   They even had a circuit of vacations that followed the sun in some ways – they went south for the winter, came back north to Newport and other places like that. In fact, they became what  Thorstein Veblen critiqued as ‘the leisure class.’  It’s not until the turn of the 20th century that the middle class begins to see vacations as something that’s possible for them.” 

Christopher Sessums via Flickr CC

The fraught topic of education funding is again before lawmakers as two bills seek to eliminate a cap aid to local schools that was imposed in 2011. The bills hope to head off a possible lawsuit from school districts that have missed out on millions of dollars because of that cap. 

The push for change has bipartisan support, even though it could result in less funding for many schools.

www.windhamsd.org

A high school music teacher in Windham, New Hampshire, has received the 2015 Grammy Music Educator award.

Related: Click here to listen to Rick Ganley's conversation with Cassedy, recorded in December after he was chosen as one of ten finalists.

Josh Davis / Flickr/CC

You hear a lot of grumbling these days that students and teachers are overwhelmed by testing regimes aimed at keeping districts accountable.  We talk with an author who says there are better ways to track of how are kids and educators are doing.

GUEST:

Benjamin Chun via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/bSXrxr

For students hoping to get into a competitive college or university, high SAT scores are crucial. On today’s show, law professor and civil rights activist argues that the SAT is a more accurate measurement of family wealth, race and ethnicity than merit. 

Then, The Uncommon Core, our series on offbeat college courses, continues with golf course management. We’ll also hear from a husband and wife research team going to great lengths to end the bedbug epidemic– including offering themselves up as food!

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

az / Flickr/CC

A new report urges New Hampshire schools to improve science, technology, engineering, and math education. It’s part of a national preoccupation stemming from lackluster scores on these subjects among American students. But some say this emphasis is edging out other, equally important areas from writing skills to civics to the arts.

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