At the February 2022 HEAC meeting, we took a moment to remember Representative Barbara Shaw, a HEAC House Representative who passed away recently quite suddenly.
Amanda Weeden and Jen Pereira we're voted Co-chairs. Althea Barton was voted Secretary.
All groups are seeing a steady stream of new member requests. Interest in home education is strong. The DOE homeschool contact, Shireen Meskoob, has various support group contact information and websites to distribute to families.
Amanda Weeden explained the main points of HB1663.
Educational pathways are still confused up to the legislative level. Amanda Weeden suggested adding Prenda and EFA to the DOE’s website under the "Educational pathways" section. VLACS does not fall legally under RSA 193-A yet are notifying as such. Prenda community pods are considered homeschooling, yet do not follow the same requirements. We are seeing confusion and are looking for clarification from the Commissioner.
There is a process in place for a chain of command regarding a teacher reporting a homeschooled student as truant to DCYFS. If a teacher is concerned, they should first reach out to their school principal and district office to determine if the student was withdrawn and/or a home education notification was filed. If that process is not followed, the parent must report it to the school. Rep. Koski and Barker thoughtfully advised.
Termination of a home education program has inconsistencies in the law. Parents should terminate with the notifying agency, not necessarily the DOE. If a student completes high school prior to reaching age 18, the family must file notification with the DOE, or they may choose to wait to officially graduate the teen until he/she reaches age 18, the age compulsory education attendance ends.
DOE representative, Shireen Meskoob, suggested the council officially send a letter to the Commissioner citing inconsistencies in the law. We will vote next session on that action and provide a working draft copy to members.
There will be no Christian Home Educators NH and Southern Maine Used Curriculum and Book Sale this year or in the foreseeable future. This is a great loss to the homeschool community in NH. Council members have faith in the community to rally with other options to meet this need on a local level.
The next meeting is Thursday, March 17th, anyone can attend remotely via the links on the DOE website.
UPDATE 3/16/22: The March meeting is postponed and the council will next meet on April 21, 2022.
By Amanda Weeden