The Bulletin Board

State partnering with school districts, organizations to expand adult education and literacy programs

By: - October 23, 2023 6:28 am

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The New Hampshire Department of Education is partnering with 10 school districts and seven nonprofit organizations to create new adult education and literacy programs.

The partnership will allow the schools and organizations to provide a “regional system” of high-school level classes for adult students in the state, including lessons with “foundational skills and English literacy instruction,” according to an explanation to the Executive Council by the Department of Education.

The partnerships include a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Corrections in which the two departments will spend $232,626 toward adult education services, in an arrangement approved by the council last Wednesday. But the department will also disburse millions more to schools and organizations.  That money will provide opportunities both for people who do not have a high school diploma and those who have a diploma from another country, the department says. 

“The purpose of the program is to assist students in earning a high school credential and acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to become productive workers, parents, and citizens and transition to postsecondary education, training and/or employment,” the department wrote in its explanation to the council.

Under the contract with the state, the schools and organizations participating are required to use New Hampshire Employment Security data to “identify regional economic needs” and prepare the people they serve for specific industries and opportunities. They are required to focus on those most in need of education, including those with low literacy skills and English language learners.

The participating schools and organizations span the state. After a request for proposals earlier this year, the Department of Education chose the school districts of Derry, Dover, Exeter, Governor Wentworth, Keene, Laconia, Lebanon, Littleton, Plymouth, and Salem. Also receiving funds are the America’s Youth Teenage Unemployment Reduction Network, Ascentria Community Services, Holy Cross Family Learning Center, the International Institute of New England, the Nashua Adult Learning Center, North Country Education Services, Second Start, and Southern New Hampshire Services.

New Hampshire’s Department of Education includes a Bureau of Adult Education that serves 7,000 non-incarcerated adults in the state per year. The Department of Corrections’ adult education programs, meanwhile, serve about 40 to 50 people per year, according to the department.

The contract comes after lawmakers appropriated an additional $500,000 toward adult education programs in the two-year budget signed by Gov. Chris Sununu in June.

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Ethan DeWitt
Ethan DeWitt

Ethan DeWitt is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s education reporter. Previously, he worked as the New Hampshire State House reporter for the Concord Monitor, covering the state, the Legislature, and the New Hampshire presidential primary. A Westmoreland native, Ethan started his career as the politics and health care reporter at the Keene Sentinel. Email: [email protected]