Thursday, April 19, 2018

Redistricting plan to be implemented in Manchester

Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas and school district administrators are working to carry out the redistricting plan that was approved by the Board of School Committee this month.  Various discussions and plans around the concept of redistricting have been discussed for more than ten years in Manchester. The proposal presented by Dr. Vargas is the first to make any significant progress toward implementation. It is made up of several stages that will be put into place over time through 2020, subject to budget approval where financial implications are noted.

Beginning in September 2018, all incoming sixth graders from Beech Street Elementary School will attend McLaughlin Middle School. The current school feeder pattern splits Beech Street graduates between McLaughlin and Southside middle schools. The new proposal will reunite those students at one school. They will all attend Central High School for ninth grade.

Plans also are underway to establish a collaboration between Memorial High School and the Manchester School of Technology to meet the demand of students wishing to attend MST High School’s four-year program. Right now, enrollment is limited for students taking core courses and electives because classroom space is unavailable. MST currently holds a lottery to enroll 9th graders from the pool of applicants that exceeds the number of openings. 

“We have heard from families and students that they are disappointed enrollment at MST High School can’t be guaranteed,” said Dr. Vargas. “We are proud of the programs MST offers as a high school choice in our city, and the district is committed to increasing access to all students who wish to attend.”

Under the superintendent’s plan, MST High School students could take some of those core classes, including physical education, at neighboring Memorial High School, and some teachers would be shared between the two buildings.

Another significant part of the approved redistricting plan is a gradual move of fifth grade to Manchester’s middle schools. Adoption of the grades 5-8 middle school model will start on the West Side of Manchester in September 2019. The Middle School at Parkside will include fifth graders from Gossler Park, Northwest, and Parker-Varney elementary schools.

“A few of our neighboring school districts and others across New Hampshire and the nation have successfully established this middle school education model, so it is not a new concept,” said Dr. Vargas. “The priorities for making this shift in Manchester will be meeting the students’ needs and strengthening our middle schools that will enhance the educational experience.”

Facility improvements will be made to Parkside in order to accommodate the new grade. That process will begin this year, with a cost of $312,000. Similar projects are expected over the next two years to prepare the three east side middle schools for bringing in the fifth grade classes from the other 11 elementary schools beginning in September 2020.

Other elements of the middle school transition citywide will begin in 2018, including adding middle staff, such as math and foreign language teachers and social workers. Math curriculum for grades 5-8 will be developed this year, with additional subject area curriculum planned for 2019-2021. The cost for 2018 comes to about $1 million.

One of the goals in creating the grades 5-8 middle schools is to free up classrooms in elementary schools for kindergarten through grade four. As a result, elementary level class sizes will be reduced when finances allow for hiring additional teachers in those grades.

“Since I arrived in Manchester, one of the top concerns among parents, administrators, teachers and school board members has been class size,” said Dr. Vargas. “This plan addresses the need to create smaller class sizes and ultimately help improve student achievement.”

The k-4 model will follow the timeline of the middle school transition across the city, beginning on the West Side in September 2019, and expanding to the rest of Manchester the following year.

Creating a new preschool center also will create space in elementary schools that currently hold preschool programs. While the Bishop O’Neil Center associated with Bakersville Elementary School will stay open, the redistricting plan calls for preschool students and staff at Highland-Goffe’s Falls, Jewett Street, Parker-Varney, Smyth Road, and Weston to unite at Memorial High School, where space is available to accommodate the program. Preschool students in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program at Green Acres Elementary School would remain there.

“Manchester can better meet the developmental needs of its preschool students by streamlining the services they all share and allow more efficient collaboration among staff,” said Dr. Vargas.  

The preschool center would open in September 2019, with its own entrance and playground. The cost for facility improvements expected to begin this year at Memorial is projected to be in the range of $1.6 to $2.2 million dollars.

Operation Safe Stop is May 1

Click HERE for additional materials and kids' activities on bus safety!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Last day of school and academic calendar confirmed

Dates for the last day of school of the 2017/18 school year and the first day of the 2018/19 school year have been confirmed.

Because Manchester schools closed for seven days related to weather this school year and also had two delayed openings and two early releases, the loss of instructional hours exceeded the five-day allowance in the academic calendar. Therefore, three more days have been added to the year, and other adjustments have been made.

·         The last day of school for students in kindergarten through grade 11 will be Friday, June 15 instead of June 12, 2018.
·         The last day for preschool students remains on Friday, June 8.
·         The scheduled teacher professional learning and organizational activities will be June 18 and 19, 2018.
·         June 15 will be an early release day for elementary students and teachers as well as preschool teachers; middle and high school students and teachers will go to school for the full day.
·         Final exam days for high school students also have been adjusted and are set now for June 12, 13, 14, and 15.

Additionally, the Manchester Board of School Committee approved the 2018/19 academic calendar. The first day of school for students will be Wednesday, September 5, 2018, while teachers will report for professional learning days on August 31 and September 4.

Other significant dates in next year’s academic calendar are no school for students during teacher professional learning days on September 11 and November 6; no school on Wednesday, November 21 before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend; and the anticipated last day of school, barring make-up days for weather, is June 13, 2019. High school graduation at the SNHU Arena is set for Saturday, June 15, 2019. The full calendar is posted online at

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Substitutes wanted!

Manchester School District is looking to enhance its pool of substitute faculty and staff. Substitutes for classroom teachers and paraprofessionals are needed regularly when there are unexpected absences, but school districts regionally and across the country are experiencing a shortage of subs.

A degree is not required, but people who have earned at least 48 college credits and a desire to be a positive role model for our students may qualify to be substitute teachers in the Manchester School District. 

For those who do wish to be full-time educators, substitute teaching is a great way to make contacts and get to know the schools.

The pay rate for substitutes is $70 per day; paraprofessional subs earn $10 an hour. Please email to ask for an application packet. Candidates who submit applications will be interviewed. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

New attendance notification begin April 9

Dear Manchester School District families,

Our district attendance procedures will change beginning on Monday, April 9.  We know you understand and believe in the importance of school attendance. Our schools are committed to accurately monitoring and reporting attendance information. We also want to communicate more efficiently with parents and guardians about their children’s attendance.

Beginning on Monday, April 9, if your child is absent from school or tardy to school you will receive a phone call and/or email notification through our SchoolMessenger system at 11:05 a.m. each day. The attendance message will go to the phone number and/or email address we have on file for your child(ren). If you wish to update your contact information, please notify your child(ren)'s school(s).

We want to ensure you will not be surprised by this process and will understand the purpose of the notification. We thank you for your support in advance of this new effort.  

Dr. Bolgen Vargas
Superintendent of Schools

Friday, March 23, 2018

Manchester paraprofessional named LifeChanger of the Year

Gail Dubois, a paraprofessional at Highland-Goffe's Falls Elementary School, is a
2017-2018 "LifeChanger of the Year," as named by National Life Group.  Dubois received the award at a surprise ceremony during school-wide assembly. The prize includes $3,000 to be split between a $1,500 individual cash award and a $1,500 donation to her school.

Dubois was selected as a LifeChanger of the Year winner out of more than 825 teachers, administrators and school district employees nominated for the award from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. She was nominated by principal Susan Matthews for her many contributions to the students and atmosphere of the school.

Dubois trains an English Cream Golden Retriever named Remington, who she brings to Highland-Goffe's Falls with her every Friday to serve as a therapy dog. Each week, Dubois and Remington travel throughout the school visiting students and staff who need a little extra love and care. They have helped a little boy with cerebral palsy walk with confidence and have even assisted with student’s behavioral issues. Students also read to Remington, which helps them improve their reading skills. National Life Group recognized that the calming presence and positive attitude that Dubois and Remington bring to school is inspiring.

LifeChanger of the Year is a national program sponsored by National Life Group that annually recognizes and rewards K-12 school district educators and employees who make a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence, and leadership.
LifeChanger of the Year nominees must be full-time educators, teachers, principals, or any member of the school district's staff who makes a positive difference in the lives of students.

Award winners are selected based on the following criteria:

  • A proven ability to make a beneficial difference in the lives of students
  • An ability to positively add to the development of the school's atmosphere
  • A leader in his or her activities at the school and/or district level
  • A proven record of excellent performance at the professional level
  • A commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere
Congratulations, Mrs. Dubois and Remington! Thank you for all you do!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Memorial senior wins national scholastic art awards

Manchester Memorial senior Madison Elgner is one of only 6 students from New Hampshire to be awarded a National Gold Key in the Scholastic Art Awards competition. She received the honor in the design category for a piece called "Bert McCracken." 

Madison also received the National Silver Key in photography for "Fake."

 There were over 2500 entries in this year's New Hampshire regional Scholastic Art
Awards competition from all over the state, about 235 of which received a regional Gold Key. All regional Gold Keys are sent to NYC for national adjudication. 19 works from NH received National Silver Keys, only 6 received National Gold Keys. 

Madison will receive her Gold Key award at a ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City in June. Only National Gold Key winners are invited to the ceremony. In addition to the ceremony at Carnegie Hall there is an exhibition of all Gold Key winning works at the Parson's New School in New York.