Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Call for book donations!

The Manchester Board of School Committee is holding a book drive to collect books that will go home with elementary school students across the city. All the books collected will be shared among schools and classes to ensure that every child at every grade level receives at least one book to take home for the
summer. Please spread the word and clean out those book shelves!

Monday, May 22, 2017

MSD director of EL instruction is a UNH distinguished alumna

Manchester School District's director of English Learner instruction, Wendy Perron, was awarded the "2017 Distinguished Alumni Award" during the University of New Hampshire's Education Department commencement on May 19.

As part of this honor, she was the featured guest speaker for the Education Department graduation. Wendy shared her perspective on what makes Manchester's schools so special and diverse, and how our school communities welcome all cultures. Her inspirational speech challenged these new educators to make critical reflection a part of their practice, as well as ensure that they would continue the quest for equity in education for all students.

We're proud that Wendy plays such an important role in educating our students!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Life after high school: An EL student's success story

Vanessa Wallace, left, with Central High School
EL teacher Connie Swenson
Vanessa Wallace, Central High School class of 2007, visited Mrs. Swenson and Ms. Droney's advanced English Learner classes this spring to tell her story as a Central High School EL alumna. When Vanessa and her family arrived in Manchester from Colombia 12 years ago, she started at Central as a junior. She described to students her struggles and successes, her determination and persistence, and expressed her gratitude for teachers who believed in her.

After graduating from Central, Vanessa attended the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a B.S. in business administration and B.S. in international affairs in 2011. She continued her education at UNH and received a masters in administration in 2013.

Vanessa is now married, has two children, and is an accountant at BAE Systems. There, she also serves as VP of Activities for HOLA (Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement), and she is a company-trained emergency responder.

Vanessa Wallace with Central students
Josefa Lopez, Estefani Rodriguez, and Mynor Yoc 
During her presentation to Central's current EL students, Vanessa encouraged them to get involved in school programs and clubs after school. Vanessa explained the process of preparing for a job search to start her career after college, which included deciding what direction she wanted to go in: public or private accounting, the importance of family vs. career.

Thank you for sharing your story, Vanessa. We look forward to hearing from more of our graduates about their journeys after high school!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"The Little Green" honored with New England award

The Little Green, Central High School’s student newspaper, received a second place All-New England Award for Class I newspapers from the New England Scholastic Press Association (NESPA) for the second consecutive year. The paper also received the Highest Achievement Award, which was presented at the NESPA’s 69th annual spring conference at Boston University’s College of Communications on May 5.

In addition to the All-New England honor, Little Green editor-in-chief Aidan Ryan was recognized for Best Page Design for his “Election 2016” feature, and writer Lily O’Connell received an award for her article, "The Central 'Stache."

The Little Green, which is published eight times a year, is a forum for student expression and is not funded by the school district. Faculty advisers are Carol and Scott MacDonald.

NESPA’s judging panel consisted of Boston University journalism professors and experienced scholastic media advisers, who considered entries from 800 New England school publications. 
The 2016-2017 Little Green staff:
Back row: Ryan Leonard, Niko Kacavas, Aidan Ryan, Declan Knieriem, Liam O'Connell, Brendon Lewis
Middle Row: Matt Gilroy, Aidan Latona, Sophia Ferro, Abbey Conrad, Max Nakos, Jayda Ragas
Front Row: Lilly Hayward, Andriana Skaperdas, Meredith Stisser, Monericka Semeran, Natalie Rivera

Monday, May 15, 2017

Principal McCafferty receives inaugural SNHU Loeffler Prize

Hillside Middle School principal Brendan McCafferty is the first ever recipient of Southern New Hampshire University's newly established Loeffler Prize, recognizing those who have unselfishly and generously contributed their time and talents for the enrichment of others and the betterment of their community. In the description of the award, SNHU says honorees set an example for the spirit of generosity, everyday contributions, sometime heroism, and perseverance.

Mr. McCafferty was honored in part for his hard work to build a network of opportunities for his students across the city of Manchester. He has been an instrumental champion in the work of local nonprofit BRING IT!, an acronym of the program’s full name: “Bringing Refugees, Immigrants and Neighbors Gently Into Tomorrow.” An average of 100 kids attend the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions after school, which started at Hillside and is now also offered and hosted by the Middle School at Parkside. These evenings feature dance, in-door soccer, and sports, and a Homework Club, as well as volunteers from across the Manchester community, who act as mentors for program participants, encouraging and inspiring them to establish a sense of place, and belonging.

SNHU called Mr. McCafferty "an inspiring example of what an individual, with a passion, and a drive to facilitate change, who makes a positive and transformative impact on the lives of others, can achieve."

The Loeffler Prize is named for Frederic "Rick" A. Loeffler, a member of the SNHU community, who embodies the spirit of this award.  A long-time member of the SNHU Board of Trustees and a local business person, Rick is a champion of his community and the prize commemorates his commitment to make Manchester and New Hampshire a better place for all.

The Loeffler Prize carries a $2,000 gift to be made in the winner’s name to a non-profit of his or her choice. Mr. McCafftery has asked that the Hillside Middle School PTO receive that gift.

Major donation gives elementary school needed technology

Bill Binnie and Mayor Gatsas pose with
some of the 5th graders at Smyth Road Elementary School
New Hampshire businessman Bill Binnie delivered 60 Chromebooks, a laptop, and smart TV to Smyth Road Elementary School this morning, fulfilling a promise to pay for technology upgrades there. Binnie, president of investment company Carlisle Capital and perhaps better known as owner of several television and radio broadcast stations in the state, recently became acquainted by chance with the school’s assistant principal. She talked to Binnie about how a business could support the needs of Smyth Road.

“All of the schools in Manchester welcome partnerships with members of the business community,” said Rachelle Otero, assistant principal. “I mentioned Smyth Road’s wish list of technology items, and Mr. Binnie promised right then to donate $20,000.”

While donations of similar value have been made to the school district or multiple schools at a time in the past, it’s very rare for one benefactor to make such a large contribution to one school.

“We are grateful for Mr. Binnie's extremely generous support of education in Manchester,” said superintendent Bolgen Vargas. “This kind of gift will make a significant impact on students and teachers."

Smyth Road Elementary School principal Jennifer Briggs,
assistant superintendent Chris Martin,
Bill Binnie, Mayor Gatsas, assistant principal Rachelle Otero
Binnie visited Smyth Road not long after that conversation with Otero, to speak with fifth grade students about the importance of doing homework, college and career aspirations, perseverance, and his own experience setting goals and working toward them.

“I was a poor kid with little expectation of going to college,” Binnie said. “Luckily I did make it to college and it changed my life.”

Binnie ordered 60 Chromebooks, two carts to store them, a MacBook Pro to replace the school librarian’s outdated laptop, and a smart HD television monitor that will be mounted in the library. He personally delivered the items to Smyth Road.

“Learning in the 21st century means that educators use technology to enhance everything they do,” said Smyth Road principal Jennifer Briggs. “We are very lucky that our school can continue those efforts thanks to such an overwhelmingly kind gift.”

Friday, May 12, 2017

Free Sam Carey Memorial Summer League for Students Entering Grades 3-8

The Sam Carey Memorial Summer League is a free program open for children in Manchester who are entering grades 3 - 8. For more information please comntact the League Director, David Greenidge, Jr. at or the Recreation Supervisor, Erik Bukowski at

Download a flyer and registration form.