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.

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Sarah Gibson / NHPR

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited New Hampshire on Friday to meet with school leaders, teachers and students in Bedford, but her visit was curtailed by a newly confirmed COVID-19 case in the district.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Activists gathered Thursday night for a virtual vigil to honor lives lost to coronavirus and condemn President Trump's handling of the pandemic.

The event – organized by Black Lives Matter Manchester, Rights and Democracy, and the New Hampshire Youth Movement - was streamed from near the Trump campaign office in Manchester.

Flickr/Martin Bekkelund

A nationwide shortage of remote learning resources during the pandemic means the states’s largest school districts - Nashua and Manchester – are short thousands of Chromebook laptops.

The Nashua School District already distributed about 7,000 Chromebooks this fall, but some families have started remote learning without computers at home.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

School districts will be getting less money from the federal government than they expected this fall to cover COVID-related expenses.

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For months, officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had told schools that they were eligible for reimbursement for PPE, plastic desk barriers, cleaning supplies, and other materials.

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A coronavirus outbreak among students at Windham High School will force that school to remain remote for at least the next week.

The school was supposed to reopen with a hybrid model on Wednesday, but news that sixteen students had tested positive for COVID-19 prompted the school to change its plans last minute and reopen with a remote model.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

For months, families across New Hampshire have been wondering what school would look like. And now, a lot of them have a first taste. There have been technological glitches and reports of positive coronavirus cases in several districts.

But as NHPR’s Sarah Gibson reports, many people say they’re relieved the new school year has finally begun.

Flickr/Ivan Radic

The state’s online charter school is getting $7 million in CARES Act funding, in response to a massive spike in enrollment during the pandemic.

The Exeter-based Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) offers online classes to students in New Hampshire. Demand for VLACS classes tripled over the summer as families looked for options to remain remote this school year. Despite hiring more than 70 new teachers, VLACS says thousands of potential part-time students are still on the wait list.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A school year like no other is underway in New Hampshire.

By mid-week, most districts had reopened with a fully in-person, hybrid, or remote model, and families, teachers, and students were getting a first glimpse of what education during the pandemic could be like for months to come.

Tonia Orlando

Some schools are wrapping up their first week of classes on Friday - whether that's remote, hybrid or fully in person. NHPR’s Sarah Gibson caught up with one school leader about what it's been like so far.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

A family in Croydon is suing the New Hampshire Department of Education, alleging that restricting the use of public tuition funds for non-religious schools violates their constitutional rights.

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New Hampshire schools can continue offering meals to all young people under 18 free of charge for the rest of the calendar year.

Schools have had more flexiblity to provide meals and receive reimbursement from the federal government since the USDA issued waivers during remote learning last spring.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

The state's largest water distribution project hits a milestone this month. Households in Salem, Atkinson, and Hampstead will start getting water from Manchester through the Southern New Hampshire Regional Water Interconnection Project.

The interconnection project aims to pipe 3 million gallons of water a day from Manchester to five towns in Southern N.H. facing water shortages and contamination.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The coronavirus pandemic is creating major problems in public schools in New Hampshire. But the picture for private schools is different.

Most independent schools are reopening in person, and as NHPR’s Sarah Gibson reports, interest in some of them is higher than ever. 

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The Manchester School District is re-examining its plans to offer a hybrid model to kindergarten and first-grade students, citing a shortage of teachers willing and able to return to in-person teaching.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A group of volunteers and lawmakers gathered on Wednesday in front of the New Hampshire State House to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

That amendment gave women the right to vote after many years of suffragette activism.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The New Hampshire Alliance for Public Charter Schools says its members need more money to handle costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Like traditional public schools, charter schools received federal CARES Act relief money, but some say it wasn't enough to cover the cost of new air filtration units, PPE, and laptops for students.

Courtesy of Facebook/The Looney Bin Bar and Grill

Laconia Motorcycle Week is officially underway, but with much smaller crowds this year because of the pandemic. Bikers arrived in New Hampshire this weekend to rules for mask-wearing in crowds over one hundred.

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Michelle Watson owns the Looney Bin Bar and Grill in Laconia. She says so far, her customers have observed rules for wearing masks when not seated, and not standing at the bar.

A national non-profit says legal representation for young people in New Hampshire is “gravely undervalued,” leading to inadequate access to attorneys and unnecessary rates of probation and court involvement.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Donald Trump announced plans to host a campaign rally in Manchester on Friday, August 28, a day after party leaders wrap up the largely virtual Republican National Convention in North Carolina.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

With school just weeks away, some districts are still at odds with teachers' unions over whether to reopen buildings.

Unions across the state are still in the process of  bargaining with districts over how reopening plans affect current contract provisions.

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State health officials say schools should be prepared to send students with even mild symptoms of the coronavirus home, and that rapid testing will be necessary for schools to remain open.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says state public health officials will work hand in hand with school districts to identify positive cases, conduct contact tracing, and notify the public about outbreaks in schools.

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Michael Brindley / NHPR

High schools in New Hampshire are now required to grant credit for alternative programs approved by the state board of education or a local school board. The program, called 'Learn Everywhere,' has been the subject of heated debate for over a year.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Despite disruptions in school due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Chris Sununu says he will not waive requirements for special education.

Over 30,000 K-12 students in New Hampshire are legally entitled to special ed services, but many of these were postponed or limited during statewide school closures earlier this year.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

When Nicole Finitsis tuned into a recent virtual school board meeting to learn what the fall might look for her second grade twins, she hoped to get some clarity. But instead, she says she left more confused than ever.

Genevieve Andress for NHPR

Across New Hampshire, parents, teachers and students are getting a first glimpse of what school might look like this fall.

For many, the picture is not as they had hoped. 

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With most New Hampshire schools just a month from reopening, there's one staff member on many people's minds: the school nurse.

Courtesy of Nicole McKenzie

Census workers will have a month less than they expected to count all the households in New Hampshire.

The majority of households in the state have already completed the once-a-decade survey online or with a mail-in questionnaire.

Courtesy of Kelly Bresnahan

School districts are facing a lot of unknowns. One of the biggest questions is whether teachers with health concerns have to return to school or if they can work remotely. NHPR’s Sarah Gibson caught up with three teachers in the midst of figuring out how their districts will accommodate them, and whether that will be enough.


Courtesy of Nicole McKenzie

Federal workers and local volunteers are trying to get as many people as possible in New Hampshire to fill out to 2020 U.S. census. Time is running out for the first part of that process, which is focused on getting people to fill out the survey themselves before a census worker shows up at their door in August.

NHPR's Sarah Gibson has been checking in with census workers. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with her about how it's going in the Granite State.

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