The mission of the New Hampshire Learning Initiative is to accelerate innovation in K-12 education to move schools forward in helping our students become competent and confident adults, able to pursue the futures they seek in college, career and beyond.
New Hampshire, like the rest of our world, is changing rapidly. Economic shocks, shifting demographics and emergent technologies are influencing markets and opportunities. To be successful adults in an increasingly global economy, our students must develop new knowledge and skills.
NHDOE – together with partners across the state – recognize this urgent need for change and have developed a comprehensive strategy to inform the state’s approach to educating its students. It is based on the following four core values:
- Competency-based education: In 2005 we made a historic decision to become the first state in the country to move from a traditional learning model based on the Carnegie unit to a model based on mastery of learning through competencies. Although policy has shifted, and schools have the opportunity and impetus to create a competency-based system, the work is not simple and there is still much to be done to ensure all of our children are participating in a rigorous learning environment where they demonstrate proficiency before moving on.
- Empowered Educators: Research has shown that teacher quality has a direct impact on student achievement, and some studies have demonstrated it’s the most important element of the model of school. In New Hampshire we want the best and the brightest to thrive in our classrooms, which means we need to continue to provide opportunities for them to connect to each other, to collaborate, to refine their practice, to push the limits, to innovate and to design change in their local communities.
- Local Focus: Our state culture relies on the experience and expertise of our local communities. Lessons come from our colleagues everywhere, but local innovation led by our community stakeholders is one of our critical drivers of change.
- Integrated Ecosystem: We envision a truly integrated learning system from pre-K through our college and university system and into the workforce and beyond, where life pathways are clear, connected and available to all of our students.
The role of the New Hampshire Learning Initiative is to support—and, in some cases, to participate in creating—opportunities that will help us achieve this vision on behalf of all New Hampshire families. The Learning Initiative will provide a much-needed R&D arm for the state’s future-oriented strategy. In practice, this might look like scaling what works and seeding new ideas for further investigation. Given New Hampshire’s commitment to local control, local districts and schools must assume ownership over this important work. The Learning Initiative will seed and support innovation statewide.
However, while the Learning Initiative will work in alignment with the State’s vision, it will remain an independent organization freed from the constraints that can limit a State agency. The organization will pursue this vision in ways it believes will most benefit New Hampshire students and families.