The Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) met on April 21 2023. Present were Michael Koski (Chairman, Christian Home Educators NH/Southern ME), Jen Pereira (Catholics United for Home Education), Althea Barton (remote, Secretary, NH Homeschooling Coalition), Michelle Levell (Granite State Home Educators), Heather Barker (NH School Administrators Association), Rebekah Woodman (home education at-large), Rep Katie Peternel (remote), and Shireen Meskoob (Department of Education).
The video is available here. We were a little late getting started as new equipment was used to facilitate the virtual meeting.
The GSHE report that follows is not a complete summary, but rather focuses on the more significant issues discussed in the meeting.
New EFA Admin at NH DOE (video 8:53 and 14:53)
At the beginning of the meeting, the council was introduced to Brian Voelk who is the DOE’s administrator for the Education Freedom Account (EFA) program. His contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org and 603-931-0828. It was concerning to a few members that he said there is “overlap” between the EFA and home education. Michelle asked if the DOE will issue a technical advisory to help explain the two separate educational pathways.
Report from the DOE (video 33:35)
The NH Department of Education must revise Ed 315, the rules governing home education, due to the changes in home ed law made by HB 1663 (2022). The revisions were approved by the state Board of Education at their April meeting and the department is developing a technical advisory regarding equal access. Jen requested that the advisory address all of the changes made by last year’s legislation as it was quite extensive. Refer to the January 2023 HEAC meeting notes and video when the council went through the revisions for details. The education rules have the same legal authority regarding home education as statute.
HEAC Best Practices and SOPs (video 59:32)
At the January 2023 meeting, the council had an extensive presentation by the department’s attorney regarding NH’s legal responsibilities for public bodies and were advised to prepare simple policies and best practices to guide how they conduct business. This is particularly advisable given there is significant turnover of members.
A draft was reviewed by the council and some revisions were agreed upon with one clause generating particular scrutiny, the one regarding whether or not to make recordings part of the public record and posted with other meeting content. A vote on the best practices agreement is expected at the next meeting, currently scheduled for May 19, 2023. The council requested the DOE attorney join their next meeting to receive advice.
HEAC meets at the NH DOE’s temporary office at Granite State College, 25 Hall Street in Concord. They meet on the third Friday of alternating months starting at 2:30pm, unless announced otherwise. The public may attend in-person or via Zoom. Zoom meeting information is available here. The 2023 meeting dates are as follows.
Friday, May 19, 2023
Friday, June 16, 2023 (place holder)
Friday, July 21, 2023
Links to meeting minutes and members’ contact information are available on the NH DOE’s HEAC page.
Read More About HEAC
By Michelle Levell