Monday, October 26, 2015

Senator Shaheen visits STEAM Ahead

Freshman and sophomore students in Manchester's STEAM Ahead NH program at West High School had the chance to show U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen some of the innovative work they're doing in engineering, physical science and English classes.

The senator took a tour of the classrooms where students are focused on project-based lessons and integrating technology. 

"It's wonderful to see how engaged the students are," said Senator Shaheen. "Giving them these hands-on opportunities and the ability to learn in different ways are critical for success."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Speak Up about 21st Century Education and Technology

Calling all participants! Speak Up, a national online research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow®, gives individuals the opportunity to share their viewpoints about key educational issues, particularly concerning 21st century education and technology. Each year, findings are summarized and shared with national and state policy makers. Let your voice be heard!

 WHO TAKES THE SURVEY? Students, Staff, Parents, Administrators and Community Members are invited to participate. LET MANCHESTER'S VOICE BE HEARD!

the secret word is speaknow

The secret word for students is: speaknow


NEED HELP? View participant tutorials here:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

NOW HIRING: 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.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Central's Tri-M Music Honor Society is tops in NH

The Central High School chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society was named New Hampshire Chapter of the Year. The award was presented during the state conference of the New Hampshire Music Educators Association on October 15. 

The Central chapter is made up of 34 students in band, chorus, and orchestra. The chapter was lauded for its various service projects in and out of school, such as hosting music department events, and producing an annual concert benefiting the New Horizons soup kitchen.

The Tri-M Music Honor Society is the international music honor society for middle/junior high and high school students. It is designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities, and to inspire other students to excel at music and leadership.

Monday, October 19, 2015

PTG president recognized for parent involvement

Green Acres principal Mr. Norton and Stacy Harrison
Congratulations to Green Acres Elementary School PTG president, Stacy Harrison, for her well-deserved NH Parent Involvement in Education honor from the Parent Information Center this month. 

Stacy was nominated by Green Acres principal Rick Norton for her consistent efforts to enhance the school community and welcome new families through communications, fundraising and participation on various district initiatives.

The NH Parent Involvement in Education event is organized by the Parent Information Center of NH in collaboration with the NH Department of Education.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

MSD receives 2015 Independence Award

Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) honored Manchester School District with its Independence Award at the 35th annual celebration event.

Superintendent Dr. Debra Livingston accepted the 
2015 Independence Award
from Granite State Independent Living
board of directors chair Ken Traum and 
GSIL CEO Clyde Terry, far left 
The award honors Manchester schools for
their dedication and support promoting economic self-sufficiency and independent living for students with disabilities in the GSIL Earn & Learn Opportunities program, which combines soft skills training and education with on-the-job training for at-risk high school students with disabilities. Through this collaboration with Manchester School District, GSIL's goal is to keep students engaged in their educations by preparing them for employment, post-secondary learning and living independently in their community. 

Founded in 1980, Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote life with independence for people with disabilities and those experiencing the natural process of aging through advocacy, information, education, support and transition services.

Manchester students among leaders in AP exam scores

Manchester School District high school students scored well above the national and global averages on last spring’s Advanced Placement exams and narrowly outpaced the mean score of their state peers. The Manchester School District mean score on all AP Exams was 3.38 (out of 5) while the New Hampshire mean was 3.23. The national and global averages were 2.82 and 2.84 respectively.
“We are immensely proud of our students and their continued level of excellence on rigorous exams such as those in the Advanced Placement program, “ said Dr. Debra Livingston, superintendent.“It is clear our teachers did an outstanding job in preparing them.”Overall there were 202 students from the school district who participated in the exams, which represents 6% of the high school student body. 78.4% of those students earned a 3, 4 or 5 on their respective subject exams triggering college credit and a mark of proficiency. Many colleges and universities accept those scores as transfer credit which helps defray the cost of college tuition. At Central High School, where there has been a 30% increase in students participating in AP over the last year, the mean score for English Literature was 3.58 with New Hampshire and Global scores coming in at 3.24 and 2.78 respectively, while in World History Central students averaged 3.98 and New Hampshire logged an average of 3.06, and students averaged 2.61 globally. It should be noted that 15% of the state’s students enrolled in World History are from Central. 
Memorial and West also saw increases in their AP enrollment of 19% and 11% respectively. West had a mean score of 4.5 in U.S. History -- a solid 1.4 points higher than the state average and almost two full points higher than the global average. Memorial joined Central and outpaced its peers in World History with an average of 3.67. “There is much to be celebrated in the Manchester School District and everyday students and teachers are giving us reasons to do it,” said Dr. Livingston. “We will continue to work hard to help our students realize their aspirations but this recent news indicates we are also well on our way.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Enter Governor Hassan's 2nd annual "What's So Cool About Manufacturing?" video contest

Seventh and eighth graders from across New Hampshire are invited to enter the 2nd annual STEM-focused competition hosted by Governor Maggie Hassan. Click HERE for the rules and guidelines!

Chris Martin named assistant superintendent

Superintendent Debra Livingston has named Chris Martin the new Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education in Manchester. The Board of School Committee approved the appointment at last night’s regular meeting. The position had been open since former assistant superintendent Karen Burkush retired in June.

Martin is no stranger to the city and its schools, having grown up here. She attended Manchester public schools, starting at Green Acres Elementary School, and she has worked in the district for nearly three decades. Ms. Martin has been principal of Webster Elementary School since 2010.

“This school district is a part of who I am,” said Ms. Martin. “I am proud of this district and have a vested interest in its success. I have a passion for doing great things on behalf of the children of Manchester.”

She began her education career in 1988 as the music teacher and chorale director for what was then Hillside Junior High School. She also taught music at several other schools in the 1990s, including Beech Street Elementary and Southside Middle School, before moving to the Manchester School District office in 2003 to be the Director of Fine Arts, overseeing faculty and curriculum for art and music programs across the district, among other responsibilities.

As the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education, Ms. Martin’s focus will be on curriculum and programs specific to kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Ms. Martin is a proven leader, and her commitment to educating students in our city is as strong as ever,” said Superintendent Debra Livingston. “She is the right person to continue the progress our elementary schools have made and keep them moving forward.”

Ms. Martin will earn her doctorate in education from Plymouth State University in May 2016. Her undergraduate and master’s degrees were completed at the University of New Hampshire. She begins her assistant superintendent duties this week. A new principal for Webster Elementary School will be named as soon as possible.

October 17: MST Fall Vendor Fair

MST Fall Vendor Fair

Saturday, October 17th
(9am set-up time)
Proceeds will benefit a scholarship fund for MST's first class of graduating seniors!

Crafts, Jewelry, Stained Glass, Paintings, Wood Carvings,
Tasty Treats, Cosmetics, Kid’s Corner….
A great place to shop, browse and meet the artisans!

What is your Specialty?
There are a few spaces left to feature your business!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October 14: PSAT and delayed opening for high schools

All high school sophomores and test-taking juniors should arrive at school at the usual time for the PSAT on Wednesday, October 14.

All high school students NOT taking the PSAT should arrive at school at 10:50 am. Buses will be doing a second pick-up 3 hours later than the normal time.  

The high schools will operate on an abbreviated schedule, with the school day beginning at 11:00 am.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Teachers: Help Manchester win a share of $2 million worth of technology

To excite students about the possibilities of STEM education, Samsung started the Solve for Tomorrow education contest, giving schools across the U.S. the opportunity to raise interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects among students by awarding their schools with a share of more than $2 million* in technology products. The deadline is October 30!

Partnership is a win-win for college students and Manchester kids

Even before college students majoring in education look for student teaching opportunities, they’re getting real world classroom experience in a Manchester school. Nearly 60 sophomores, juniors and seniors from Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Education are working closely with students at Weston Elementary School. The result is a “working learning lab,” which gives the older students a chance to put teaching methods into action, while the younger students receive supplemental instruction.

“Like most people, they learn best by doing,” Cathy Stavenger, associate professor of education at SNHU, said of her students. “There’s a real value in the field work we offer that provides the experience they can’t simply read about or role play in the college classroom.”

Groups of SNHU students are divided into three education courses: Methods of Teaching Elementary Mathematics, Foundations of Teaching and Learning, and The Inclusive Classroom. Each week, the education students take their own class at Weston and then spend two hours of time interacting with the elementary students.

The foundations and inclusive courses focus on topics like lesson planning, instruction strategies and adapting teaching methods to students of various levels and abilities. Those SNHU students are assigned to at least one class in grades K-4 for the semester and support the Weston teachers during the school day.

“I’m seeing first hand that every student is different and watching how an experienced teacher responds to each situation,” said Susan Wieszeck, an SNHU sophomore working with second and third graders. “I’m learning so much more that I would just from a textbook.”

The SNHU math methods course emphasizes the approaches for teaching mathematics. SNHU students coordinate with all three fifth grade teachers to provide enrichment, reinforcement, or practice to every student. Ten fifth graders at a time from each class take turns going to the SNHU room where the students work in pairs or even one-on-one with an SNHU student on math skills they are currently learning.

After these sessions, Professor Stavenger can discuss with her students which strategies work and why, or how to adjust instruction for specific students who might need a bit of extra motivation or clarity about a lesson.

“The students come in thinking that they are solely there to learn new math concepts from us, but in reality they are helping us learn so much about ourselves as future educators, too,” said Alivia Shea, and SNHU junior.

While their classmates are working on math with their SNHU partners, the Weston students remaining with their teachers receive small group instruction in whatever subject the teachers wish to focus on for those particular children.

“This is a wonderful collaboration for all of us,” said principal Liz MacDonald. “Not only do our students learn and grow with the additional time to practice skills, but our teachers have an opportunity to work with their students in a practical and more meaningful way.”

The college students also appreciate the chance early in their undergraduate endeavors to get a clearer understanding of teaching and decide if it is the right career choice or confirm their aspirations. Wieszeck started the semester wanting to be a kindergarten teacher. But after working a few weeks at Weston?

“I think third grade would be great,” she said.

As an administrator who interviews and hires new teachers, Mrs. MacDonald says this kind of undergraduate opportunity will give some of these SNHU an edge.

“I talk to many newly certified and talented teachers, who, outside of student teaching, have no classroom experience,” she said. “These students will enter the field of education with a stronger knowledge base and confidence.”

SNHU School of Education students get field experience in eight other school districts in a similar way, and on a smaller scale, they work in two other Manchester schools. At Parker-Varney Elementary School, the college students work with special education students in several classrooms and grade levels. Gossler Park Elementary School also hosts three courses and has welcomed the SNHU students into a variety of classrooms across grade levels. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bakersville Elementary School teacher earns national honor

Lucy Canotas is the National Education Association’s New Hampshire 2015 Teaching Excellence award winner. The fifth grade teacher at Bakersville Elementary School received the recognition this morning from a representative of the NEA Foundation. The award also comes with a $650 check for the school, sponsored by the NEA's auto and home insurance carrier, California Casualty.

Every year, the NEA invites its state affiliates to nominate outstanding educators for the Teaching Excellence award, which recognizes teachers who create learning environments that meet the needs of students across all abilities, cultures and backgrounds. Award recipients also must demonstrate a commitment to professional development and continually work to gain new knowledge that can be shared with their colleagues.

Bakersville principal Judy Adams, left, and
MEA president Sue Hannan, right were on hand
to watch Lucy receive her award 
“Lucy looks at the whole child, sees their strengths, and helps them achieve in all areas,” said Bakersville principal Judy Adams. “Excellent teachers like Lucy know that’s the best way to make a positive difference in the lives of children.”

Canotas agrees that education is not just academic.

“It’s important to have relationships with students and families,” Canotas said. “When you understand your students better and make them feel comfortable and safe in school, they are better learners.”

Canotas and Bakersville are among several Manchester School District educators and schools recognized for various achievements in recent months.

Lucy Canotas, center, with Dr. Livingston and
Scott McKenna of California Casualty
“Lucy’s outstanding effort for the children at Bakersville is one example of how all of Manchester’s teachers work hard across the city, and we’re honored she is part of our district,” said superintendent Debra Livingston.

The school will allow Canotas to determine how to spend the cash award to support Bakersville; she hasn’t yet finalized her wish list.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Operation Care for Troops seeking cards and letters from kids

Operation Care for Troops used to be known as MooreMart, and was started by the Moore family from NH, to ship care packages to a family member when he was stationed in Iraq. He eventually asked them to send packages to some of the guys in his platoon who never received packages from home and from there, the program blossomed and the family began sending packages to NH troops stationed in Afghanistan and all around the Middle East.

While the US is no longer officially "at war" in that part of the world, we have tens of thousands of troops over there in various capacities, many of them in dangerous situations.  MooreMart has renamed itself Operation Care for Troops, and its mission continues to be a valuable service.  They will ship packages on November 12-14 to more than 1,300 service members.

The single most treasured item these troops love to receive is cards and letters from folks back home - particularly from kids.  Our schools have been asked to participate in this endeavor by providing cards, letters and drawings from students.

A couple of rules on the cards and letters:
  • They don't need to be long. But they can be!
  • Simple drawings are a fun addition to a letter. Crayons and colors are great!
  • Sign only with first names (and school name if you want).  Don't use last names or contact information.
  • Don't mention or ask for details of the service members' jobs (e.g. death, killings, politics, etc.). They like UPBEAT news from home!
  • Don't use inappropriate language or drawings.
  • DO thank the troops for their service.  
Manchester School District will collect notes or drawings from any children in the community to send along to Operation Care for Troops. If you would like to participate, please send your letters to the troops by October 28 to:

Care for Troops
c/o Andrea Alley
Manchester School District
195 McGregor Street
Manchester, NH 03102

Hillside field hockey donation drive this month

Do you have too much clutter at home?  The Hillside Middle School field hockey team can help! The girls are joining up with Savers to organize a donation drive to collect clothing, toys, small appliances and other household items.  The proceeds will be used to buy new equipment for the team.

The donation drive starts Saturday, October 10 at Hillside Middle School, where field hockey players will accept donations from 10am to 2pm. Hillside will be open to take community contributions the following two Saturdays, on October 17 and 24. 

Donations also will be collected each morning for any Hillside community member who wishes to send their donations in with a student.

Items that will be accepted are:

  • all types of clothing, shoes, jackets 
  • hats, mittens, scarves, ties, socks
  • purses, wallets, backpacks, and bags  
  • toys 
  • kitchen appliances
  • sports equipment
  • electronics 
The team will bring those items to Savers and use the money to fund new equipment.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Adjusted school day hours to take effect November 30

Starting in November, the school day in Manchester will begin a bit later in the morning and end a bit later in the afternoon.  The hours for elementary, middle and high schools are being adjusted based on the recently approved teachers’ contract with the Manchester Education Association. The newly bargained schedule will take effect on Monday, November 30, 2015.

An hours-based academic calendar is included in the current contract, which means longer school days and three built-in snow days that don’t have to be made up in June. The anticipated last day of school, assuming fewer than four snow days, is Thursday, June 9.

The first graduating class from MST High School will hold its commencement on Friday, June 3 at 2:00 PM, while West, Memorial, and Central high schools will graduate on Saturday, June 4 at 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM respectively.

The Manchester Education Association and the Manchester School District have worked together to create school start and end schedules, below, which align with this new calendar. The school district has been planning for the change to ensure a smooth transition for schools and families. New bus schedules will be available in early November.

The contract also designates a day in January or February as a teacher professional learning day once a date has been chosen for the 2016 New Hampshire Presidential Primary. Students will not attend school on that day. The official date is to be determined by the Secretary of State.

The agreement between the Manchester Board of School Committee and Manchester Education Association is for three years and includes following these bell times for the duration.           

                                          Students arrive      Class begins       Dismissal
Elementary schools               8:30 am               8:45 am             2:50 pm
Morning preschool               9:05 am                9:15 am             11:45 am
Afternoon preschool           12:35 pm              12:45 pm           3:15 pm
Full-day preschool                8:45 am               9:00 am             2:00 pm
Middle school                        7:20 am               7:35 am             2:20 pm
High school                            7:38 am               7:45 am             2:53 pm