Education

Courtesy of SNHU

  Southern New Hampshire University President Paul LeBlanc will spend three months at the U.S. Department of Education to help grow non-traditional higher ed programs. 

In an effort to increase access and affordability for students, the U.S. Department of Education will begin selecting universities as so-called experimental sites.

LeBlanc says experimental sites will act as centers of research and development for new models of higher ed. And he says he won’t be part of the selection process.

Jim Graham / Flicker CC

The headline of this year’s graduation report from the National Student Clearinghouse is that 78 percent of students who start out in traditional 4-year public institutions in New Hampshire wind up graduating within six years.

That’s higher than any state in the country except for Iowa.

Private schools do nearly as well, with 75 percent graduating.

Melanie Holtsman / Flickr CC

  The Manchester School Board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee has approved a measure letting parents pull their child from taking tests linked to the Common Core standards.

The proposal includes a mail campaign to inform parents of this option. The letters would state that there would be no penalties if they choose to opt out of the Smarter Balanced test. And parents would need to notify the child’s principal of the decision in writing.

courtesy University of New Hampshire

  The Governor’s budget proposal would fund the University System of New Hampshire with an additional thirteen million dollars which just a portion of the money the university system is asking for.

The system has stated that amount would be insufficient to maintain a freeze on in-state tuition, but they are waiting until the budget is finalized before setting rates.

Pamela Diamantis, the chair of the university system board of trustees, joined Morning Edition.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Courtesy The University Of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston used his annual state of the university speech largely as a pitch for additional state funding.

In his address, Huddleston reiterated his pledge to again freeze tuition if the state boosts its funding, saying “in fact all it will take is for our lawmakers to return funding to 2009 levels. How heavy of a lift can that be?”

That would be an increase of almost $40 million dollars over two years.  In her budget, Governor Maggie Hassan proposed a more modest, $13 million dollar increase.

Mike Ross / UNH Photographic Services

  University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston is expected to reflect on the challenges, accomplishments and milestones of the past year -  and look ahead to this year - in his annual State of the University address.    He's scheduled to give the address at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Memorial Union Building's Granite State Room.    Members of the UNH community are invited to take part in a town hall meeting question-and-answer-session with Huddleston immediately following his remarks.

Melanie Holtsman / Flickr CC

  The Manchester School Board voted Wednesday night to administer the Smarter Balanced exams which would test students’ progress in meeting Common Core standards.

The vote puts an end to months of wrangling with the state Department of Education. Board members had originally voted to opt out of the test last summer but the DoE said doing so could mean the loss of millions in federal education aid.

Jim Graham / Flicker CC

In-state students in the University of New Hampshire system may have to wait until June to know how much tuition will cost this coming school year. The University System’s Board of Trustees announced today they would not set rates for in-state students until they learn how much state funding they will receive during this budget cycle.

That could make it tricky for some families to decide what they can afford to attend.

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.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

More than 800 people packed the Hopkins Center to see President Hanlon’s unveil proposals to reform Dartmouth’s social culture. Most of his remarks focused on liquor, which Hanlon called a serious risk to campus safety.

Hanlon also called for reforms to the fraternity system and said starting next fall freshmen will be assigned to live in residential communities led by professors.

Senior Taylor Payer says she welcomes Hanlon’s promise to get tougher on sexual assaults on campus but says true change will require more drastic measures. 

Ken Lund via Flickr CC

Dartmouth College has charged 64 students accused of cheating in a sports ethics class with violating the Ivy League school's honor code.

College officials confirmed the number of students charged but declined to comment further until the appeals process ends later this month. Professor Randall Balmer told the Valley News that most of the students involved have been suspended for a term.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

This is the second of two stories about  New Hampshire’s Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, (VLACS) New Hampshire’s statewide online charter school. To read the first, click here.

Pauline Landrigan, an English teacher with VLACS, is touching base with one of her students, Siri Condike.

“Are you going to be together with family in a couple of days?” asks Landrigan.

“No actually I’m going to be working,” Condike responds.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Nearly every school in the state has students like Tristan Quismundo. He goes to high school in Londonderry and failed English his sophomore and junior years.

“I kind of just get distracted, and wander off think about other things, ‘cause I don’t really find English literature that interesting.”

But as of 2008, students like Quismundo have another option. Now he’s a senior, and instead of just making another go at the classroom, he signed up for VLACS, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School.

VLACS By The Numbers

Dec 18, 2014
Sara Plourde / NHPR
New Hampshire Institute of Art

After about a year of searching, the New Hampshire Institute of Art has named a new President.

A music professor from Seattle will take over as president of the Institute. Kent Devereaux currently teaches at and chairs the Music Department at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

Devereaux praises the Institute’s undergraduate programs and a new Master of Fine Arts program and says they’ll attract more students.

Many students at Keene State College in New Hampshire and Mount Wachusett Community College in Massachusetts already know something about the widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else. Now, the schools are working together to get them to do something about it.

Ryan Lessard for NHPR

A new report finds New Hampshire college graduates are – once again – burdened with the most student debt.

According to the annual report from the nonprofit Project on Student Debt, students who graduated from Granite State colleges and universities in 2013 had an average debt of nearly $33,000, the highest in the nation.

This marks the third time in four years New Hampshire has had the highest average debt, after ranking second highest last year.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Three school districts in New Hampshire are sharing a federal grant worth nearly $10 million to improve access to mental health services in schools.

The grant to the Berlin public schools, the Franklin school district and the district covering Colebrook, Stewartstown and Pittsburg will serve about 4,000 people for five years. About 700 adults will be trained each year with the goal of making schools safer and reducing bullying, suspensions, substance abuse and behavioral problems.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

As early as next year, college students in New Hampshire teacher preparation programs will be taking a new test. It’s known as the TCAP, and all 14 of the state’s teacher education schools are adopting it voluntarily. While some states have opted to sign on to tests designed elsewhere, the Granite State has blazed its own trail when it comes to creating what has been compared to a bar exam for teachers.

Every student teacher who has graduated from UNH knows about the Portfolio. It was a collection of reams of lesson plans, tests, handouts; the artifacts of teaching.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  Many teachers and teachers-of-teachers will tell you that after passing your certification exams, graduating and getting your certificate, you’re still not ready to teach.

“You have the idea of what’s going to go on, but when you walk in the idea is usually just blown to heck and back,” says Joe Cilley a high-school art teacher at Belmont high school.

“The problem is that college is theory, it’s all theory! It’s not practice,” adds Kelly Hamilton, who teaches English in Belmont.

Via UNH Website

A long-time benefactor to the University of New Hampshire is giving the school $10 million in scholarship support to students from the state.

The gift, announced Monday, is from Harvard alum and Tuftonboro resident Dana Hamel and will increase the endowment of the already existing Hamel Scholars fund. It will mean the fund has $17 million dedicated to scholarships for New Hampshire students who show academic excellence, leadership and community involvement. The school hopes the money will help make the school more competitive with high-performing students.

As the fall college term gets underway, some Upper Valley students are finding themselves in limbo. That’s because they had enrolled in New Hampshire’s Lebanon College, only to find out without warning that their school was closing.

Ryan Lessard for NHPR

The University of New Hampshire's Manchester campus will move into a new building next spring as it begins offering new programs in science and technology.

The campus will move from its current location on Commercial Street into the historic and renovated Pandora Mill building in March.

The building sat vacant with trees growing from its rooftop for decades before the restoration efforts began several years ago.

Melanie Holtsman / Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Department of Education has rejected the Manchester School District’s request to opt-out of a new standardized test to be given this spring. In a letter to the school district, Education Commissioner Virginia Barry writes that if Manchester doesn’t administer the Smarter Balanced exam, it could lose nearly $17 million in federal education funds.

The Portland Public School Department plans to launch an online program this year. The district is trying to get a slice of the virtual school pie as it faces competition for students — and funding. But some educators remain skeptical of yet another online option. Portland officials say it's an important — and innovative — option for students.

The first day of school is a busy one for Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. He rides his bike to district schools to personally welcome students back.

NHPR Staff

A unanimous New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling out today says a controversial school choice program will once again be able to give tax-credit-funded scholarships to religious schools, but today’s ruling is far from the final word.

Under the Education Tax Credit, companies can give donations for scholarships, and claim 85 percent off their business taxes. Scholarship organizations use those donations to give money to students who want to change to private school, a different public school, or homeschool.

USDA / Flickr CC

The Manchester School Board voted Monday night not to apply for a new federal program that provides free breakfast and lunch to all students, but the state’s largest city is not alone in opting out of the program.

Any school where forty percent of students receive food stamps (SNAP), or temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) is eligible for a USDA program which began in 2010, but was only expanded to New Hampshire this year. It ensures that every student is fed breakfast and lunch.

But there’s a catch.

Four New Charter Schools Set To Open In New Hampshire

Aug 25, 2014
Mountain Village Charter School

Most students across New Hampshire return to school this week, including students at Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth. The school is one of the state’s four new charter schools opening this fall.

The actual building for Mountain Village Charter School is still under construction. So for the first week, the school’s 38 elementary students will be outside.

Teachers lead the students through a Swahili song and have them bark like dogs - mostly as a way to start the school year on a fun note.

Plymouth State Drops SAT And ACT Scores For Applicants

Aug 22, 2014

Students applying to Plymouth State University will no longer be required to submit SAT and ACT scores.

The University has decided to step away from the standardized tests, and put more emphasis on a student's high school GPA. Andrew Palumbo, Plymouth's Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management, says the GPA is simply a better measure of how prepared a student is for college.

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