Education

Jason Moon for NHPR

New Hampshire has long lagged behind other states when it comes to the availability of full-day kindergarten. Legislators are likely to take up the issue this year, as they have in years past. But the ideas being debated in Concord this year likely won’t change the situation for school districts who can’t already afford to offer a full-day kindergarten program.

The Portsmouth School Board voted Tuesday night to make the start of the school day about an hour later for middle and high school students.

Next year, middle and high schoolers in Portsmouth will start the school day at about 8:30. The current start time is 7:30.

Research shows the extra time can make a big difference for students in everything from emotional well-being to academic performance.

Board member Patrick Ellis voted in favor of the change.

unh.edu

Last week, students, faculty and staff at the University of New Hampshire received an email from UNH president Mark Huddleston condemning a recent spike in incidents of hate speech on campus. NHPR’s Jason Moon visited campus to see how the school community was responding to the letter.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

Amid uncertainty about the future of the country’s immigration laws under a Trump administration, Dartmouth is trying to reassure undocumented students that they’re welcome on campus — and that the school will try to protect them from potential changes in the law that might be in store.

University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston sent a campus-wide email Tuesday condemning what he says has been a recent increase in hate incidents on campus.

File Photo

New Hampshire’s Community College system asked lawmakers for an increase in state funding at a budget hearing in Concord today. College officials say the increase is needed to avoid a hike in tuition.

Officials with the state Community College system are asking for about 49 million dollars for next fiscal year and 52.5 million for the year after. That’s up from their current annual budget of 44 million dollars.

New data released today by the U.S. Department of Education shows students — in New Hampshire and elsewhere — who graduate from career training programs at public universities tend to earn more than those who attended private, for-profit institutions.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Portsmouth School Board held a public hearing last night on whether to push back the start of the school day for middle and high schoolers next year.

Among the roughly 60 parents and teachers who attended last night's meeting, there was broad agreement that a later start time could benefit students. A growing body of research suggests later start times can help teens get more sleep and be more productive during the school day.

Portsmouth superintendent Steve Zadravec outlined two proposals to push middle and high school start times back by an hour.

The Portsmouth School Board will hold a public hearing Wednesday evening on whether the school day should begin later for the city’s middle and high school students.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Today, millions of Americans around the country are performing their civic duty at the voting booth. But here in New Hampshire, there’s growing concern that students aren’t learning enough about the historical foundations behind that tradition. 

The Community College System of New Hampshire today announced it had been awarded a 1.2 million dollar grant from the federal department of labor.

Mike Ross, UNH

The University of New Hampshire is waiving its fifty dollar application fee for all in-state undergraduate applicants this year.

Last year, UNH had a record number of total applicants – over 20,000. But less than 25 percent of those were New Hampshire residents. The number of in-state applicants is down from five years ago.

Victoria Dutcher, head of enrollment management at UNH, hopes waiving the fees for in-state applicants will help change that.

Johannes Thiel via Flickr cc

 

Breaking up is hard to do. But in New Hampshire, multi-town school districts and administrative units (SAUs) are doing just that. Some say the process should be made easier, particularly for cooperative districts that were designed to discourage dissolution. But others warn of unintended consequences for students.  

School enrollment throughout New England has been declining, a demographic change that has prompted Maine and Vermont to encourage districts and towns to combine schools and resources to save money and provide educational opportunities for students.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Senate president Chuck Morse is calling for the state to enter into a settlement with Dover after a judge ruled a spending cap placed on the districts’ schools was unconstitutional.

Last week a judge ruled a legislative spending cap that had kept money from fast growing schools districts like Dover, was unconstitutional.

Now, Senate President Chuck Morse, who had intervened to defend the cap in the lawsuit, says the state Attorney General should settle the case for the amount the cap cost Dover in fiscal year 2016. Dover says that’s about $1.5 million.

Dover School District

A judge has ruled that a cap on the amount of money the state sends to local school districts is unconstitutional.

Each year, the state sends money to local school districts to satisfy a constitutional mandate to provide an adequate education. The amount it sends is calculated by a formula determined by the legislature.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Updated 08/26/2016:

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office issued a statement outlining their position on the legality of guns in schools when used as polling places.

Reporter Jason Moon joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss the statement.

The statement from the Attorney General's Office in full:

courtesy of Colby-Sawyer College

New Hampshire is no stranger to the myriad challenges — declining enrollments, precarious finances, a struggle to compete with larger institutions — facing small colleges today.

Five colleges or universities operating in New Hampshire have closed their doors since 2002, according to the Department of Education, and each of them had fewer than 2,000 full-time students. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

School may be out for the summer, but some teachers in New Hampshire have been keeping busy by becoming students again. At a teachers’ workshop in Keene, educators brushing up on their Civil War history.

This summer, millions of excited 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds will be getting ready for their first real year of school. But some of them may be in for a wake-up call when that first bell rings.

If you have young kids in school, or talk with teachers of young children, you've likely heard the refrain — that something's changed in the early grades. Schools seem to be expecting more of their youngest students academically, while giving them less time to spend in self-directed and creative play.

File Photo

The board of New Hampshire’s Community College System announced today it will freeze tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Tuition for a full-time, in-state student will remain at just over $6000 a year.

This marks the fifth consecutive year without an increase in tuition.

http://laconiasafeschools.weebly.com/

This week NHPR has been reporting on how New Hampshire schools are fundamentally rethinking the role they play in the lives of their students and in their communities. Reeling from the state’s heroin crisis, the aftermath of the recession, and struggling local economies, many schools are taking on a mountain of new responsibilities beyond the classroom, often with limited help from the state.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

When David Griffin started teaching middle school in Berlin more than three decades ago, he thought he knew what to expect. He never imagined that stocking a food pantry might be part of the job.

Sure, Griffin says, he always anticipated a few needy kids in each class. But in the past few years, especially, the number of students who need help — and the complexity of their needs — seems greater than ever.

Dover School District

On Friday, all three branches of New Hampshire’s government will meet in a courtroom, in the latest dispute over how the state pays for public schools.

The showdown is prompted by a lawsuit brought by the city of Dover. It challenges a spending cap the Legislature has placed on how much money public schools can get from the state each year.

Scroll down for a chart and map tallying the impact of this policy over the past few years.

NHPR’s Jason Moon recently talked with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to discuss the case and its place in a long history of education funding battles.

How does University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston explain the size of the school's top salaries, including his own, to students and families struggling to pay tuition?

The leader of New Hampshire’s flagship university, speaking on NHPR's The Exchange Monday, said the school needs to offer competitive rates to attract the best talent — but Huddleston maintained that the school isn’t “overpaying” in the process.

Ted Siefer / NHPR

  

There’s been a lot of debate recently around federally-mandated nutrition standards for school lunches. The rules aim to bring healthier food into school cafeterias. But many students, and some administrators, say, they have resulted in meals that are — for lack of a better word — gross.

But at one Manchester elementary school, the kids have taken matters into their own hands. 

Woodley Wonderworks via Flickr CC

Town meeting season is upon us, and a number of school districts around the state are considering adding full day kindergarten.

Voters in Dunbarton will consider a 75 thousand dollar proposal to create a conditional full-day kindergarten program. Conditional meaning when enrollment in other grades leaves enough room for a kindergarten class.

Dunbarton’s half-day program has only eight students now, but school officials are confident that expanding to full-day will bring in students currently attending private full-day programs.

Voters in Hampton will decide whether a proposed 25 million dollar renovation of Hampton Academy middle school will proceed.

The plan calls for an extensive renovation of Hampton Academy, including a new gymnasium and overhauls of the existing building’s interior. The total cost of the project is 24.9 million dollars.

Hampton School District Superintendent Kathleen Murphy says the renovation is long overdue.

The State Senate passed a bill today that would make non-academic surveys of students opt-in rather than opt-out. That means parents would have to be notified and give consent before a non-academic survey could be given to students in schools.

Indiana Public Media via Flickr Creative Commons

Students in New Hampshire’s urban school districts are more likely to be expelled or suspended than students from non-urban districts, according to a new study from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy.

Tomorrow, eleventh graders in New Hampshire’s public schools will take the SAT as a statewide assessment for the first time.

Last year the Executive Council approved a request from the state Department of Education to use the SAT as the statewide assessment for eleventh graders. That means eleventh graders in public and charter schools will take the SAT during the school day, free of charge.

Previously, students who wanted to take the SAT did so outside of the normal school day and had to pay a fee of around $50 dollars.

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