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Amherst schools to be featured in documentary

Union Leader Correspondent

January 08. 2014 8:32PM

AMHERST — A filming crew will be making its way into the local schools next week as part of an initiative by the New Hampshire Department of Education to chronicle exemplary schools throughout the state.

According to a letter sent to local parents, the state agency requested that SAU 39 participate in the project, which will record innovative schools and commendable practices that could serve as models for educational facilities throughout New Hampshire.

Nicole Heimarck, director of curriculum and professional development at SAU 39, has described the production as “an exciting opportunity to showcase the great work of our students and teachers.”

Previously, the state Department of Education contracted with 2Revolutions — a self-described education design lab that creates future learning models — to initiate the project. This newest video project is an extension of the New Hampshire Network Strategy that launched in the fall of 2012 to provide a virtual place for educators to collaborate and learn.

“Within the national educational landscape, educators are often left out of the discussions on strategic innovative change. New Hampshire, however, is well-positioned to pioneer a model for seeding and growing innovative learning environments and shifting from a compliance to a support orientation,” says a posting on the 2Revolutions website.

The company, according to its website, is serving as a design partner for the state Department of Education to develop a growth model for innovation networks that are devoted to the exploration and implementation of future ideas such as competency-based learning.

“This is a remarkable opportunity and great honor for our schools,” Heimarck said on Wednesday.

According to Heimarck, the local school district was selected for two primary reasons, including Souhegan High School’s involvement in performance-based learning models, and the district’s work with the New Hampshire College and Career Readiness Standards, more often referred to as Common Core.

Souhegan High School is also an ideal location for filming because it has a video production studio readily available for use, she added.

About 35 schools throughout New Hampshire will be included in the video project, said Heimarck, explaining the film crew is expected to record a first-grade math lesson at an SAU 39 elementary school on Monday. The crew will also record students and teachers in a more formal interview setting on Monday at the high school, she said, adding about 25 hours of footage will be collected.

The final video product will include a montage of video stories highlighting teaching and learning from throughout the state, and will be used in different venues throughout the nation once completed, according to Heimarck.

“The state of New Hampshire, along with 2Revolutions, wishes to tell the story of New Hampshire public education by showcasing teacher and student work in the following areas: high standards for all children, engaged and empowered students, highly effective and empowered educators, and rich and authentic student tasks,” she said in the letter explaining the initiative to parents, describing this as an exciting time for the district.

Any parent who does not wish to have their child recorded is asked to inform a school administrator.

Education Amherst

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