NH Education Roundup, Dec. 7, 2020

In this issue of Reaching Higher NH’s Education News Brief, Reaching Higher launches its new school funding video and announces new leadership, the Commission to Study School Funding releases its final report, and New Hampshire schools continue to adjust their learning models during the holiday season.

Reaching Higher Releases its New School Funding Video — As part of our effort to keep the public informed about education policy and issues, Reaching Higher NH has created a new video short. “Different School, Different World: An Introduction to School Funding in New Hampshire.” Released last week, the animated video explains school funding through the experiences of a fictional high school student. With potential funding reform on the horizon, the video is designed to provide a foundation for young people and other community members interested in the education policy debate. 

Commission to Study School Funding Presents Final Report — After a year of research and discussion, the Commission to Study School Funding released its final report to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The report emphasizes student and taxpayer inequities in the current funding model and recommends significant changes. Notably, it proposes a cost model that uses student outcomes instead of school “inputs” to set funding and attaches “weights” to factors such as free and reduced lunch eligibility, English learner percentages, and district size. Visit Reaching Higher’s website for in-depth, original coverage of the Commission’s work, including articles, infographics, and a podcast. 

Reaching Higher Gears Up for New YearAs we approach a busy new year, Reaching Higher welcomes our new Acting Executive Director, Nicole Heimarck, and our new Director of Policy and Practice, Christina Pretorius. Both Nicole and Christina are familiar faces at Reaching Higher and both bring extensive experience in education policy to their new roles. The Reaching Higher team is poised to provide key tools and resources to inform dialogue and decision making as the new legislative session gets underway and schools and communities face continued challenges. 

Schools Continue to Wrestle with Learning Plans — Concerns over holiday travel amid rising rates of COVID-19 have caused many New Hampshire schools to adjust their learning models, the Concord Monitor reported last week. Several school districts went to remote learning just before Thanksgiving and plan to remain remote until after the New Year. Others are trying to remain in hybrid mode despite staffing challenges due to teachers in quarantine. “Despite our best efforts, this is beginning to have a negative instructional impact,” Jacqueline Coe, Superintendent of the John Stark Regional School District, wrote in an email to parents last week. 

It’s Not Too Late to Give — Reaching Higher was proud to participate in Giving Tuesday last week. If you didn’t get a chance to donate, there’s still time. Support our mission to ensure that all NH children have the opportunity for a high-quality education by donating here: reachinghighernh.org/donate.


Could Biden Find a Middle Path on Student Testing During the Pandemic?
Education Week, Andrew Ujifusa, Dec. 1, 2020

What Makes for an Effective Secretary of Education?
Education Next, Frederick Hess, Nov. 23, 2020

How a Daily Zoom Call Became a Lifeline for COVID Response in NH’s North Country
NHPR, Sarah Gibson, Nov. 24, 2020

Teaching in the Pandemic: ‘This is Not Sustainable’
New York Times, Natasha Singer, Nov. 30, 2020