Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Superintendent's message: Welcome to the 2016-17 school year


Welcome back to school!

We are thrilled to be opening schools for the 2016-2017 school year and excited to greet students in grades 1-12 on September 6 and PK-1 on September 14.   This year we are welcoming more than 14,000 students to school who embody  hundreds of cultures, traditions, languages, and learning styles. Over this next year we will witness the growth and emergence of our future entrepreneurs, inventors, strategists, and leaders.   Manchester School District is ready with a strong and confident team of professional educators who have committed themselves to doing what is the very best for each child.

We are pleased that MSD has seen a strong teacher retention rate for the 2016-17 school year which means more consistency for our students.  The teachers and employees we have hired are tops in their field.

Safety of our students and employees always comes first.  Last year we saw situations around our schools that required us to take precautionary actions. As a parent and grandparent myself, I know it’s difficult to hear of an issue arising near a neighborhood school and not being able to be there for your child. We will continue to be proactive in our planning for such situations as well as taking proper action when situations arise. Working with our city partners at the Manchester Police Department, Manchester Fire Department, Department of Health, and other local authorities, we continue to train school and district staff in school safety and security measures that permit our children to feel safe and thrive in their learning environments.

This year we will continue to seek out and provide more rigorous and relevant learning opportunities for all students while striving to provide the necessary resources and assistance to each. STEAM Ahead and other innovative programs will continue to grow at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Three years ago we embarked on an ambitious journey to research, deliberate, organize and assemble what are now known as the Manchester Academic Standards. Since that time teams of teachers at each grade level in elementary and middle school have been rewriting curriculum units of study in alignment with our rigorous standards and slowly introducing them to all teachers across the district. We know it has been a long and sometimes bumpy process.   

This year, curriculum redevelopment will continue in middle school science and social studies. High school English, mathematics, science, and social studies will begin to redesign their units. High school teacher teams also will be reviewing their course competencies and adjusting them for rigor to ensure that all students have the same opportunities for relevant and meaningful coursework that meet the same expectations for growth. By the end of the school year we intend to have all of our curriculum through its first complete revision.

These are changing times for the Manchester School District. We will begin the year with a transition in the Office of the Superintendent with my retirement on October 1 and we welcome a new leader.   I am eager and excited to begin this school year with you.  

Serving as your superintendent has been a joy.  I am proud of what we have accomplished and grateful to have had the the privilege and honor of serving our children the past three years.  Through your efforts, our schools will continue to thrive and make a positive difference in the lives of children across the city.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Debra Livingston
Superintendent of Schools

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