NHPR / Michael Brindley

Pinkerton Academy social studies teacher Joe Lee is the New Hampshire Teacher of the Year.

candrews via Flickr Creative Commons

Pinkerton Academy in Derry is considering a unified dress code, which would require students to wear business casual attire.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The State Department of Education recognized 38 high performing New Hampshire schools Tuesday. The schools were highlighted for improved test scores, and innovative practices.

UNH Dives In To Marine Science

Sep 9, 2013
Courtesy The University Of New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire has started a new school of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, focusing on newer topics such as adaptations to climate change and coastal planning, in addition to marine biology and oceanography.

The school is the first interdisciplinary one at UNH and will provide graduate and undergraduate courses.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire officials are working on an application for a federal Race to the Top Grant for Early Childhood Education. If the state is selected in this round, it could receive up to $37.5 million dollars to support initiatives to improve childcare and preschool programs all over the state. While there is growing interest in pre-k issues the challenges standing in the way of better or more affordable childcare are daunting.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

Another school year gets underway this week for most students across the Granite State.

Governor Maggie Hassan will greet students at Nashua High School South Tuesday morning.

Later in the day, Hassan will do the same for students at Pleasant Street Elementary School in Laconia.

This year marks a transition for New Hampshire schools to what are referred to as the Common Core State Standards.

This year, schools are expected to align their teaching to the Common Core, a set of learning goals for public school students.

Federal sequester cuts are starting to sting for the state’s largest Head Start program. Southern New Hampshire Services has received a grant that is about 5 percent smaller than last years. SNHS provides pre-k programs for low-income families in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced a grant of $5.3 million on Wednesday, or about $300,000 less than last year.

The state Board of Education has given the green light for three new charter schools to open in New Hampshire.

Their approval was made possible after the Legislature set aside $3.4 million in the state budget for new charter schools.

The Gate City Charter School for the Arts was one of the schools to get approval from the board at a meeting on Thursday.

The school is planned for Nashua and will offer an arts-focused curriculum, starting with grades K through 4. It will open next fall.

Manchester School District

The new school superintendent in Manchester says a recent audit taking the school district to task in several areas should be used as a blueprint to help address those is

Flikr Creative Commons / Kawwsu29

  Last week New Hampshire at long last was granted a waiver from the Bush-era education reform law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The federal government first announced the waivers in 2011 because of congressional inaction to reform No Child Left Behind. New Hampshire was the 39th state to be granted one.

Keith Ramsey / Flickr

Interest rates on newly issued subsidized Stafford loans doubled on Monday.

The New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation has been working with families to help them understand what that means when planning for college.

As of July 1, the interest rate jumps from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Tara Payne is vice president of the Center for College Planning.

She says her concern is that students who qualify for subsidized federal loans are the ones with the greatest need.

Kyle Todesca, UNH

The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees voted Friday to freeze tuition for in-state students for the next two years.

The move comes after lawmakers agreed to substantially restore funding cuts made to the system in the last budget.

The tuition freeze for in-state students marks the first time in 25 years the cost of attending University System of New Hampshire schools will not rise.

After the Legislature cut support for higher education in half in the last budget, tuition rose by 9 percent in 2011 and by another 6 percent last year.

Tuition at New Hampshire’s seven community colleges will remain frozen for the next academic school year.

The decision comes after lawmakers signed off on a state budget that fully restores deep cuts made to the system in the last budget.

Chancellor Ross Gittell says the restoration of funding allows the community college system to hold the line on tuition for the upcoming school year.

He says it will also be used to help align education and training programs with the needs of businesses.

The U.S. Department of Education has approved New Hampshire’s application for a waiver from certain requirements of the No Child Left Behind law.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan informed state officials today that their application had been accepted.

The waiver frees the state from ten different sections of the controversial education law, which calls for universal math and English proficiency by 2014.

Principia School / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire’s new Education Tax Credit Program has been around for all of six months, and so far, it’s had a rough time.

Last week a superior court ruled the program can’t give scholarships to religious schools But this is just the latest difficulty for the program.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The US department of education announced another round of waivers from the controversial federal education policy, No Child Left Behind, and once again New Hampshire’s application for a waiver has been passed over.

New Hampshire Education officials say that they believe the waiver will be granted imminently.   

It has been ten months since New Hampshire applied for flexibility from the requirements of No Child Left Behind, and several rounds of waivers for other states have been approved since the application was submitted.

The search for a new superintendent of the Manchester School District is expected to wrap up this weekend.

The search committee announced the names of three finalists for the job this week.

Two – Debra Livingston and Maureen Ward – are from New Hampshire.

Livingston is the superintendent of the Fall Mountain Regional School District, which covers several towns in the southwestern part of the state.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr Creative Commons

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown has spent this week digging into the Common Core Standards, which will roll out in New Hampshire schools next year.  He joins us now to pull the camera back a bit, and talk about what the Common Core means in the big picture. 

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

With the new Common Core State Standards comes a new standardized test, called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. New Hampshire schools will take it for the first time in the spring of 2015, and in many ways, it’s the new test that will determine how the Common Core is taught.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Next year is the deadline for New Hampshire schools to transition to the Common Core State Standards. This means a change in topics for different grades, and a change in how teachers teach. For some schools this will be a big change, but others are well on their way to adapting to the new academic standards.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Common Core State Standards, a set of goal posts for public school students that have been adopted by 45 states, are well on their way to being implemented in New Hampshire. But those same standards are at the center of a widening backlash in other states that hasn’t really caught on in New Hampshire.

Support and opposition to the Common Core does not break down cleanly along party lines. On the one hand, Florida’s former Republican governor Jeb Bush is a big supporter of the standards, as are many liberal politicians.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

As this school year comes to a close, teachers are preparing for next fall, when a massive transition will begin. Starting next year, schools are expected to align their teaching to the Common Core State Standards. Those standards are a set of learning goals for public school students that have been adopted in 45 states and the District of Colombia. Released in 2010, they lay out what students should know when they finish each grade.

By the 2014-2015 school year, the new Common Core State Standards are set to be in full effect.

  • What are the Common Core standards?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Why the push for new educational standards at all?
  • What arguments are critics making against it?
  • What exactly will change for students & teachers in the classroom?
  • How will the new standardized testing affect school curriculum?

In a week-long series, NHPR education reporter Sam Evans-Brown answers all these questions and more on the Common Core.

biologycorner / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting today New Hampshire teachers and students can get a preview of the standardized test that will replace the New England Common Assessment or NECAP in 2015. The Smarter Balanced Assessment opened a practice test to the public Wednesday. The practice tests in Math and English for grades three through eight, and grade eleven can be accessed through the Smarter Balanced consortium’s website.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire will have to wait a little longer for more flexibility from the federal education law No Child Left Behind. The US Department of Education granted three more states waivers today, but New Hampshire was not on the list.

With the addition of Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia there are now 37 states that the DOE has exempted from many of the requirements of No Child Left Behind. Eight states, including New Hampshire, have waivers pending.

Oral arguments were heard Friday in a lawsuit which will determine if the state’s new education tax credit is constitutional. The state argues that for the tax credit to be considered unconstitutional, the judge has to consider first if directing money through a tax credit is the same as spending money in the budget. Next the judge will have to determine if because some parents use that money to send their kids to religious schools, does that violate the state’s constitution?

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the controversial Education Tax Credit will be heard today in Strafford County Superior Court. The law was passed last year by Republicans seeking to create more avenues for educational choice. But Democrats say it saps resources from Public schools and have targeted the law for repeal.

Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with NHPR Education Reporter, Sam Evans-Brown about the lawsuit. 

Liz Faiella for NHPR

  For the first time in six years, Dartmouth cancelled classes in the arts and sciences Wednesday. The College administration instead scheduled what it calls a “Day of Reflection and Understanding” after threatening messages were left for some students on an anonymous online discussion board. 

New Hampshire’s public universities made a pitch for restored funding to the budget writers in the New Hampshire State Senate Monday, but they got a lukewarm response.

The federal government has approved Southern New Hampshire University’s online College for America.

This is the first time that a program not based on grades and credit hours has qualified for federal financial aid. College for America is competency based, which according to SNHU President Paul Leblanc, allows students a lot more flexibility. To explain what competency based education means, Leblanc says, “the key is if you can show us if you’ve mastered that writing competency in a week, then we’re not going to make you sit through 15 weeks of college composition.”