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NH Educational Policy and Resources





Federal legislation:

Policies and Practice in NH Arts Education 

State Resources

Here you can find the basic policy building blocks for arts education in New Hampshire’s public schools.

Every Student Succeeds Act

Tracking changes in education, we are highlighting new guidelines from the US Department of Education related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized under the title of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  We will keep the New Hampshire Arts Learning Network website updated with links to arts-related opportunities associated with ESSA and keep you informed through the Dandelion. The Arts Education Partnership (AEP), now housed at the Education Commission of the States (ECS), provides a series of links on ESSA in general and arts education in particular.

  • NH Statewide ESSA plan has been submitted to the federal Department of Education

  • Revisions to NH's plan have been requested. 


Funding for the Arts under ESSA Title IV-A

Title IV, Part A is a federal funding source available to traditional public school districts and public charter schools that receive Title I funds. There are three main areas of focus under Title IV:

  1. Well-rounded educational opportunities

  2. Social and emotional supports

  3. Effective technology use and integration

Among the key values set forth in the New Hampshire ESSA Consolidated State Plan is improving our education system through personalization and competency-based teaching and learning. The New Hampshire Title IV, part A program is designed to support this vision within a framework of preparing students for the future.

Administrators and educators can propose Arts programs that supplement school efforts in each of the three areas listed above. For more information, contact


Marcia McCaffrey, Arts Specialist, Department of Education. 

Title IV A Southwest Region and Charter Schools


The following programs were funded in New Hampshire in, 2018-2019

  • Experimental Photography & Chemistry: A new year long course that utilizes choice based learning, design thinking, technology integration, and argument driven inquiry. Students use technology to investigate and communicate their understanding of the visible an invisible world around them. Students engineer unique solutions that form meaningful and  thought provoking photographic compositions bridging the gap between art and science. Double period, co-taught by photography and chemistry teachers. Purchase of darkroom equipment, enlargers, and stipends for guest speakers in astro-photography were included in the grant.

  • Full STEAM ahead! The need for our students to have more equitable exposure to engaging STEAM materials and instruction is increasing. We have created a buzz in the district with the introduction of innovation labs and STEAM nights, but our goal is to give ALL students opportunities to experience STEAM in action and to provide staff with necessary training to facilitate these opportunities. This project will make our labs and resources more mobile and accessible, add necessary technology to better personalize experiences and revolutionize instruction through differentiated science and STEAM training!

  • The development of a youth-led, digital radio station that would integrate with the academic curriculum, build opportunities for effective use of technology, and support developmental assets such as positive identity, social competency, and empowerment that are crucial for healthy youth development and support a positive prevention framework. This youth-directed activity would provide enrichment to the school and community by giving youth a voice and an opportunity to create original content that is meaningful, positive, and connected to the goal of supporting safe and healthy learning opportunities within the context of 21st century skill building.

  • In addition to these programs, 3 other grants were funded for expanded makerspaces, which present the future opportunity for the Arts to be included.

 Federal legislation:


Additional information and resources, NH Education policy: Arts Education


Looking Forward
December, 2018 Commissioner of Education, Frank Edelblut, has requested that the 1994 NH  Curricular Framework for the Arts (commonly known as the “Arts Standards”) be updated. This important state work will kick-off in early 2019. Stay tuned to learn how you can get involved and provide feedback.

New Hampshire Arts Model Competencies

In March, 2015 the New Hampshire State Board of Education approved New Hampshire Arts Model Competencies. Local districts may use these competencies as written or they may adapt them or design their own local arts competencies. The Arts Model Competencies were developed by a committee of thirty-five certified and experienced visual art, music, theater, dance, and media teachers as well as members of our higher education community in arts education and other experts from the field. These competencies align with the 2014 National Core Arts Standards.



National Core Arts Standards 

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards presented new voluntary core arts standards on June 4, 2014. These voluntary National Core Arts Standards are framed by artistic literacy as described in the philosophical foundations, lifelong goals, and artistic processes; articulated through anchor and performance standards for student achievement; and supported by instructional resources, including model cornerstone assessments that illustrate how the performance standards for artistic literacy might be measured. These connective threads of the standards are explained in the Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning and are designed to be understood by all stakeholders and, ultimately, ensure a rigorous, engaging and relevant arts education for all students.

These new national voluntary standards provide an opportunity for New Hampshire to look closely at this 2014 work and discuss whether these standards might be a good fit for updating our state curriculum framework in the arts. The current New Hampshire K-12 Curriculum Framework for the Arts was adopted by the state board of education in 2001 and is based on the 1994 National Standards Arts Education. According to Ed 306.314, Arts Education, all schools must have a planned curriculum that is consistent with RSA 193-C:3, III (revised statute annotated 193-C:3, III is a reference to NH curricula framework). Updating the state framework encourages all schools and districts to revise and update their curricula. Therefore, a question for our state is, “Is our current set of student standards still the right set of arts standards to drive educational improvement for New Hampshire?” Or, is it time to take a serious look at the national voluntary core arts standards as the basis for our own state curriculum framework.


Policies and Practices in Arts Education for New Hampshire

In May, 2015 over 70 New Hampshire educators participated in a day-long workshop to be brought up to date on recent changes in New Hampshire policy related to arts education. The goal of the workshop was to demonstrate how instructional practice and programs are impacted by these new policies and how teachers can advance student achievement in the arts with new resources. The workshop included examining and discussing the new Arts Model Competencies; sharing performance-based assessments aligned to the competencies; and learning how the new competencies support Ed 306, Minimum Standards for School Approval. Participants were provided with additional resources to support students with disabilities from VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, housed on the National Core Arts Standards website. The PowerPoint and other resources can be accessed here.


State legislation Title XV: Education
Go here to get the complete set of state education laws.


Arts Education as part of Adequacy Legislation

Our NH adequacy legislation, Chapter 198 and more specifically 193-E:3-b, Accountability for the Opportunity for an Adequate Education, defines the Arts as a required component of an adequate education, and is based on schools meeting Ed 306.31, arts education.


Accountability for the Opportunity for an Adequate Education


Minimum Standards for School Approval, Ed 306 (revised March 2014)

New Hampshire Minimum Standards for School Approval, Ed 306, is a set of administrative rules that all schools are requirement to meet. An administrative "rule" is defined as a regulation or standard adopted by an agency to implement or make specific a law enforced or administered by the agency; or interpret a procedure or practice requirement binding on persons outside the agency. Rules shall be valid and binding on persons they affect, and shall have the force of law unless amended or revised. Rulemaking is therefore lawmaking, in areas which the legislature has decided are too specific or too detailed to be handled by legislation.

Arts Education, Ed 306.31 (references Ed 306.24)
Class size, Ed 306.17 
Kindergarten-Grade 8, Ed 306.26 (See b. for rule on local time schedule)
High School, Ed 306.27
Assessment, Ed 306.24


New Hampshire's Story of Transformation

This publication represents our state’s story—one of the successes and struggles to transform an entire education system from the bottom up rather than the top down—to promote ownership and nurture real and lasting change.

The work to design and create this publication began more than 12 months ago, yet the stories we’re telling in here have a history much deeper than that. The publication walks through this history, providing insight into New Hampshire’s educational transformation, which includes: exploring the impetus of why we’re making these changes; our vision for the Granite state; models from our classrooms, districts and partnerships; the lessons we’ve learned and where we see our system moving from here. The narrative is threaded together with videos of our students, educators, parents, administrators, higher education leaders, policymakers, business community and educational organization partners as they share their experiences and reflections. is the Web site that is home to the publication; from here you can access the live, multimedia version; watch a video welcome from Commissioner Barry and more. We look forward to hearing your feedback and reflections on the work.

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