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New Hampshire State Arts Standards Revision Update

July 19, 2019

Writing teams in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts are deep into analyzing and composing recommended revisions to the 2001 New Hampshire Curricular Framework in the Arts, the state’s current K-12 student arts standards document. A sixth team of writers is working on a set of resources and guiding principles that focuses on arts integration. Altogether over fifty educators are engaged in this work. Writers include: K-12 public school teachers; charter schoolteachers; faculty from institutes of higher education; museum staff from the Dover Children’s Museum; a member of the Greater Nashua YMCA (for dance); an arts education researcher from North Hampton; a music therapist from the Manchester Community Music School; and Julianne Gadoury, Grants Coordinator for Arts Education, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

The writing chairs are: Jess Dickey, visual arts (Deerfield Community School & UNH); Elizabeth Lent, theatre (Coe-Brown Northwood Academy); Rene Martinez, dance (NH Dance Alliance); Kirsten Morhing (Nottingham West Elementary, Hudson) and Ellen Desmond (NH Theatre Alliance), integrated arts; Deborah Rapson, media arts (Alvirne High School, Hudson); and Erin Zaffini, music (Keene State University). Marcia McCaffrey, Arts Consultant at the New Hampshire Department of Education, is managing the arts standards revision process.

The revision process kicked off in March with six listening sessions scheduled throughout the state. A widely distributed survey identified individuals who wanted to be part of the work. Anyone who expressed an interest was invited to join the team of his or her choice. The final group of volunteers came together for orientation in late June and have been working in teams ever since.

A sharing session is set for August 20 at the New Hampshire Department of Education. This is the first time all writing chairs will have the chance to come together to share their work. The August 20 sharing session will clarify the next phase work. Due to limited seating, the sharing session is by invitation only.

As a tentative timeline, early drafts of the arts standards may be available for public review in October. However, as standards writing is an iterative process, it is hard to predict how much time writers will need to create their first draft of student arts standards. Midway through the process, the standards will be available for public review. In addition, the public will be able to provide feedback on the final set of standards. If the work can maintain its pace, reviews will occur during the winter months of 2020. At the earliest, new standards will be up for approval by the State Board of Education in spring, 2020.

Real-time updates will occur at various professional association fall conferences. For more information about the status of the new arts standards, please contact Marcia McCaffrey at 603-271-3193 or


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