Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hallsville, New England Dairy Council, Patriots team up to fuel up

Super Bowl Champion and New England Patriots Safety Duron Harmon and New Hampshire dairy farmer Stewart Yeaton visited Hallsville Elementary School in Manchester to get students excited about school breakfast as part of the school’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program and the New Hampshire School Breakfast Challenge, which was launched in October 2013 to help promote school breakfast.

Hallsville School's student wellness committee
poses with Pat the Patriot, Duron Harmon and dairy farmer Stewart Yeaton
Fuel Up to Play 60 is the nation’s largest in-school wellness program and has launched a “Fuel Greatness” campaign to mobilize communities to take action and advocate for, and implement, alternative breakfast options in school districts nationwide. Funding for this program is provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farmers of New Hampshire and New England.

"School breakfast fuels greatness in our students, giving them the power to be successful throughout their day," said Principal Christi Michaud. "As a school leader, I am happy to encourage our students, and to ensure they have access to healthy foods at the start of each school day. A school breakfast has the potential to improve learning outcomes and to FUEL GREATNESS in every child!"

Research demonstrates that good nutrition, including daily breakfast, and increased physical activity can lead to improved academic performance. According to one study in particular, more than 60 percent of students do not eat breakfast each day. Many kids are showing up to school hungry, and hungry kids may not be able to succeed in the classroom.

“A healthy school breakfast helps students establish positive eating habits that contribute to a lifetime of overall better health,” said Kurt Messner, acting regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. “Research shows that serving students fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats improves academic performance, decreases visits to the nurse and positively impacts classroom behavior.”

Created in partnership by the National Football League and National Dairy Council, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fuel Up to Play 60 is the nation’s largest in-school wellness program and creates real transformational change in more than 73,000 schools. From smoothie taste tests to build-your-own yogurt parfait stations, Fuel Up to Play 60 schools around the country are showing their support for school breakfast by hosting events and other in-school activities this spring. To learn more about Fuel Greatness, Fuel Up to Play 60, and school breakfast, visit: www.fueluptoplay60.com. Join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at #FuelGreatness.

Celtics/SNHU partnership brings computers, lab renovation to Hillside

Boston Celtics forward/center Kelly Olynyk, former player Leon Powe, mascot “Lucky” the Leprechaun, along with Southern New Hampshire University vice president of marketing and student recruitment Gregg Mazzola, superintendent of schools Debra Livingston, and Mayor Ted Gatsas, were on hand today with students of Hillside Middle School to unveil a state-of-the art technology lab.

Dr. Livingston and her team huddle during the scavenger hunt
Partnering to support education, the Celtics and SNHU purchased 30 new, 13-inch Chromebook laptops and a 60-inch TV for the lab, as well as a Chromecast streaming player. Additionally, the Celtics and SNHU have completely renovated the room -- with new furniture, paint and wall graphics.

During the event, students used their new computers to complete an online scavenger hunt, where they researched facts about the Celtics, SNHU, Leon Powe, Boston and Manchester. Later, the students and their special guests joined the rest of the school community in the gym for a pep rally.

The Celtics players emphasized the importance of working hard in school and urged students to do their best. Powe shared the story of how he'd been on the varsity basketball team as a high school freshman, but his 1.8 GPA made him ineligible to play. So he went to school early every morning for extra help, stayed after school for extra help, did his homework and studied hard because it was important to him and his family. He got back on the team that year, and by the time he was a senior, Powe graduated with a 3.8 GPA. 

Hillside's is the second Celtics/SNHU lab in Manchester.The two organizations collaborated to renovate a classroom at McLaughlin Middle School in 2014.
The Celtics players, Mayor Gatsas, Gregg Mazzola and Dr. Livingston signed the computer lab wall

MSD Messages

Want to read about all the good news our students and staff want you to know? Read the March edition of MSD Messages!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Incidents prompt reminders of "stranger danger" safety

Manchester police have received reports of a man in a car asking school-aged kids if they need a ride. Three such incidents occurred last week in different areas of the city after school while students walked home. The driver and car descriptions varied. 

While police and schools are being vigilant, we want to bring these incidents to parents' attention so that they, too, can be aware and remind their children about important safety precautions.
If your children walk home from school, please review the safest route and point out where they can go if they are confronted with trouble.  
Encourage your child to walk with friends – kids are safer in groups.
Make sure your child knows his or her address and phone number and knows how to reach you in case of an emergency.
Tell your children it is okay to say no to an adult in a dangerous situation, to yell, and to run away.
If he or she is approached by a stranger, your child should report it to you or another trusted adult right away.

The National Crime Prevention Council has more information and resources about teaching children what they need to know: 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Student registration forms available for download

The student registration page of our web site has been updated with detailed information about registering new students in the Manchester School District. The required forms are available on that page to be downloaded and filled out.

Kindergarten and first grade registration for the 2015-16 school year begins on April 6. The scheduled dates and times for each elementary school are listed online.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

MSD looking for substitutes

Manchester School District is looking to enhance its pool of substitute faculty and staff. Substitutes for classroom teachers, paraprofessionals and administrative assistants are needed regularly when there are unexpected absences. 

A degree is not required, but people who have earned at least 48 college credits may qualify to be substitute teachers in the Manchester School District.
Please call 624-6300 and dial 0 to ask Pam for an application packet.  

"Light It Up Blue" in April

Manchester schools once again are supporting efforts to shine a light on autism education. That's why we are observing National Autism Awareness Month, starting with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. Show your support on that day and all month long by wearing light blue.

Please visit www.autismspeaks.org/liub for more information about the global effort.

Monday, March 23, 2015

MST shows off its Skills

Eight Manchester School of Technology students have qualified to attend the SkillsUSA Championship competition in Louisville, KY. They received gold medals at the 2015 SkillsUSA NH spring leadership conference. The MST team also won Most Spirited CTE School at this weekend's awards ceremony.
The SkillsUSA Championships in June is the showcase for the best career and technical students in the nation. In 2014, there were nearly 6,000 contestants in 98 separate events!
Congratulations to all of our Manchester state winners for their accomplishments and hard work!
Digital Cinema Production
GOLD, Justin Farley & Christopher Manseau
GOLD, Leanna Geiger
SILVER, Sabrina Rousseau
Long Hair Design
SILVER, Cassandra Farias
Customer Service
GOLD, Natalie Henrique
GOLD, Breannah Picard & Caitlin Handy
BRONZE, Taitum Keough & Kelsee Jacobs
Extemporaneous Speech
GOLD, Alexandra Curran
SILVER, Meghan Belanger
Job Demonstration Open
GOLD, Paradise Ducharme
Prepared Speech
SILVER, Valery Gonzales
BRONZE, Allison Somerset

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Major contribution from Dunkin' Donuts helps Weston School boost technology

Another large financial gift from one of its most valuable community partners is giving Weston Elementary a boost in technology resources. The owners of a local Dunkin’ Donuts presented Weston students and staff with a check for $36,000, which will equip all classrooms with virtual interactive white boards and data projectors.  Another portion of the new funds will buy additional IPads, Chromebooks and programming to set up blended learning labs in each classroom. 

This is the fourth school year that the Scrivanos family, owners of the Dunkin’ Donuts on Hanover Street, has stepped forward with a generous contribution to Weston. Last June, the school received $15,000 to purchase 25 classroom media centers, which include a television monitor, Chromebook and Chromecast streaming device. For 2012-13, $10,000 paid for personal books for students and 16 new computers for the school. In 2011, $25,000 from the Scrivanoses covered the cost of books and 35 iPads with apps.

“We are grateful for the support from Dunkin’ Donuts and the Scrivanos family,” said Liz MacDonald, principal of Weston Elementary School. “They’ve given our students many learning opportunities they might not have gotten otherwise.”

George Scrivanos and other representatives of his Dunkin’ Donuts store made the check presentation to MacDonald and the Weston community at the start of the school’s annual talent show Thursday night.

NJROTC conducts annual inspection at West High School

Established in 1972 by the Secretary of the Navy, the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps unit at Manchester High School West is celebrating more than 42 years of "can do" performance. NJROTC helps to develop strong and informed leaders for the future. The program's goal is to instill pride in our country, the Navy and the cadets as individuals. It encourages civic responsibility through participation in programs, projects and services within the school and local community. More than 2,500 hours of community service has been recorded so far this school year!

Today's inspection was conducted by Commander David Kenney and Chief Stanley Hannum. The morning's activities began early with a personnel inspection, which includes uniform, personal appearance and Navy knowledge. The inspection continued with a public ceremony that included remarks, a drill team performance, presentation of awards and a change in command for the 2015-16 school year.

Congratulations to all 103 cadets on a job well done.

Inspectors Commander Kenney and Chief Hannum
Mayor Gatsas presents Distinguished Cadets awards
Dr. Livingston presents Honor Cadets awards
Cadets who achieved honor roll for two quarters received academic awards

Change of command

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Memo about the first day of Smarter Balanced assessment

Manchester School District was notified today that students at Beech Street and McDonough elementary schools and Central High School who started the computer-based Smarter Balanced assessment on March 16 took the incorrect versions of the assessment because of an error by the Smarter Balanced vendor in providing a clear assessment selection process.  Our students took practice assessments. By yesterday afternoon, the vendor became aware of the issue, which also affected other schools in the state, and changed the way the selection process looks on the screen.

The New Hampshire Department of Education has assured Manchester School District that our three schools administered the assessment properly based on the information available at the time the test began. The same third graders at McDonough took the correct Smarter Balanced assessment today. Central High School and Beech Street will reschedule the correct version of the assessment for yesterday’s groups of students.

Nominations being accepted for the 2015-16 Dr. Brennan Computer Science Career Exploration class

Current high school sophomores in Manchester are invited to participate in an exciting two-year program at the Technology & Innovation Academy at SEE Science Center. Students can complete college courses at no cost and receive credits from Manchester Community College their junior and senior years of high school.

In addition, students in this program also visit various technology companies to see first-hand what projects and opportunities studying computer science will provide them.

For more information, please email Dr. Ali Rafieymehr at arafieymehr@dyn.com

Monday, March 16, 2015

Theatre Knights advance to state competition

Congratulations to the West High Theatre Knights for advancing from the New Hampshire Educational Theatre Guild Regional Drama Festival competition to the state competition with their performance of "Story Theatre"! 

The cast won the Ensemble Acting award, a Best Production award, and student Nick Cochran was recognized for Excellence in Costume Design. 

The Theatre Knights will perform at the 2015 NHETG State Drama Festival at Sanborn Regional High School on Friday and Saturday, March 27 & 28.

If you'd like to see this award-winning production for yourself, "Story Theatre" takes the stage at West next month!

Chili/Chowder Cook-off set for March 28

When: Saturday, March 28th
Where: Jewett Street School
Time: 12 pm-3 pm
Cost: $5 per person

Sample a variety of chowders and chilis made by the the parents, students, and staff of both Hallsville and Jewett Street elementary schools.  Your $5 entry will get you all the chili and chowder samples you can eat, drinks, and other snacks.  There will be awards handed out for the best chili and chowder at the end of the event.  All proceeds will go back to the schools to help fund student activities.  All are welcome to enjoy some good food, great company, and to support our schools!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Listen: Elizabeth Lavoie's winning Voice of Democracy audio-essay

Congratulations to Central High School senior Elizabeth Lavoie for placing seventh in the nation in the VFW's Voice of Democracy essay competition! After winning first place in New Hampshire last month, Liz traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete with other state finalists. Her essay about "Why Veterans are Important to Our Nation's History and Future" is thoughtful and moving.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A memo from the Board of School Committee regarding Smarter Balanced Assessment

Subject: Parent Information on Smarter Balanced Assessment

March 9, 2015

Dear Parent/Guardian:
The Manchester School District is required by state and federal law to administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  It will take place starting March 16, 2015 and must be completed by June 5, 2015.  Students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 are scheduled to take the assessment.
It has come to the attention of the Manchester School District Board of School Committee that some parents object to the administration of the test and intend to keep their student from school when the test will be administered.  While the Manchester School District is prohibited from encouraging nonparticipation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment process, rather than keeping student home from school during the administration of the testing, upon written or emailed notification by the parent/guardian the student will be relocated and provided alternative programming during the applicable testing period.

There will be no penalty to parents or students who do not participate in the assessment.  If you have any questions about the assessment or wish for more information, please contact your child's principal.

Math and reading assessments show progress

Initial results of the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) math and reading assessments at eight elementary schools show students are making progress in their learning. The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment is intended to indicate what each student knows, is ready to learn, and is projected to achieve. Teachers also can use the information from the assessments to focus instruction where students are struggling.

Bakersville, Beech Street, Gossler Park, Hallsville, Wilson, McDonough, Northwest and Parker-Varney elementary schools were selected to participate in MAP assessments based on their status as priority schools in the district. Priority schools receive federal School Improvement Grant funding. The assessments in math and reading were given to students in grades one through five last fall and again this winter. In every grade, the total number of students at those eight schools who performed at or above the national norm increased.

The chart below reveals the largest increase in the number of students above the norm was in first grade math. Last fall, 29 percent of all the students assessed scored at or above the norm as determined by NWEA; 68% of the students in grade one scored at or above the norm on the winter assessment – an increase of 39%. Similarly, 61% of first graders scored at or above the norm in reading this winter, compared to 30% in the fall – a positive change of 31%.

“The results of these assessments give us a snapshot of progress in Manchester, confirming that many of the tools we use across the city are helping our students learn,” said Debra Livingston, Superintendent of Schools. “The comparison is very similar to using a pediatric weight and height chart to see where a child is at a point in time but more important, how the child grows over time.”

%  Above 50%+

Grade 1

Grade 1

Monday, March 9, 2015

Kindergarten and first grade registration dates set

Manchester's elementary schools will be accepting registrations for kindergarten and new first grade students next month. The dates and times for children and parents to register in person at each school are listed below. No appointment is necessary. 
Evening registration times will be available at Parker-Varney and Weston for the whole district. 
Please watch this page for the required forms that will be available for download. Filling them out before your registration day will save you time.

8:30 - 11:30
12:00 - 2:30
Beech Street
8:30 -11:30
12:00  - 2:30
Gossler Park
Green Acres
9:00 - 11:30
12:00 - 2:30
Highland-Goffe’s Falls
12:00-215 pm
5-7 pm
Smyth Road
8:30 - 11:30
8:30 - 11:30
12:00 - 2:30
5:00 - 7:00

Thursday, March 5, 2015

FIRST® Junior STEAM Ahead Expo showcases innovative learning

Fourth graders at Jewett Street Elementary School today showed off what they’re learning in an interactive demonstration of FIRST® Junior STEAM Ahead. During lessons that apply math, language arts and science concepts, students develop an innovative solution to a current world problem, design, build, and program robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 and other LEGO elements, and apply a set of values that incorporate teamwork, respect, and discovery.

FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead is enhancing science and math curriculum in Manchester like never before.

“We are raising the bar when it comes to learning opportunities in our schools,” said Mayor Ted Gatsas. “A program like FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead helps some of our youngest students meet 21st century expectations and get started on the road to creating a talented workforce for the many businesses and industry cities like Manchester offers.”

Jewett Street is one of three schools participating in FIRST® LEGO® League in the classroom this year. The others are Beech Street and Green Acres elementary schools. Four more schools will be added to the program next school year, and the city’s remaining seven elementary schools will join in 2016. Corporate contributions and grants from the Argosy Foundation, Autodesk, the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation, and Texas Instruments cover the cost of the technology, including the LEGO kits, robots and computers.

The creation of FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead happened with support from FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international not-for-profit public charity based in Manchester that motivates young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. FIRST has been encouraging young people's interest and participation in those subjects for more than 25 years, since it was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989.

Another aspect of FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead is a visit to the SEE Science Center in Manchester. Every year, all 14 elementary schools will bring their fourth grade students on a field trip, at no cost to the school district. FIRST is paying for the transportation, while the SEE Science Center and Dean Kamen are underwriting the admission and program fees.

Fourth grade teacher Mrs. Tarbell explains to WMUR
the benefits of FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead
“We have a wonderful resource to introduce children to the idea that science and technology are relevant in the real world and everyday life,” said SEE Science Center executive director Douglas Heuser. “We are thrilled to provide that experience and ignite the excitement the students can bring back to their schools.” 

Equally important to the program’s success are the members of the business community who are giving their time and technical expertise every week. Mentors from SilverTech, Wasabi Ventures, Autodesk, DEKA, FIRST, NH High Tech Council, Fuentek, Robbins Farley, and Salesforce/Cloud for Good provide hand-on guidance to FIRST® Junior STEAM Ahead in the classrooms.

At the expo, the teachers and students explained the innovative lessons that are sparking students’ interests in science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“Being actively engaged is one of the aspects I love about FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead,” said fourth grade teacher Karen O’Shaughnessy. “It’s been fun to watch the show their strengths in new ways by contributing to the team effort and helping each other succeed.”

Smarter Balanced Assessment offers practice tests and resources

In an effort to help students and families become more familiar with the Smarter Balanced Assessment tool, the NH Department of Education offers several online resources, including practice tests for every grade level and subject area covered.

Simply visit the New Hampshire Smarter Balanced Assessment portal for valuable information about the format and suggestions for preparing for the Smarter Balanced Assessment. From there, when you go to "Take the practice and training tests," click "Sign In;" a student login ID is not required.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Manchester schools celebrate Read Across America Day

Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2 — Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids and books. Here's how Manchester observed the day!

"Green eggs and ham" snack at Parker-Varney School
(yogurt with food coloring and vanilla wafer cookies)

Beech Street School

Hallsville School: