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Three Schools Selected to Represent New Hampshire at Regional Conference on High School Transformation

Three New Hampshire high schools— Goffstown High School (Goffstown), Timberlane Regional High School (Plaistow), and Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (Exeter)—have been invited to represent their state at a regional conference on effective strategies for improving teaching and learning in the 21st century.

The conference, High School Redesign in Action (, will take place April 7–8, 2011, in Nashua, New Hampshire. It is sponsored by the New England Secondary School Consortium in collaboration with the departments of education for Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The New England Secondary School Consortium is a regional educational partnership committed to high school innovation. All the selected schools have made significant progress raising student achievement, graduation rates, or college-enrollment numbers, among other indicators of educational accomplishment.

“While we face many challenges in public education for students in schools today, there are great things happening. I am thrilled that at our High School Redesign in Action conference we will be showcasing examples of innovative, twenty-first century approaches to learning, where students are being prepared to meet the challenges of college and careers. I am proud and excited about the hard work going on in New Hampshire public schools. It’s inspiring,” said Virginia Barry, Commissioner, Department of Education.

Goffstown High School never underestimates the value of healthy relationships. Its values—care, reflection, encouragement, and an unwavering focus on learning—shape the community dialogue at every level. Leadership principles, institutional practices and faculty and student dispositions promote a positive culture and improve achievement.

In 2007, the Department of Education mandated that high schools award academic credit based on the achievement of course competencies, not seat time. To meet these new expectations, Timberlane Regional High School teachers redesigned the curriculum, adopted new instructional techniques, and integrated authentic performance assessments into virtually all courses. These changes have also allowed Timberlane to expand its Evening Division Program, which students of all abilities attend. Regardless of which pathway a student selects, graduation from Timberlane requires the same comprehensive demonstration of knowledge.

The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School—a virtual high school based in New Hampshire—offers more than eighty courses, including college courses, to students across New Hampshire and New England. The school’s anytime-anywhere learning environment provides flexible, personalized instruction that includes consistent one-to-one relatioships with 110 teachers from eight different states. Approximately two-thirds of the 8,600 course enrollments come from traditional public schools.

“These remarkable high schools are setting an example for all of New England,” said David Ruff, executive director of the Great Schools Partnership, the New England Secondary School Consortium’s coordinating organization. “The programs they’re creating and pioneering reflect what we know works for today's students. And their unwavering commitment to their students, teachers, and larger community is nothing short of inspiring.”

The New England Secondary School Consortium’s works to close persistent achievement gaps, promote greater educational equity, and graduate every public high school student prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. The Consortium is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the largest philanthropy in New England focused exclusively on education, and coordinated by Great Schools Partnership, a nonprofit educational-support organization in Portland, Maine. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has committed more than $2 million to support the Consortium, which includes $1 million in partnership grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For more information:

New Hampshire’s High School Redesign in Action Presentations

Title: Caring & Common Sense: Personalizing Culture to Enhance Learing
Schools: Goffstown High School, Goffstown
Presenters: Martha Benton (guidance coordinator), Kevin Farley (curriculum coordinator), Frank McBride (principal), Kim McCann (assistant principal)
Web site:
Contact: Frank McBride |

Title: Opening Doors: Using Competencies to Create New Learing Opportunities
Schools: Timberlane High School, Plaistow
Presenters: Robert Dawson (assistant principal), Peter Fisher (teacher), Scott Strainge (director of secondary education), Don Woodworth (principals), Timberlane students from the Evening Division Program
Web site:
Contact: Donald Woodworth |

Title: Breaking Down the Barriers of Time and Place: Authentic Virtual Learning
School: Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, Exeter
Presenters: Kyle Cote (director of student services and guidance) Steve Kossakoski (chief executive officer), Ollire Lane-Wortley (director of academic support and professional development)
Web site:
Contact: Steve Kossakoski |

Media Contact: Skip Hanson, NESSC State Liaison for New Hampshire
(603) 235-6697 |

New Hampshire Department of Education
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Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711