Monday, June 30, 2014

Superintendent names Highland-Goffe's Falls principal

The Board of School Committee has approved Susan Matthews as the next principal of Highland-Goffe’s Falls Elementary School. Matthews comes to the Manchester School District from her position as assistant principal at Hooksett Memorial School and will begin her new post on July 1. 

As an instructional leader, Matthews has been dedicated to helping students learn and succeed, and to supporting teachers’ professional growth.  She has extensive experience as a classroom teacher and reading specialist, having worked in those capacities in Hudson and Lowell, MA, for nearly 25 years before becoming the language arts coordinator at Mastricola Elementary School in Merrimack. There, she worked to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment in reading and writing. 

“I’m looking forward to working with the faculty at Highland-Goffe’s Falls and helping to shape the way students learn in these critical early years,” said Matthews. “It’s wonderful to see that the school has a strong community of parents and families who are engaged and just as committed to their children’s success as I am.”

As an administrator in Hooksett since 2011, Matthews has cultivated a mutual partnership of respect and collaboration between parents and staff to promote the social, emotional, and academic welfare of students. 

“We are excited to welcome Susan to Manchester, and we are confident that she will continue the success of Mr. Adams’ leadership,” said Dr. Debra Livingston, superintendent.

Highland principal Jim Adams retired this month at the end of the school year after more than 30 years as an educational leader in Manchester.

Matthews earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Salem State University in Salem, MA, a Master of Education Degree from Rivier University in Nashua, NH, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership from Plymouth State University.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

School day times confirmed

The school district has announced the start and end times for the school day starting in September. 

Start 9 a/11:30a
End 12:30 p/3 p
Start 8:20 a.m.
End 2:35 p.m.
Middle Schools:
Start 7:35 a.m.
End 2:00 p.m.
High Schools:
Start 7:45 a.m.
End 2:42 p.m.

STEAM Ahead NH in the news: Support is adding up!

The inaugural STEAM Ahead NH class is set to enter Manchester High School West this fall. Read about the latest developments, including very generous grants from our friends at the Bean Foundation.

Learn more about the innovative new program for Manchester students at

Monday, June 23, 2014

FREE summer program open to parents

MSD is proud to be a sponsoring organization of The Incredible Years training series for parents. The 14-week program is FREE and open to caregivers of children ages 5-12. Parents will learn about parent-child relationship building, positive discipline and rewards, as well as social, emotional and academic development. 


To register, call Erin at 666-5982 ext. 16

Friday, June 20, 2014

District's goals to bring kids back to school see early success

While only the annual rate is being projected right now, preliminary data suggest the district has cut its drop-out numbers almost in half. On June 1, 2013 there were 211 students recorded as having dropped out of the four Manchester high schools, compared to this June’s count of 104 students, or 2.22%. Given the strong correlation between the June 2013 numbers and those in the state’s most recent report, the projection appears to be fairly reliable, though fluctuations are anticipated.

The New Hampshire Department of Education’s 2012-2013 drop-out statistics indicate the Manchester School District drop-out rate rose from 3.52% annually to 4.22%, compared to the statewide rate increase from 1.26% to 1.29%. The four-year rate in Manchester increased from 13.35% to 15.84%, while the four-year state average rose from 4.95% to 5.06%.

“Our drop-out rate is a challenge. During the 2013-14 school year, we worked diligently to reduce the numbers,” said Dr. Debra Livingston, superintendent of the Manchester School District. “High school principals, assistant principals and guidance staff organized a strong outreach effort to encourage students to complete their high school educations, and our numbers since last summer are showing results.”

The city’s high schools have embraced the challenge and stress the importance of personal counsel and conversations to re-enroll students who leave school or prevent students who are at risk of dropping out from doing so.

“In many cases, students who dropped out were very close to meeting graduation requirements,” said Chris Motika, principal of Manchester High School West. “Knowing that non-traditional approaches can make the difference, we helped match those students up with the right teachers or programs to achieve diplomas.”

Every high school offers various initiatives and ways to help students graduate, including flexibility in scheduling, allowing for interdisciplinary credit, and extended learning opportunities. Students’ progress is closely monitored.

“We are very pleased with the hard work and results to date, but we know the rate could be even lower,” said Dr. Livingston. “One student dropping out is too many. We will continue meeting the needs of all students using innovative, engaging and thoughtful approaches to education.”

Friday, June 13, 2014

Parker-Varney students enter and win Adopt-a-School art contest

New Hampshire Healthy Families, a managed care plan under New Hampshire’s Medicaid Care Management program, sponsored a special health-focused art contest through their Adopt-a-School partnership with Parker Varney Elementary School in Manchester, New Hampshire on Wednesday.

More than 100 students in the third and fourth grades participated in the art contest by creating individual portraits of their health, while fifth grade students created a large canvas painting representative of New Hampshire, depicting state animals, trees, plants, insects and notable landmarks that will be displayed in the New Hampshire Healthy Families, Bedford, New Hampshire office.

“New Hampshire Healthy Families is pleased to partner with Parker Varney Elementary School and proud of the third, fourth, and fifth graders who created these portraits for display in our Bedford office,” said Scott Westover, executive director of New Hampshire Healthy Families.

“All of the students showed great creativity and talent in their self-portraits of what it means to be healthy. These paintings will be a great addition for our office and will serve as an inspiration for healthy living for our staff. They will also remind us of our important role in serving the New Hampshire community every day.”

First, second and third place winners from the third grade were Karuna Acharya, Kayleigh Slozak, and Gabe Pooler and from fourth grade, Zachary Bouley, Andrew Chen and Tina Nguyen, respectively. These student’s portraits will also be displayed in the New Hampshire Healthy Families office.

The student portraits were judged by New Hampshire Healthy Families staff and winners were chosen based on creativity and point of view in conveying the message of health.

Awards were presented to 16 students in total in the third and fourth grades, including honorable mentions in both classes. First place winners received signed copies of New Hampshire author, David Elliot’s book, Jimmy Cabbage and other winners received gift cards for TCBY or a Darby book, signed by author Michele Bain. All other students received water bottles for their participation.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

School district sets meeting with private school parents

The Manchester School District, in order to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is convening its annual meeting with representatives of private schools located within the district and with parents of students enrolled in private schools. 
The meeting will take place on Thursday, June 19, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the District Offices, located on the second floor at 195 McGregor St.
The purpose of the meeting is to consider the needs of students with disabilities who are enrolled in private schools.

“Although federal law states that children placed by their parents in private schools have no individual right to special education and related services, the district is required to consult with representatives of all private schools located in the district and with representatives of parents of children with disabilities enrolled in these schools before making final decisions about services that may be offered,” said Karen Burkush, assistant superintendent.

Those with questions about the meeting should call the District’s Office of Student Services at 624-6300. ext. 136.

Manchester's own named a NH Teacher of the Year finalist

Congratulations to Manchester High School West social studies teacher Tina Mulleavey, who was named a finalist for 2015 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year! 

The selection process is a rigorous one. Having been nominated in February, Tina was honored in April with 33 other nominees from around the state by the NH Department of Education. She then was selected as one of seven semi-finalists, and representatives from the Teacher of the Year committee visited Tina's classroom last month to observe and interview her, her students and colleagues. 

There are several more steps to go before the 2015 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year is named in September. That person is eligible to be named 2015 National Teacher of the Year next spring. 
Good luck, Tina!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Manchester School District in the News!

Manchester School District is proud to be featured in an Education Week article, "Taking Competency-Based Learning From Policy to Reality." Watch for updates on this innovative initiative we're part of!

Morning news crew taking a Zip Trip to Manchester

FOX25 Morning News is Zip Tripping to Manchester on Friday, June 13! Students, parents, teachers, staff, and Manchester residents are invited to join the live broadcast at Livingston Park between 6am and 10am. Enjoy free munchkins, coffee and free product samples. Everybody who wants to share their Manchester pride are encouraged to be part of the audience. Special guests and features that celebrate the unique qualities of Manchester will be highlighted. Plus, there will be a special presentation to Manchester School District by the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism.

Features Include:

Taste of the Town: Local restaurants, caf├ęs or bakeries demonstrate savory dishes and sweet treats!
Home Town Team: A salute to a youth or senior team ranging from baseball and soccer to the local running club!
Zip Trip Trivia: VB tries to stump a special guest with town trivia.
Home Town Hero: Meet the local hero who helps out whenever needed! We'll feature a resident who's making a difference.
On the Market: Why is Manchester a great place to live? Preview homes in three price points and hear about schools, services and recreation.
Firehouse Fridays: Manchester’s finest will be honored for all they do.
Talk of the Town: Every town has one – the local character in Manchester. 
Zip Trip Fan of the Week: We'll pick someone from the crowd as our Fan of the Week.
High Speed Deal: On-site scavenger hunt game for Zip Trip attendees.
Zip Trip Jr. Reporter: We'll select a young viewer from the crowd to help us with a few reporter duties.
Kids’ Fun Zone: Bouncy house and children’s activities.
Town Tour: VFOX25 Meteorologist and New Hampshire native Shiri Spear checks out Manchester’s best eats, must-see attractions, hidden gems, and little known landmarks!
Morning Warm-up: Rise and shine with a few morning exercises.  

Community forum scheduled to meet finalists for Highland-Goffe's Falls principal

Superintendent Debra Livingston has announced that two candidates have been selected as finalists for the principal position at Highland-Goffe’s Falls Elementary School. Jennifer Gillis, assistant principal at Mountain View Middle School in Goffstown, and Susan Matthews, assistant principal at Hooksett Memorial School, will be at Highland-Goffe’s Falls from 6:00 to 7:15 PM on Monday, June 16, to meet and talk with teachers, staff, parents, and members of the community. The public is encouraged to attend the event and provide feedback on the candidates.

Gillis has more than a decade of experience teaching, mentoring, coaching and advocating for students. She has a strong passion for cultivating positive and safe learning environments. In her current role at Mountain View Middle School, she has cultivated strong partnerships in the community in order to promote student growth and school safety.  Gillis also has served as a special education administrator.  In these roles she has consistently supported teachers and staff in the areas of curriculum, special education, emotional/behavioral supports, and self-reflective practice. Gillis earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Endicott College; a Master of Business Administration degree, with a focus on leadership, from Franklin Pierce College; a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in the area of educational leadership from Plymouth State University; and is currently a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Education in the area of educational leadership from Plymouth State University. 

As an instructional leader, Matthews has been dedicated to helping students learn and succeed, and in supporting teachers to grow professionally.  She has extensive experience as a classroom teacher and reading specialist. Matthews also previously served as language arts coordinator for the Merrimack School District. There, she worked to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment in reading and writing. In Hooksett, she is currently working collaboratively with teachers to meet the needs of all learners in reading, writing, and math instruction.  As an administrator, Matthews has cultivated a mutual partnership of respect and collaboration between parents and staff to promote the social, emotional, and academic welfare of students. Matthews earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Salem State University in Salem, MA, a Master of Education Degree from Rivier University in Nashua, NH, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership from Plymouth State University.        

An interview panel, made up of teachers, staff and community members, including a parent, chose these two finalists from a group of seven out of an original pool of 36 applicants.Dr. Livingston intends to recommend one candidate to the Board of School Committee in the next few weeks.

Monday, June 9, 2014

New principal at Wilson School is named

The staff and students of Henry Wilson Elementary School did not have to look far for their new leader. Kimberly Organek, current principal of Southside Middle School, will succeed Linda Durand, who is retiring from her post at Wilson this month. 

“I started my career in education teaching at the elementary level,” said Mrs. Organek. “I’m excited to return to working with younger students and continue the progress Wilson has made in improving student achievement.”

Wilson is a Priority School, a designation based on low scores over three years on reading and math NECAP assessment tests.  Priority Schools receive federal funding and resources to support initiatives that address academic improvement. 

Mrs. Organek is credited with helping Southside recently meet the criteria to exit Priority School status. She became principal at Southside last fall, having previously served as assistant principal at Cawley Middle School in Hooksett for two years, and Middle School at Parkside in Manchester from 2008 to 2011.

Mrs. Durand is completing her 43rd school year at Wilson. She taught second grade for many years, became the school’s first full-time assistant principal in the 1980s, and has been principal since 2008.

“I am leaving Wilson School with the knowledge that it will always have the heart and energy needed to move our students forward regardless of the hardships and difficulties they face,” Mrs. Durand said.

Mrs. Organek’s departure from Southside opens a position there. The middle school’s new principal will be announced when he or she is hired.

West presents first-ever Joe Sullivan Creative Writing Award

Sullivan Award 2014
Sullivan Award 2014
2014 Manchester High School West graduate Crystalline Reynolds is the first recipient of the Joe Sullivan Creative Writing Award. The award was presented to the senior student who displayed passion and exuberance for creative writing, much like the man for whom the award is named.   Joe Sullivan was an English and creative writing teacher at West for 34 years, from 1968-2002. He passed away last September.

Members of the school’s English department chose Reynolds to receive the award in part for her ability to paint a picture that expresses vivid imagery, emotion and complexity.  

“She can be witty or serious, ironic or deep,” said teacher Stephanie Silver in her remarks during the award presentation.  “Her choice of words lets you hear, taste and touch every bit of each story and feel for every character she creates. I know that if she and Joe Sullivan had crossed paths here at West, he would have loved having her in his writing class.”  

Reynolds, who is from Manchester, will attend the NH Institute of Art where she will study both art and creative writing.  
A report released by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) suggests that Manchester High School Central has much to be proud of, but there are opportunities to improve. The largest high school in the city received 48 commendations from the accrediting organization, along with 39 recommendations.
Last October, Central hosted a NEASC committee, made up of teachers, principals and central office personnel from other school districts across New England. During the four-day visit, committee members gathered data and observations that support Central’s work in achieving the seven teaching and learning standards as written by NEASC’s Commission on Public Secondary Schools (CPSS). 

“Accreditation is a rigorous process,” said Manchester School District superintendent Debra Livingston. “It’s also an extremely helpful way of providing a comprehensive look at enhancing teaching and learning strategies.” 

Among the dozens of accolades from the visiting committee was praise for “the incredibly creative and passionate staff members who do amazing things with limited resources.” The report recommends that teachers be provided with “adequate resources…to support the effective design and implementation of cross-disciplinary curriculum.”

The report also commended teachers for making themselves readily available before and after school more frequently than required, giving students extra help and allowing them to make up work. Teachers regularly provide specific and corrective feedback to give students the chance to revise and improve their work.

“There is no question about the dedication of the faculty at Central,” said interim principal John Rist. “They are committed to meeting the needs of every student.” 

District and Central administrators acknowledge the areas in which the school can do better. The NEASC report includes recommendations to create uniform curriculum formats with instructional strategies; establish clear professional development plans; implement consistent teacher evaluation protocols; ensure analysis and response to student achievement levels; provide funding for school programs and services; and improve communication and engagement with families. 

“Many of the recommendations have been completed or are in process, based on Central’s self-study during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years to prepare for the visiting committee’s evaluation,” said Dr. Livingston.

The CPSS now will use the committee’s findings to make a decision on re-accreditation this month.  The four possible outcomes are re-accreditation, probation, warning or termination. The full report can be viewed below.

Dunkin' Donuts donation enhances learning at Weston

Weston School Media Center
A recent donation from Dunkin’ Donuts is giving teachers a new way to enhance learning at Weston Elementary School. With $15,000, the school purchased 25 classroom media centers, which include a television monitor, Chromebook and Chromecast streaming device.
This is the third school year that Dunkin’ Donuts has stepped forward with a large financial contribution to Weston. For 2012-13, $10,000 paid for personal books for students and 16 new computers for the school. In 2011, $25,000 covered the cost of books and 35 iPads with apps.

“Dunkin’ Donuts has been a wonderful community partner for our school,” said Liz MacDonald, principal of Weston Elementary School. “We are grateful for the company’s generosity and the opportunities for learning the donations have given our students.” 

The new media center technology allows an entire class to view whatever is displayed on the Chromebook screen. During a science lesson, for instance, the students or teacher can quickly look up a photo or video online for all to see on the large monitor. Every classroom at Weston now has a media center that is easily portable and takes little set-up time compared to the projectors and overheads of generations past.
To thank Dunkin’ Donuts for its contributions to education, staff from Weston set up a media center at the company’s Hanover Street location today. Dunkin’ Donuts employees and customers had a chance to see how the technology works and hear how teachers are using it to make a difference in learning every day at the school directly across the street from the store.

“Dunkin’ Donuts is dedicated to serving the communities where we live and work,” said George Scrivanos, whose family owns the Dunkin’ Donuts on Hanover Street. “Part of that commitment is supporting education and giving children access to as many opportunities to learn as possible.”   

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dunkin' Donuts and Weston Elementary brew up partnership

Dunkin Donuts on Hanover Street
A generous donation from Dunkin’ Donuts has given teachers a new way to enhance learning at Weston Elementary School in Manchester. With $15,000, the school purchased 25 classroom media centers, which include a television monitor, Chromebook and Chromecast streaming device. 
The technology allows an entire class to view whatever is displayed on the Chromebook screen. During a science lesson, for instance, the students or teacher can look up a photo online for all to see on the large monitor. 
To thank Dunkin’ Donuts for its contribution to education, staff from Weston will set up a media center at the Hanover Street Dunkin’ Donuts location. You’re invited to see how it works and hear how teachers are using the technology to make a difference in learning every day at the school directly across the street from the store.

WHAT: Chromecast media center demonstration
WHERE: Dunkin’ Donuts
            1037 Hanover Street, Manchester
WHEN: Monday, June 9, 2014
            9:00-10:30 a.m.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

High school finalists eligible for "Make the Grade" car giveaway

Make the Grade
On Friday, June 6, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, AutoFair New Hampshire President Andy Crews, Manchester Schools Superintendent Dr. Debra Livingston, NTB Bank VP/Retail Market Manager Dallas Lagerquist and New Hampshire Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner will take the field at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium and award one Manchester High School student with the 2014 “Make the Grade” grand prize, a 2013 Ford Focus. 
“Make The Grade” is a public-private partnership between the City of Manchester, AutoFair, the Fisher Cats, NTB Bank, and Comcast Spotlight, formed to recognize academic achievements of Manchester students and enhance community commitment from corporate partners. 
The “Make The Grade” Program will award a brand new 2013 Ford Focus to a junior or senior high school student who has achieved academic excellence by making the Honor Roll, High Honors, or Principals List in the first, second, or third quarter of the 2013/2014 academic year. 
Four finalists from each school were drawn on Friday, May 30, 2014. The twelve finalists are: 
Manchester High School Central -- 
Haley Gaudreault 
Jace Raney 
Katelyn Rathman 
Siobhan Murphy 
Manchester Memorial High School -- 
Julia Labrecque 
Chris LaSalle 
Alexis Gelinas 
Molly Lachance 
Manchester High School West -- 
Abbey Calzini 
Lynn Motanya 
Eric Lawrence 
Dylan Bissonnette 
Each finalist will be given a key and the chance to start the car during the pre-game celebration at the Fisher Cats game on Friday night. If their key starts the car, it is theirs. The car giveaway will begin at 6:20 p.m. Good luck to all!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hillside Middle School Teacher Sue Hannan on NH Chronicle Tonight, June 4 at 7 PM!

Sue Hannan, Hillside Middle School Language Arts Teacher

Tune in to NH Chronicle tonight, June 4th, at 7:00 PM to hear how Hillside Middle School language arts teacher Sue Hannan is using technology in her classroom. Read more:

Mrs. Hannan was named a State Winner in the 2014 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. Her entry was chosen for its innovative approach to advancing interest in STEM among her students as well as making an impact in the Manchester community. In response to Samsung’s award notification, Mrs. Hannan, stated, “This is a unique opportunity for a Manchester school. We will be collaborating with students, colleagues, parents, community members and the media to create a project that spotlights the salmon release project, and will spotlight the health of the Merrimack River as well. While this will be a very involved project, it will assist students in concentrating their writing efforts into producing data analysis, integrating all subjects, and including many local and state standards for education. Students and community members will be involved in a service project that serves everyone.”

As a state winner, Ms. Hannan has earned  $20,000 in Samsung technology for Hillside Middle School. Students in her classroom are already using their Samsung Chromebooks on a daily basis. They also received tablets, a document camera, and a large screen television.