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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Courtesy Nicole McKenzie

Time has nearly run out for the U.S. Census Bureau to complete its 2020 population count, which will determine trillions of dollars in federal funding and political representation for the next decade.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Schools in New Hampshire are getting an additional $45 million to help with coronavirus-related expenses.

Gov. Chris Sununu announced the funding at a press conference Thursday, following recommendations from lawmakers on the Governor’s Office for Economic Relief and Recovery Legislative Advisory Board.

Most of the money - which comes to the state from the federal CARES Act - will go to school districts directly, at a rate of approximately $200 per pupil.

Credit Courtesy of Cheryl Gaffney

Classrooms in New Hampshire have changed dramatically to reopen safely in the pandemic, and some of the biggest changes are in music class. Gone are the days of belting out songs shoulder to shoulder, sharing music stands, and swapping instruments. Instead, as NHPR’s Sarah Gibson reports, some schools are following new protocols to bring music back but keep COVID-19 risk low.


Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

The Nashua School District is responding to pressure from parents and some school board members to hasten reopening plans after weeks of being almost entirely remote.

At a school board meeting on Tuesday night, Superintendent Jahmal Mosley presented the district’s metrics for moving between remote, hybrid, and in-person models. With transmission levels of COVID-19 now among some of the highest in the state, Mosley said Nashua meets the state's criteria for staying fully remote or hybrid.

The exterior of the New Hampshire Department of Justice in Concord.
NHPR File Photo

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office says the use of non-deadly force in a highly publicized arrest of a Black man in the town of Albany earlier this year was justified.

Empty classroom
Pickpik

Superintendents across New Hampshire are warning of budget shortfalls and staff shortages as they navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Courtesy Nicole McKenzie

After months of confusion and legal challenges over when the 2020 census count should end, a federal judge says the deadline is Oct. 31.

Census officials had said they would wrap up a count by Monday. Census watchers and advocates said this would lead to an inaccurate count that could deny communities political representation and federal money.

N.H. State House
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu was absent from a forum hosted virtually by the Greater Nashua Area Branch of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Thursday evening, but his stance on criminal justice reform, voting rights, and racial justice came under fire nonetheless.

NHPR File

Some of the state's largest school districts – including Concord and Manchester - are moving from a largely remote model of instruction to a hybrid later this month.

Many schools in New Hampshire have already been experimenting with the hybrid system for several weeks, with varying degrees of success. 

Josh Rogers / NHPR

State health officials are doubling down on their recommendations to schools for dealing with potential COVID-19 cases, in spite of criticism that the recommendations are too strict.

The state says students with any new or unexplained COVID-19 symptoms should immediately be sent home and referred to their physician for COVID-19 testing.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Several hundred people gathered in Concord Friday evening in a peaceful protest to honor Breonna Taylor, the woman shot to death by police officers in her Louisville, Kentucky home last spring. The gathering on the steps of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, organized by local chapters of Black Lives Matter, was treated as both a call to action and a solemn vigil.  

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in the latest case over whether the state is meeting its constitutional obligation to pay for an adequate education.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

More school districts are announcing positive COVID-19 cases, prompting a handful of schools and over a thousand students to go to remote learning plans this week.

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.

DHHS

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.

Jessica Arnold/Arnold Imaging LLC

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.

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