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NPSAC Meeting Mintues - October 2008

Meeting Minutes
NH Nonpublic School Advisory Council (NPSAC)
NH Department of Education
October 3, 2008

Present: Kent Bicknell, Jim Clement, Cathy Chesley (at 10:45), Jamie Funnell for David McCusker, Trudy Wright, Claire Pstragowski, Deborah Connell, Mary Moran, Kevin Moody, Brendan Perry for Ann McLane Kuster, David Parker, Leander Corman, Dr. Judy Fillion, Ed Murdough, Leslie Higgins, Marie Morgan

1. The meeting began at 10:15 in room 15 at Londergan Hall. Ed Murdough, welcomed the group. His first announcement was Randy Richardson's resignation effective this month. Randy regrets the need to step down due to growing personal and professional commitments. Ed invited members interested in serving as NPSAC Chair to contact him.

2. The group introduced themselves. Several new members were appointed since the last meeting in May. These include: Cathy Chesley, former director of the Hopkinton Independent School and presently with NH Catholic Charities; David McCusker, Headmaster, Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan; Claire Pstragowski, Principal, Sununu Youth Services Center, Manchester; and Patricia Tilley, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, Department of Health & Human Services in Concord.

3. Ed Murdough noted that the Council now has three "school" vacancies with Randy's resignation. The Council should be more diverse. Of the more than 150 private schools in the state, about half have less than 100 students; however, it is difficult for directors of the smaller schools to get away for these meetings.

4. Kent Bicknell distributed his article, Brooks and Ditches - A Transcendental Look at Education, recently published in the fall edition of the Independent School, a journal of the National Association of Independent Schools. The article reminds the reader of the push by Emerson, Alcott, and Thoreau to establish schools that facilitate students' individual qualities and self-awareness.

5. The May 16, 2008 NPSAC meeting minutes were approved.

6. Ed Murdough spoke about Governor Lynch's goal to provide all NH high school students with an opportunity to participate in the First Robotics Competition. There are also a range of programs available to children in the elementary grades and also at the middle school. FIRST, the acronym for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology was founded by Dean Kamen of Bedford, NH. For more information, visit the First Web site at or contact Cheryl Walsh, FIRST, at (603) 666-3906 x460.

7. Deborah Connell suggested that Title IIA funds might be available. Mary Moran mentioned that the GATES Foundation has monies for science, math and engineering initiatives.

8. Ed Murdough mentioned the New Hampshire Advanced Placement Fee Reduction grant. The purpose of this grant is to reduce the cost of an Advanced Placement examination for income eligible public and private high school students enrolled in Advanced Placement (and International Baccalaureate) courses. This year, the State anticipates that it will be able to pay $54.00 toward each examination taken by income eligible high school students, pending approval of funding by the USDOE.

9. "Income eligible high school students" are defined in the College Board document, "Advanced Placement Program (AP) 2008 Fee Reduction Policy." New Hampshire AP Fee Reductions are requested on the computerized Remittance Form that schools submit to the College Board. Schools do not have to notify anyone prior to the exam date. They do not have to return a copy of their invoice to NHDOE. The College Board will notify NHDOE of any requests made on the Remittance Form. The contact is Kenneth Relihan at, (603) 271-6151.

10.Judy Fillion spoke about the new Educator Information System (EIS) which will be installed over the next few months. Many private school teachers who are certified will be able to renew their licenses online.

11. Leander Corman noted that the Bureau of Special Education will be providing technical assistance for understanding the changes to the NH Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities.

More details are at attachment #1.

12. The NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development's new Web site,, focuses on New Hampshire trivia and is suitable for elementary school age children.

13. There was some discussion about federal Title IIA funds and the need for a presentation on these opportunities. Contact Deborah Connell, Administrator for the Bureau of Integrated Programs, at, (603) 271-3769.

14. The Bureau of Integrated Programs provides leadership, technical assistance, and professional development to schools and community-based organizations in the implementation of specific federal grant programs authorized through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and amended by the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" (PL 107-110).

15. The "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) programs for which the Bureau has administrative responsibility include Title I, Title II-A, Title II-D, Title III, Title IV-A, Title IV-B, Title V, Title VI REAP, and Title X Part C Homeless Children and Youth. Certain programs serve general populations, while others are designed to serve children, youth, and families with specific educational needs, such as disadvantaged, neglected and delinquent, migrant, homeless, and non-English speaking children.

16. Ed reported that there may be some funding available for a Nonpublic School conference in 2009-2010. The Council needs to discuss how these funds should be utilized and how to involve other private schools. Cathy Chesley suggested that community service would be a good topic.

17. Linda Johnson reported that her law firm hosts an annual seminar for the Association of Northern Independent Schools (ASNI). The next one will be held in January 2009. Seminar topics will include the federal Title programs, special education law, and FERPA. Another seminar is being held November 14th on "Reporting Laws".

18. Kent spoke about the Conversations in a Changing World Conference to be hosted by The Sant Bani School on October 10th. This led to a brief discussion regarding the need for better cross communication among our private schools and the Department regarding upcoming events.

19. Trudy Wright mentioned that the Seventh Day Adventist Schools will have a mini-convention on October 13th primarily for home schooling parents to help them prepare their children for entry into the Adventist Schools.

20. Mary Moran reminded attendees that PBS has some excellent and low cost online courses for teachers.

21. The Diocese of Manchester has also partnered with Merrimack College to obtain graduate credit for the Diocese teachers.

22. Ed asked if any Council members would volunteer to be a representative on the Department's Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC). The meetings are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each monthexcept for July and August.The meetings start at 3:30 p.m. at the department.

23. The next HEAC meetings are scheduled for: October 14, November 18, December 9, January 13, 2009, February 10, March 10, April 14, May 12, and June 9, 2009.

24. We will notify the HEAC of the NPSAC meeting schedule and invite interested members.

25. Leslie Higgins reminded the Council that the 22nd annual Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference is scheduled for December 2-4, 2008 at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua. Deadline for registration is November 7, 2008. For more information visit or contact Deanna Bennett at (603) 225-3230 or e-mail

26. Marie Morgan reported that three new private schools were recommended for approval this past summer. These include the: Newport Montessori School (gr 1-3) in Newport; Soaring High School (gr 9-12) located at the Manchester airport; and the New England Classical Academy in Munsonville near Keene (gr 9-12).

The Hollis Montessori School is very close to recommended approval. The Maharishi Academy of Total Knowledge in Antrim had hoped to open this fall, but is now waiting to complete renovations at the former Hawthorne College campus. This Academy is associated with a larger Maharishi school in Iowa.

The Lancaster Montessori Preschool withdrew its application to be an approved private school. We have also met with Debra Hogan regarding her plans to open a Montessori School in Londonderry next year.

We received notice that the Faith Christian Academy in Belmont closed due to low enrollment and increased expenses.

27. Marie Morgan and Leslie Higgins distributed copies of the Initial Application for Nonpublic School Approval and the Fire and Health Inspection Forms. This led to discussions and statements about various issues

The private approval process doesn't require criminal record checks on school owners, administrators, or staff. The RSAs only require these checks for personnel working with public school children. The Bureau of Special Education now requires criminal record checks for personnel working with public and private school students. Kevin noted that most school insurance policies now require them. Linda noted that an applicant cannot be forced to pay for the criminal records check as a condition of employment. Mary noted that the Diocese does require criminal records checks. Any substantial change to the nonpublic school rules would require a change to the statutes.

The approval for "Attendance (A)" does not include an in depth review of a proposed school's curriculum.

The approval for "Attendance & Program (AP)" relies on outside accreditation agencies which can be a costly expenditure for many small schools.

State run schools are no longer approved by the Office of School Approval, but perhaps should be.

The School Approval process which is required every three years for A schools and every five years for AP schools can be time consuming and seems unnecessary when a "school" has also sought and received approval by the Department's Bureau of Special Education or other accrediting agencies such as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and the American Association of Christian Schools (AACS) as allowed by Ed 404.01.

Although the Department's Bureau of Special Education has authority to approve special education "programs", there has been some confusion among private schools because many "programs" also are "private schools". Special Education rate setting is also an issue impacted by dual approval.

Last year a subcommittee of the Council met a few times to discuss revisions to Ed 400, Approval of Nonpublic Schools, and Ed 404, Approval of Nonpublic Schools for Program Purposes (AP). Follow up meetings were not scheduled. During today's meeting Cathy Chesley, David Parker and others expressed a willingness to attend a meeting to further discuss Ed 404.

There was some discussion about additional subcommittee meetings to review other aspects of Ed 400 needing attention.

28. Marie distributed a contact list of NPSAC members (see attachment #2) which has been posted on the DOE Web site. She asked the members to notify her or Leslie if they wanted to change the information that had been posted and/or make any other changes to their contact information. (Kent, Leander, and Kevin did submit changes).

29. Ed suggested the following dates for future meetings. Since no one disagreed, the Council meetings will be scheduled for Fridays at 10am at the Department of Education's Londergan Hall on

December 5th ; January 9th 2009 ( snow day January 16th); March 6th; and May 1st

The meeting was adjourned at 11:50am.

Submitted by Marie Morgan

Attachement 1

New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities (Ed 1100)

A complete copy of the NH Rules can be found on the New Hampshire Department of Education Web site: Copies will be available, upon request, and in alternate formats.

The Bureau of Special Education will be providing technical assistance for understanding the changes to the NH Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Video Conferencing: North Country Education Support Center
300 Gorham Hill Road
Gorham NH 03581-4849
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 1:00p.m.–4:00p.m. NHDoE - Room 15
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 1:00p.m.–4:00p.m. NHDoE - Room 15
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 1:00p.m.–4:00p.m. NHDoE - Room 15
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 1:00p.m.–4:00p.m. NHDoE - Room 15
Wednesday, March 18, 2009 1:00p.m.–4:00p.m. NHDoE - Room 15
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 1:00p.m.–4:00p.m. NHDoE - Room 15
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:00p.m.–4:00p.m. NHDoE - Room 15
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 1:00p.m.–4:00p.m. NHDoE - Room 15

Contact: Santina Thibedeau at, (603) 271-6693

B. New Hampshire Special Education Information System (NHSEIS)

The New Hampshire Department of Education and PCG will continue to hold weekly forums via conference call on the NHSEIS.

Conference line number: 1-888-742-8686

Conference ID: 1745834

  • Thursday, October 9, 2008 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, October 16, 2008 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 23, 2008 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, October 30, 2008 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 6, 2008 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, November 13, 2008 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 20, 2008 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, December 4, 2008 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Contact Terri Morrill at, (603) 271-3737

Attachment #2

Nonpublic School Advisory Council Contact Information (10.08 draft #1)

William Bennett, Director
New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC)
209 Burlington Road
Bedford, MA 01730
(781) 271-0022 x328

Kent Bicknell, Principal
Sant Bani School
19 Ashram Road
Sanbornton, NH 03269
(603) 934-4240

Cathy Chesley
Hopkinton Independent School
20 Beech Hill Road
Hopkinton, NH 03229
(603) 669-3030

Deborah Connell, Administrator
NH Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3769

Leander Corman, Education Consultant
NH Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3863

Robert Doty, Education Specialist
HHS, Div. for Children, Youth & Families
30 Maplewood Avenue
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Dr. Judith Fillion, Division Director
NH Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3855

Ann McLane Kuster, Esq.
Rath, Youth & Pignatelli, P.S.
PO Box 1500
Concord, NH 03302
(603) 226-2600

David McCusker, Headmaster
Cardigan Mountain School
62 Alumni Drive
Canaan, NH 03741
(603) 523-4321

Kevin Moody, Administrator
Dublin Christian Academy
PO Box 521
Dublin, NH 03444
6(603) 563-8505

Mary Moran, Superintendent of Schools
Diocese of Manchester
PO Box 310
Manchester, NH 03105
(603) 669-3100

David Parker, Director
Parker Academy
2 Fiske Road
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 410-6240

Claire Pstragowski
NH Dept. of Health & Human Services
Sununu Youth Services Center
1056 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03104
(603) 625-5471

Patricia Tilley
NH Dept. Of Health & Human Services
Division of Public Health Services
Bureau of Maternal & Child Health
29 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-4526

Trudy Wright; Superintendent
Seventh Day Adventist Schools
91 Allen Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
(207) 797-3760

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711