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Congratulations to Sanborn Regional School District for winning The Nellie Mae Foundation’s Lawrence W. O’Toole Award!

Sanborn Regional School District was recently awarded the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award, which is given to a district, individual, school, or nonprofit that exhibits great leadership through innovation in moving student-centered learning forward in New England. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation will present the award to the district at a ceremony later this year. (more…)

Sanborn Regional School District nominated for $100,000 grant–Vote today to show your support!

Sanborn Regional School District has been selected as one of six finalists for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award, a $100,000 Nellie Mae Education Foundation grant. The award is granted to an individual, organization, school, or district that exhibits great leadership through innovation in moving student-centered learning approaches forward in New England.

This is a great honor recognizing the important work Sanborn has done in the PACE pilot project and in making competency based learning real for their student.  You can show your support for Sanborn and New Hampshire by voting here. Voting lasts through September 30, and is restricted to one vote per email address. (more…)

Students exceed expectations on Smarter Balanced Assessments in four states–Hetchinger Report

In the four states that released results from their annual statewide assessments–Missouri, West Virginia, Oregon, and Washington–students exceeded expectations on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), reported the Hechinger Report. Experts say that though many factors likely contributed to the results, students are performing better despite the more difficult exam: (more…)

Gov. Hassan’s veto of HB 603, the opt out bill, strongly supported by the NH business community

There has been wide coverage of Gov. Hassan’s veto of HB 603, the bill that would allow parents to opt students out of the annual statewide assessment without penalty to the student or the school district.  The most complete coverage has been by the AP, published in the Concord Monitor but the Union Leader did its own story as well, featuring the letter the Business and Industry Association sent Gov. Hassan urging her to veto the bill.  (more…)

Gov. Hassan vetoes opt out bill: HB 603 “sends a bad message to our students”

Governor Hassan has vetoed HB 603 which would allow parents to opt students out of the annual statewide assessment without penalty.  Her veto message emphasized the importance of full participation for legal, accountability, and funding reasons, stating that the federally mandated assessments are required for many federal education grants and are also necessary for informing teacher instruction: (more…)

Models of excellence can help elevate conversation around Common Core and student potential

In a column for Education Week, Rob Berger, Chief Academic Officer for Expeditionary Learning, argues that in order to have an open and honest conversation about Common Core and higher standards, policymakers and educational leaders need models of student work that demonstrate academic excellence and student potential. Without examples of student potential, it is easy for Common Core critics to use the familiar lines–the standards are not age appropriate, they are too difficult, etc. (more…)

In districts experimenting with new tests, writing questions is only half the task–NHPR

NHPR chronicled the challenging process that four school districts are undertaking to roll out the highly anticipated PACE project. Teachers have been meeting with each other and the NH-based Center for Assessment to develop the assessment questions and to calibrate them, a process that ensures uniform grading among classrooms and districts. While the assessments aren’t “standardized,” in the usual meaning of the term, they do need to be comparable across districts to be valid measures of student learning, making the calibration process crucial in order for the PACE project to work. (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…)

New Hampshire testing pilot breaks the federal accountability mold–Clayton Christensen Institute

The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation featured an article on NH’s PACE program that, for the first time, begins to reduce the number of standardized tests students must take in their academic careers. The institute’s education research arm works to transform “monolithic, factory-model systems into student-centered designs,” so it is no wonder why they are interested in our innovative testing program. The Institute writes: (more…)

In first, four N.H. school districts shake up testing with Feds’ approval– Christian Science Monitor

Over the past month, New Hampshire has been getting nationwide recognition for a first-in-the-nation pilot program that moves beyond the annual standardized assessment schools have been giving for years. It’s called the Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot project. PACE was featured in the Christian Science Monitor as a solution to fears of overtesting, as the program reduces the number of statewide standardized tests administered in elementary and middle school and replaces some of them with locally designed assessments: (more…)