Deeper Learning in the Time of COVID-19: New Hampshire (Part 1 of 3)

Deeper Learning in the Time of COVID-19: New Hampshire (Part 1 of 3)
Virtual via GoToWebinar

Partner Website(s)


This is the first installment of a three-part webinar series on Deeper Learning in the Time of COVID-19. To view the entire series, click here.

Webinar Materials:


In part 1 of 3 in AYPF’s Deeper Learning in the Time of COVID-19 webinar series, we discussed how a focus on student-centered and personalized learning, with a special emphasis on fostering student self-direction and metacognition, in New Hampshire is helping students to succeed during COVID-19.

In partnership with the New Hampshire Learning Initiative, this webinar highlighted the state’s efforts in advancing essential skills and dispositions of successful learners. New Hampshire’s focus has been on work-study practices that can help students be successful inside and outside of the classroom. These practices include communication,collaboration & creativity, and self-direction. In this webinar, we discussed how students are employing metacognition and self-direction, as well as heard from teachers and administrators on how they support student learning in these areas.

Panelists include:

  • Sarah Lench, Chief Curiosity Officer and Learning Networks Director, Center for Innovation in Education
  • Jonathan Vander Els, directs innovative, competency-based projects for the New Hampshire Learning Initiative; co-author of Breaking With Tradition: The Shift to Competency Based Learning in PLCs at Work (Solution Tree, 2018)
  • Ellen Hume-Howard, Executive Director, New Hampshire Learning Initiative

Teacher, Student, Administrator Interviewees include:

  • Gail Bourn, Academic Coordinator for Teaching and Learning at Laconia School District
  • Anthony Doucet, 9th grade teacher at Souhegan High School (SHS)
  • Riley Devine, Student at SHS
  • Masho Primmer, Student at SHS
  • Max Syverson, Student at SHS
  • Nicole Woulfe, 6th grade teacher at Sanborn Regional Middle School (SRMS)
  • Caitlin Milner, Student at SRMS
  • Luke Thomas, Student at SRMS

About AYPF’s Deeper Learning in the Time of COVID-19 Webinar Series:

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the educational landscape has been transformed. With the majority of schools closed throughout the nation, in many cases student learning has shifted online, highlighting the myriad opportunities and challenges of remote instruction. Teachers had to adapt almost overnight to virtual classrooms, and were asked to teach students in a way they had not necessarily been trained in.  Students needed to become accustomed to independent learning, either online or from compiled paper packets of worksheets. In a number of schools that have engaged in deeper learning for many years, the transition for teachers and students to this new reality has proceeded more smoothly.

In this 3-part webinar series, AYPF will highlight districts and schools that have experienced fewer challenges in continued learning, and the factors that contributed to a more seamless transition. These are schools that have emphasized the interrelated competencies of deeper learning: mastery of rigorous core academic content, critical thinking and problem solving, teamwork and collaboration, effective communication, learning how to learn, and cultivation of an academic mindset.  As the pandemic unfolds, the explicit attention devoted to honing these competencies (sometimes referred to as essential skills, or success skills, et. al.) has helped students and teachers as they adapt their learning to ever-changing conditions.

Some questions we will consider include:

  • Why are student/teacher relationships so critical to the learning agenda?
  • What is the importance of having students engaged with meaningful projects?
  • How can students be supported as they take on responsibility for their own learning and develop their agency?
  • What do these early observations of how education is changing mean for the larger conversation around how best we can engage learners in their education, what the role of teachers is within this learning journey, and how we can think more creatively about all the possible venues for learning?


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.