Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Superintendent's message: Welcome to the 2016-17 school year

Welcome back to school!

We are thrilled to be opening schools for the 2016-2017 school year and excited to greet students in grades 1-12 on September 6 and PK-1 on September 14.   This year we are welcoming more than 14,000 students to school who embody  hundreds of cultures, traditions, languages, and learning styles. Over this next year we will witness the growth and emergence of our future entrepreneurs, inventors, strategists, and leaders.   Manchester School District is ready with a strong and confident team of professional educators who have committed themselves to doing what is the very best for each child.

We are pleased that MSD has seen a strong teacher retention rate for the 2016-17 school year which means more consistency for our students.  The teachers and employees we have hired are tops in their field.

Safety of our students and employees always comes first.  Last year we saw situations around our schools that required us to take precautionary actions. As a parent and grandparent myself, I know it’s difficult to hear of an issue arising near a neighborhood school and not being able to be there for your child. We will continue to be proactive in our planning for such situations as well as taking proper action when situations arise. Working with our city partners at the Manchester Police Department, Manchester Fire Department, Department of Health, and other local authorities, we continue to train school and district staff in school safety and security measures that permit our children to feel safe and thrive in their learning environments.

This year we will continue to seek out and provide more rigorous and relevant learning opportunities for all students while striving to provide the necessary resources and assistance to each. STEAM Ahead and other innovative programs will continue to grow at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Three years ago we embarked on an ambitious journey to research, deliberate, organize and assemble what are now known as the Manchester Academic Standards. Since that time teams of teachers at each grade level in elementary and middle school have been rewriting curriculum units of study in alignment with our rigorous standards and slowly introducing them to all teachers across the district. We know it has been a long and sometimes bumpy process.   

This year, curriculum redevelopment will continue in middle school science and social studies. High school English, mathematics, science, and social studies will begin to redesign their units. High school teacher teams also will be reviewing their course competencies and adjusting them for rigor to ensure that all students have the same opportunities for relevant and meaningful coursework that meet the same expectations for growth. By the end of the school year we intend to have all of our curriculum through its first complete revision.

These are changing times for the Manchester School District. We will begin the year with a transition in the Office of the Superintendent with my retirement on October 1 and we welcome a new leader.   I am eager and excited to begin this school year with you.  

Serving as your superintendent has been a joy.  I am proud of what we have accomplished and grateful to have had the the privilege and honor of serving our children the past three years.  Through your efforts, our schools will continue to thrive and make a positive difference in the lives of children across the city.  Thank you.


Debra Livingston
Superintendent of Schools

Friday, August 26, 2016

Verizon calls on Manchester students for the best problem-solving app ideas

The fifth annual Verizon Innovative Learning App challenge – the no-coding-skills-needed contest that gives middle and high school students a chance to bring their problem-solving app ideas to life – is now accepting new app ideas for the 2016-2017 competition.

Winning student teams will be chosen from each state, earning a $5,000 grant for their school or organization and free tablets for each team member. Then the Best In State teams will compete for the ultimate prizes: an additional $15,000 for their organizations, and chance to turn their app ideas into real, working smartphone apps that will be made available for download.

Thousands of students across the U.S. have participated in the app challenge, gathering teams, dreaming up ideas, and creating concepts for mobile apps that could solve problems in their schools and communities.

Past winners have been featured at the White House Science Fair and even gone on to sell their completed apps for cash.

The app challenge, part of Verizon Innovative Learning, was developed to give all students, regardless of their technology experience or access to technology, a chance to make a difference, and to help spark their interest in STEM subjects and careers.

The app challenge provides hands-on, experiential learning that can equip students with the in-demand skills of the future and empower them to envision brighter futures for themselves as business owners, app inventors, coders, technology professionals and more.

Students can submit ideas from Aug. 1 - Nov. 18, 2016, and the winners will be named in January and February 2017.

For more information on how to register for the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge, or to download the completed apps, visit www.verizon.com/appchallenge. Follow Verizon on Twitter (@VerizonGiving) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation).

Back to school events scheduled

Some schools are hosting events to welcome in the new school year. They are listed below. If your school is planning a similar event, please send information to communications@mansd.org, and we will include them here.

Bakersville Elementary and Bishop O'Neil Center families are invited to a welcome back to school picnic!*Bring your own picnic dinner OR make a donation and enjoy a hot dog, snacks, desserts and drinks!*Meet our new principal, Mrs. Josef*Participate in a 50/50 raffle “butterfly drop” from a hook and ladder fire truck*Purchase a cool treat from the Kona Ice Truck *Connect with other families, staff, and friends while enjoying some music from our house DJ, bubbles, hoola-hoops and sidewalk chalk artDate: Wednesday, August 31Time: 5:00-6:30 pmPlace: Bakersville field**All Students must be accompanied by an adult family member****All donations and a portion of purchases from Kona Ice will go directly back to the school to benefit our students!!!


McDonough Elementary School is hosting a FREE evening of fun on the first day of school! All McDonough students & their families are invited to celebrate being back to school and have fun with friends!
First Day of School Fun NightTuesday September 6:00-7:30 pm
Hosted by the PTA
McDonough gym and cafe

SMYTH ROAD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Grade-Wide Playground Meet & Greets!
Come on down to the Smyth Road playground to meet old classmates, find out who's in your class and meet NEW friends!
Kindergarten & First Grade: Monday, August 29 6-7pm
Second & Third Grades: Tuesday, August 30 6-7pm
Fourth & Fifth Grades: Wednesday, August 31 6-7pm
Autism program: Thursday, September 1 6-7pm
Come ready to introduce yourself and PLAY!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Message about middle school boys' soccer

Dear Parent and/or Guardian:

This letter is to inform the school community, and its families, that the district will not be offering middle school soccer as part of its athletic offerings for the fall 2016 Season.  Due to uncertainties in the forecasted 2017 school budget, coupled with the early deadline to commit a fall soccer schedule to the Tri-County Association – the body which governs NH Middle School Athletics – the athletic office was forced to make the difficult decision to suspend the program for this fall.

We are hopeful that we will be able to work with all potential resources to fully fund middle school soccer in the future, with the goal of reintroducing the program as early as next fall, in 2017.  We certainly value and appreciate your concern and support for the program and will be sure to communicate to the families and community at-large as information on this matter.


Chris Donovan, CAA
Director of Athletics

Monday, August 22, 2016

Final four redistricting plans chosen for consideration

The Special Committee on Redistricting has narrowed the field of plans from twelve down to four. Each of the 12 plans considered was evaluated against the nine goals determined by the committee. The scores for all of the plans and the goals areposted online under the redistricting tab at www.mansd.org.

“The Mayor’s Plan” scored the highest number of points.  It moves fifth grade up to the middle schools and eighth grade into the high schools. The developmental preschool would be in neighborhood elementary schools. This plan would be free up about 20 classrooms citywide for redistricting.

The next highest scoring concept was “The Superintendent’s Plan.” It adds an addition onto the back of Jewett St. School and reconstructs the driveway and parking to improve traffic flow as well. The addition would house a citywide developmental preschool program which is now utilizing space at five elementary schools. Making those current preschool classrooms available across the city will help facilitate redistricting, and the addition will help accommodate a growing special needs pre-school population.

The third plan to make it through for consideration is “The 2007 Plan,” named for the year it was first developed.  In this plan the elementary schools on the west side – Northwest, Gossler Park and Parker-Varney – all become lower elementary schools for grades pre-k -3.  Parkside Middle School would accommodate upper elementary grades 4-6. West would become a middle/high school for grades 7-12. Moving the developmental pre-k program to these three west side elementary schools frees up approximately ten elementary classrooms citywide for redistricting.

The final proposal in the top four is “The Junior STEAM Program at West Plan.” It recommends making all four middle schools grades 5-8. As a result, 42 elementary classrooms citywide would be available for redistricting. All seventh and eighth graders could elect to attend a newly developed Junior STEAM Ahead program at West High School, which would help offset the increased numbers in the middle schools and would help promote the high school-level STEAM Ahead program at West. They could then return to their regular high school or elect to stay at West beginning in ninth grade.

The special committee will meet every week now through September to finalize a redistricting plan.
·         August 23: A meeting with the Transportation Coordinator and the Developmental Preschool Director.
·         August 30: A round table discussion with the middle and high school principals
·         September 8: A round table discussion with elementary principals
·         September 12: Open forum with teachers and the public
·         September 23: The final meeting to select a single plan to move forward

The special committee will use October, November and December to familiarize the new superintendent, the community, and the board of school committee with the redistricting plan before it is presented to the board for a vote at its January 9 meeting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sprinkler inadvertently activated at Central High School

Clean-up is nearly complete at Central High School, where a sprinkler head accidentally turned on in a boys’ bathroom on the third floor of the Practical Arts Building this morning. Custodians notified Manchester Fire Department, which shut the building’s water supply off. 

Manchester Department of Public Works Facilities Division, additional Aramark workers, and administration from Manchester School District all responded immediately and worked together to resolve the issue. The water was contained to the third floor bathroom area and hallway, stairway, and a few spots in the floors below. 

The water caused no damage except to a few ceiling panels, and steps are being taken to make sure all the floors dry completely.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Golf tournament to benefit Manchester student and his family

The Second Annual Broken Club Golf Tournament, hosted by Grand Slam Pizza & Sports Bar at 472 South Main Street, will benefit a Parker-Varney Elementary School third grader who has brain cancer. 

Eight-year-old Jeremiah Solis will receive 100% of the tournament proceeds to help with the costs to fight this terrible disease. It's not the first time the family has had to face such a difficult medical challenge; Jeremiah’s mother is also a recovering cancer survivor herself.  

Grand slam Pizza & sports Bar chooses a new fundraising recipient every year. This year's golf tournament is set for September 25, with an 8:30 am start time. It will be held at Pembroke Pines Country Club, 42 Whittemore Road in Pembroke. 

The $300 registration fee for each 4-person team includes a golf cart and food and a beverage afterward at Grand Slam Pizza & Sports Bar. 

Please call or visit Grand Slam Pizza & Sports Bar to register with Deb at Grand Slam Pizza & Sports Bar to register a team: (603)622-5522. You can also call Tim at  (603)765-1430

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rick Dichard named principal of West High School

The Board of School Committee last night approved Richard Dichard as the new principal of West High School. He will assume that role immediately.

Dichard comes to West after four years as assistant principal at Central High School. He’s a familiar face to many faculty and staff at West, however; Dichard began his administrative career there as assistant principal in 2006.

“I had six great years at West,” said Dichard. “To become principal there is like going back home.”

Superintendent Debra Livingston praised Dichard’s leadership and commitment to making students the highest priority.

“Rick has always impressed me with his concern and care of our children and their education,” said Dr. Livingston. “I know he will be successful continuing the traditions and achievements of West High School.”  

While he will deeply miss the students and staff at Central, he wants the West community to know that he’s excited for the opportunity to stay in his new position for years to come.

“My intention is to be their principal for as long as they will have me,” he said.

Dichard succeeds Chris Motika, who was principal since 2013 and resigned last month to take a position outside the district.

Student Accident Insurance for 2016-2017

The Student Accident Insurance Plan brochure for 2016- 2017 can be found online. This brochure contains the enrollment form and instructions for completion and submission.  Please direct all inquiries in regard to insurance coverage directly to the insurance provider.

The brochure can be found on the Manchester School District website under Quick Links > For Parents or For Students. Look in the top left corner for Quick Links at www.mansd.org.