Sanborn Among Four NH High Schools To Represent State at New England High School Redesign Conference

Press Release From the New Hampshire Department of Education: 

Four Schools Selected to Represent New Hampshire at Regional Conference on Educational Innovation - The Schools Will Share Successful Strategies with Colleagues from Across New England

Four New Hampshire schools—Hillsboro-Deering High School (Hillsboro), Making Community Connections (MC2) Charter School (Manchester), Sanborn Regional High School (Kingston), and Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (Exeter)—have been invited to represent New Hampshire 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 March 20–21, 2014, in Norwood, Massachusetts. It is sponsored by the New England Secondary School Consortium, a state-led regional partnership committed to high school innovation. All the selected schools have made significant progress raising student achievement, graduation rates, college-enrollment numbers, or other indicators of educational success. 

“While we face many challenges in public education for students in schools today, there are great things happening. I am proud and excited about the hard work going on in New Hampshire public schools. These four schools are just examples of the best practices and quality instruction taking place in NH to ensure our students are being prepared to meet the challenges of college and careers. They are working to support learning that is not constrained by artificial time and location barriers and emphasize real world learning and application. In our work with the New England Secondary School Consortium, we are able to learn together with educators throughout the region in order to develop both the strategies and the knowledge that support dynamic learning environments for students,” said Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D., Commissioner, NH Department of Education.

In collaboration with the departments of education for Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, the presenting schools were selected not only for their exemplary work, but also for their extraordinary commitment to making sure every student has a chance to succeed, to live a fulfilled and meaningful life, and to make a positive contribution to the world in which they live. In addition, three of the presenting schools—Hillsboro-Deering High School, Making Community Connections Charter School, and Sanborn Regional High School—are members of the Consortium’s League of Innovative Schools (, a multistate network of secondary schools working together to improve their programs and performance. The League’s goal is to promote the exchange of best practices and innovative improvement strategies throughout the region. 

The New England Secondary School Consortium is a regional partnership working to advance forward-thinking innovations in secondary education that will empower the next generation of citizens, workers, and leaders. The Consortium’s goal is to ensure that every public high school student receives an education that prepares them for success in the colleges, careers, and communities 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 it is coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership (, a nonprofit educational-support organization in Portland, Maine.

New Hampshire’s High School Redesign in Action Presentations


School: Hillsboro-Deering High School, Hillsboro, NH

Presenters: Kym Bergstresser (student leader), Tristan Brooks (student leader), Clarice Clark (faculty advisor), Jennifer Crawford (associate principal), Joshua Gould (student leader), Emma Moore (student leader), Jim O’Rourke (principal), Katie Ort (student leader), Shannon Thomas (student leader), Jeramy Thompson (faculty advisor), Brianna Welch (student leader)

Presentation Information: Friday, March 21 | 9:15 am + 10:45 am


Contact: Jim O’Rourke |

Description: During the transitional years of high school, every student must learn to become a productive member of our diverse and magnificent society. For this reason, student leadership and voice are critical, and character needs to be developed alongside academic abilities. At Hillsboro-Deering High School, the faculty believes all students must understand how to act on behalf of their peers while accomplishing superordinate objectives. And the school’s student-leadership strategies can already claim significant progress and successes, including the student-led development of school policies, events, and goals. The ongoing goal of the school’s student-leadership program is to promote the acquisition of new liberties for students while continually fostering a positive relationship between out senior and junior administration.


School: Making Community Connections Charter School, Manchester, NH

Presenters: Rowan Brantley (student), Elizabeth Cardine (school coach), Kim Carter (executive director), Shaun Davis (student), Angela Hinkle (teacher), Brendan Hinkle (student), Indira Palmer (student)

Presentation Information: Friday, March 21 | 10:45 am + 1:15 pm


Contact: Kim Carter |

Description: Effective student-centered learning taps into students’ strengths, challenges, interests, and abilities as a way to engage their intellectual curiosity and promote greater ownership over the learning process. The Making Community Connections (MC2) Charter School uses learning profiles to uncover, discover, and recover all the gifts and talents each learner possesses. MC2 is a middle/high school with a unique competency-based instructional model that integrates cognitive science and educational research, while also giving learners multiple, self-paced pathways to mastery. Join MC2 staff and students for an interactive exploration of the school’s structures, tools, and stories.


School: Sanborn Regional High School, Kingston, NH

Presenters: Mark Giuliucci (Freshman Learning Community PLC team leader), Brian M. Stack (principal), Andrew Wood (Career & Technical Education PLC team leader)

Presentation Information: Thursday, March 20 | 2:15 pm + Friday, March 21 | 9:15 am


Contact: Brian M. Stack | 

Description: Over the past three years, Sanborn Regional High School has developed a school-wide competency-based grading and reporting model that has received local, state, and national attention. Based on some of the latest assessment research by Ken O’Connor, Rick Wormeli, Robert Marzano, Rick Stiggins, and Rose Colby, the model is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and the competency-based model promoted by the New England Secondary School Consortium. Participants in this multimedia session will learn about how we structured our system, how we implemented it in a school of 750 students, and how it reinforces our school’s vision of learning for all. Participants will also have an opportunity to question the educators who designed and implemented the model.


School: Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, Exeter, NH

Presenters: Anthony Baldasaro (chief human resource officer), Steve Kossakoski (chief executive officer), Gary Tirone (special projects coordinator)

Presentation Information: Thursday, March 20 | 2:15 pm + 3:45 pm


Contact: Steve Kossakoski |

Description: In July, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School was awarded a Next Generation Learning Challenge grant to implement a breakthrough college-readiness model. Called VLACS Aspire, the model provides students and families with the opportunity to radically personalize learning by creating individualized “learning playlists” that reflect their particular interests and goals. Students earn competencies through a variety of learning pathways, including independent studies, projects, internships, work experiences, online courses, face-to-face courses, hobbies, service learning, or a combination of activities. Students who participate in a VLACS Aspire learning experience will find that there is no prescribed way or timeline for earning a competency; there is just the way that works best for the student. Participants in this session will leave with a better understanding of competency-based education and the VLACS Aspire program.


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