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NPSAC Meeting Mintues - January 2009


Meeting Minutes
NH Nonpublic School Advisory Council (NPSAC)
NH Department of Education
January 16, 2009 (13 pages)

Present:Bill Bennett, Kent Bicknell, Cathy Chesley, Lyn Kutzelman, Kevin Moody, Patricia Tilley, Leander Corman, Dr. Judy Fillion, Leslie Higgins, Marie Morgan

Dr. Fillion began the meeting at 10:10am. She welcomed the Council's newest member, Lyn Kutzelman, Hampstead Academy's founder and executive director.

The other members introduced themselves. Ed Murdough was unable to attend the meeting, but asked that the Council members be reminded of the need to select a chair for the Council.

The Council has two school representative vacancies. Leslie Higgins distributed a resume for Claire Doody who is the owner, director, and lead teacher for the Country Village Montessori School in Amherst. Ms Doody has expressed an interest in becoming a member of the Council.

There are seven NH Montessori schools presently approved by the Department of Education. Two others have expressed interest in expanding the grade levels they offer. There are many more Montessori preschool programs in NH which may also consider increasing their grade levels in the future. NH now has a Montessori teacher training program in Stratham. Having a Montessori representative on the Council would offer this subsection of NH schools a voice and broaden the expertise available to the Department.

Marie Morgan distributed information on Ms Amy Allen, Director of Education at the Odyssey NH Academy in Hampton. Ms Allen is the President of the NH Private Special Education Association comprised of more than 30 private schools and programs. Ms Allen has also expressed an interest in becoming a Council member. Leander Corman reported that Ms Allen has been very active within the Special Education arena. Having a representative who is an experienced director of a residential high school focused on helping students overcome substance abuse, trauma and behavioral difficulties can bring another dimension to the Council.

Kent Bicknell and Kevin Moody suggested that the Council should consider a representative from another Christian school. Judy requested members e-mail names of possible Council members to Ed Murdough. Presently the nine Council school representatives are

Kent Bicknell - Sant Bani School, grades K-12
Cathy Chesley - Hopkinton Independent School, grades K - 8
Jim Clements - Tilton School, grades 9 -12, boarding school
Lyn Kutzelman - Hampstead Academy, grades PK - 8
David McCusker - Cardigan Mt School, grades 6 - 9, boarding school
Kevin Moody - Dublin Christian Academy, grades K-12, boarding school
Mary Moran - Roman Catholic Diocese Schools, grades PK - 12
David Parker - Parker Academy, grades 6 - 12, Approved by Special Education Bureau
Trudy Wright - Seventh Day Adventist, grades K - 12

The NPSAC Meeting Minutes of December 5, 2008 were approved. Attachment 3 for those minutes, NPS Program Approval Changes, is pasted at the end of these January minutes.

Marie provided a partial handout of the Department of Education January Key Messages. It was decided that the Office of School Approval would forward future Key Messages to Council members or have Lori Temple add Council members to her distribution list.

Judy reported that House Bill 317 was filed relative to the "conditional approval" of nonpublic schools. Last year, Ed 401.02 was revised to allow a "nonpublic school which does not meet all of the applicable requirements to be conditionally approved for a period of one year" under certain circumstances. The revision was approved by the Legislature; however, some House members believe the authority to do this was missing from the Duties of the State Board at RSA 186.11, XXIX. House Bill 317 amends the RSA specifying the "rules may contain criteria for conditional approval as specified by the state board."

Judy also reported that there have been discussions at the legislature regarding the need to require a personal financial literacy course at the secondary level. There is a lot of support for such a course.

Another bill has been filed to allow charter schools to receive building aid.

Council members asked for an update regarding the proposed changes to Ed 404, Approval of Nonpublic Schools for Program Purposes, which was summarized in the December 2008 NPSAC Minutes paragraph #9. Ed Murdough is working on a draft revision.

At the December 2008 NPSAC meeting, the need for a Council mission statement was discussed.

Ed suggested the January 2009 meeting be used to discuss an appropriate mission statement.

Marie distributed a summary of a handout previously distributed by Randy Richardson at the May 2008 NPSAC meeting. The handout (see Attachment 1) included Ed 406.01, Duties of the Nonpublic School Advisory Council and examples of "mission statements" from other nonpublic school type agencies.

There was a brief discussion concerning the need for a mission statement with a range of opinions expressed. With several new members present, the discussion of why the Council exists and what the Council should be doing appeared to be useful. Kent was asked to draft a mission statement with a connection to the NH Constitution's reference to private schooling.

During the New Business segment of the meeting there was a discussion regarding the impact of the weak economy on NH private schools. School leaders are considering 3 budget scenarios based on enrollments that are normal, 20 % less, and 30% less than this year. Teacher contracts and facility upgrades including correcting fire and health inspection findings will be impacted. Public schools will also be impacted if more private school students transfer to their local public schools.

Several members asked about how to request waivers for missed days. Leslie Higgins explained the requirement for schools to meet the required number of instructional hours. Middle schools and high schools must schedule 990 instructional hours. Elementary schools must schedule 945 instructional hours. Principals can contact Leslie and Marie for assistance reviewing the requirements.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:45.

Submitted by Marie Morgan.

ATTACHMENT 1 (January 2009 NPSAC Meeting Minutes)

Ed 406.01 Duties of the Nonpublic School Advisory Council.

(a) The NSAC shall carry out those duties assigned to it by the state board of education. The council shall work with nonpublic schools to encourage and develop private schooling in New Hampshire.

(b) Assigned areas of responsibility shall include, but not be limited to the following:

(1) Developing and maintaining effective communications between nonpublic schools and those state and local agencies involved in the approval process;

(2) Offering consultant assistance in the implementation of the school approval requirements;

(3) Recommending to the commissioner and state board of education desired changes in the rules for the approval of nonpublic schools;

(4) Explaining the availability of nonpublic school services in the state; and

(5) Investigating grievances submitted under the provisions of Ed 404.04(e) and Ed 404.05(d) and making appropriate recommendations to the commissioner of education or the state board of education.

Mission Statements from other Groups (see May 2008 NPSAC Meeting Handout)

NH Nonpublic School Study Commission -

"Encourage alternatives to public schools"

"Encourage diversity of educational opportunity and choice, as well as innovation and experimentation"

VT Council of Independent Schools -

"Advise Commissioner on policies and procedures in respect to private schools"

NEASC/Commission on Independent Schools -

"Foster educational excellence & institutional improvement in NE independent schools"

Texas Association of Nonpublic Schools (TANS) -

TANS is an advocate for nonpublic education in Texas representing early childhood, elementary, and secondary levels. TANS works to ensure that:

"Nonpublic schools exist and are free to develop & implement their individual missions and objectives."

"The independence of nonpublic education is protected."

"The public perceives nonpublic education as credible and positive."

Council for American Private Education (CAPE)-

"Promote vital role of private schools in American education & their significant contributions to educating the public & promoting the common good"

"Promote rights of parents to educate their children in the schools of their choice"

"Encourage excellence & pluralism in education & promote right of private schools to fulfill their unique mission"

"Foster participation of the private school community in shaping the nation's education agenda, and develops & promotes positions on education policy"

"Advocates the equitable opportunity of private school students to participate in appropriate state and federal education programs"

"Monitor and analyze legislation and regulations affecting private schools"

"Provide info about private education to policy makers and the public"

"Keep the private school community informed on issues and programs"

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) -

The primary purpose of the Association is to serve and strengthen independent schools of the United States and affiliated schools around the world by helping them maintain high quality standards, preserve their independence to serve effectively the free society from which that independence derives, and provide access to students through the principles of diversity, choice, and opportunity. The activities of the Association, in furtherance of its purpose, include the following:

  • acting as advocate for independent education;
  • coordinating collective action on behalf of independent schools;
  • developing and disseminating information of value in the operation of schools;
  • promoting the professional growth of teachers, administrators, and other school leaders;
  • supporting and coordinating the activities of regional member associations; and
  • providing leadership in matters of educational practice and democratic principle.

Mission Statement Worksheet

A Mission Statement indicates the shared values & vision of everyone in the group/organization.

A Mission Statement should be clear, concise, and less than 50 words.
A mission statement often answers the questions:

A. Purpose: Why do we exist?
B. Customer and Stakeholders: Who do we serve?
C. Products,Services, Relationships: What do we do/produce?
D. Ultimate Outcomes: We will be successful when?

NPSAC Meeting Minutes December 2008 - ATTACHMENT 3

PART Ed 404 APPROVAL OF NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR PROGRAM PURPOSES (AP)

Ed 404.01 Application for Initial Approval of Nonpublic School Program.

(a) An applicant seeking initial program approval shall be approved for program purposes, AP, by meeting the requirements of this section.

(b) A nonpublic school shall be approved by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), the American Association of Christian Schools (AACS), or other a recognized agency recommended by the NSAC and the department in accordance with the requirements of Ed 405.

(c) A nonpublic school shall complete all report requirements as listed in Ed 403.02(b) and (c).

(d) An applicant seeking initial program approval for a nonpublic school which is not a member of a recognized nonpublic school approval agency shall be approved for program purposes, AP, by meeting the following requirements:

(1) Complete all requirements in Ed 403; and

(2) Complete all requirements in Ed 404.

Ed 404.02 Preparation on Written Material for Program Approval.

(a) A nonpublic school seeking program approval shall submit the following written materials to the department of education to support the school's stated purposes and objectives:

(1) The basis for the program in philosophic or religious tradition or as derived from educational theory or theorist(s);

(2) Academic competencies and personal characteristics the program is designed to develop; and

(3) The characteristics of the student body to be served by this program.

(b) The nonpublic school shall provide a complete description of its educational program which supports the school's statement of purposes and objectives and the educational program.

(c) The nonpublic school shall demonstrate the relationship described in (b) above as follows:

(1) By describing the process by which the educational program of the school has been developed and showing how the school arrives at decisions for the inclusion of courses and activities or other components of the program;

(2) By providing a description of all courses, activities and offerings included as part of the school's educational program as defined by the school which shall include the following:

a. A list and a description of the courses offered for credit, noting whether the courses are required or elective;

b. Other parts of the program including, but not limited to opportunity to participate in:

1. Art, music, drama and dance;

2. A work experience related to a specific course or program of study;

3. Experiential learning through travel related to a specific course of program of study;

4. Competitive athletics and/or physical education;

5. Community-based and outdoor/environmental programs; and

6. Special school activities;

c. A description of how the program relates to and serves the local community; and

d. If a residential school, a description of how this aspect of student life is integrated into the program;

(3) By describing all support services which the school includes as part of the educational program, including such things as:

a. The advising and counseling system relative to educational, personal and career;

b. Library and media services;

c. Food and health services; or

d. Any programs or activities provided by community agencies, groups, or individuals;

(4) By describing the ways by which the elements of the program encourage and promote those student attitudes, ideals and beliefs identified in the school's statement of purposes and objectives;

(5) By describing the criteria for student selection and admission to the school;

(6) By describing the procedures used by the school in documenting and evaluating student progress, including those methods and policies for reporting such progress to students and parents;

(7) By describing the school's requirements for student promotion to the next higher level, or where applicable, graduation from secondary school; and

(8) By indicating the following relative to student records:

a. What information is included in a student's records file;

b. Where the files shall be located and who shall have access to them; and

c. How the students' records shall be secured against loss or misuse.

(d) The nonpublic school shall describe what shall be taken into consideration by the school in the selection of staff and provide the following information about each member of the professional staff:

(1) Consistent with the policy of the governing board of the individual school, provide vital statistics, including age, sex and marital status;

(2) Educational background;

(3) Professional experience;

(4) Special skills and other experience; and

(5) Teaching assignments including class sizes and school assignments other than teaching responsibilities.

(e) The nonpublic school shall provide a description of the procedures used by the school for the evaluation of staff performance including those opportunities provided by the school for the orientation, professional growth and development of the staff.

(f) The nonpublic school shall provide the following information relative to its physical and financial resources:

(1) A description of the school's physical facilities and any off-campus facilities used for the program;

(2) A copy of the school's current approved operating budget and operating statement, which shall clearly demonstrate the availability of resources to support the program as described above; and

A description of the way the operating budget is developed and approved.

(g) The nonpublic school shall submit evidence of accreditation or approval from an authorized agency that has been recognized by the NSAC and department in accordance with Ed 405.

Ed 404.03 Procedures for Evaluation of School Program.

(a)Upon receipt of the required written materials and reports from schools seeking initial program approval, the state department of education shall schedule a visitation to the school by a 3-member team including 2 members of the NSAC or faculty members recommended by council members and one member of the bureau of certification who is an employee of the department of education.

(b)Visitations, pursuant to (a) above, shall be made in order to facilitate the evaluation of that information submitted under the provisions of Ed 404.02 and for the following purposes:

(1) To provide an opportunity for discussion of the school's stated educational purposes and objectives;

(2) To review and confirm the accuracy of the submitted with the school's application;

(3) To evaluate whether the school's facilities can support the type of educational activities planned;

(4) To verify the fact that the facilities meet relevant fire, safety and health standards; and

(5) To evaluate the program based on the school's stated purposes and objectives.

(c) The visitation team shall use the following methods to validate information submitted by the school:

(1) A tour of the school's facilities;

(2) Presentations by administrators and faculty members; and

(3) Visits with students and faculty.

(d) The visitation team shall prepare a report based on the criteria in this section listing:

(1) Commendations;

(2) Recommendations; and

(3) Deficiencies in the program.

The NSAC shall review the materials and take one of the following actions:

  • Recommend that program approval be granted to the nonpublic school
  • Recommend that program approval not be granted to the nonpublic school
  • Return incomplete applications to the nonpublic school

Ed 404.04 Determination of Program Approval Status.

(a) The visitation team NSAC shall submit its recommendation in the form of a report to the commissioner of education within 30 working days of the on-site visitation completion of its review of the application from the nonpublic school.

(b) The commissioner shall transmit the recommendation(s) to the state board for the appropriate action.

(c) The state board of education, after reviewing the recommendation(s) from the commissioner of education, shall within 15 45 working days of receipt of such recommendation(s), take any one of the following actions:

(1) If the nonpublic school applicant meets the criteria established in Ed 404.02 and Ed 404.03 and the report of the visitation team NSAC is to approve the program, the state board of education shall approve the school program for a period of 5 years;

(2) If the nonpublic school applicant does not meet the criteria established in Ed 404.02 and Ed 404.03 and the report of the visitation team NSAC is to deny the program, the state board of education shall deny the application for program approval; or

(3) If the nonpublic school agrees, in writing, to complete or correct the deficiencies identified in the visitation report within a specified period of time the state board of education shall grant conditional program approval.

(d) The commissioner of education shall notify the nonpublic school of the decision of the state board of education.

(e) A nonpublic school denied program approval shall have 10 days to make a request to the commissioner for a grievance hearing before the NSAC grievance committee in accordance with the provisions of Ed 406.07.

(f) The commissioner shall extend the period of time for conditional approval, upon written application by the nonpublic school and evidence that the school is making progress toward correcting the deficiencies identified in the visitation report.

Ed 404.05 Procedures for Continuation of Program Approval

(a) Approved nonpublic schools seeking continuation of their program approval status shall comply with the following:

(1) A school that is a member in good standing of a recognized school approval agency shall comply with Ed 403.02; or

(2) A school granted program approval by the state board of education shall:

a. (1) Complete all of the requirements for continuation of approval for attendance purposes, AA in Ed 403.02; and

b.(2) Notify the commissioner of education of any substantive change in informationon which program approval was based.

(3) Submit evidence of continued accreditation or approval from an agency recognized in accordance with Ed 405.

(b) The commissioner of education shall then take one of the following 3 actions:

(1) Approve the program if the nonpublic school meets the provisions of Ed 404.05(a), designate an approval period as set forth in Ed 401.02, and identify the program for which approved status is granted;

(2) Grant conditional approval to the program, provided that the nonpublic school agrees, in writing, to correct deficiencies within 60 days as provided in (c) below; or

(3) Revoke the approved status of the school, provided that prior to such revocation the school shall have the opportunity for a hearing before the NSAC grievance committee in accordance with (d) below.

(c) Prior to granting conditional approval under (b)(2) above, the commissioner of education shall notify the nonpublic school, in writing, of the deficiencies required to be corrected. If the nonpublic school agrees, in writing, to correct the deficiencies within 60 days, the commissioner shall grant conditional approval to the program.

(d) Prior to revoking the approved status of a school as provided in (b)(3) above, the commissioner of education shall notify the nonpublic school, in writing, of intention to revoke the approved status of the school citing deficiencies in the program. The nonpublic school shall have 10 days to file a request to the commissioner of education for a grievance hearing before the NSAC grievance committee in accordance with the provisions of Ed 406.07.

(e) Decisions of the NSAC grievance committee after a hearing under (d) above may be appealed to the state board of education within 10 days of the decision in accordance with Ed 200.

PART Ed 405 APPROVAL OF A RECOGNIZED AGENCY FOR PROGRAM APPROVAL

Ed 405.01 Application for Approval as a Recognized Agency for Program Approval (AP).

(a) Applicants seeking approval from the state board of education as an agency recognized by the department of education for program approval shall:

(1) Make application for recognition to the state department of education with a letter of intent and the following:

a. A brief history of the agency;

b. A statement as to the scope of operations, indicating whether it is a regional, national or state agency;

c. A definition of the purpose, character and scope of its activities as described in its charter or by-laws and written standards for accreditation or recognition;

d. The agency's organization including its governance and administrative structures, a description of its ownership and control and type of legal organization, including but not limited to tax-exempt or proprietary;

e. Financial information including its fee structure, current operating statement and most recent independent certified opinion audit;

f. A description of procedures used in the evaluation of schools by the agency including documentation that a school shall be required to provide, whether there is a visit to verify the written documentation, and who participates in school visitations;

g. Definitions of levels of recognition or accreditation status and written procedures for providing due process in granting, denying, continuing or revoking accredited or recognized status; and

h. Frequency of evaluation of schools for continued accreditation or recognition;

(2) Submit documentation of the agency's accreditation by a recognized accrediting agency; and

(3) Certify its application and respond to questions regarding its application in a personal interview with the NSAC.

(b) Upon the filing of a completed application by an agency, the NSAC for school approval shall:

(1) Review the information submitted on the application to verify that the application is complete and accurate and that the agency has submitted the documentation required under (a)(2) above; and

(2) Prepare a report including a recommendation to the commissioner of education that the application either be approved or denied.

(c) The NSAC shall recommend that an application under (b) above be:

(1) Approved if the application is complete accurate and receives the endorsement of the NSAC and the agency has submitted the documentation required under (a)(2) above; or

(2) Denied if the:

a. Application is incomplete;

b. Application is inaccurate;

c. Agency has failed to submit the documentation required under (a)(2) above; or

d. Applicant is not endorsed by the NSAC.

(d) The period of initial approval for a recognized agency shall be 5 years. Approved agencies shall be eligible for renewal of approval. An agency seeking renewal of its recognition status shall make application to the state board of education in the same manner as described in (b) above.

(e) The commissioner of education, before transmitting the recommendation(s) in the form of a report to the state board of education, shall notify the agency in writing of the NSAC's recommendation.

(f) The state board of education, after reviewing the recommendation(s) of the NSAC, shall take one of the following actions:

(1) If the NSAC makes a recommendation to recognize an agency for accreditation of academic programs the state board shall recognize the agency for program approval unless;

a. The board determines that there is a material shortfall in any documentation submitted by the agency; or

b. Such approval is not in the best interest of elementary or secondary education;

(2) If the NSAC makes a recommendation to deny an agency's application for recognition as an agency for accreditation of academic programs the state board shall deny the agency's application for recognition as an agency for program approval unless;

a. The board finds documentation that the NSAC basis for denial is inconsistent with these rules; or

b. Such denial would not be in the best interest of elementary or secondary education; or

(3) If the NSAC makes a recommendation to revoke an agency's recognition the state board shall notify the agency, in writing, of intention to revoke the agency's recognition.

(g) If the state board denies an agency's application for recognition as an agency for accreditation of academic programs for program approval under (f)(2) above, the agency may appeal the decision in accordance with Ed 200.

(h)If the state board notifies an agency of intention to revoke the agency's recognition under (f)(3) above, the agency shall have 10 days to file a request for a hearing under Ed 200.

  • Identification of recognized agencies for program approval
  • The NSAC shall identify agencies whose accreditation or approval processes are suitable to demonstrate that a nonpublic school meets the requirements for program approval.
  • Agencies recognized for program approval must have a process for reviewing nonpublic school programs which, at a minimum, evaluates:
    • School mission statement and educational philosophy
    • Governance
    • School facilities
    • School safety programs
    • Curriculum
    • Staff qualifications
    • Admissions process
    • Graduation requirements( high schools only)
    • Process for assessing student performance
    • Financial management
    • Student services
  • The department shall notify each agency that has been recognized for program approval by the NSAC. An agency shall not be identified as recognized upon receipt of a written notice from the agency indicating that it does not wish to be recognized.
  • The department shall publish the list of recognized agencies for program approval at least annually and shall provide such list to all newly established nonpublic schools upon receipt of the initial application for school approval from those newly established schools.
  • The NSAC shall review those agencies previously recognized for program approval at least every five years and shall make a determination concerning the continued recognition of each agency.
  • Agencies that have been recognized for program approval may request to be removed from the list of recognized agencies.
    • Alternative method for program approval
  • In the event that a nonpublic school is unable to receive accreditation or approval from a recognized program approval agency the NSAC, upon request of the nonpublic school, may appoint an approval review team which shall conduct an evaluation of the school equivalent to those conducted by recognized program approval agencies.
  • The review team shall consist of not less than three and not more than five members at least one of whom shall be a department employee and at least one of whom shall be an employee of a nonpublic school that is currently approved for program by the state board of education.
  • The review team shall physically visit the nonpublic school and shall evaluate all items listed in Ed 405.01(b).
  • The review team shall submit a written report with recommendation for approval or denial of the application for program approval to the NSAC within 45 working days of appointment.
  • The NSAC shall take action on the recommendations of the review team according to Ed 404.03 within 45 working days of receipt of the report from the review team.

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