Sarah Gibson | New Hampshire Public Radio

Sarah Gibson

Reporter, Education & Demographics

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on New Hampshire's demographics and education.

Sarah came to New Hampshire from New York City, where she was a producer at WNYC. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, her stories have appeared on WBAI, Alaska Public Media, and in The Village Voice. Prior to journalism, Sarah worked with non-profits in North Carolina and studied History at Brown University. She grew up in rural Vermont.

Ways to Connect

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire's largest school district could become the latest to publicly oppose a controversial bill that would deny state funding to any businesses, schools, or organizations that spread “divisive concepts” about racism and sexism.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office says that school mask mandates are legal, in spite of pushback by some parents, lawmakers and school board members.

School districts and private schools are receiving calls and emails alleging that requiring students to wear masks is akin to forms of child restraint prohibited by state law.

Courtesy of the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire

The latest federal data shows a steep increase in deaths across the United States last year, attributed in part to COVID-19.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A group of New Hampshire mayors, city councilors, and school board members are urging state budget writers to overhaul how the state funds public education.

Schools got a temporary funding boost after high-profile negotiations last budget cycle, and they’re eligible this year for an unprecedented amount of federal money through the three COVID-related relief packages. But longstanding issues with the state’s school funding formula remain.

School bus
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Grantham and Oyster River School Districts are joining a lawsuit against the state of New Hampshire over education funding.  

The lawsuit began over two years ago, when the Contoocook Valley School District sued the state, alleging that it was failing to fulfill its obligation to fund an adequate education for students.  

Oyster River High School in Durham.
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Oyster River School District is the first district in the state to sign onto a public letter opposing House Bill 544.

The bill would deny state funding to any businesses, schools, or organizations that spread “divisive concepts,” including teaching about systemic racism and sexism and holding certain kinds of diversity and anti-racism trainings.

N.H. State House dome.
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a program to expand school choice for thousands of K-12 students. It’s called an Education Savings Account, and it would give taxpayer dollars to families to pay for tuition at private and parochial schools, or other options.

If passed, it would be one of the most sweeping programs of its kind in the country. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

New Hampshire spends more money per pupil on public schools than most states, but is average when it comes to teacher salaries.

Census map showing population changes from 2010 to 2020.
Census.gov

New Hampshire now has about 1.37 million residents, an increase of about 4.6 percent since 2010.

That’s according to numbers released on Monday by the United States Census Bureau. The Bureau has the country’s total population at 331.4 million residents.

Courtesy of Haleigh Swabowicz

Many New Hampshire high schoolers are back in the classroom for in-person learning five days a week for the first time since March 2020.

Haleigh Swabowicz is a senior at Nashua High School South, which until this week had been in either a remote or hybrid learning setting. She shared what it was like to return to school full-time — for the first time, again.

Courtesy of Melinda Shofner

As of this week, nearly all schools in New Hampshire have fully reopened. Until now, it’s been a patchwork of different reopening plans, depending on the district. And for the Scopel Shofner family, in Barrington, it’s been a complicated year: the parents work at two different high schools, while their two kids go to other schools — each with a different approach to the pandemic. I checked in with that family via Zoom last night.


Vaccine shot
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Several New Hampshire jails are postponing COVID-19 vaccination of inmates because of the pause this week on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The New Hampshire Department of Education says it has granted seven waivers to schools that say they can't meet Governor Sununu's deadline of reopening fully next Monday.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

COVID-19 cases among school-age children in New Hampshire are on the rise, with kids under the age of nineteen now making up a quarter of new daily cases.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Some school districts say they need more time to fully reopen than they have under the April 19 deadline Gov. Chris Sununu has set. They point to teacher vaccination timelines, understaffing, and inability to social distance on buses and in some classrooms as the major hurtles to a full return.

School hallway
Sarah Gibson / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu is ordering all New Hampshire schools to fully reopen, five days a week, by April 19. School leaders were caught off guard by this decision last week, and some districts are scrambling to make sure they're fully prepared to meet that deadline. 

Sarah Gibson | NHPR

A year ago, people flocked to vacation towns in states like New Hampshire to flee COVID-19. For some, it was just a brief escape. But others settled into a rural lifestyle.

The question now is how long these newcomers are going to stay.


George Goslin/Public Domain

More people from out of state are buying homes in New Hampshire during the pandemic, and prices for those homes are on the rise.

MEDIAWEEK VIA FLICKR CC

New Hampshire parents who are currently collecting unemployment benefits to take care of kids during remote learning will no longer be eligible once schools fully reopen this month.

Sarah Gibson/NHPR

School leaders in New Hampshire say they were caught off guard by Gov. Chris Sununu's order Thursday that all schools reopen fully, five days a week, by April 19th.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A year ago, New Hampshire schools shut down for what many thought would just be three weeks. Now, schools across the state are reopening fully. NHPR's Sarah Gibson visited Deerfield Community School, where teachers and students have been spending a lot of the pandemic outside. And as they return, many are hoping that doesn’t change.


New Hampshire Senate Democrats are pushing for bills they say would address the growing crisis of children awaiting psychiatric care in the state's hospitals.

That number has increased to historic levels during the pandemic in New Hampshire and across the United States.

N.H. Supreme Court
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has declined to issue a definitive order on a case about school funding, instead sending it back to a lower court for a full trial. 

The unanimous opinion issued Tuesday avoids an immediate overhaul of the state’s education funding model, which currently sends “adequacy aid" to school districts at a rate of about $4,500 per pupil.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

A bill to expand school choice in New Hampshire is moving forward in the New Hampshire State Senate.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Dr. Jill Biden visited the Christa McAuliffe School in Concord on Wednesday to tout the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Biden last week.

A vaccination site in Dover, New Hampshire.
Sarah Gibson/NHPR

New Hampshire residents who work as teachers in nearby states say they're having a hard time getting vaccinated, despite New England's efforts to give shots to educators.

School hallway
Sarah Gibson / NHPR

New Hampshire schools are slated to get over $350 million in the latest federal COVID relief package, a significant boost to what has already been a major increase in federal education aid during the pandemic.

The $350.5 million is more than twice what the federal government promised to K-12 schools in New Hampshire in December’s COVID relief package and roughly eight times what schools here were allocated in the CARES Act a year ago.

Vaccination clinic for school staff at Dover, N.H. high school.
Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Some of the first teachers in the state received their COVID-19 vaccine shots Friday, as New Hampshire eyes fully reopening more schools.

NHPR Education Reporter Sarah Gibson visited one of the vaccination sites in Dover to get a better look at the process. She joins NHPR's Ed Brouder to discuss where the state is now at and what is next in the vaccine scheduling process.

Sarah Gibson | NHPR

On Tuesday, the Manchester, New Hampshire School District announced tentative plans to expand in-person classes from two days a week to four, starting in May. And at Manchester West High School in Manchester, that experiment is well underway.

For over a month, staff there have been encouraging students who are learning English as a second language and others needing extra help to come in four days a week.

And getting students re-engaged a year into the pandemic is a massive effort.

Voter in Exeter, New Hampshire
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Voters across New Hampshire are choosing school board members today, and in some towns the election has come down to one issue: school reopening.

That’s the case for many residents in SAU 16, which serves Exeter, Brentwood, Kensington, East Kingston, Newfields, and Stratham.

Board chair Helen Joyce, of Stratham, says this is the first time in nine years that someone has run against her. Other historically easy races now have multiple candidates, she says.

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