New options for program that encourages high school students to take rigorous courses

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CONCORD, New Hampshire — A program that encourages New Hampshire high school students to take more rigorous courses is offering new options this fall.

The NH Scholars program brings together schools and businesses to offer incentives and recognition to students who commit to completing four years of English and math, three years of laboratory science, three and a half years of social science courses and two years of a foreign language.

This year, students also will be encouraged to become NH Scholars through pathways that emphasize the arts or STEM subects: science, technology engineering and math. The new options will require a minimum grade point average as well as classes focused on each specific path.

"We know the business community needs graduates who are skilled in STEM programs, but we also recognize the value of arts to our communities and our culture," said Scott Power, director of NH Scholars. "Students deserve options."

Virginia Berry, commissioner of the state Department of Education, said college administrators have made it clear that schools must encourage students to challenge themselves. She expects the new pathways will boost overall college acceptance numbers and result in a better trained workforce.

The program is operated by the New Hampshire College and University Council, a coalition of 17 schools that focuses on student development and quality higher education.

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