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The New Hampshire Department of Education Will Receive a Grant to Support Educational Innovation in the State


The New Hampshire Department of Education received notification that it has been awarded a charter-school start up grant to support educational innovation in the state thanks to the legislature lifting the moratorium on creating charter schools. The final details of the award, including the total amount, are not yet available, but the New Hampshire Department of Education requested $11.6 million dollars in its proposal.


Charter schools are public schools that operate with more organizational flexibility than most public schools, which allows them to act, in many cases, as the “research and design arm” of the public system. Virginia M. Barry Ph.D., New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Education, said “This grant will enable educators in the state to design bold and innovative educational opportunities for New Hampshire students.” She congratulated Roberta Tenney, the Department’s Administrator for School Standards, who wrote the grant in collaboration with Matt Southerton, Director of the New Hampshire Center for Innovative Schools.


The grant has five objectives:

  • Objective 1: Increase the number of high-quality charter schools in New Hampshire, particularly those serving educationally disadvantaged students who are most at risk in rural and urban settings.
  • Objective 2: Offer districts the opportunity to create charter schools within their district to promote innovative practices.
  • Objective 3: Use federal grant funds to improve student achievement in secondary charter schools and increase graduation rates.
  • Objective 4: Support the dissemination of best practices developed in charter schools to other public schools and districts in the state.
  • Objective 5: Empower charter schools to become strong, independent organizations, while ensuring fiscally responsible practices.


This new grant will help support innovators and provide the resources to continue school improvement and innovations for students. It is the NH Commissioner’s hope that school districts throughout the state will be inspired to tap into these funds in order to meet the needs of all learners.


Under New Hampshire law, school districts are allowed to establish and operate charter schools. These charter schools are administered by the local school board and may be closed if they fail to serve their students well or fall short of their mission. Commissioner Barry also stated, “That this grant will help the Department advance its strategic plan and provide necessary support to struggling schools, including efforts to improve teacher and leader effectiveness, strengthen school standards and assessments, and promote the use of performance data to drive school decisions.”


New Hampshire currently operates ten charter schools that provide innovative, mission-driven educational experiences to students, particularly those for whom an alternative approach to learning is beneficial.


More information about New Hampshire’s Charter Schools can be found at www.education.nh.gov/instruction/school_improve/charter/index.htm.


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