Friday, November 17, 2017

New Gossler Park Elementary School playground complete

The City of Manchester Parks and Recreation Department, Manchester Health Department, and the
Gossler Park Elementary School are excited to announce that the new Gossler Park School’s
Neighborhood Playground has finally become a reality. As part of the Manchester Community Schools Project and the Manchester Neighborhood Health Improvement Strategy, the Manchester Health Department started working on this project several years ago in partnership with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission who crafted a health impact assessment. The assessment, which was funded by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, aims to redesign the Gossler Park School campus to support health, recreation, and safety.

Subsequently, to support the campus redesign, the Health Department received an anonymous donation of $35,000 that was also funded through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. This donation was further matched by funding from the Manchester School District, and an additional $15,000 was awarded by the Cogswell Benevolent Trust. With this funding in place, the plans began to take shape.

The Health Department then partnered with the Parks, Recreation & Cemeteries Department. Through this collaboration, the playground project was selected to receive a $35,000 play space grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company. Known as the Meet Me at the Park initiative, this investment supports NRPA and Disney’s combined goal of
providing one million kids and families with greater access to play.

“NRPA is proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company to help more children and families experience the benefits of play,” said Kellie May, NRPA director of health and wellness. “By increasing access to play spaces, this program will also provide new activities that support healthy lifestyles in local communities.”

The new playground includes many innovative play structures designed specifically for inclusion and a broad range of ages from early childhood to upper elementary.

“We were looking for a few signature pieces where all kids could be excited about playing on the playground,” said Don Pinard, Chief of Parks.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous donations that have made this project possible,” said Lori
Upham, principal of Gossler Park Elementary School. “The children and families of the neighborhood deserve a safe place that supports play for everyone, and as a Community School, Gossler Park is excited to be known as a neighborhood destination for all families.”

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Presentation on the Benefits of School Breakfast

Eating breakfast can have a positive impact on a student’s success in school. New Hampshire is one of ten states in the country with the lowest participation in the National School Breakfast Program. Please Join the Manchester School District Wellness Council and help make sure all kids get a strong start to their day and a solid academic foundation.

WHEN: November 14, 2017 at 3:15 PM
WHERE: Manchester School of Technology, 530 So. Porter St.
WHO: Parents, Teachers, Administrators...everyone!
QUESTIONS? Please contact Sue Sheehy at

school breakfast presentation

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Manchester students get hands-on experience at the STEM Discovery Lab

High school students in the Agnes Lindsay STEM Fellowship Program through UNH Manchester are getting a chance to see what the STEM fields have to offer, while receiving high school credits toward graduation.

Read about how the STEM Fellowship Program is making a big impact on our students!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Crew of the USS Manchester visits Queen City

The naval ship USS Manchester, named after New Hampshire’s largest city, will officially be commissioned next April. In preparation, some of the crew of the navy’s newest Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-14), visited the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (NJROTC) program at West High School.

NJROTC cadets, under the leadership of Captain Arthur Stauff and Master Gunnery Sergeant Ronald Slagle, gave a presentation on their unit. During the school-wide assembly, West High School students showcased a history of Manchester and of the school. Performances by the West High School band added to the event’s pomp and circumstance.

This is the second ship in the U.S. Navy to be named after Manchester, New Hampshire. The first USS Manchester, a light cruiser that primarily operated in the Pacific during the Korean War, was commissioned in 1946. It was decommissioned in 1956.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Grant will fund innovation plan for West High School

West High School principal Rick Dichard; Diane Fitzpatrick, CEO Boys & Girls Club of Manchester;
Mike Skelton, president & CEO, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce;
Susan Huard, president, Manchester Community College; Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bolgen Vargas;
Mayor Ted Gatsas; Alex Walker, Chief Operating Officer, Catholic Medical Center

Manchester School District (MSD) has received $300,000 from the Barr Foundation to support plans to transform West High School into a competency-based, student-centered learning model of education.

Based in Boston, the Barr Foundation directs its investments to nonprofit organizations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to connect all students to success in high school and beyond.

The funds from this grant will help MSD and its partners, including the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester and other local agencies and businesses, develop a plan to transform five key areas of the West High School experience: out of school learning; personalization; college and career preparation; student support and family engagement; and school culture. These components will provide all students the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for post-secondary success.

“Educators across the country recognize the need for new approaches to instruction in the 21st century,” said Dr. Bolgen Vargas, superintendent of schools. “We have seen the benefits of student-centered learning, and West High School provides us a great opportunity to replicate that success, for the first time, on a large scale school-wide.”

This initiative will engage every West student by enhancing existing programs, such as STEAM Ahead NH, access to college courses, and internships for extended learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom.  Because of early discussions about applying for the Barr Foundation grant, teachers and students are actively pursuing a career-shadowing collaboration with Catholic Medical Center.

As the primary community partner, the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester will coordinate all local partnership activities through a Community Advisory group.

Redesigning an educational model takes careful planning, time, and resources. MSD will be working with two widely recognized organizations, Center for Collaborative Education (CCE) and Big Picture Learning (BPL), to support this planning phase. Both have significant experience in facilitating the kind of transformation Manchester hopes to accomplish.

CCE and BPL will bring their collective resources and assistance to every aspect of the planning phase, including coordinating design and solution team meetings, conducting focus groups, and helping to write the redesign implementation plan.  Their advisement will provide the school district with the guidance and capacity to successfully achieve its vision for West High School.

Manchester School District anticipates completing the plan by the end of December 2018 and will devote the subsequent six months to piloting select redesign components. Full redesign implementation will take place in September 2019.

Monday, October 30, 2017

A message from Dr. Vargas on the decision to close school

Dear Manchester School District families and staff,

We recognize that the timing of this morning’s announcement to close Manchester public schools was inconvenient for many families who were on their way to school or work.  The results of last night’s storm and the time to collect and assess information complicated some of the coordination that takes place when we decide to close or delay school.

Unlike during a winter storm when the impact on the city is sometimes easier to evaluate all at once, reports about power outages at several schools today came in at different times. The outage at Beech Street Elementary School had the most serious effect, because that is where all of the meals for 13 out of 14 elementary school are prepared. The decision to cancel school came when we determined the district-wide impact.

We understand that some students were waiting at bus stops or had already been picked up. Manchester Transportation Authority successfully implemented our emergency plan to ensure students’ safety in a situation like this. Every child was returned home and never in danger of being left alone. For high school students whose bus cards were punched today, tomorrow morning’s ride to school will be free of charge.

As we always do after an emergency situation, our administrative team will review internal procedures and look at ways we can improve.

Dr. Bolgen Vargas
Superintendent of Schools

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Amy Allen named assistant superintendent of elementary education & innovation

Superintendent Bolgen Vargas has named Amy Allen as the new Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education & Innovation in Manchester. The Board of School Committee approved the appointment at Monday night’s meeting.

Allen began working in the district in 2009. She was assistant principal of student services at Hillside Middle School before moving to her most recent position of principal at Parker-Varney Elementary School in 2013.  During her time at Parker-Varney, Allen focused on raising achievement for all students, closing the achievement gap, preparing students for college and career, and providing supports for her faculty and staff to accomplish those goals.

Parker-Varney received the 2015 Elementary School of Excellence EDie Award from the New Hampshire Excellence in Education committee. In 2016, the school was recognized by the National Principals Leadership Institute with the School Innovation and Change Award. Parker-Varney has received national attention this year for establishing multi-grade classrooms for effective instruction.

“Ms. Allen has an excellent reputation for collaboration and for using innovative and transformative approaches to education to help students succeed,” said Dr. Vargas. “That’s the kind of 21st century leadership we want in Manchester to continue the progress we’re making. With community-wide support, she will help us to achieve our goal of becoming the best urban district in New England and the nation.”

As the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education & Innovation, Allen will work to help all of Manchester’s grades K-12 schools enhance project-based, personalized learning.

“My passion is working with people, especially those who are committed to educating children,” said Allen. “I am excited for the opportunity to use my strengths in the areas of innovation and deeper learning to benefit students across the district.”

Parker-Varney’s assistant principal will serve as acting principal of the school until a permanent principal is named.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Applications for family assistance from the Salvation Army

Manchester paraprofessional nominated as a "life changer"

Longtime paraprofessional Gail Dubois of Highland-Goffe's Fall's Elementary School has been nominated by principal Susan Matthews to receive a LifeChanger of the Year award.

LifeChanger of the Year, sponsored and organized by National Life Group and the National Life Group Foundation, is an annual program recognizing K-12 educators and school employees across the country. The program celebrates those who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

We first met Mrs. Dubois when we visited Highland last winter to meet her therapy dog, Remington.

Mrs. Dubois has done amazing things for her students. Read the full nomination online.

Manchester has many life changers. In 2016, Parker-Varney Elementary School social worker Ginger Drechsel was nominated for the same award. Good luck, Mrs. Dubois!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Operation Warm underway

Manchester Firefighters for Operation Warm are on a mission to provide brand-new, USA-made coats to children in need in our city. Hundreds of them are students in Manchester's schools.

Since 2012, IAFF Firefighters have provided more than 200,000 coats nationwide to children who need them the most, providing a gift of warmth in the communities our firefighters protect.

This is not a coat drive, but rather a fundraising effort to allow the firefighters to purchase the coats.

Can you help? Click HERE to donate.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Dr. Martin first-ever recipient of Partner in Education award

The Manchester Education Association has named assistant superintendent Dr. Christine Martin the recipient of its new Partner in Education Award, as voted on unanimously by the MEA executive board.

Dr. Martin was honored for always making students her highest priority -- as a teacher, principal, and administrator.

In presenting Dr. Martin with the award, MEA president Sue Hannan said, "Chris has always preferred to collaborate rather than argue, and looks for creative ways to solve problems. She is that rare gem who attended school in the Manchester School District, and followed her calling to succeed at every level of educator in the district where she learned to love school."

Dr. Martin will celebrate 30 years in the Manchester School District in 2018.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

WZID's first-ever Teacher of the Month is one of ours

Congratulations to Mrs. Whitney, fifth grade teacher at Green Acres Elementary School, who was named WZID's Teacher of the Month for September! She was nominated by the parent of a former student. Marga and Neil surprised Mrs. Whitney with the apple trophy at school. Thank you, WZID, for recognizing hard-working and dedicated educators!

Lights On Afterschool celebration: October 25 and 26

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Principal Brennan named deputy commissioner of education

Beech Street Elementary School principal Christine Brennan will be sworn in as New Hampshire’s deputy commissioner of education. Her nomination by Governor Chris Sununu was confirmed unanimously by the Executive Council.

Brennan is in her 31st year in the Manchester School District, beginning when she was hired in 1987 to teach first grade at Wilson Elementary School. She was in that role for 20 years, then worked as a literacy specialist there from 2007 until 2010. As an administrator, Brennan served as assistant principal at Wilson and Jewett Street elementary schools before arriving at Beech Street in the same position in 2012. She has been principal of Beech Street since March of 2014.

“Christine has worked with some of our most challenged students with the singular focus of helping them thrive,” said N.H. Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut. “I and everyone at the DOE look forward to working with her to create more opportunities for our students that meet their individual learning styles and help them reach high levels of achievement.”

Brennan’s time at Beech Street is highlighted by technology improvements, renovations that included putting up walls to close off the open concept classrooms of generations ago, and moving students and faculty into the so-called “academy model” of instruction -- creating small schools within the larger school to enhance personalized learning and relationships.

“As educators, we play a critical part in children’s lives, and all of the dedicated, hard-working professionals in the Manchester School District do a wonderful job of putting kids first,” said Brennan. “Now I have an opportunity to make sure children across the state receive a quality education.”

“We thank Ms. Brennan for her three decades of service to our district,” said Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas. “She will be a great asset to the Department of Education, and we look forward to working with her in a different capacity to serve our students.”

Brennan received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Bridgewater State College, a master’s in reading and writing from Plymouth State University, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in educational leadership, also from Plymouth State University.

Brennan will begin her duties in Concord this month.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Professional learning: Advancing STEM education

Led by The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) and partnering with Granite State College and the NH Dept. of Education, a project called “School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning” (SLASL) is in its third year of creating curriculum that supports standards-aligned STEM resources, learning, and literacy standards.

Memorial High School science teacher Caitlin Gately and library media specialist Linda Hedrick are participating in the project with other New Hampshire school librarians and STEM teacher fellows. The focus of the project is to support STEM resources and learning by developing curriculum on standards-aligned STEM inquiry and literacy standards.

Caitlin and Linda collaborated to create a unit of lessons titled "Recombinant DNA in Genetically Modified Organisms" using open educational resources that focused on text-based inquiry in STEM, science literacy skills, and library research. They also created an interactive electronic notebook that each student received containing the unit. The students worked in small groups to complete the lessons and then prepared presentations on their chosen topics.

The unit will soon be published in ISKME’s digital library of high quality, open and freely available lessons created by educators. Supporting many curriculum areas, teachers are encouraged to go to the OER Commons website to find and use lessons that may be adapted for use.

Manchester selected as model of education reform

Educators from Brazil are looking to New Hampshire for help reforming their home country’s system of education to better serve students. The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire has arranged for the group to tour Manchester School of Technology, where they will learn how competency-based classes support students’ mastery of knowledge and skills.

The delegation from Brazil is part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, a professional development exchange administered by the U.S. Department of State. A recent article in Christian Science Monitor caught the eye of State Department officials, who wanted to select the right location in the U.S. for their Brazilian visitors to focus on. The tour of MST is scheduled for October 5.

“They are very interested in how Manchester School of Technology is reinventing the idea of what high school can provide to students,” said Dr. Bolgen Vargas, Superintendent of Schools. “We look forward to sharing what we do in Manchester that could drive change on an international scale.”

Reminder about dropping off and picking up your children from school

We are asking for your help in keeping our children safe during school arrival and dismissal times. Each school has drop-off and pick-up procedures for those who drive their children to and from school. Parents and guardians who are unsure of the proper procedures are encouraged to ask their schools for clarification. Please abide by those rules and obey the posted signs that indicate where cars are not allowed to stop or park on the street.

Many students walk to school, and the procedures are intended to keep traffic around our school buildings flowing in a safe and organized way.

The Manchester Police Department is aware of the challenges some schools face in enforcing drop-off and pick-up procedures. You might see officers providing assistance with directing drivers to their designated areas.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and continued cooperation on this important student safety issue.

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.