As charter schools expand in New Hampshire, the push is on to find more space – By Brace McFadden, NHPR

When Compass Classical Academy first prepared to begin classes in 2015, it faced one big question: Where would the new charter school call home?

“When we got approved to open, we didn’t have a location yet," said Judy Tilton, head of school for Compass. "And my joke with parents was, ‘We’ll open in a circus tent if we have to.’ ”

Luckily for Compass and its students, they didn’t have to settle for a circus tent. School leaders were able to find an old parochial school building to hold classes. But eventually, a new challenge emerged: Space in that building grew too tight as Compass’s enrollment increased.

“We just ended the school year with approximately 150 [students]. We’ll be starting over at the new location with approximately 200,” Tilton said. “Here, we didn’t have a playground, and that’s huge.”

Many charter schools in New Hampshire have faced similar problems in recent years, as enrollment in charters continues to grow steadily and the limitations of their original start-up space might make expansion difficult. Many charters lease commercial real estate, which often lack things like traditional classrooms, a full service kitchen or gym space.

Compass Classical Academy ended up finding a new home: a former public school building in Northfield that it now owns. It was able to do so thanks in large part to a years-long effort in the New Hampshire State House to make it easier for charter schools to acquire real estate. That effort has allowed charters to put down more permanent roots and meet the growth in student enrollment. But it’s also raised concerns and complaints from some school districts that lawmakers are making it harder for local education leaders to make decisions that affect their districts.


More students could get seal of biliteracy under new bill – By Zaidee Stavely, EdSource

Assembly Bill 370 passed both houses Monday and is headed to the governor’s desk.

If signed, the bill will give more opportunities for students to receive the seal of biliteracy, particularly students who learned English as a second language.

In order to earn the seal of biliteracy on their high school diploma, students must show proficiency in English and another language.

The bill expands the ways in which a student can show proficiency in English. Previously, a student had to complete all English language arts classes required for graduation with at least a 2.0 GPA and meet or exceed the English language arts portion of California’s standardized test in 11th grade. In addition, English learners had to show overall English proficiency on the English Language Proficiency Assessment of California.

If the new bill is signed by the governor, students could show proficiency in English in one of several different ways — by completing all English courses with a 3.0 GPA, meeting the standard on California’s standardized test in 11th grade, completing at least one college-level English language arts class with at least a 3.0 grade point average; achieving a score of 3 or higher on an English Advanced Placement exam or a score of 4 or higher on an English International Baccalaureate exam; or achieving a score of 480 or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT.


More Louisiana public school students will eat for free under new law – By Jessica Williams,

Public school students who once got school meals at a discount are receiving those meals at no cost, thanks to a new law Gov. John Bel Edwards and others touted this week.

The law, Act 305 of the 2023 Legislative Session, affects students from low-income families who last year paid 40 cents per school lunch and 30 cents per school breakfast. This year and in subsequent years, those students will eat for free.

The law has no impact on students from extremely low-income families, who have long been fed free of charge.

Edwards traveled this week to Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts in Marrero to draw attention to the law, which he signed in June. He was joined by its sponsor, State Rep. Kyle Green, D-Marrero, as well as by Jefferson Parish Public Schools Superintendent James Gray and a host of other politicos.

“Nutrition is an extremely important part of your day,” Edwards said to Lincoln students who had gathered in the school’s auditorium for the announcement. “It helps you to learn.”


Wave of teacher absences forcing Vegas-area school closures deemed an illegal strike, judge finds – By Rio Yamat, AP News

A judge on Wednesday ordered a teachers union to put an end to teacher absences that have forced Las Vegas-area school closures and that she said are “very clearly a strike,” amid a contract battle in a state where it is illegal for public employees to walk off the job.

Since Sept. 1, unexpected staff shortages have led eight schools to cancel classes for the day and two others to combine classes, according to the Clark County School District, the largest in Nevada and the fifth-largest in the nation with about 295,000 students. One school had 87% of its teachers call in sick on the same day.

“The idea that this can be ignored, that these are sick call-outs, and that they are actually due to someone being sick is preposterous,” Clark County District Judge Crystal Eller said in a hearing. If the union fails to stop the strike, penalties could include a fine of up to $50,000, as well as jail time or termination for striking members and union leaders.

The Clark County Education Association, which represents about 18,000 teachers, has said it isn’t responsible for the wave of absences that swelled Tuesday with the unexpected closure of four more schools.