Education

Courtesy of Liz Kirwan

New Hampshire school districts began another week of remote learning with a new timeline: school closures until at least May, if not the rest of the semester.

Schools are figuring out how to deliver the essentials to students at home, but a lot of teachers and families say that even those basics are overwhelming. 

Courtesy of Timberlane Regional School District

Families in the Timberlane Regional School District are awaiting a school board vote Tuesday night that will determine whether to allow videoconferencing for remote learning.

The board will vote on a memorandum of understanding between the Timberlane Teachers’ Association and the district, outlining the implementation of videoconferencing and giving staff the option to use it.

As of now, there is no video conferencing in the district, making it an outlier in the statewide shift to online remote learning.

US Army Corp of Engineers / Flickr CC

A coalition of administrative and teacher associations is issuing recommendations for remote learning in New Hampshire. The guidance comes as districts face long-term school closure until at least May, if not for the rest of the semester.

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Courtesy of Gabby Oja

Schools are wrapping up their first full week of remote learning - and for many students and teachers, that’s meant a lot of time online. But this transition has been particularly difficult for families without reliable internet at home.

biologycorner / Flickr Creative Commons

 

Groups representing public school administrators and teachers are calling for the state to postpone student assessments this spring, in light of emergency school closures.

U.S. Department of Education told states they could apply for a waiver to defer tests required by federal law until the end of the national emergency. The DOE is streamlining the application process for states applying for the waiver; nearly all have applied, with the exception of New Hampshire.

As remote learning ramps up this week, for students who recieve additional services from their school, including special education, the transition to remote learning is complex. We hear how educators, families, and students are navigating the transition. 

Air date: Tues, March 24, 2020. 

Courtesy of Jordan Travers

It was just a week before the opening night of Pinkerton Academy's production of Children of Eden, and the cast was hard at work in the chorus room, running through the entire musical from start to finish for the first time.

Senior Emma Cahoon was Eve, her first lead role ever in the school’s spring musical, and she remembers the exact moment in the rehearsal when things went wrong.

NHPR Photo

It’s a big transition week for school districts in New Hampshire. By next Monday, they’re expected to begin remote learning for students until at least April 3, as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Districts are communicating with families and teachers about how this will all work, but many questions remain. 

Courtesy of Martha Dalrymple

 

With New Hampshire schools now closed, teachers are facing an unprecedented challenge: how to teach their students remotely for at least three weeks. Schools are figuring out how to get meals and computers to students in need, and teachers are trying to figure out how to keep students engaged while isolated at home. NHPR’s Sarah Gibson has more.

File Photo, NHPR

As states across the country announce school closures in response to COVID-19, an increasing number of districts in New Hampshire are following suit, as they assess their ability to offer remote learning in the event of long-term shutdowns.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 13, 2020

Mar 13, 2020

The growing number of COVID-19 cases has prompted governments to encourage behaviors that will slow or stop the spread of coronavirus, and in some cases, that has meant closing schools. Some large gatherings of people have been canceled, but lawmakers still gathered in Concord this week to debate legislation. 

Manchester has passed a major hurdle in getting a new contract for its teachers. On Thursday, the school district announced that after 621 days without a contract, the city and the Manchester Education Association have reached a tentative agreement on a contract for teachers.

The Manchester Education Association is the largest of the district's six unions, with approximately 1,200 members.

USDA / Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Department of Education is asking the USDA for waivers so that schools can continue offering meals to students even if buildings close in response to COVID-19.

Other states are making similar requests, as schools prepare for the possibility of having to close buildings and shift to long-term remote instruction.

Click here for our live blog for the latest updates on coronavirus in New Hampshire.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

The Manchester school board approved a strategic plan Thursday night designed to improve equity and student outcomes throughout the district. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Lawmakers heard testimony today on two bipartisan bills aimed at preventing sexual assault and helping survivors seek medical and legal services. 

SB 508 would remove the time limit for an alleged victim of sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit. Right now, those abused as children have to file claims before they turn 30, and, if abused as an adult, they have to file within three years of the incident. 

Jimmy Gutierrez

Regardless of their formal sex education, teenagers at the beginning of their social and romantic lives often turn to each other for information. In the second episode of The Second Greatest Show on Earth’s series on sex ed in New Hampshire, we hear directly from teens about how they are navigating consent, porn, masculinity, and femininity.  

This is the second episode in our two-part series on sex education. Listen to the first installment here.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Lawmakers, education advocates, and state officials are entering the third month of a high-profile battle over whether to accept a large federal grant to double the number of public charter schools in New Hampshire. 

Despite the grant’s likely demise, the debate surrounding it has reignited long-held tensions over charter schools, who they serve, and what they could mean for the future of public education in New Hampshire.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Lawmakers on the fiscal committee voted today against accepting a $10 million federal grant for charter school expansion.

This was the fourth vote in two months against the grant, which aims to double the number of charter schools in New Hampshire over the next five years.

Democrats say it would undermine traditional public schools and cost the state millions of dollars down the road.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

As the country engages in conversations around sex, consent, and masculinity, The Second Greatest Show on Earth investigates questions about sex education in New Hampshire.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

All eyes are now on the New Hampshire primary, and some elementary school teachers are trying to explain the process to students without getting caught up in partisan politics. This year, they have help from a new social studies curriculum, designed by the New Hampshire Historical Society.

Sarah Gibson, NHPR

High schoolers looking to go to community college early - and get a free associates degree - can now apply for a new program called the New Hampshire Career Academy.

The Career Academy will enroll up to 40 students. Rather than send money to the student's home districts, the state will pay for their tuition at a nearby community college, offering training in fields like biotech, cybersecurity, and healthcare.

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut hopes the program will open doors for students who normally might just be trying to get through their senior year.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

 

The New Hampshire State Senate approved a bipartisan bill on Thursday to help schools get reimbursed for providing medicaid-eligible services. 

The bill comes after months of confusion over how schools can take advantage of the Medicaid to Schools Program, which allows schools to receive reimbursement for providing services like check-ups, counseling, and speech pathology to students eligible for Medicaid, as long as the services come from a Medicaid-participating provider.

NHPR Staff

A federal judge has granted preliminary approval of a $14 million settlement in a class action sexual misconduct lawsuit against Dartmouth College.

Judge Landya McCafferty says she’s likely to approve the proposed class definition and the proposed settlement in this case, noting that the proposed class meets four standards set out in federal civil law. 

UNH

Staff and faculty at the University of New Hampshire are bracing for layoffs after a letter this week from UNH President Jim Dean about plans to cut costs.

The decision comes in light of a report earlier this month from a consulting firm aimed at helping the university improve its finances. After comparing UNH’s finances to peer institutions, the Huron Consulting Group told the school it could save $10 million to $20 million annually with cuts to facilities, administrative research, and tech and library departments. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

A group of lawmakers, attorneys, former state officials, and school administrators is beginning to meet to study and improve the state’s troubled school funding formula

Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

 

A Concord-based non-profit that researches public education in New Hampshire has released a report on the most significant factors contributing to student performance across the state. 

NHPR Staff

A group of lawmakers has once again voted to reject a federal grant to expand charter schools in New Hampshire.

Democrats on the legislative fiscal committee voted against the $10 million dollars last month, citing concerns that opening more charter schools would cost the state down the road and harm existing conventional public schools.

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut told reporters after the second failed vote today that he still wasn’t giving up on the grant.

Sara Ernst / NHPR

In New Hampshire, School Board members are usually people we recognize: our friends, family members, neighbors. On a basic level, they make decisions on behalf of the school. But how much power do they actually have?

This story was produced for audio so we encourage you to listen!

 

What does a school board do? 

File Photo, NHPR

New Hampshire schools' social studies standards are expected to get an update this year. The proposed updates from the DOE come after mounting concern among some lawmakers over the lack of history and civics in public education.

"It's critical for our democracy that one, people know how it works and two, people know how to get involved if they are upset and want to change it," says Rep. Garrett Muscatel of Hanover.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Officials in New Hampshire are moving forward with efforts to reduce vaping and tobacco use among teens in advance of state and federal laws raising the minimum purchasing age in 2020.

On January 1, the age for purchasing tobacco and vape products in New Hampshire will increase to 19. 

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