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Hassan Early College Academy proposal resurfaces as Governor Sununu’s key education initiative, with a key change

Governor Sununu’s “New Hampshire Career Academy” has become his most visible State of the State proposal.  Coverage includes this on WMUR, this AP report on the NHPR website and in many other state papers, Sunday’s front page piece in the Union Leader and surely more to come. New Hampshire high school students would get community college credits and a leg up on a job while still in high school – and even get an associates degree by continuing with the program for a fifth year.  Here is the department of education’s summary.  Here is Governor Hassan’s 2015 STEM Task Force recommendation (p. 28). (more…)

Extended learning opportunities thrive in Pittsfield

New Hampshire has become a leader in the nation’s education reform efforts, from piloting an innovative assessment program (PACE) to student-centered “extended learning opportunities” where students participate in volunteer work, internships, or independent study in lieu of traditional classroom study. (more…)

Nicholas Kristof says important things about American education that we should listen to in New Hampshire

Even as the number of children in New Hampshire is shrinking, the number of poor children is increasing.  It isn’t up to schools alone to respond, but our schools do play an important role – first by trying to reach every child that comes in the door.

But that has to be a shared goal that the whole community and state buys into.  Kristof’s writes in the Times the Americans used to buy in but don’t seem to anymore.   (more…)

Pittsfield featured in Atlantic article, “What Happens When Students Control Their Own Education?”

Here’s a good introduction to a topic we will be talking about a lot – how schools in New Hampshire and other states are going beyond traditional teaching and helping each child learn in the way that fits best.  It’s a movement that started long before states adopted the new standards but personalized learning has been strengthened by the Common Core emphasis on teaching students to formulate their own solutions real world problems.

This Atlantic piece features the great work going on in Pittsfield but represents the direction in which many other New Hampshire schools are moving as well: (more…)

Just a few days left to vote and help the Pittsfield School District get a $100,000 Nellie Mae grant!

You can vote here to help Pittsfield, a great New Hampshire school district, win a $100,000 Nellie Mae Foundation grant.  A friend wrote today to say, “There is no public school in NH who deserves the recognition more for a job well done than Pittsfield. They are so property poor it is a struggle but they wanted their children to have better schools—so with a trusted leader and strong community will and support, the faculty and students really have shown how schools can personalize education and improve outcomes for the students.”

Please vote for Pittsfield – and pass it on!


Dennis Van Roekel’s farewell speech as NEA president: End blame. Bring equity to our schools.

Dennis 140703-CK-DVR-Keynote-09Outgoing NEA national president Dennis Van Roekel presents a critique of the last generation of counter productive education reform grounded in the reality experienced by our students.  He goes on to offer a vision for the role the nation’s largest teachers’ union should play in the future. (more…)

What might the new USDE requiring better special education results actually mean?

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that it will require states to achieve better academic results with special education students.  The USDE position would be easy to misunderstand, so here are two NPR reports that provide useful perspective.   (more…)

Amherst schools to be featured in documentary – Union Leader

This is interesting.  SAU 39 (Amherst, Mont Vernon and Souhegan), with its deep foundation in the fundamentals of its education mission, has played a leadership role in implementing the new higher academic standards and competency-based learning.  NHDOE has sent 2Revolutions to document this as part of a larger projects.  There will be lots of good uses for the material 2Revolutions gathers.  Here’s the UL coverage:

AMHERST — A filming crew will be making its way into the local schools next week as part of an initiative by the New Hampshire Department of Education to chronicle exemplary schools throughout the state.

According to a letter sent to local parents, the state agency requested that SAU 39 participate in the project, which will record innovative schools and commendable practices that could serve as models for educational facilities throughout New Hampshire.

Nicole Heimarck, director of curriculum and professional development at SAU 39, has described the production as “an exciting opportunity to showcase the great work of our students and teachers.”


see the rest at Amherst schools to be featured in documentary | New Hampshire Education.

“Who Says Math Has to Be Boring?” – a very interesting NYT editorial

There’s an unusual editorial in today’s New York Times.  It’s all about how to interest more kids in math.  It’s long and detailed, with numerous recommendations on which the editorial board asks for feedback.  And the paper has put in place an elaborate feedback mechanism with which to categorized respondents and their answers.  They are obviously trying to generate a real discussion and, based on the comments so far, it seems to be working: the initial comments are constructive, not polluted with the usual internet sarcasm and snark.

So give it a try.  Here, to whet your appetite, are a couple of the recommendations:

A More Flexible Curriculum


The Common Core math standards now being adopted by most states are an important effort to raise learning standards, particularly in primary and middle school, when many students begin to fall behind. They encourage the use of technology and applied thinking, moving students away from rote memorization. At the high school level, they would introduce all students to useful concepts like real-world modeling. But the standards also assume that all high school students should pursue a high-level math track, studying quadratic equations, transformational geometry and logarithms. The standards need more flexibility to ensure that they do not stand in the way of nontraditional but effective ways to learn, including career-oriented study.


New Hampshire students score high in the new NAEP results

Here’s the release from the New Hampshire Department of Education on the just released national test results:

New Hampshire Students Make Significant Gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress Mathematics and Reading Assessments

Fourth and Eighth Graders Among the Highest Scorers in the NationNew Hampshire students continued to show consistent improvement in math and reading in the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a congressionally mandated, federally administered test of sampled students nationwide.

Fifty-nine percent of the tested New Hampshire fourth graders showed proficiency in math, up from 43 percent a decade ago and 57 percent two years ago, putting New Hampshire in the top three states nationwide.

Forty-five percent of sampled fourth graders showed proficiency in reading, up from 40 percent a decade ago and 43 percent two years ago, putting New Hampshire in the top six states in the country.

Forty-seven percent of the tested New Hampshire eighth graders were proficient in math, up from 35 percent a decade ago and 44 percent two years ago, placing New Hampshire in the top five of all states in the nation.

Forty-four percent of the sampled eighth graders were proficient in reading, up from 40 percent in 2011, placing New Hampshire in the top eight of all states.

“This is an affirmation of the tireless efforts of New Hampshire’s public schools to improve instruction in a variety of ways, and I applaud our students and educators for all their work,” New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry said. “But we need to also recognize that we should expect more of, and for, our children and continue to make sure all of our students achieve their full potential. As a state, we must continue to improve our standards in reading and math to help prepare our children for college and career.”

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, referred to as “the Nation’s Report Card,” is administered at the state level every two years. Nationwide, more than 700,000 students were assessed for NAEP 2013. In New Hampshire, nearly 12,000 students, reflecting state demographics, were assessed last year.

For questions regarding New Hampshire’s NAEP 2013 Mathematics and Reading results, contact Tim Eccleston, New Hampshire’s NAEP Program Administrator at (603) 271-2298 or For a complete summary of NAEP 2013 results, visit the New Hampshire Department of Education NAEP Additional NAEP information can be found at the Nation’s Report Card Web site,