Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Earning a high school equivalency certificate

The HiSET gives adults and youth (ages 16 & 17) an opportunity to demonstrate their academic skills and earn the NH High School Equivalency Certificate, awarded by the NH Department of Education.

  • The minimum age to take the HiSET is 16. It is required that students under 18 be enrolled in school and successfully pass the Official HiSET Practice Test.
  • To take the official HiSET battery, permission must be granted by the school superintendent, principal, or high school designee.
  • The HiSET is approximately an 8-hour test and is given over two days. The test measures competency in science, writing, math, social studies, and reading. 
  • The High School Equivalency Testing Center in Manchester offers paper-based testing.

Preparing for the HiSET
The High School Equivalency Testing Center in Manchester is located at:
Manchester West High School, 9 Notre Dame Ave.

The required Official Practice Test for students under 18 is given free of charge by appointment.
Please contact your Guidance Counselor for scheduling.

The Official Practice Test is optional for people 18 or over prior to the Official HiSET battery, however, appointments are necessary and there is a $20 cash fee for testing.

Please email lbrecknock@mansd.org for scheduling.

Prior to scheduling your HiSET Exam
1. Establish an online HiSET account at www.hiset.ets.org using your email address. You will be issued an ETS ID#. Save this number as this is needed for scheduling your test.

2. Have a government issued photo ID. (NH Driver’s or NonDriver’s License, or Passport)
The name and address of your HiSET registration must be an exact match to your government issued ID. If your address does not, you must bring 2 pieces of mail as proof of residency. (Utility bills, lease, tax bill, car registration, or current pay slip)

3. Email lbrecknock@mansd.org or doconnor@mansd.org to register for your desired testing
date. Your email must include the testing date, your full name, address, date of birth, and ETS#.

4. On the day of testing you MUST bring your photo ID, ETS ID # (registration confirmation), and $95 cash fee to the testing center. No test will be administered without payment or photo ID.

5. If under 18, bring your Official HiSET Practice Test scores and the appropriate NH Department of Education Referral Form, which is given to you after passing the Official Practice Test.

  • All electronic devices, including cell phones, are prohibited in the testing room.
  • Cancellations must be made 48 hours prior to testing if the examinee is unable to test.
  • Same day cancellations, no show/no call or late arrivals will result in the forfeiture of the $95 testing fee.
  • Check-in time begins promptly at 3:00 on the day of testing.
  • Late arrivals will not be admitted into the testing room. 

Testing Dates:
Full Test:                       Retest:
October 5 & 6              October 26
November 9 & 10        November 23
December 7 & 8          December 21
January 4 & 5              January 25
February 1 & 2            February 15
March 7 & 8                March 21
April 4 & 5                  April 18
May 9 & 10                 May 23
June 6 & 7

*Graduation ceremonies will be held on December 14th & June 13th.
*Testing dates are subject to change.
*Cancellations due to weather will follow the Manchester School District policy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Community partnership encourages students to "make the grade"

A successful community partnership continues with the announcement of the 2015-16 “Make the Grade” program. Together, the Office of the Mayor, the Manchester School District and AutoFair unveiled at city high schools the initiative that recognizes academic achievements. “Make the Grade,” a public-private partnership between the City of Manchester, AutoFair, NTB Bank, Manchester School District and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, also enhances the spirit of community commitment. 

This is the fifth year “Make the Grade” will award a brand new car to a junior or senior high school student who earns honor roll status the first, second and third quarters of the academic year. Next spring, the winning student will receive a 2015 Honda Civic. AutoFair brought it to each school today so that students could see for themselves the car that could be theirs.

“The Manchester School District and the City are excited to continue the partnership with Autofair to recognize the accomplishments of our local high school students,” said Mayor Gatsas.  “It is our hope that once again ‘Make the Grade’ will add a spark of excitement to the school year and drive students to work even harder to excel.”

Juniors and seniors enrolled at Manchester High School Central, Manchester High School West, Manchester Memorial High School, and Manchester School of Technology are eligible for multiple chances to win the Honda donated by AutoFair.  The car will be given away to the lucky student at a New Hampshire Fisher Cats game on June 10, 2016. 

An additional prize is included in this year’s contest: The school with the highest percentage of eligible students registered in the Make the Grade program will win $500 to help pay for its 2016 prom expenses.

“The ‘Make the Grade’ program has been a huge success, and we are proud to help set the bar that motivates students to strive for better grades,” said Andy Crews, CEO of AutoFair Dealerships. “The best part is seeing the joy on the face of the student who holds the key that starts the car.”

“Every student who achieves excellence deserves recognition for a job well done, and ‘Make the Grade’ is a fun way to do that,” said Dr. Debra Livingston, Superintendent of Schools. “We thank AutoFair for its generous investment in our students.”

For complete details and contest rules go to www.AutoFair.com and click on the “Make the Grade” logo.    

Elementary band information night: September 30

All prospective fifth grade students and their parents/guardians are invited to a special “Band Demonstration Night” held at West High School. 

At this event, fifth grade students will hear a short performance of the high school marching band, which will be followed by short breakout sessions on particular instruments. 

This event will be held on the West football field on Wednesday, September 30, and will run from 6:15 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Smarter Balanced data to be released statewide in November

Student and school scores from the 2015 spring administration of the Smarter Balanced assessment will be available to parents and the public on November 12, 2015, according to Manchester School District’s Superintendent Debra Livingston. Staff at the SAU will soon be reviewing the data and preparing instructional materials for principals and teachers to use in order to interpret and make the best use of the data.

Students across the district in grades three through eight and grade eleven took the assessment last spring. Principals will have the results later this week and teachers will begin reviewing the information the week of September 28.

“We anticipate a very robust reporting method that will allow our school leaders to make the best use of the information in order to improve what we are doing in the classroom,” said Dr. Livingston. “The assessment, a first of this kind for all students, will be used this year to establish a baseline of achievement. We are eager to have the conversations with principals and teachers about what they see in the data and how they wish to use it moving forward.”

The Smarter Balanced assessment consists of a computer adaptive test and performance tasks that describe student achievement in math and language arts. It provides fair measures of students’ progress toward mastery of academic standards while illustrating students’ knowledge and skills required to be college and career ready.

Register now for adult and community learning courses!

If you think you know what adult education is, take a look at what Manchester has to offer. Manchester Adult and Community Learning is still accepting new students. Earning credit in courses such as economics, biology and algebra to achieve a traditional high school diploma is an option, as well as language classes for students who don’t speak English. But several new programs take an interesting approach to the standards, and they’re open to anyone in the community who want to sign up.

“Forbidden Fiction” is an English course focusing on literature previously banned or challenged in schools. The class meets on Tuesday nights. Wednesday night’s “Creative Non-fiction” will introduce students to memoirs and other ways books engage readers with information. “The Untouchables,” also meeting on Wednesdays, investigates the most infamous criminals in American history. Conversational Spanish and a course on classroom-focused Microsoft applications round out the offerings for this school year. “Microsoft Office for the Workplace,” for those who need to sharpen their skills in business, will begin later this fall.

All classes are held at Central High School. The full schedule and registration information can be found online at http://macl.mansd.org/enrichment. Interested students also can call (603) 624-6300 x195.   

Parker-Varney preschool teacher named 2016 NH Teacher of the Year

Superintendent Debra Livingston, far right, principal
Amy Allen, and Mayor Ted Gatsas were at the school
assembly to congratulate Ashley Preston, second from left.
The New Hampshire Department of Education has announced that Ashley Preston, preschool teacher at Parker-Varney Elementary School, is the 2016 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year.

Preston was chosen from a large group of talented and dedicated educators in the state. The selection committee recognized her ability to help her young students be curious, critical thinkers and problem solvers.

"Preschool students are often underestimated, and I feel fortunate that I can be their voice, help them gain the recognition they deserve, and prove their learning is valuable," Preston wrote in the application.

The surprise announcement was made during a school assembly, which Preston believed was about leadership. Little did she know that her parents, brothers, daughter and other family members were in the audience, waiting to watch her accept a prestigious award. School district administrators, board of school committee members, state board of education officials, city aldermen, and Mayor Gatsas also attended.

Preston has been teaching for nine years in Manchester. She looks at the whole child and sees the gains they made then finds ways to help them continue to grow and make progress.

"Ms. Preston is a natural educator," said Parker-Varney principal Amy Allen. "She teaches her students to strive for excellence, to love reading to care about one another."

Preston is New Hampshire's candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Video updates for kindergarten readiness

Parents looking for resources that will help them let their young children practice some academic skills will find our kindergarten readiness videos helpful.

We've just added several to the "Ready, Set. . .Kindergarten!" page of this site. Thank you to the teachers at Parker-Varney Elementary School for contributing to our series!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Health officials identify positive test result for West Nile Virus

The  New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  is  announcing  that  a batch of mosquitoes has tested positive for West  Nile  Virus  (WNV)  recently from the city of Manchester. This is the first  mosquito  batch  found to be positive so far this year and the first positive  test result of the season. 

WNV, along with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), are arboviruses that are transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito. WNV was first identified in  New Hampshire in August of 2000. The Public Health Lab has tested 3,048 mosquito batches, two animals, and 46 people so far this season for WNV and EEE.  There have been no positive tests for EEE yet this year.

Residents and visitors to New Hampshire should protect themselves and their family  members  by using an effective mosquito repellant that contains 30% DEET,  wearing  long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most  active,  and  removing  standing  water  from  around  your  home  so mosquitoes  do not have a place to breed. Repellents with picaridin, IR3535 and  some  oil  of  lemon  eucalyptus  and para-menthane-diol products also provide protection against mosquito bites.

Symptoms  of  the WNV usually appear within a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito, although many people can be infected and not develop any symptoms, or only develop very mild symptoms. Symptoms can include flu-like illness including fever, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. A very small percentage  of  individuals  infected  with  WNV  can go on to develop more serious   central   nervous   system   disease,   including  meningitis  or encephalitis. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical provider.

Anyone with questions about WNV/EEE can call 1-866-273-6453 between 8 AM to 4:30  PM,  Monday through Friday. More information about prevention can be found HERE.

Luke Capistran 5K Run / 3K Walk is Saturday, Oct. 3

Walk or Run for a good cause! 

The first 50 Manchester School District Employees who register through the link below will have their cost covered for the Luke Capistran Memorial 5K run and 3K walk.

Saturday, October 3 at 10:00am 
Derryfield Park, Bridge Street, Manchester, NH

All proceeds go to the Luke Capistran Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships for students to attend summer camp.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Wilson School principal named

The staff and students of Henry Wilson Elementary School did not have to look far for their new leader. Polly Golden, who has begun her role as principal immediately, was the director of federal projects and professional development for Manchester School District.

Prior to coming to Manchester in 2012, Golden was principal at Milton Elementary School in Milton, New Hampshire. She has worked closely with Wilson and other elementary schools in the city which receive federal funding for programs such as Title I, School Improvement Grants, and priority school status.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Wilson team in this position,” said Golden. “There is so much learning to celebrate, and the commitment to continued success among everyone in the Wilson community is undeniable.”

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Open House dates and times

Elementary Schools


Monday, September 14, 2015

6:00-7:00 pm
Beech Street  Academy 1 Monday, September 21, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
Academy 2 Tuesday, September 22, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
Academy 3 Wednesday, September 23, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
Academy 4&5 Thursday, September 24, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
Gossler  Tuesday, September 22, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
Green Acres  Thursday, September 11, 2015 6:30-7:30 pm
Hallsville  Tuesday, September 22, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
Highland-Goffe’s Falls Thursday, September 3, 2015
Grades K-2 5:45-6:30 pm
Grades 3-5 6:45-7:30 pm
Jewett Street  Tuesday, September 29, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
McDonough  Tuesday, September 23, 2015 6:30-7:30 pm
Northwest Wednesday, September 16, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
Parker-Varney Thursday, September 24, 2015 6:00-7:30 pm
Smyth Road Thursday, September 17, 2015 6:30-8:30 pm
Webster  Wednesday, September 23, 2015 6:30-8:00 pm
Weston Thursday, September 17, 2015 6:30-7:00 pm  K-2
7:00-7:30 pm  3-5
Wilson Thursday, September 17, 2015 6:00-7:00 pm
Middle Schools
Hillside Middle  Thursday, September 24, 2015 6:30-8:00 pm
McLaughlin   Thursday, September 24, 2015 6:30-8:30 pm
Parkside Thursday, September 17, 2015 6:30-8:00 pm
Southside  Wednesday, September 23, 2015  6:00-7:45 pm
For 6th Grade
Thursday, September 24, 2015 6:00-7:45 pm
For 7th and 8th Grades
High Schools
Central  Thursday, October 15, 2015 6:30-8:30 pm
Memorial  Tuesday, October 13, 2015 6:30-8:30 pm
West  Thursday, October 8, 2015 6:30-8:00 pm
MST Wednesday, October 21, 2015 6:00-8:00 pm

REMINDER: No school on September 15

Don't forget that school is closed on Tuesday, September 15! 

It is a professional development workshop day for teachers and city primary election day.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Memorial High School remembers 9/11

As the city, state and nation reflect on the events of September 11, 2001, Memorial High School hosted a special assembly to remember the attacks on America. Manchester School District wants to thank Mrs. Michaud and her students for planning such a moving tribute to the lives lost and those who lived through it.

One special portion of the program included a letter addressed to the students of Manchester and our community from Laura Ogonowski, daughter of American Airlines flight 11 pilot, John Ogonowski. It was read out loud during today's assembly, and we thank Laura for sharing her experience.

"Thank you all for gathering to reflect and remember all of those who were killed on September 11, 2001. I wish that I could be there to share my story with you today, however I am in Boston attending 9/11 commemorations with my family as I do each year. As you know, I lost my father, Captain John Ogonowski who was the captain of American Airlines Flight #11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on September 11th.  On that day, 14 years ago today, I was the same age as many of you, a sophomore at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua. I had celebrated my 16th birthday 5 days earlier. I was in my second class of the day when I saw my teacher abruptly leave the classroom to speak with another teacher – she looked anxious, panicked and remarked that “today will go down in history.” I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, I knew that something was very wrong. Even though I didn’t know what had happened at this point, I was worried sick because I knew my Dad was flying that day. A few moments later, the vice principal of my school pulled me out of my classroom and grabbed me by the hand to walk me to meet with my sister. As we turned the corner, I saw my sister, who had just begun her freshman year, standing at the end of the hall, looking like her knees were about to give way. Her teacher had just told her that our father had been killed, at that moment, the vice principal told me the news too. I felt sick. They took us to a room where we could be together and very shortly after drove us back to our home, our farm in Dracut, Massachusetts, we were crying the entire way, not knowing the extent of what had happened but knowing that we were never going to see our father again.

The next several days and weeks were spent trying to understand what had happened while the country was in shock and mourned together. It was 14 years ago but I remember that day like it was yesterday, I remember knowing at a young age that my life would never be the same and that our country was going to be a very different place too.

While I was thinking about what I wanted to share with you today, I wanted to make sure that I thanked each of you for never forgetting what happened to my father, Captain John Ogonowski and what happened to nearly 3,000 innocent souls who went to work that morning and never returned to home to see their families again.

I also wanted to give you a glimpse at one of the remarkable lives that was stolen, the life of my dad.

On the first commemoration of the 9/11 attacks, September 11, 2002, my Uncle Jim, my father’s younger brother addressed a group of American Airlines pilots through an e-mail to my Dad, an e-mail of course, that he would never send, his words ring true today and I wanted to share an excerpt from that e-mail with you:

To my brother John,

I haven’t seen you in one year, and what a year it has been.

Your last day with us last year started like so many before. You woke at 5amto be in Boston for an 8 o’clock flight. You quickly showered and dressed, looked in your 3 sleeping daughters, kissed your wife Peg, and headed out the door. As you drove out your driveway and down by uncle Al’s house, you gave him your customary 2 short toots of your horn, that was the last communication anyone in the family would have with you...

It was a gorgeous New England fall day. A sad, picturesque ending to a remarkable life. Senators, Congressman, friends, and neighbors joined with all of your family. A large military contingent, people from the Agriculture community, Veterans groups… Need I go on? John, your memorial service was broadcast live on all of the Boston TV stations and some worldwide stations. Peg asked me to say a few words at your service. I was honored. I spoke of your 4 loves, which I feel made you the man you were:
  • I spoke of your love of country
  • Love of flying
  • Love of farming
  • And most importantly your love of family
Since that time there isn’t a day that goes by without us thinking of you and how you impacted our lives.

I spoke about our great country for which you served in the military and loved so much: John, as I reflect back on the day that our hearts cried out, 9-11, something else happened in the country.

I noted the irony that the airlines hijacked were from airlines named United and American. United Americans, …standing tall! A new-found patriotism appeared all across our great land. It was a patriotism not displayed since WWII. Our flag flies proudly from sea to shining sea.. I can proudly say that we remain as: ONE NATION UNDER GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

We must not forget what happened to you and over 3000 others - or it will happen again…

I’ll end by thanking you, all of the students, faculty and staff at Manchester for never forgetting September 11, 2001. God Bless America."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Schools get ready to launch 2015-16 FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead

FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead is gearing up for the new school year! In 2015-16, the fourth grade classes of seven schools are participating:

Beech Street Elementary
Gossler Park Elementary
Green Acres Elementary
Jewett Street Elementary
Northwest Elementary
Parker-Varney Elementary
Wilson Elementary

The weekly sessions focused on building and programming LEGO EV3 robots will begin in each school after their field trips to the SEE Science Center. The remaining seven elementary schools not yet integrating FIRST LEGO League into their curriculum also will visit SEE Science Center this fall. Those schools will be added to the full FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead program next year.

In the meantime, our schools' valuable FLL partner and coach "LEGOman Dan" is telling fourth graders what they can expect in FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead this year, and what it takes to program a robot. Take a look at this demonstration!

Could you program a robot? from Communications Coordinator on Vimeo.

Precautions for extreme heat

With another "extreme heat" day, school nurses and teachers are keeping a close eye on students. The Manchester Health Department has passed on some preventative measures as well as response measures for the potential of heat exhaustion among the student and/or staff population. These materials are from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Red Cross, and other safety resources. 

Other suggestions for children and adults to beat the heat in school:

*         Place wet paper towels on the back of their neck or under their arm (vessels are close in these areas and thus can help cool the bloodstream a bit)

*         Sit on the cool floor

*         Encourage water breaks

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Meet the Wilson Elementary School principal candidates on Thursday

Parents, teachers and interested members of the public will have a chance to meet and hear from the finalists being considered for the top post at Henry Wilson Elementary School. The school district is hosting a community forum to introduce the two candidates and offer an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

The invited candidates are Polly Golden, currently director of federal projects and professional development for Manchester School District; and Chris MacDonald, currently assistant principal at Northwest Elementary School in Manchester since 2008. Prior to coming to Manchester in 2012, Golden was principal at Milton Elementary School in Milton, New Hampshire.

Their experience includes curriculum development and implementation, school improvement initiatives, and educator evaluations. Both Golden and MacDonald were classroom teachers earlier in their careers.

“When we have two strong candidates for a principal position, forums like this have proven to be a wonderful way to further involve our families and faculty in selecting the best leader for their school,” said Superintendent Debra Livingston. “It’s also a valuable part of the interview process for the candidates to meet members of the school community.”

Principal finalists community forum

WHERE: Henry Wilson Elementary School
                  401 Wilson Street, Manchester

WHEN: Thursday, September 10, 2015
               5:30-6:30 p.m.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Manchester teacher selected as donor's choice

Like many teachers, Michelle Bouchard has discovered that raising funds for specific classroom needs can be done more effectively online. Web sites such as DonorsChoose.org and AdoptAClassroom.org are designed to provide a way for teachers to make requests for financial contributions toward education resources. Teachers have successfully collected funding to pay for supplies, technology, classroom furniture, and even field trips that would have otherwise busted budgets.

Ms. Bouchard, who teaches first grade at Northwest Elementary School, was surprised to find out that television station FOX25 Boston fully funded her latest DonorsChoose request for colorful card stock and printer ink.

"Purchasing card stock and printer ink will help create colorful center activities that enhance our classroom learning," Ms.Bouchard explained in her online submission. "Having these materials in color and on durable card stock will ensure that the children can use these materials frequently year after year. The colorful copies will draw students to the activities in ways that black and white copies cannot compare."

Ms. Bouchard estimated that the supplies she needed cost about $300. FOX25 focused part of its back to school news coverage on funding DonorsChoose projects in its viewing area and randomly selected Ms. Bouchard to receive the financial boost to reach her goal.

FOX25 Morning News meteorologist Shiri Spear visited Ms. Bouchard's class to tell her about the TV station's support, From now until September 11, FOX25 is surprising teachers who have posted their needs through DonorsChoose.

MSD Nutrition News

Image created by: Susan von Struensee https://www.flickr.com/photos/vvonstruen/6786472758
Would you like to hear about school menu updates? Interested in hearing about school nutrition and physical activity initiatives? If so, you will find this information and more on the MSD Nutrition Tips blog. Follow this link: http://msdnutrition.blogspot.com/

You can also easily find a link to the MSD Nutrition Tips blog on the main MSD web site at www.mansd.org. Look for Quick Links > MSD Nutrition Blog. 

In addition to latest updates on School Food and Nutrition you will also find recipes, fun ideas for healthy snacks, activities for kids, and more.

September 22: Opportunity Fair

This valuable event is open to ALL high school students in Manchester,
no matter which school they attend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A message from MSD and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

On behalf of the Manchester School District and the business community of the greater Manchester region, we are pleased to invite you to participate in an innovative professional development program – Educator Leadership. This program, entering its third year, seeks to create closer alignment between business and education by providing educators with personal access to business leaders, entrepreneurs and community leaders. Armed with a stronger understanding of business and workforce trends through this program, educators will be able to apply this knowledge in the classroom and help prepare and inform students for careers in high growth industries.

Directed by a Steering Committee, Educator Leadership sessions are held from 3:30-5:45 p.m. once a month until May. Each session focuses on a new industry with presentations by business leaders through lectures and discussions at on-site visits at some of the most innovating and exciting businesses in Manchester. The 2015/2016 curriculum includes the following learning modules:

Advanced Manufacturing
Computing and Math
Financial Services
Government/Social Services

All educators from the Manchester School District (teachers, guidance counselors, reading and math specialists, etc.) are encouraged to apply. The tuition for this program is $100 and is reimbursable by the Manchester School District upon completion of the program through professional development funds.

We certainly hope you will consider applying today. Working together, we can help ensure the students of today are powering our city and region’s workforce of tomorrow.

To apply, simply email leadership@manchester-chamber.org or call Educator Leadership Program Manager Tammy Boucher at (603) 792-4110 at the Chamber. The application also is available online.


Debra Livingston, Superintendent Michael Skelton, President
Manchester School District Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce