CONCORD – As part of her efforts to ensure a strong K-12 public school system that helps students develop the skills and innovative thinking needed for success in the 21st century, Governor Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Virginia Barry announced a new partnership – the New Hampshire School Connectivity Initiative (NHSCI) – aimed at enhancing access to high-speed broadband at New Hampshire’s K-12 public schools.
“Ensuring that our students have the skills and innovative thinking needed for good jobs in the 21st century economy is critical to New Hampshire’s future, and access to high-speed broadband is a critical tool in preparing our young people for success,” Governor Hassan said. “Broadband is an essential component of a modern economy’s infrastructure, and by expanding access to broadband in K-12 public schools throughout New Hampshire, the New Hampshire School Connectivity Initiative will open doors for our students and broaden educational opportunities across all curriculum, including critical STEM areas, helping to better prepare them for future success.”
Led by DOE’s Office of Educational Technology, NHSCI is a collaboration between DOE, the New Hampshire Department of Information Technology, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, and the University of New Hampshire.
In order to meet K-12 connectivity goals and ensure that all New Hampshire public school students have the opportunity to engage in digital learning, NHSCI will facilitate statewide K-12 fiber network discussions with school districts, service providers, and partner organizations; maximize discounted communication services provided to schools and libraries across the state through Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate funding program; and continue efforts to analyze and strengthen a comprehensive K-12 connectivity report.
The initiative has also signed an agreement with EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit organization that supports increased broadband connectivity in public schools and will provide its services free of charge to NHSCI to help New Hampshire’s K-12 schools and districts connect to scalable high-speed broadband.
“Improving connectivity to schools and libraries across the state will enhance e-learning and online content, which can provide more personalized learning opportunities for students,” said Commissioner of Education, Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. “Broadband can also facilitate the flow of information, helping teachers, parents, schools and other organizations to make better decisions tied to each student’s needs and abilities.”