Friday, December 19, 2014

What Reading Means: The runners up

There were four official entries in our holiday "meaning of reading" video contest for first graders, and two submissions after the deadline. While Smyth Road received high honors, we are proud to show you the creativity of some of the honorable mentions. Well done, boys and girls!

(Note: We cannot post every video we received because we don't have the OK from signed media releases for all the children.)

Wilson School: The Meaning of Reading from Communications Coordinator on Vimeo.

HGF: The Meaning of Reading from Communications Coordinator on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Parker-Varney students give back for the holidays

What does it take to raise $6,000 in under three weeks? The fifth graders at Parker-Varney Elementary School proved it can be done with hard work and focus on a cause. They held several fundraisers for Liberty House, a transitional housing community for homeless American veterans in Manchester. The students' efforts included candy cane gram sales, a Polar Express movie night, a district-wide dress down day for all employees and staff, and collecting donations online through 

The fundraiser ended officially today when the Parker-Varney students hosted a luncheon at the Manchester School of Technology for the residents and staff of Liberty House. There, they sang Christmas carols, ate a delicious lunch prepared by MST Chef Mike Holfelder and his culinary arts students, and presented the executive director of Liberty House with a check and other gifts.

In the end, the students raised six times their original goal of $1,000! 

The fifth grade wants to thank alderman Bill Barry for the project inspiration and bringing the needs of Liberty House to their attention. They also would like to thank members of the community for contributing financially and with personal care items and canned goods to help the veterans in need. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The meaning of reading, according to first graders

We asked Manchester's first grades to tell us what reading means to them and record their answers in a 45- to 60-second video. What adorable, creative and thoughtful responses we received!

It was difficult to choose, but members of our staff in the superintendent's office selected one video that seemed to capture the essence of reading best. Take a look at what the boys and girls in Mrs. Fleming's class at Smyth Road Elementary School say about reading:

Those students were invited to visit us for a special story time with Santa Claus, who traveled all the way from the North Pole, even though it's a very busy time of year. We have to thank the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester for making the connection for us and making sure Santa's schedule could accommodate us.

Santa read "I Like Myself" to the class, while they drank juice and snacked on mini muffins. He then gave each child a copy of the book to take home.

Special thanks to our friends at Scholastic for providing those books! Reading, you know, is a gift you can use all your life.

Ho ho ho!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Americorps VISTA positions will support Junior STEAM Ahead/FIRST LEGO League

FIRST is looking for several VISTA members to serve in Manchester with its FIRST LEGO League (FLL) program, which includes Manchester School District's Junior STEAM Ahead program for fourth graders. 

Interested candidates can find information and application online.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Assistant superintendent Karen Burkush to retire in 2015

After 35 years with the Manchester School District, Assistant Superintendent Karen Burkush will retire at the end of this school year, effective June 30, 2015.

“I have enjoyed my career here in the school district,” said Burkush. “I’ve had the privilege of working with many amazing individuals, including faculty, staff, students and parents.”

Burkush’s first position in 1980 was as speech pathologist for pre-k through sixth grade students. She also served as Child Find facilitator, special education coordinator, assistant director of student services and then director of student services before becoming assistant superintendent in 2004.

“We thank Karen for her many years of service to our schools and students and wish her well,” said Superintendent Debra Livingston. “Her skills, experience and historical perspective have been a valuable part of our administration.”

Monday, December 8, 2014

FIRST LEGO League team honored

Congratulations to the FIRST LEGO League team from Hillside Middle School! The seventh and eighth grade team members won the judges' award for "Passion About the Problem" at Saturday's NH/VT competition in Nashua. Special thanks to Dyn Inc. for its sponsorship!

The Hour of Code is here! Computer Science Education Week starts Dec. 8.

Anybody can learn! 
Join millions of teachers and students around the world for an Hour of Code during Computer Education Week on December 8 - 12. Activities are available for ages 4 to 104! Check out the resources below and give your students the gift of discovering computer programming!

Susan Wojcicki

Marissa Mayer
Try a little or try a lot! Find fun one hour activities or a full course! Simple activities for kindergarten, too! Visit from No computers? No problem - offline activities to support computational thinking are available. 

Khan Academy   Try an hour with Khan Academy - draw, create a web page, or explore javascript.

Made with Code  Girls from across the country are invited to light a tree in the nation's capital. Check outMade with Code!

Google Code-In
The Google Code-in is a contest to introduce students ages 13-17 to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible. The contest runs from December 1, 2014 to January 19, 2015.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Attendance Ice Bucket Challenge

Congratulations to Parker-Varney and Gossler Park elementary schools for taking on the attendance challenge. Students in both schools worked extremely hard to make sure that they were at school -- and on time -- every day, and the numbers were tracked for the month of October. Parker-Varney won the competition by just a hair, 94.8 percent to 94.07 percent! 

Gossler Park's principal, Ms. Upham went to Parker-Varney today to pay off the bet, submitting to a version of the "Ice Bucket challenge." PV students designed a nine-foot pipe to dump the cold water on Ms. Upham, who also donated $105 to ALS research in Parker-Varney's name. Thanks to technology, the event was FaceTimed with Gossler Park so that those students could watch their principal get soaked! 

Way to go, everyone! Keep up the great attendance all year long!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Parkside's technology story goes statewide

Congratulations to the Middle School at Parkside for its "Spotlight" session at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference this week!
Members of the Parkside Technology Team -- Shauna Gagnon, social studies teacher; Robin Tafe, media spec
ialist; Stacey Rust-Belforti, reading essentials teacher; Pauline Soucy, computer teacher; and Forrest Ransdell, principal -- shared with educators around the state their experience integrating technology to enhance learning for the whole school.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: NH Primary 100th Anniversary Essay Contest

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the first New Hampshire primary. To commemorate this historic event, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College has joined with AARP New Hampshire to sponsor The New Hampshire Primary 100th Anniversary Essay Contest.
Students enrolled in Civics, U.S. Government, or Politics courses in grades 9-12 are invited to submit an essay about New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary and the important civic role that New Hampshire citizens play in nominating our president. Students are encouraged to explore the greater significance of the primary and why political participation truly matters.

350 words, double-spaced • 12-point font, Times New Roman • cover sheet which must
include name, home address with zip code, email address, phone number, name of school (or the
word “homeschooled”), title of course, grade, and word count of essay • only one essay per student

TO ENTER: Essays are due on February 2, 2015 by 11:59 p.m.
To submit a PDF electronically:
Subject line: 100th Primary Essay Contest

To submit via mail:
100th Primary Essay Contest
New Hampshire Institute of Politics
Saint Anselm College
100 Saint Anselm Drive #1802
Manchester, NH 03102

1st Place: iPad • 2nd Place: $100 Amazon gift card • 3rd Place: $50 Amazon gift card
Two Honorable Mentions: $25 Amazon gift card

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An invitation to participate in Jeans Day, December 8, for a good cause

Dear Principals of Manchester School District,

The 5th graders at Parker-Varney School are working toward the common goal of making the lives of the homeless veterans at the Liberty House a little bit brighter.  We are trying to raise money and collect supplies to donate to this charity.  We are going to be putting our skills together to sell candy cane grams and contact local businesses and community members to donate to this cause.  We will be presenting them with these donations and a holiday concert at a luncheon at MST on December 18 at noon.
We have been granted permission for Superintendent Livingston to hold a jeans day, where participating teachers would make a donation of $5.00. All money collected would be donated to the Liberty House to help the homeless veterans of Manchester.  December 7 is the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day so we are asking for Monday, December 8 to be the designated jeans day.  All money raised by your school should be sent to Parker-Varney by Friday, December 12.  If you write a check please make it payable to the Liberty House.

We appreciate you consideration for the request and look forward to hearing back from you to let us know if you will be participating in this event.  Thank you for your help!

Ayesha Khan
Carlee O’Neil
Sean Vincent

5th Grade Student Leaders
Parker-Varney Holiday Helpers

Monday, December 1, 2014

WANTED: Volunteers for Junior STEAM Ahead

Manchester's fourth graders have an exciting opportunity to experience FIRST LEGO League in their classrooms, and three schools are ready to kick off the program next month. We're calling it "Junior STEAM Ahead," because it's a perfect fit for enhancing math and science concepts the way STEAM Ahead NH is doing at the high school level.

But our junior program needs volunteers from the community. Please download and share our flyer with friends and family who might be able to help! It has more information about FIRST LEGO League and how volunteers can participate.