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State Board of Education adopts Innovation Schools rule
CONCORD, NH — On Tuesday, the State Board of Education unanimously adopted the New Hampshire Code of Administrative Rules Chapter Ed 1500, Innovation Schools.
“The intent of Innovation Schools is to provide educators and other stakeholders across the state with the opportunity to implement creative and inventive strategies, increase student achievement and reduce achievement gaps in public schools,” said Dr. Nathaniel Greene, Administrator for the New Hampshire Department of Education’s Bureau of Assessment and Accountability.
Innovation Schools refer to a school in which a local school board opts to implement an innovation plan pursuant to RSA 194-E. Upon the designation of an innovation school or school zone, the State Board of Education may then waive compliance with a certain administrative rule specified in the local district plan, with the exception of any requirement of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
“The waiver is designed to provide flexibility and a better educational experience to public schools in an effort to spur innovation that might otherwise be curbed under existing regulations or state statutes,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. “This really can be a game-changer for schools wanting to innovate.”
Examples of Innovation Schools could include various scenarios such as a proposal to create a unique school calendar with alternative scheduling that might not meet the required 180 days of schooling, or for a district to propose forgoing certain staff credentials in an effort to hire adequate employees.
“There’s a growing recognition nationwide that public schools need more freedom to innovate. We’re excited that New Hampshire is playing a leading role in empowering school districts to serve students in their own, custom-designed ways,” said Andrew Cline, chairman of the State Board of Education.
Once an Innovation Schools plan has been approved by the State Board of Education, a performance review will be conducted every two years to assess progress, improvements in academic performance, cost savings or increased efficiencies.