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 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Revised schedule for redistricting forums announced

Three more opportunities for the community to weigh in on a school redistricting proposal in Manchester have been scheduled. Superintendent Bolgen Vargas and Board of School Committee member Leslie Want are presenting the components of the first phase of redistricting to address some of the school district’s enrollment and space utilization challenges.

Public forums are being held over the next two weeks at the schools where many families would be impacted if the changes are implemented. Hallsville, Weston and Wilson elementary schools have been added to schedule of dates on April 3 and 5.

The Manchester 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

The proposal includes a revised feeder pattern among Manchester’s schools, determining which middle and high schools a student will attend based on his or her elementary school. While the current feeder pattern splits groups of students from some single elementary schools between multiple secondary schools, the proposed changes streamline neighborhood school assignments so that all graduating students from one elementary school move on to the same middle and high schools.

The proposed changes impact the highest numbers of students at Bakersville, Hallsville, Weston and Wilson elementary schools. Other elementary schools, including Gossler Park, Northwest, and Parker-Varney on the West side,  Green Acres, Highland-Goffe’s Falls, Jewett Street, Smyth Road, and Webster, would see very little or no change in their students’ subsequent middle and high schools.

“An established, clear feeder pattern system fosters better continuity of programs and supports as students proceed from one grade level to the next,” said Dr. Vargas. “It also provides more predictability, based on school instead of street address, for families as their children move through the district.”
The exception to the single feeder school system in the proposal 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 proposal, all former Beech Street students from both of those middle schools will reunite at Central High School.   

Another proposed 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 will eliminate a bus route and allow class sizes to be more evenly distributed.

The public forums will provide feedback and input in advance of a final proposal that will be recommended to the full Board of School Committee for approval. Any plan that is approved will be implemented in September 2017. The full, updated schedule of the public forums is available online at

Memorial High School artist wins statewide student contest

Congratulations to Memorial High School Sophomore Nhi Pham, who won the New Hampshire Art Educators' Youth Art Month Student Competition!

Her pottery piece, "Nature’s Reflection," earned top honors in the high school division of all statewide entries. Nhi received a cash award and her pottery teacher, Lori Sweeney, received $300 in art supplies for the students at Memorial.

Student work from across New Hampshire will be on display this month at Plymouth State University’s Silver Center for the Arts. A public reception is on March 26, 1-3 pm.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

MST High School’s FIRST Robotics team takes top honors

Manchester School of Technology’s FIRST Robotics team came home victorious from the New England District Greater Boston competition, just weeks after the first-ever team at MST was established. Team 6763 placed third on its own, then captained the alliance team that won first place in another part of the competition. In addition, Team 6763 received the Rookie Highest Seed Award for scoring the highest points in a match and the Rookie All-Star Award.

A generous grant from the FIRST Foundation helped get Team 6763 started in January. 2 Mentors and a few parents volunteered to coach the 25 students, and several MST staff members are helping out as well. The team then faced a February 26 deadline to create a working robot for its debt competition on March 3. Coming in 21st place but excelling in certain functions and learning lessons along the way earned the team the Rookie Inspiration Award.

MST’s Career and Technical Education program allowed Team 6763 to make use of its many resources including advanced CNC machining, welding, and CAD design.

“Preparing for competition is a student-driven operation,” said FIRST Robotics Team 6763 coach Andrew Nicholas. “The team’s collaborative prototyping process and approach to building their designing, engineering, mechanical, and technical skills make them factored into their achievements as 21st century thinkers.”

In addition to all of their hard work on the field, Team 6763 is reaching out to the community to help grow the younger FIRST community. Students have shared their learning experience with children at Manchester Police Athletic League.

The most recent results from Boston put Team 6763 in third place in New England. Up next is another district-level event at UNH on April 6-9.  From there, if MST’s students are the highest scoring rookie team or place high enough to gain enough merit points, they will qualify for the World Championship in St. Louis, MO, on April 26. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Get Moving, Manchester" helps kids learn healthy habits

For the 16th year, schools are participating in Get Moving, Manchester to encourage students to establish and maintain healthy lifestyle choices. The voluntary program for children in grades three through six focuses on nutrition and physical activity now through April 14.

Students use a Get Moving, Manchester log 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.
“We know that healthy bodies in school are as important as healthy minds,” said Manchester School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas. “This a great way to help our children learn exercise and eating habits that will serve them well through life.”
Highland-Goffe's Falls Elementary School
was last year's Get Moving, Manchester winner for
grades 3-5.

Participating Get Moving, Manchester students will have a chance to win prizes when they complete 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 are eligible to win a grand prize raffle.

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

At the end of the four weeks, Mayor Ted Gatsas and Dr. Vargas will present trophies to the elementary and middle schools with the highest rates of participation.

“We’re grateful to our community partners that make Get Moving, Manchester possible,” said Mayor Gatsas. “I hope all of our eligible students and their families take the opportunity to participate. I’m looking forward to congratulating our students on their healthy accomplishments.’

McLaughlin Middle School and Highland-Goffe’s Falls Elementary School were the 2016 Get Moving, Manchester winners.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Central student wins prestigious art award

Congratulations to Central High School senior Jenna Ryan, who has been named a National Scholastic Art Award winner for her illustration "Talkin' 'Bout My Generation."

Under the guidance of teacher Corey Doherty, Jenna's work received a gold key award at the state level, then a silver medal in the drawing and illustration category among all state winners across the nation. National Medalists are recognized in part at the national ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Past winners of this prestigious award include Andy Warhol, who was also a winner in high school.

Parking changes on and around South Jewett Street go into effect on March 27

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Registration dates announced for 2017-18 school year

The dates and times for children and parents to register in person for the next school year are now available. Please note that one evening date and time has been scheduled, and students across the city can register there, regardless of their home school. Teachers will be on hand during daytime hours to give your child a literacy screening, which is a simple tool that asks your child to complete some kindergarten and first grade level tasks. No appointment is necessary. 

Students currently attending MSD's pre-school programs do not have to register for kindergarten at their neighborhood school; those records will be transferred. 
The required forms are available for downloadFilling them out before your registration day will save you time. Please be aware that some schools might require additional forms specific to those schools.

Not sure which is your neighborhood school? Find it HERE.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Parent information on Smarter Balanced and SAT assessments

Central High School mock trial team tops in the state

Congratulations to Central High School's mock trial team, which won the state championship last Friday in Concord against Pinkerton Academy. The team qualifies to attend the national mock trial championship in Hartford, Connecticut, in May. 

The team is in its third season since starting competition in the fall of 2014. The students have two advisors, teacher Margaret Burke and retired principal John Rist. They are coached by attorneys Ashley Scott of McLane Middleton and Jamie Myers of Bianco PA in Concord. 

Thank you to the Central Pride Foundation, which funds the program for our students!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Duck nuptials at Weston Elementary School

Two years ago, a couple of ducklings hatched in Marguerite Hopey’s kindergarten classroom at Weston Elementary School. They went home to live with a friend of the school, and she has maintained the Weston connection, bringing the ducks – named Plumpty and Pierre – to visit the children several times since then.

This year’s kindergarten students decided Plumpty and Pierre should get married. Once the idea was. . .well, hatched, Mrs. Hopey and the children threw themselves into planning the event and embracing learning opportunities at the same time.

Members of the wedding party were
interviewed by media.
During interactive writing lessons, the children designed invitations, wrote the wedding vows, and created a reception menu. Math skills helped the students determine the timing of the event, calculate how much food is needed, and make seating arrangements. Weston’s music teacher is working with the students to prepare music for the ceremony, and the art teacher is guiding the children on decorations and wedding favors. Principal Liz MacDonald officiated.

West wrestler claims state title

Congratulations to Markus Joseph, a senior at West High School, who is New Hampshire's reigning high school wrestling champ! 

Markus came from behind and tied it with 2 seconds left. . .then won it in OT! He was also given the outstanding wrestler award.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Music and physical education come together for learning and fitness

The music and physical education teachers at Jewett Street Elementary School joined forces this winter to combine lessons in rhythm and movement that culminated in a school-wide dance-off. Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade have been exploring the relationship between music, dance, and physical activity, as well as practicing music timing, footwork, and motor skills for coordination.

Each lesson started with warm-up exercises, which included jumping jacks, leg stretches, toe touches, and running in place. The teachers introduced different types of music with dance steps and choreography to go with them. Some familiar line dances – the Macarena, Cotton-Eye Joe, and the Cupid Shuffle
– were on the list, along with traditional square dancing and some freestyle. The students also used drum sticks to learn about beat patterns. At the same time, the 45-minute sessions served as good cardio-vascular workouts to build endurance.

The end of this cross-curriculum unit was celebrated with an assembly that featured demonstrations from students in each grade level to show off their enhanced or newly-developed dancing and drumming talents. 

Thank you, Mr. Baberadt and Mr. Papajohn, for a fun way to learn!