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As the Legislature considers 10 bills about charter schools, be aware of the challenges of growth

New Hampshire now has 22 brick and mortar charter schools, 2 more approved to begin operations in 2016, and one statewide online charter, VLACS.  They are all locally grown and managed.  Their role is to supplement the district schools, filling specialty niches to expand options available to New Hampshire students.

But many other states have taken a quite different approach.  They consider charters competition and replacements for district schools.  It’s a world of national for-profit and non-profit charter management organizations, a world we have not encountered here in New Hampshire. (more…)

VLACS, NH’s online charter school, is growing by leaps and bounds – NHPR

Where do VLACS students come from

Click for the informative NHPR graphic showing key VLACS numbers

Over the past 6 years, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) has become an important institution in New Hampshire public education.  Offering online courses that any New Hampshire student can take at no cost, VLACS dramatically expands the options available to New Hampshire students.

NHPR has just done a thorough two-part review of how VLACS works day-to-day for both students and teachers.   (more…)

North Country Charter graduate Joseph Wallace: “Most people did not think I would be here today.”

Joseph Wallace

Joseph Wallace giving his NCCA graduation address

This is the final post in our series on the speeches given by last Sunday’s NCCA graduates. Joseph Wallace spoke eloquently of overcoming bipolar disease and avoiding a life on welfare: (more…)

The North Country Charter Academy transformed Mikey Sams: “I actually started enjoying school! I realized that knowledge was a powerful thing.”

Mikey Sams

Mikey Sams now, giving his NCCA graduation speech

Mikey Sams arrived at NCCA an alienated child just waiting to drop out.  He became a man and credits NCCA and its faculty with the transformation.  This is the fourth of our posts on Sunday’s NCCA graduation speeches. (more…)

Graduating senior Ashley Prince-Miles: “The North Country Charter Academy is a great alternative school for people who need a second chance.”

Ashley Prince-Miles

Ashley Prince-Miles giving her NCCA graduation address

Ashley Prince-Miles gave this graduation speech, the fourth in our series of posts from the North Country Charter Academy graduation Sunday. (more…)

North Country Charter graduate Lorriane Morales: “NCCA provided an alternative. I’ll be graduating a year early.”

Lorraine Morales

Lorraine Morales giving her NCCA graduation speach

This is the third in a series of posts from the North Country Charter Academy graduation Sunday.  Here is Lorraine Morales’ powerful statement about her young life in a tailspin until she found NCCA: (more…)

Sherri Kilgour, North Country Charter Academy mom: “I began seeing a difference in her. She had confidence and would talk about ‘when she graduates.'”

Sherri Kilgour

Sherri Kilgour speaking at her daughter Tiana’s graduation from NCCA

This is the second in a series of posts on the inspiring speeches students and a parent gave at the North Country Charter Academy graduation Sunday.

This is mom Sherri Kilgour: (more…)

North Country Charter graduate Sonseehray Flores: “Thank you for helping me find within me the courage to continue”

Sonseehray Flores

Sonseehray Flores delivering her NCCA graduation address

The North Country Charter Academy held its 2014 graduation ceremony for some 35 vibrant students last Sunday at the Mt. Washington Hotel.  In place of a valedictorian, NCCA featured a parent and five students telling their stories.  The next several posts will be those speeches, written entirely by the speakers. (more…)

NYTimes on cooperation between charters and public schools

This New York Times story highlights a choice that is before us in New Hampshire as well.   (more…)

Charter schools vs. the school choice movement: who speaks for charter schools in New Hampshire?

Charter, voucher and anti-Common Core advocates (mostly the same people) teamed up to mobilize charter school parents and others in opposition to my nomination to the State Board of Education.  I’ve now been confirmed but the debate itself highlighted again the difference between the charter schools and the school choice movement.

(more…)