Monday, October 31, 2016

MSD Messages

The latest edition of MSD Messages is now available. Click HERE or below.

Call for entries: Logo contest

Manchester students are invited to enter the logo contest for the Manchester FAFSA Challenge. 
Our school district is proud to be participating in the 2017 FAFSA Challenge, encouraging Manchester's high school seniors to complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and the new web site needs a logo!

There's still time to submit your entry. The deadline is November 14.

Community event welcomes refugee families to Manchester

The International Institute of New England recently hosted a potluck welcome event in Manchester. It was a chance for recently arrived refugee families to meet members of the community and celebrate cultural traditions, including food, music, dance and story-telling.

Dr. Vargas offered welcoming remarks, while Beech Street School principal Christine Brennan, English Learner teacher Tina Proulx, and EL director Wendy Perron attended the crowded event to represent Manchester School District. Many other community agencies also took part.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Anonymous donation provides weekend food security to Manchester kids

Every Friday, dozens of children at McDonough Elementary School go home with backpacks full of food, thanks to the Tennesee-based Blessings in Backpack program. A donor who wishes to remain anonymous chose McDonough as the recipient of his (or her, or their) financial contribution to Blessings in a Backpack, which facilitates the purchase and weekly delivery of non-perishable food items directly to the school.

The program started last month at McDonough, where about 50 children benefit. They are students who principal Ken DiBenedetto and his staff know face food insecurity at home. Blessings in a Backpack provides one way to help families on a regular basis, especially on weekends when school meals are unavailable.

A truck arrives at school every Wednesday, and boxes of food -- including cereal, soup, fruit, crackers, pasta, and canned proteins -- are unloaded into a storage area. On Thursdays, staff sort the food for each student, filling bags of the items so that they are ready to be discreetly placed in children's backpacks the next day.

We thank Blessings in a Backpack and the anonymous donor who are making such a difference!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A message from Dr. Vargas

Courtesy: David Lane/Union  Leader
This has been an exciting and motivating start to my tenure as Superintendent of the Manchester School District. As you can imagine, there are many people to meet and places to go in order to familiarize myself with the city and our schools. This month, I have witnessed many wonderful examples of teaching and learning at every level -- from our youngest students in elementary school to the students who are preparing to graduate next June. 

The conversations I’ve had and the classrooms I’ve seen so far confirm what I already knew: there are great things happening every day in Manchester schools. I’m very proud to be part of this district and have the opportunity to help every student reach his or her aspirations in education and career.

My role in this city is not only as an educational leader, but a support to the team of administrators, teachers and staff in every position across the district to accomplish the goal of helping every student succeed. We want every child to be a priority. We want every school to excel in educating our students. We want all of our families to be proud to live in Manchester with access to quality education.

I look forward to getting to know you and to work with you as we strive to make this school district a top choice for all families to meet the needs and aspirations of their children.  It is my belief that the District has the ultimate responsibility to educate our children but we can’t do it alone. Therefore, I am eager to collaborate with all citizens of Manchester, including parents, business, civic, college and university leaders, as well as all of the community organizations which make youth a priority, to achieve the best on behalf of our students.  

I welcome the opportunity to meet you in the near future to address any of your questions or concerns. Please also feel free to email me with any feedback you would like to offer on how to best begin this journey of making Manchester public schools the best in New Hampshire and the nation.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

MST Salon is open to the community

The MST Student Salon & Spa is open for members of the public to make appointments for various services. 

Please email to schedule:
hair color
manicures, plain & spa
gel polish manicure

The salon is open at Manchester School of Technology on South Porter Street.

Wednesdays 8 am to 2:15 pm
Thursdays 8 am to 5 pm
Fridays 8 am to 2:15 pm

2016 SpeakUp survey open through December 16

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 for learning. 

WHO TAKES THE SURVEY? EVERYONE! Students, Staff, Parents, Administrators and Community Members are invited to participate.   

Take the survey any time, through December 16:

Choose a survey. Look up your school by state and then school.
The secret word for students is: speakup

If you would like to preview survey questions prior to taking the live survey please visit

Join the FAFSA Challenge

Manchester School District is proud to be participating in the 2017 FAFSA Challenge, encouraging Manchester's high school seniors to complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid. 

A new web site dedicated to the effort offers support and resources for families, including in-school appointments with FAFSA advisors who will be available in each high school's guidance offices every week to help students and families complete their applications.

The FAFSA is a critical step toward accessing post-secondary education opportunities because it can provide the financial aid needed to make school more affordable. Through this initiative, Manchester School District is committed to increasing the likelihood that students will attend technical, and two- or four-year colleges and universities by making FAFSA completion easier than ever. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Manchester celebrates Lights On Afterschool

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program sponsored two Lights On Afterschool rallies on October 19 and 20 at Hillside Middle School and Bakersville Elementary School respectively. The Manchester events were among more than 8,000 around the nation, organized annually by the Afterschool Alliance. 

Lights On Afterschool brings attention to the efforts to expand afterschool opportunities so that every child who needs a program has access to one. The yearly celebration also highlight the benefits of afterschool programs, including inspiring children to learn, keeping them safe in the afternoon hours, and relieving working families of worries about their children’s activities in the afternoon.

Participants of Manchester's Lights On Afterschool rallies included students, parents, supporters, and community members from all over Manchester. Superintendent Dr. Vargas and several school board members were able to attend as well. 

For the first time, our middle school programs collaborated with the Granite United Way Bring It! program to showcase the unique opportunities brought to students in the extended afterschool hours. Some activities included experimenting with aerodynamics in a wind tunnel, LEGOs, dance, cookie decorating, soccer, basketball, and much more. 

Thank you to everyone who made these events such a success, especially Pasquale’s Ristorante, Puritan Backroom, Domino's, and Dunkin' Donuts on Elm Street for their delicious food donations!

Southside Middle School honors

Congratulations to Southside Middle School's Parent Support Group for winning its second Blue Ribbon Award from NH Partners in Education, recognizing the PSG's countless volunteer hours to support students and staff at Southside.

NH Partners in Education also celebrates valuable collaborations between schools and local organizations. The City of Manchester, NH Fire Department received its first Gold Circle Award for the hours and resources provided to enhance education at Southside.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Grant to fund nutrition and physical activity programs at Wilson Elementary School

Succeeding academically isn’t simply due to studying: Good grades also rely on adequate levels of physical activity and healthy eating – a relationship that is consistently backed by research. 

To further support Henry Wilson Elementary School’s efforts to promote the health of its students, the school has been awarded $3,520 to fund two programs. The Grab ‘N Go program will provide students with healthful snacks in between meals, including yogurt, smoothies, and fresh produce. The school also plans to purchase physical education equipment to help implement bursts of physical activity throughout the school day. Also known as “brain breaks,” the activities will improve student attendance, behavior, and concentration. Funding for these programs is provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farmers of New Hampshire.

“The grant is going to allow our students to be more active in the classroom and eat healthier throughout the day,” said the school’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program advisor and physical education teacher, Kendzie Wohleben. “We have a great group of students who are a part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 team, and our team continues to grow! I think the program has afforded tremendous opportunities for Wilson Elementary and I am very excited to see what this year has in store."

Wilson Elementary School participates in the nationwide Fuel Up To Play 60 program, which is a student-led, in-school physical activity and nutrition program. Participation in the program is free and is what made the school eligible for the funding.

Miss Wohleben, fellow teacher Alex Simo, assistant principal Brandon French, and 5th grade students Nina, Eric, and Yahya also attended this past summer’s New England Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Summit, which brought together students and program advisors for a day of physical activity, leadership activities, program brainstorming sessions, and a student-led, ultimate smoothie challenge.

“My favorite part of the summit was the smoothie challenge,” said Nina. “We were able to synergize with our team to create our own smoothie for the judges. I like the choices Fuel Up to Play 60 offers me to stay active in and out of school.”

Former New England Patriots Tight End and Super Bowl XXXVI Champion Jermaine Wiggins also attended the Summit. “Fuel Up to Play 60 works because it focuses on students – not adults – to be the drivers of change. As an athlete, I know how powerful combining healthy eating with exercising can be. This program teaches and reinforces these beneficial behaviors that will have a lifelong impact on the students’ health.”

“Henry Wilson Elementary School is making student wellness a priority and we’re glad this funding exists to promote their initiatives,” said Becca Story, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition Specialist with New England Dairy & Food Council. “Nutrition and physical activity help students reach their full potential, and Fuel Up to Play 60 is the vehicle that helps schools reach their goals.”

Students, schools, and parents can learn more about funding eligibility in the “Funding” section at There are several application windows each year, including an upcoming deadline on November 2, 2016.  Each funding cycle can provide up to $4,000 per school. For more information about Fuel Up to Play 60 in New England, follow New England Dairy & Food Council on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and visit

Nearly 74,000 schools across the United States, including more than 1,600 here in New England, are participating in Fuel Up to Play 60. Developed by National Dairy Council, local Dairy Councils, and National Football League, in collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture, the program empowers students to drive change and work closely with educators to find creative ways to make their school a healthier place.