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 mansd.org.

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.