Monday, August 28, 2017

Welcome back: A message from Dr. Vargas

Dear Manchester schools community:

We are looking forward to opening Manchester schools for the 2017-2018 academic year and eager to greet each student on September 5. Whether you will be dropping your child off at school for the first day of kindergarten or you are the parent of a teenager about to start senior year in high school, the new year is always filled with excitement and optimism.

I am proud to begin my second year as superintendent of the state’s largest and most diverse school district, where our children represent dozens of cultures, traditions, languages, and learning styles. I remain committed to supporting the team of professionals who work every day to challenge their students academically and do the very best for each child. Together, we will continue district wide efforts to improve ways we can increase student learning and achievement.

It takes all of us to help every student reach his or her potential, and we invite you to participate in your child's learning experiences. Forging a strong relationship between the school and home is beneficial to student performance and academic growth. Support from our parents, volunteers, and community partners makes our schools even better.  Here are three things I am asking each parent or guardian to do to support your student’s success in school: make sure he/she attends school each and every day; reinforce the importance of good behavior at home, in school and within the community; get a library card for each of your children and encourage them to read a minimum of 30 minutes every evening and on weekends independent of homework assignments. One of the best ways to achieve this last request is to create a culture of reading within your home.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to learn more about our schools by visiting the district website,, and your child’s school website. We appreciate a strong relationship with district families and we encourage parents and guardians to get to know their principals, teachers and other district staff to support the success of each student. We recognize that we have the ultimate responsibility for educating our students but we cannot do it alone.

Please accept my best wishes to all students, parents and school district employees for a successful school year filled with many excellent opportunities.


Bolgen Vargas, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

School accident insurance plans available

The Student Accident Insurance Plan brochure for 2016- 2017 can be found online. This brochure contains the enrollment form and instructions for completion and submission.  Please direct all inquiries in regard to insurance coverage directly to the insurance provider.

The brochure can be found on the Manchester School District website home page under Quick Links > For Parents or >For Students.

Friday, August 4, 2017

BAE's FOCUS program accepting new students

High school students have a unique opportunity to gain some valuable hands-on experience in the engineering and technology fields. BAE Systems of Nashua is accepting applications for its Fostering Opportunities and Careers Utilizing STEM (FOCUS) program

The weekly after school classes begin on September 20 and run through December 13 in Nashua. All students in grades 9 through 12 are encouraged to apply. 

The application deadline is August 31. More information about FOCUS is available online.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Elementary school summer library hours

Several elementary school libraries will have summer hours! They are open to students who attend those schools. Children will be able to check out and/or return books.

Wednesdays from July 12 to August 16, 8:00 am-12:00 pm

Gossler Park
July 11 - August 10
Tuesdays 8:30 am -11:30 am
Wednesdays 8:30 am -11:30 am & 12:30 pm -2:30 pm
Thursdays 12:30 pm-2:30 pm    

Green Acres
July 18 and August 8, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

July 10 - August 4
Monday-Thursday  8:30 am - 11:30 am

Highland-Goffe’s Falls
July 12 and August 9 10:00 am-12:00 pm

July 11 - August 10
Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:30 am -11:30 am

Wednesdays from July 12 - August 9, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summer school hours and locations

Special Education Extended School Year 
Preschool, July 10-August 10
Parker-Varney 9:00-11:30
Grades K-5, July 11-August 10
Gossler Park 8:30-12:00
Deaf & Hard of Hearing, July 10-August 10
Green Acres 8:30-12:00
Grades 6-8, July 10-August 10
Parkside 7:45-11:15

21st Century
Monday-Friday, July 10-August 4
Grades K-8
Mclaughlin, Beech, Hallsville, Parker-Varney

English Learners 
Monday-Thursday, July 10-August 3
Grades K-12
McLaughlin, Beech, West

Ready for Success 
Monday-Thursday,  July 10-August 3
Bakerville, Beech, Gossler Park, Hallsville, Jewett, McDonough, Parker-Varney, Weston, Wilson
*Northwest students will attend RFS at Gossler Park while their school is under construction.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Manchester educator advances to 2018 Teacher of the Year finals

The NH Department of Education has named Smyth Road Elementary School kindergarten teacher Shauna Webber one of five finalists for 2018 NH Teacher of the Year.

The other four finalists are a first grade teacher in Rochester, a middle school teacher in Gilford, and two high school teachers in Bow and Concord.

The rigorous selection process continues this summer before the NH Department of Education announces the Teacher of the Year in September.

Good luck, Mrs. Webber!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Manchester educator selected as 2018 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow

The NEA Foundation named Karyn Burgess, a special education teacher at Hillside Middle School, as one of the 48 public school educators to become a member of this year's class of Global Learning Fellows. Burgess will spend a year building the capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance -- otherwise known as global competency skills.

As a result of the Fellowship, Burgess will be better equipped to prepare students for global citizenship. Fellows also create valuable global lesson plans for their students that are freely shared with educators across the national and the world through open-source platforms.

“The Global Learning Fellowship provides a great opportunity to teachers who are interested in sharing the world with their students,” says Burgess. “I love the idea of learning even more about global competency since it aligns with my teaching philosophy.”

The 2018 Fellows were selected from more than 400 applicants from across the country. They teach all grade levels and all subjects: from visual and performing arts to agri-science, vocational studies to history. They come from rural, suburban, and urban schools. They are National Board Certified, curriculum coaches, IB coordinators, foreign language speakers, and more. Some have participated in similar programs, and some have never traveled abroad. The diverse cohort will allow educators to learn from each other and bring global perspectives to a wide range of students.

“We believe that educators are the key to giving students the skills to thrive in an interconnected world,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “We created the Global Learning Fellowship to provide professional development in teaching global competencies and to support educators as they integrate these skills into classroom instruction.”

Over the course of a year, the NEA Foundation staff, partners, and field experts will support Burgess as she immerses herself in online coursework, webinars, and collegial study, including a two-day professional development workshop this fall and a nine-day international field study next summer, bringing the full cohort together with experts in global learning.

Prior Fellows have contributed valuable knowledge to the field by posting replicable lesson plans on open-source platforms. Past Fellows have returned to advance global competency in their schools and districts—one Fellow recently brought Peruvian artists to her school to teach her students how to incorporate their own culture into their art.

The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, foundations, and others who support public education initiatives. The NEA Foundation will accept applications for the 2019 Global Learning Fellowship this fall.

Monday, June 12, 2017

DOE recognizes West High School for Career Day success

Representatives from the NH Dept. of Education and the Manchester Area Human Resources Association recognized West High School for a successful career day, which was held on March 29.

Robyn Chadwick, Claudette Knieriem, Deborah Stratton,
Jim Hinson, Renee Beaulieu, Laura Lord,
Richella Simard, Michael Oliveira, Alicia Moylan,
Rick Dichard, Mary Ann Wood
West brought about 75 business professionals into their classrooms to introduce different career options in various fields. What was different from traditional career day events is that the students were exposed to a variety of experts all day long as they rotated through their regular class schedule, instead of setting up the typical "career fair" format in a gym where professionals waited to be approached by students.

The Dept. of Education and MAHRA took notice, and those organizations are now working to duplicate this career day model in other high schools around the state. It will be an annual event at West.
Today Chris Hinson from the DOE and Robyn Chadwick from MAHRA presented the West High School career day planning committee with certificates of commendation signed by the commissioner of education Frank Edelblut, in recognition of their "commitment to bringing students and business professionals together to help students set future career goals."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

“Booked for Summer” encourages learning all year long

City schools are kicking off a new initiative which educators hope will keep students of all grades reading and learning during the summer months. The program, called “Booked for Summer,” is a school district-wide coordination of resources and learning goals that will touch every student.

“Our schools and teachers have always encouraged students to read during their time away from the classroom,” said superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas. “What’s different this summer is that we are collaborating community-wide to share ideas and set expectations for all of our students, no matter which school they attend.”

The Booked for Summer website provides learning resources, including recommended reading lists by grade level, goal trackers, and event calendars. The information covers pre-k through grade 12.

Preschool and elementary school students through grade four can participate in the Booked for Summer passport program, an ongoing activity in which children can visit various locations around Manchester and get their “passports” stamped for completing a goal. At the middle school level, students will establish learning goals and an outline for accomplishing them. Graduating fifth graders will be directed to the middle school section of the website. High school students – including rising ninth graders – will find links to articles related to the summer reading theme promoted by state libraries across the country. Peer-recommended books make up the high school summer reading lists.
Part of Booked for Summer’s launch includes a book drive for elementary schools. From now until June 9, members of the community can donate picture books and appropriate chapter books to any elementary school. They will be sorted and shared among all 14 schools to make sure that every child in preschool through fifth grade receives a book to bring home.

Community organizations and businesses are helping to promote Booked for Summer. Some have agreed to be passport locations, such as SEE Science Center, Amoskeag Fishwways, and the Currier Museum of Art. Students and families also can check the Booked for Summer website for information on learning activities and various summer reading reward programs like those sponsored by the Manchester City Library and Barnes & Noble Booksellers, among others.

“We appreciate when our partners use their influence to support education in Manchester and supplement our efforts,” said Dr. Vargas. “Working together, we can make a greater impact on our students and have a better chance of success in making summer reading a priority.”

The schools will officially introduce students to Booked for Summer in the last week of school, June 12-14.  Printed materials will be provided and discussed before the students leave school for summer vacation.

Students and families are encouraged to use the #booked4summer hashtag on social media or email to share with the community what they’re reading and learning.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Get Moving Manchester's winning schools announced

For the second year in a row, McLaughlin Middle School and Highland-Goffe's Falls Elementary School received awards for the highest participation in Get Moving, Manchester. The voluntary wellness program, which just completed its 16th year, encourages students in grades three through six to establish and maintain healthy lifestyle choices.

Students use a Get Moving, Manchester log over the course of four weeks to keep track of eating, exercise, and screen time based on 5-2-1-0 goals.  Following 5-2-1-0 guidelines means:
eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day
spending 2 hours or less on the computer, watching TV, playing video games, or texting
getting at least 1 hour of physical activity a day
drinking 0 sugar-based beverages.

This year, 1,432 students tracked their nutrition and activity goals all four weeks. Highland-Goffe's Falls and McLaughlin had the highest rates of participation, 97% and 93%, respectively. Mayor Gatsas presented those schools with a trophy. Several schools considerably increased their participation from last year: Northwest (88%), Beech Street (83%), Smyth Road (87%), and Jewett Street (78%) all did a great job promoting the benefits of Get Moving, Manchester.

Participating Get Moving, Manchester students had the chance to win fun prizes when they completed their weekly logs. Those prizes include Palace Theatre tickets, Fisher Cats tickets, Spare Time Bowling coupons, and gift cards from Sky Zone and Indian Head Athletics. The students who participate all four weeks were eligible for the raffle to win the grand prize of a new bicycle from Bike Barn. The winning student was Emma Palanco, a sixth grader from Southside Middle School.

In addition to those businesses which provided generous donations, Get Moving, Manchester also was sponsored by Catholic Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester.

Survey of higher learning opportunities open

The Manchester School District wants to hear from parents, students and staff to better understand how effectively it is communicating higher level learning opportunities to students and their families.

Higher level learning opportunities include honors level (Level 3) and Advanced Placement (Level 4) courses, the Manchester Community College’s Running Start program, and Southern New Hampshire University’s Dual Enrollment Program (a/k/a College in the High School).

We are proud that our high schools are offering more AP courses than ever before, and enrollment in those classes has increased by nearly 50% over the past few years, from about 900 students to more than 1,350. There is an ongoing effort in every high school by teachers and counselors who see the potential in their students to recruit them for AP courses.

Responses to this voluntary survey will help the school district determine the success and challenges of those efforts. We encourage all students in grades 8-12 and their parents/guardians to complete the appropriate survey below by Friday, June 9.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Smyth Road Elementary School earns national healthy school recognition

Smyth Road and school district staff, students, and Mayor Gatsas pose with
the HealthierUS bronze award banner 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that Smyth Road Elementary School has earned a bronze HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms award. Smyth Road is the fourth in Manchester and joins the ranks of an elite group of schools across the country recognized for excellence in their integration of health, nutrition and fitness education. Only about 7% of the nation’s schools have achieved bronze, silver, gold, or gold of distinction HealthierUS status.

In 2016, Hillside and McLaughlin middle schools both received bronze awards; Beech Street Elementary School earned a silver award last year.

The HealthierUS challenge is a key component of a national initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. Schools participating in the challenge voluntarily adopt USDA standards for food they serve at their schools, agree to provide nutrition education, and provide opportunities for physical activity.

To celebrate Smyth Road Elementary School's accomplishment, a representative from the USDA presented MSD School Food and Nutrition Services director Jim Connors, school administrators and staff with a banner and plaque.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How Breakthrough Manchester opened the door to opportunity

Breakthrough Manchester, a tuition-free academic enrichment program for middle school students, recently held its annual Back to Summer breakfast to celebrate the start of the upcoming season. Students who apply and are selected to participate in Breakthrough Manchester begin the program after 6th grade and spend three summers taking rigorous classes.

Once students complete their three year middle school Breakthrough commitment, they are able to continue with the tuition-free College Bound program at Southern New Hampshire University. Designed to support students in high school, the College Bound program is rolling out the supports for ninth graders this school year.

Memorial High School Senior Selina Nwikina spoke at this year's Back to Summer breakfast about her experience and the impact of Breakthrough Manchester on her life. Selina's remarks are posted here with her permission.

I have been a part of Breakthrough for five years. Quite honestly, it does not feel like that at all. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in the Bakersville library learning about Breakthrough from Kate and Trevor, the directors at the time. I will be honest with you, from that first presentation I was not that interested. Mostly because I spent my summers at Copper Cannon Camp and playing with friends from my neighborhood. If I went to summer school then I wouldn't be able to do those things.

Then, Mrs. Mancuso, my fifth grade teacher told me it would help me become a better student, allowing me to work on my writing and excel further in math. Those are the two things that meant the most to me. And I soon began to realize that if I really wanted to become something great, I would have to work for it. Even if that meant giving up six weeks in the summer. I always loved going to school anyway, so what was six more weeks? I figured I would take the opportunity to hone in on my strengths and my weaknesses, and maybe I could be faster at math and better at writing. You see, math was easy for me but writing on the other hand not so much. In fifth grade, we started writing persuasive essays and it was challenging. I remember one time I wrote a persuasive letter to my mom begging for a cat. Until I realized it was not any different from me asking her in person, I included the normal ten pleases and the “I’ll even change its litter box.” In case you were curious, the essay did not work. Even as a fifth grader, I may not have had long term goals such as college. But I knew I wanted to be the best student I could be. And with that always in the back of mind, I worked hard on my application.

The day I found out I was accepted into Breakthrough was one of the most life changing moments in my life. After all, it led to be where I am today. Breakthrough not only paved the way for me to become one of the top students in my class but also it changed my character for the better. Being part of Breakthrough also helped me attend Phillips Exeter Summer School in 2015 on a full scholarship. My summer there was amazing. I made new friends from every corner of the world, I tried foods that I had never heard of before, and I studied strange sea creatures. That summer was one I will never forget, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have found myself on a level I thought I would never reach. Meanwhile, both Breakthrough and Exeter Summer School made the transition from middle to high school that much easier.

Now that I am in high school, it means so much more to me to be an outstanding student. I am taking level four and AP classes, I have two jobs, and I volunteer with my local parish. One thing I am extremely grateful to have learned from Breakthrough is time management. Otherwise, I may not have made it the past two months, which have been filled with studying for different exams, preparing for presentations, and working many hours. I got it all done but, it took a lot of energy and effort. And for that I am grateful to have a skill set that allowed me to push myself past what I thought I ever could achieve. Time management is one of the most useful skills one can apply to their education. Another concept that I still use in various situations, is “dare to be different.” That was the theme of my first Breakthrough summer in 2012. And since then, I know what makes me different from everyone around me and I embrace it everyday. After that summer, I finally understand how to answer the question “What makes you different?”

After my years at Breakthrough, I found out about another program that is very similar; UNH Upward Bound. This program for me was the best next step I could have taken. And now I am a part of two amazing educational programs that have changed my life and so many other kids just like me. One thing I do have to say is Breakthrough really did teach me that “if you believe it you can achieve it!”

Manchester schools in the news

NHPR reporter Jason Moon recently visited two elementary schools and spoke with teachers there, as well as Dr. Vargas about some of the challenges our district faces. Listen to the story online.

A Christian Science Monitor reporter spent a lot of time at the Manchester School of Technology this spring, talking to students and teachers about the hands-on programs. You can watch and read that story here.

McLaughlin Middle School is in its second year of a 7th and 8th grade STEAM-focused curriculum. The program was featured in an online blog of education consultants, impressed by what they saw.

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.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Parks & Recreation is hiring for the summer

The city is looking for applicants for pool checkers and Fun in the Sun counselors. Pool checkers must be at least 14 years old and completed 8th grade. Counselors for Fun in the Sun must be 18 or older.

Interested? Fill out an application and return it to Human Resources at City Hall.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Seeking exchange student host families

MANEX, the citywide high school exchange program created by the Office of the Mayor in 1983, is currently looking for Manchester families to host a German student for about three weeks in the fall of 2017.

German students usually arrive in October, attend school with host students, and are interested in everyday American family life.  It is a fabulous opportunity for college readiness skills and to get to know a student from Europe!

Manchester students from Central, Memorial and West high schools then travel in the spring to Neustadt and der Weinstrasse in Germany. They attend our sister school, visit historical and cultural locations, meet with local officials, live with a local student's family, practice world language skills, and make lifelong friendships.

Students interested in hosting and/or travel applications for the 2017-2018 should contact their school's German teacher or Ms. Witkowski at for more information.

Summer school positions posted

We are looking for teachers and paraprofessionals to staff our summer programs.
Please apply online!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Registration open for 12th annual National Arts Program

Art will be back on the wall at City Hall this summer, with an exhibition of works by City and School District employees, retirees, elected officials, volunteers, and their immediate family members.

The 12th annual National Arts Program contest is designed to give artists of ALL skill levels the opportunity to display their work and to compete for cash prizes for up to $400.00! You could also win a continuing art education award, tickets to upcoming SNHU Arena events, and many more exciting prizes.

Artists can register online or print and fill out this form before June 2, then deliver their pieces to the mayor's office at City Hall June 21, 22 or 23, between the hours of from 9 am and 4 pm.

All of the art will be on exhibit at City Hall from Friday, July 7 through Tuesday, August 29.

The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, July 27 at the Manchester City Library on Pine Street, starting at 5:30 pm. A reception will follow on the first floor of City Hall, 6:30-7:30 pm.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Manchester kindergarten teacher in the running for NH Teacher of the Year

Shauna Webber with Dept of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut
at the Teacher of the Year nomination ceremony
The 2018 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year won't be announced until September, but the selection process is underway.

Congratulations to Manchester's semi-finalist, Smyth Road Elementary School kindergarten teacher Shauna Webber!

The selection process is a rigorous one.  Representatives from the state Teacher of the Year Committee will visit Smyth Road next month to observe Mrs. Webber in class, and interview her, her colleagues, students, parents and supervisors. She will find out in June if she's a finalist.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Registration is Open for MSD Summer School 2017

Summer Academy
Manchester Academy’s summer school program is encouraged for students of all abilities in grades 6-12. It helps those who are interested in further enriching themselves academically, and benefits those in need of credit recovery or additional support.

Manchester School District Summer School runs Monday through Friday, 8 to 10:40 for block one and 11 to 1:40 for block two. The program will take place at Manchester high School West.

Dates: June 20 to July14 and there is no school on Monday, July3rd or Tuesday, July 4th.
with the holiday.

QUESTIONS? Contact the director: Ms. Hansen-Proulx at or 624-6356 x1211. Visit for registration forms and more information.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New school feeder pattern approved

The Board of School Committee last night voted to approve Dr. Vargas's recommendation for a
a revised feeder pattern among Manchester’s schools. The new plan determines which middle and high schools a student will attend based on his or her elementary school. It will be implemented for the next school year, starting in September 2017.

While the current feeder pattern splits groups of students from some single elementary schools between multiple secondary schools, the changes streamline neighborhood school assignments so that all graduating students from one elementary school move on to the same middle and high schools. Not all elementary schools are impacted by the new feeder pattern, which is illustrated below.

The exception to the single feeder school system is Beech Street School, where half the students will attend Southside Middle School and the other half McLaughlin, as they do now. Under the new plan, all former Beech Street students from both of those middle schools will reunite at Central High School.    

Another approved change affects a small group of students who currently attend McDonough Elementary School but live on and around the north end of Mammoth Road closer to Smyth Road Elementary School.  Assigning those children to Smyth Road eventually will eliminate a bus route and allow class sizes to be more evenly distributed.
What families need to know right now:
  • Current 5th grade students will attend their assigned feeder middle schools in September.
  • All students currently attending a middle school will stay where they are but may request to transfer to the new feeder pattern middle school. 
  • Any students with older siblings at a non-feeder pattern middle school may attend that school with the older siblings and will receive transportation through the 2019/20 school year. 
  • McDonough students in grades K-1 and new students of all grades who live in the affected Mammoth Road area will walk to Smyth Road Elementary School.
  • A crossing guard will be assigned at Kennard Rd. and Mammoth Rd.
  • Older siblings at McDonough may choose to attend Smyth Road, depending on space availability.
  • Students in grades 2-5 will continue to be bused to McDonough but may request to transfer to Smyth Road. 
  • The bus to McDonough will continue to run through the 2020/21 school year.

Friday, April 14, 2017

MST FIRST Robotics Team 6763 announces SilverTech $2,500 grant matching challenge

SilverTech, a digital marketing and technology company based in Manchester, NH, has offered a $2,500 grant matching challenge to the students of MST's FIRST Robotics Team 6763. SilverTech will match any gifts, donations, grants and fundraising initiatives that the students secure between April 10 and the end of business day on April 17.

“We were very impressed with the students who came to the SilverTech office to present their corporate sponsorship request,” said Nick Soggu, President & CEO of SilverTech. “Through the FIRST robotic competitions, these students are not only learning about applied STEAM programs, they are also developing valuable business skills. Skills like marketing, branding, communicating effectively, and developing a business plan.”

“We’ve never had a sponsor put a grant matching challenge in front of us,” said fundraising team lead Alycia Ashby. “But we’ve overcome so many other hurdles this year, I’m confident the team will rise to this challenge, too! We got this.”

All money will be used to fund the team’s travel and hotel costs to the FIRST World Championship robotics competition held in St. Louis, MO, later this month. The team qualified for the World Championship this past weekend, at the New England Regionals, where they came in 20th place out of 64 teams. The top 32 teams were eligible to advance to the World Competition, along with teams from Central and West high schools.

Other MST FIRST Team 6763 corporate sponsors include Rotary Club of Manchester NH, Brady-Sullivan, Corfin LLC, Ben & Jerry’s, Sousa Signs, PAR Electronics, Force Monkey Labs, and St. Mary’s Bank.

Please consider sponsoring FIRST Team 6763 now -- your contributions will go twice as far! For more information, please contact 6763 Fundraising Mentor Shannon Larson by email ( or call 603-624-6490.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Donation from local bank enhances learning

People’s United Bank has donated one 3D printer to each of three Manchester schools to enhance STEAM education. Webster Elementary School, the Middle School at Parkside, and McLaughlin Middle School will use the printers, together worth $10,000, as valuable tools for more projects that integrate science, technology, engineering, arts and math into everyday learning.

“We attended a summit hosted by the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership a couple of years ago and were very impressed with the industries represented and the work they do,” said Dianne Mercier, president of People’s United Bank in New Hampshire. “That experience inspired us to think about how we could contribute to education in those fields and, ultimately, a skilled workforce.”

To introduce the printer and its capabilities to students, the Middle School at Parkside is hosting an innovation and design contest. Students are invited to submit ideas for a new product or improvement upon an existing object that could be created with the brand new MakerBot Replicator+. Contest entries so far range from a medical alert bracelet to a cup holder extender to a car with peddles. The contest ends on April 17.

In the meantime, some of Parkside’s sixth and eighth grade art students are working on projects that use different mediums for the same design. First, they sculpted clay into their chosen figures, including a turtle and a cupcake.  The students then used the 3D design software to replicate those objects and print them.

Almost every student experienced false starts, errors and design breakthroughs – all part of the learning process.  They will share what they’ve learned with Mercier and others during a showcase of their work to officially thank People’s United Bank for its generous donation on behalf of all three recipient schools.

“We welcome every opportunity to partner with the business community,” said Manchester School District superintendent Bolgen Vargas. “We very much appreciate People’s United Bank’s contribution to education because we can do so much more by working together.”

Central teacher named national science advocate

A Central High School science teacher is on a list of 45 Advocates named by The Society for Science & the Public. As an Advocate, Ellen Tourigny will work to expand opportunities for underserved students to compete and succeed in science research competition. A $100,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and a $150,000 grant from Arconic Foundation will help to fund the Advocate program.

The Advocate Grant Program seeks to open the door to scientific research for underserved students, many of whom are unaware of or unable to take advantage of science fair competitions. The Society’s Advocates help their students navigate the sometimes complicated processes involved in entering science research competitions.

“Science competitions support and nurture a pipeline of talented, science-minded young people. Through the Society for Science & the Public’s Advocate Grant Program we are increasing the diversity of ideas and backgrounds that compose that critical pipeline,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News.

Students who compete in science competitions come away with important life skills, including learning how to write a research paper and how to present that work to peers and judges. These competitions provide students with presentation and oratory skills, inspire confidence, lead them to a potential career in science and boost the chances of admission to college and scholarships.

In addition to a $3,000 stipend, Advocates receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the Advocate Training Institute where they receive additional training and support from Society staff. Throughout their term, Advocates continue to connect with one another and with Society staff through regular conference calls as well as through an online community.

Tourigny is the only teacher Advocate from New Hampshire.

Society for Science & the Public is dedicated to the achievement of young scientists in independent research and to public engagement in science. Established in 1921, Society is a nonprofit whose vision is to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its world-class competitions, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its award-winning magazine, Science News and Science News for Students, Society for Science & the Public is committed to inform, educate, and inspire. Learn more at

Kids Caring for Kids impacts 200 children in need

The Kids Caring for Kids student group at Saint Catherine of Siena School brainstormed, planned, created, and facilitated the distribution of 200 drawstring backpacks filled with goodies to support children in the Manchester School District who are identified as displaced or homeless.

Kids Caring for Kids is a project that was suggested by a student to the principal in 2015. John “JJ” Thomas had a dream to give back after the community supported his family when his mother fought and beat breast cancer. John knew that the students at St. Catherine of Siena School would help him to realize the desire to serve others.

With the support of a generous grant from the Diocesan Rice Bowl Grant, a donation from Mayor Gatsas, and private donations, the students assembled 200 drawstring backpacks filled with snacks, water bottle, toothbrush and tooth paste, small toys, a book, a craft, and a teddy bear. The packages include a penguin gift tag that was individually colored and designed by the children. Each tag expresses a note of encouragement for the receiver.

The Kids Caring for Kids effort has grown every year. The children donated 100 packages in 2015, 144 packages in 2016, and 200 in 2017.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bike drive will benefit fifth graders

The Life of the Little Green Athlete program held a bike drive in partnership with the QC Bike collective. They collected 69 donated bikes that will be refurbished by QC Collective and donated to the Earn a Bike program for eligible 5th graders at Beech Street and Gossler Park elementary students in May, along with a new helmet. 

More than 60 CHS students participated in the drive.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Key dates in redistricting proposal process set

Superintendent Bolgen Vargas is considering feedback from community members before making a final redistricting recommendation to the Board of School Committee on Monday, April 10.

The proposal will be phase I, after the Board of School Committee voted last November to approve several parameters to guide Dr. Vargas in the redistricting process:
●          Use a phased-in approach that starts with a feeder pattern;
●          Be mindful of budget implications; and
●          Consider external and internal community engagement

Parents, teachers and community members have attended a series of ten public forums to ask questions and offer input on a draft proposal that includes a revised feeder pattern among Manchester’s schools. While the current system splits groups of students from some single elementary schools between multiple secondary schools, proposed changes would streamline neighborhood school assignments so that all graduating students from one elementary school move on to the same middle and high schools.

A more predictable feeder pattern will help schools foster a stronger continuity of programs between grade levels. Children also will be able to maintain strong relationships throughout their school years instead of being separated from friends. In addition, parents would know with confidence which schools their children will attend based on home elementary school instead of street address.

Dr. Vargas will present final recommendations for phase I of redistricting to the full school board at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 10 at 7:00 pm. No vote will be taken at that time.

On Tuesday, April 11, the Special Committee on Redistricting will hold its meeting and hear public comment on Dr. Vargas's final proposal. The meeting will take place at Southside Middle School at 6:30 pm.

A special meeting of the full Board of School Committee to vote on the superintendent’s redistricting plan will be held on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:00 pm.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

GMCC makes McLaughlin the first stop on its tour of Manchester schools

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce aims to deepen the engagement between the business community and the Manchester School District in 2017.
Specifically, the Chamber hopes to better promote the success stories of the Manchester School District happening every day to ensure members of our community have a balanced and informed view of our schools.
Recently, the GMCC Education Committee hosted the first in an ongoing series of tours at various schools in Manchester at McLaughlin Middle School. The tour provided business leaders the opportunity to meet school administrators, teachers, students, and learn about the exciting and innovative programs being offered, aimed at improving educational outcomes and introducing students to future workforce opportunities.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

MPDHH students compete in academic bowl

Margaret Reekie, coach; Todd Higgins, director; Ramone Tirado Valez, Central HS;
Rebecca Bailey, Memorial HS; Roberta J. Cordano, president of Gallaudet University;
Ashley Durham, Memorial HS;
Brandon LaJoie, MST; Lori Mclaren, coach; Kathy Vesey, retired  director
High school students in Manchester's Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing participated in the 20th Annual East Regional Academic Bowl in Maryland last month. Sponsored by Gallaudet University, the Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing High School students was established with the goal of fostering the pursuit of academic excellence, promoting a spirit of academic competition and sportsmanship, and providing social opportunities for the development of collegiality and lifelong friendships.

The four students representing Manchester won five of their nine matches! Ashley Durham, a junior from Memorial, received one of the six "All Star Player" awards.  We are so proud of her and all the players' efforts during the competition.

The team also had the opportunity to meet with Gallaudet University president Roberta J. Cordano and a university admissions counselor to discuss their future plans and all the opportunities available to them at Gallaudet.

The Academic Bowl experience allows our students to see the world of possibilities in transitioning from high school to higher education or career.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2017/18 academic calendar approved

The Board of School Committee has approved the calendar for the 2017/18 school year.

Some dates to note:
  • First day of school for grades K-12 -
    Tuesday, September 5, 2017
  • First day of school for preschool -
    Friday, September 8, 2017
  • Vacation weeks -
    • December 25, 2017 - January 1, 2018
    • February 26 - March 2, 2018
    • April 23-27, 2018
  • Last day of school -
    Tuesday, June 12, 2018