Rural Broadband Providers Work with FCC to Meet Internet Needs of Students in Low-Income Families

Federal Communications Commission Press Release

Hundreds of Rate-of-Return Carriers Will Provide Discounts and Service Upgrades to Help Families Obtain Needed Broadband Services-

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2020-The Federal Communications Commission this week enabled hundreds of rural broadband providers to offer discounts and service upgrades to families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches through the National School Lunch Program. To help connect low-income students to remote learning, the National Exchange Carrier Association worked with the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau staff on tariff revisions that will provide eligible new customers of rural carriers a 25% discount on certain broadband services and offer existing eligible customers faster connections at no cost.

“I applaud the hundreds of NECA members that are committed to helping low-income students in their service areas connect and stay connected to the Internet,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “With the continued reliance upon remote learning in many parts of the country, students need connectivity to learn from and communicate with their teachers and classmates. I’m pleased the Commission worked with these rural carriers to enable more low-income students in their communities to benefit from cheaper, faster broadband service.”

Tariffs contain the rates, terms and conditions of certain services provided by telecommunications carriers. The tariff revisions go into effect today, and the promotional offerings will be in effect through the end of June 2021. Each participating carrier will decide how to reach out to its community and to verify customer eligibility. For more information on the FCC’s efforts to keep Americans connected during the pandemic, 

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Congressman Chris Pappas Announces 2020 Congressional App Challenge

Congressional App Challenge 2020

Today, Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) invited high school students from across New Hampshire’s 1st District to participate in the 2020 Congressional App Challenge.

The Congressional App Challenge is a competition aimed at encouraging high school students to learn how to code by creating their own applications. The challenge is intended to highlight the value of computer science and STEM education. The challenge provides an opportunity for students to explore coding, design and create an app, and showcase their abilities.

“Every year students display their hard work, dedication, and skill through the Congressional App Challenge, and I know this year will be no different,” said Congressman Pappas. “It’s an honor to be able to recognize those talents in our nation’s capital, and I encourage any interested Granite Staters to submit an application and show the ingenuity that exists among New Hampshire students.”

Winners of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge are invited to #HouseOfCode. #HouseOfCode is an event, held each spring, in which the winners from each district’s Congressional App Challenge travel to Washington, D.C. to meet their representatives and discuss their apps. While the status of the 2021 event is pending due to COVID-19, competition organizers still intend to distribute prizes and Congressman Pappas will meet with the winner from NH-01, either in person or virtually.

Students looking to compete in this year’s challenge must submit their app by October 19 and should check for details here.

Submissions will be judged on the following criteria: 

  • Quality of the idea, including creativity and originality; 
  • Implementation of the idea, including user experience and design; 
  • Demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills. 

If you have any questions please contact Ben Bernier at 

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FCC Opens a Second Filing Window to Provide Schools with Supplemental Internet Funding

Logo of the Federal Communications Commission

SECA Praised the FCC for Granting their Request

Today the State E-rate Coordinators’ Alliance (SECA) praised the FCC’s action to open a second E-rate FY 2020 filing window that will provide additional funding to schools whose on-campus Internet needs and costs have increased due to the COVID-19 emergency. The Commission’s Order (DA-20-1091A1.pdf) grants the request that SECA submitted on August 3, 2020 (SECA August 3 Letter) and relies on the evidence provided in support of its request (SECA August 27 Letter).

Debra Kriete, SECA Chairperson, made the following statement:
“In the last six months, school officials have seen significant increases in their Internet bandwidth needs and associated costs as they worked to ensure students continued to receive their education during these extraordinary times. We applaud the FCC for recognizing this need and quickly establishing a rare, second application filing window. Under Chairman Pai’s leadership, schools have benefited from previous FCC COVID-19 relief related to deadline extensions and waiver of stringent gift rules. We are grateful the Commission acted so quickly to enact this additional relief.”

SECA submitted its request in response to the numerous inquiries that state E-rate coordinators received from school officials explaining their increased and unanticipated bandwidth needs and resulting costs. These schools had no way of anticipating their need for more Internet due to the COVID-19 pandemic when they requested their E-rate funding last spring. The subsequent support lent by other stakeholder groups on this subject illustrated to the FCC that there was widespread support for this request throughout the E-rate community.


About SECA

SECA members provide E-rate coordination services in 46 states and 1 U.S. Territory. State Coordinators have daily interactions with and provide training to E-rate applicants to assist them with all aspects of the program. State coordinators serve as intermediaries between the applicant and service provider communities, the E-rate Administrator, and the Federal Communications Commission. SECA regularly communicates with the E-rate program administrator, the Federal Communications Commission) and other federal and state policy makers regarding the operation and administration of the E-rate program to convey recommendations and feedback to fulfill the goals of the program. The organization was established in 1997 and is operated by a dedicated team of volunteers. For more information, please visit

SETDA and CoSN commend the FCC’s Emergency E-rate Filing Window

SETDA and CoSN commend the Wireline Bureau for opening an emergency E-rate filing window to help schools address their higher than expected on campus bandwidth demands. The Bureau’s decision will help schools support their students during a very challenging period and we appreciate the agency’s swift recognition of this on campus digital learning need.

Separately, CoSN and SETDA hope the FCC and Congress will also act this month to ensure that every student has a broadband connection at home. We strongly encourage Congress to approve the Emergency Educational Connections Act.



The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit membership association launched by state education agency leaders in 2001 to serve, support and represent their emerging interests and needs with respect to the use of technology for teaching, learning, and school operations.

About CoSN

CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in the digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education.

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Subscribe to the New NEPC Talks Education Monthly Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher

BOULDER, CO (September 16, 2020) – Loyal NEPC Education Interview of the Month listeners, as well as people discovering NEPC Talks Education for the first time, will find it easier than ever to plug into the smart, engaging conversations about education policy hosted each month from September through May by NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña.

Subscribe to the NEPC Talks Education podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. You can also find episodes on our website, or search for “NEPC Talks Education” on any of the platform homepages.

In the first NEPC Talks Education podcast of 2020-2021, Saldaña explores with University of California Berkeley professor Janelle Scott the equity concerns raised by the emergence of learning pods. Future podcasts will take up topics such as the push for digital technologies in distance and in-person learning, the demoralization of K-12 teachers, and how school funding might be transformed in the near future.

Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy. Don’t worry if you miss a month. Starting in 2020-2021 all NEPC Talks Education podcasts will be archived on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher, as well as on the NEPC website.

All of our previous Education Interview of the Month episodes can also be found on the NEPC website.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:

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Free Resources Supporting Digital Citizenship

Digital Respons-Ability is committed to creating smart and savvy digital citizenship and empowered parents. We want to help all students and families be safe and responsible online. Please use and share these free digital citizenship resources.

Digital Respons-Ability is a research-based provider of digital citizenship education. The program provides Digital Citizenship and parenting classes to schools and organizations.

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Make SketchUp Work for Your Classroom

SketchUp is 3D modeling software that is easy and intuitive, allowing anyone to model in 3D quickly and accurately. Using 3D models, students in your school can make more informed decisions, communicate project details, and share ideas with their teachers and classmates.

Get creative in your classroom with brand-new SketchUp for Schools for K-12 features. Explore improved localized Search (12 languages!), new curriculum, and educator resources to help customize your SketchUp lesson plans!

Visit the SketchUp for Schools blog to learn about all the new features.

Get SketchUp Pro for your district devices or at home for remote use.

We also have access to free installations of SketchUp Pro through our NH SketchUp Pro Public School Partnership. Network IP Addresses are required for the updated licenses. Network IP Addresses are required for the new licenses.

Due to the need for remote learning, for a limited time (through January 1, 2021), SketchUp is offering a home version that can be installed on your teachers/students home computers. No IP address whitelisting is required. Contact #NHEdTech with any questions, or submit an application for a SketchUp Pro license to learn more.

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Get Ready to Speak Up New Hampshire!

Project Tomorrow is re-framing our Speak Up Research Project for the 2020-21 school year to be more responsive to the needs of our participating schools and districts nationwide in these challenging times. We look forward to helping education leaders translate the voices and ideas of your stakeholders into actionable knowledge that can inform your plans and help you make better decisions.

New Speak Up surveys for schools and districts: to collect feedback from your K-12 students, teachers, administrators, and parents.

▪ Shorter surveys
▪ Easier to use
▪ Still no costs to participate – open to all K-12 schools and districts
▪ Leverages Project Tomorrow expertise in effective data collection and analysis
▪ Focus on the impact of digital learning – in school and at home
▪ Surveys open for your use from October 14 – May 28, 2021
▪ New tools to help you use the feedback data more effectively to make decisions
▪ Learn more here: (need to update page for this info)

Introduction of new Speak Up program: Speak Up Select – for a select set of schools and districts who need customized survey tools for their stakeholder feedback

▪ We will develop for your school or district three fully customized surveys for your own use
▪ You pick the audience and the topics – we will do the question and survey development for you
▪ Entire turnkey process facilitated by Project Tomorrow – no costs to you
▪ Leverages Project Tomorrow expertise in effective data collection and analysis
▪ Only available this year for 25 schools or districts nationwide – first come, first serve
▪ Interested in learning more? Fill out this interest form!

To be considered, please contact Dr. Julie Evans directly at by September 30

Interest Form link:

Our special SpeakUp New Hampshire! page.

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NHDOE and CAST Launch UDL Video Assessment Series

Helping teachers create assessments to improve classroom and remote instruction

The New Hampshire Department of Education today launched a new video series designed to help teachers connect to students returning to school, understanding where they are on their individual learning pathway through creative formative assessments, and design instruction, both in-person and remote. The Department worked with CAST to develop the series using the groundbreaking Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach which has helped hundreds of New Hampshire educators break down barriers to learning with their students. The six-part video series provides educators with new techniques to assess where students have progressed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and where gaps in their education need to be filled.

“New Hampshire schools were responsive in switching to remote instruction in the spring. We know that returning students will have a much greater variation in their learning and these tools will help teachers determine where students are and how they can craft instruction for each child,” said Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. “It is important that we equip our teachers to be as effective as possible with each child, to help develop a learning program that lets them succeed and continue on a path to a bright future.”

The video series includes:

  • Intro to Assessment
  • Evaluating Assessments
  • Grade Level Video: K–2
  • Grade Level Video: 3–5
  • Grade Level Video: 6–8
  • Grade Level Video: 9–12

CAST is also developing a UDL Playbook to accompany the series, and a survey to provide feedback to continually improve the UDL process. The video series is available to the public. Parents working closely with their children in remote instruction may also find UDL techniques useful to assess student performance.

“This video series is a great way to spread the UDL approach to more New Hampshire teachers,” added Amanda Bastoni, an education specialist at CAST who also serves as host for the video series. “The disruption from COVID-19 potentially created gaps that we need to find, and close. Formative assessment is one of the ways we do it.

The UDL video assessment series can be viewed on YouTube.

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Shifts Happening for 2020 Christa McAuliffe Conference

Shifts Happen 2020

CMTC20 has a new “tagline” ~ SHIFTS HAPPEN!!! As we all look to the fall of 2020 with more questions than answers regarding what teaching and learning will look like, CMTC20 has decided to offer its content via virtual sessions the week of January 11th. We have postponed our keynote by Kate Darling on robotics in the classroom until the fall of 2021 and replaced it with an opening keynote panel of renown educators ~ Karen, Hess, Rose Colby, Daniel Joseph discussing a more relevant topic, “Shifts Happen: New CBE Opportunities with Remote Learning”.

We are in the process of determining the specifics and we seek your input on what you envision would work best for you. We all know this is a “best guess” situation and very much appreciate your input.

Upon determining the specific times for concurrent sessions and hands-on workshops we will relaunch the online Call for Presenters with the new schedule included.

Please reply to the survey by THIS Friday, August 28th.

Thanks for helping us make “SHIFTS HAPPEN” happen as smoothly as possible,
Cyndi Dunlap
CMTC Co-Chair

Cyndi Dunlap
CMTC Co-Chair

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Guidance and Resources for Back to School Planning

Below are a few resources that will be useful for educators and school leaders to use in order to develop and implement effective plans and strategies for returning to school in the fall.

New Hampshire Back to School Guidance

This document is intended to provide guidance for local officials for the planned physical reopening of New Hampshire’s K–12schools. This guide is not a “one-size-fits-all” document. Rather, it recognizes the varied local contexts of each school district and acknowledges that many districts may develop their own operational guidelines utilizing this document as their base of minimum requirements.

Back to School Plan Rubric

This rubric exists in the public domain as a living document to help schools and districts self assess their plans and readiness for remote learning and returning back to school for the 2020-21 school year.

Back to School Readiness Guide

Resources and tools to help schools and districts evaluate their readiness to return to school in the fall.

SETDA eLearning Coalition

The SETDA Coalition for eLearning focuses state leaders, affiliates, and partners in collective action around teaching and learning in the digital age. This portal, and the associated edWeb community and series of webinars, are an ever-evolving compilation of rapidly developing resources around eLearning for state education agencies and school districts.                 

NH Learns Alliance

The NH Learns Alliance, while an immediate response to providing necessary support to our coalition constituents during the COVID-19 crisis, is intended to live beyond the crisis to continue to provide vetted resources for the NH education community. The Alliance includes leadership from NHSAA, NHSLMA, NHTI, NHASP, NHSTE, NHCTO, NHASCD, CAST, NHDoE, NEA-NH, NCDE, NHASEA, NHSBA, and VLACS and is intended to support the efforts of the New Hampshire educational community.

NEA-New Hampshire’s Principles For Reopening

This document reflects NEA-New Hampshire’s values regarding the safe reopening of our schools. Individual locals reserve the right to add to, delete from and further modify the steps outlined in the document. To the extent this document conflicts with any local collective bargaining agreement, the local collective bargaining agreement controls.

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