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Minutes - March 27, 2009 Retreat

New Hampshire
State Board of Education
Seacoast Science Center, Rye, NH

Meeting Notes for the March 27, 2009 Retreat.

Call To Order

The Retreat of the State Board of Education was convened at 9:30 a.m. at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH. John E. Lyons, Jr., presided. Deputy Commissioner Heath was the facilitator.

Members present: John E. Lyons, Jr., Fredrick J. Bramante, Jr., Helen G. Honorow, Daphne Kenyon, Stephen R. L'Heureux, Tom Raffio, and William Walker.

Also in attendance were Lyonel B. Tracy, Commissioner of Education, Mary S. Heath, Deputy Commissioner of Education, Kathleen Murphy, Director, Division of Instruction, Judith Fillion, Director, Division of Program Support, and Paul Leather, Director, Division of Adult Learning.

State Board Priorities

Priority #1: Eliminating the Dropout Rate to 0% by 2012.

Action Steps

  • Analyze dropout rates by district and identify those with high rates.
  • Invite districts to attend state board meetings to discuss steps toward reducing dropouts.
  • Ask districts to write a plan toward reducing the dropout rate. Suggest that on April 10, school districts.attending the Governor's Summit be asked to initiate the planning process to reduce the rate at which students leave school before high school graduation.
  • Provide professional development to build the capacity of teachers as facilitators of learning.

Priority #2: Partnering to Build Capacity for Communication and outreach

Action Steps

  • To continue to invite press and shareholders to Board meetings (ask each group to e-mail agenda to their members).
  • Provide formal invitations to House and Senate members and ask to have State Board meetings put on the legislative calendar.
  • Reach out to local organizations, business, and not-for-profit agencies.
  • Model and encourage businesses and community-based organizations to actively provide internship opportunities for students.

Transitioning Toward the New Commissioner

Steps to assist in the transition from Commissioner Tracy to the new Commissioner of Education

  1. Commissioner Tracy will be available to meet with the new Commissioner and is willing to assist with transition.
  2. Concern for expertise regarding big issues that include ARRA funds and use of funds.
  3. Concern that the new commissioner will try to establish a new vision. Groups of two State Board members will meet with the new commissioner to discuss Board priorities and culture of the State Board meetings.
  4. Board can focus on: (a) expectation that the Board is leading a meaningful transition with a "unity of purpose;" and (b) a plan so that the Board will support the culture and allow the freedom to teachers, schools, and superintendents, to personalize the education of each child.
  5. Discussion items for Board members to have with the new commissioner will include:
    • Using ARRA to support high school redesign/ current issues.
    • Market the product using graduate students.
    • What does a 21st Century school look like?
    • What vision a new Commissioner brings and how will the priorities be maintained?
    • Have a full plan with information details to move "our" vision forward ensuring every child is an engaged and successful learner.
    • Personalized education with an engaged community - NH (as a state) knows the agenda
    • No dropouts by 2012.
    • Teacher training for teachers as facilitators of learning - "standards for teacher training".
    • New standards for preservice teacher training.

Action Steps Listed

  • Be on the same page with new Commissioner.
  • Formal orientation on items - agenda about priorities.
  • Full meeting of the Board with new Commissioner.
  • Meet with Commissioner for plan and purpose for transition.
  • Real World Learning - Follow The Child - Vision strong.
  • Personalized education - Follow The Child (FTC) - taking FTC to the next level.

Work Expectations to be Accomplished at the Retreat

  • Attack dropout rate.
  • Analyze and provide meaningful data for decisions to be made.
  • Follow the Child Initiative specifying a personalized education for each child.
  • Daphne expressed concern about the stimulus money and budget and very worried with expertise leaving and would like Board to be more involved with budget discussions.

Kathleen Murphy said the Department is clear with the Board's vision

  • Focus on Extended Learning Opportunities and ARRA funds.
  • Plan teleconferencing and video conferencing.
  • Continue with Tough Choices or Tough Times - international benchmarks -preparing students for college - go from 4-year to 2-year high schools.
  • Marc Tucker is exploring the ARRA "Race to the Top" funds.

AD HOC Committee Recommendation

Daphne Kenyon, Chair of this Committee, reported that the Committee was charged by Chairman Lyons to address two goals: 1) eliminating high school dropouts, and 2)) communication, outreach, and partnering to build capacity. Recommendations regarding high school dropouts.

  • Department publicly report high school dropout rates broken down by demographic group.
  • Report on i4see data which focuses on the state's growing ability to track all students in the state.
  • Presentation on the current and future role of the GED program in addressing the problem of high school dropouts.

Recommendations Regarding Communication

  • The Board urges the Department to publicize state exemplars on high school redesign.
  • The Board urges the Governor to challenge every school district to sign a pledge to commit to reducing the dropout rate to 0% by 2012.

Action Steps Listed - Confirmation Of Priorities

  • Communication

    Critically assessed our priorities - are they still our priorities - "yes" the priorities from 2007 or new priorities established by year - assess how far we've come - concrete next steps.

  • Dropout Rate

    Governor's priorities - dropout rate - SB 18 - analyze data that is meaningful to guide decisions - Follow The Child - a personalized education for every student Dropout by ethnic - demographic - difficult conversations by school communities - issues - barriers - challenges - SB 18 goes into effect July 1, 2009.

Action Steps Timeline

  • 5 star high schools - what it looks like.
  • Dropout rate to 0% in 2012, Short term - 2010.
  • In 6 months analyze the data - what schools - problem areas (define) / define populations .
  • within 6 months ask the Governor to come to a State Board meeting .
  • invite organization leaders with press to declare the 0% dropout rate by 2012
  • communication plan.
  • What do the identified schools need, barriers, etc., clear commitment from Board to identify schools by September 30, 2009 - 80/20 rule (figure out increment) - every school by end of 2010 by 50% - by date declare a percentage by which you will reduce dropout rate - marketing - Students with disabilities - ethnic dropout rates - concrete data - parents - school systems - raising the age isn't enough for ethnic population - look at community data - what are we doing - what do you need - board meetings more focused on priority (dropouts) - invite school districts in to discuss what they are doing - what specific steps - do the analysis - those districts that aren't doing well to explain why - and what they can do - common vision - calendar - new day for learning - analyze the data - Governor - proclamation to establish a commitment to 0% 2012 - Need to work with refugee leaders especially in Concord area.

Common Vision

  • A personalized education for each NH child - Follow The Child.

School Approval

Judy Fillion reported on the list of schools for Delay in Full Compliance.

There are serious safety issues

  • Hear from Ed Murdough
  • Hear from AG
  • Post list on Web site
  • Timeline Immediate
  • Continuum of life/safety issues
  • Frank discussion about school approval
  • Concerns about schools conditionally approved


Tom Raffio discussed the Baldrige plan. Chairman Lyons said that this could be created through the Board level. Tom said there is a regional conference in Cambridge.

New Hampshire Department of Education Budget and Its Implication

The Department's Budget Presentation to the House Finance Committee was distributed to Board members.

Tough Choices or Tough Times

Commissioner Tracy spoke on this topic. There will be International Benchmarks and a draft Board Examination Review system. They will use the "Running Start" model. New Hampshire will apply for $5 billion. It is a good opportunity for us. In New Hampshire, the high schools want to be involved.

State Board exams - student transition through high school - community college relationship - students taking CC courses - how does TCTT connect with FTC/personalized - reducing the dropout rate - teacher preparation - how does it fit?

Dropout Rate Discussion

Paul discussed the Analysis of 2007-2008 Dropout Data Report. April 10 is the Governor's Summit - targeted high schools in particular for the summit - America's Promise - reported on Stevens High School Visit - change in truancy law will make a big difference - Board will have a big responsibility. State Scholars Program - completing courses academic based Tough Choices or Tough Times competency based - SB 180 Accountability for adequacy - input for opportunity to adequate education - performance piec

Joint Education Council Update

Chairman Lyons updated the Board on this Council. It will not be called the "Joint Education Council." Committee members are afraid the momentum that Commissioner Tracy has started in NH might be stopped with the new Commissioner. A small subcommittee was created to come up with a vision statement. They will draft a mission statement to come up with a new name, and see what other states are doing. Chairman Lyons will call another meeting soon.


The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.


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