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Showing posts from May, 2017

How Breakthrough Manchester opened the door to opportunity

Breakthrough Manchester, a tuition-free academic enrichment program for middle school students, recently held its annual Back to Summer breakfast to celebrate the start of the upcoming season. Students who apply and are selected to participate in Breakthrough Manchester begin the program after 6th grade and spend three summers taking rigorous classes.

Once students complete their three year middle school Breakthrough commitment, they are able to continue with the tuition-free College Bound program at Southern New Hampshire University. Designed to support students in high school, the College Bound program is rolling out the supports for ninth graders this school year.

Memorial High School Senior Selina Nwikina spoke at this year's Back to Summer breakfast about her experience and the impact of Breakthrough Manchester on her life. Selina's remarks are posted here with her permission.

I have been a part of Breakthrough for five years. Quite honestly, it does not feel like that at a…

Manchester schools in the news

NHPR reporter Jason Moon recently visited two elementary schools and spoke with teachers there, as well as Dr. Vargas about some of the challenges our district faces. Listen to the story online.

A Christian Science Monitor reporter spent a lot of time at the Manchester School of Technology this spring, talking to students and teachers about the hands-on programs. You can watch and read that story here.

McLaughlin Middle School is in its second year of a 7th and 8th grade STEAM-focused curriculum. The program was featured in an online blog of education consultants, impressed by what they saw.

Call for book donations!

The Manchester Board of School Committee is holding a book drive to collect books that will go home with elementary school students across the city. All the books collected will be shared among schools and classes to ensure that every child at every grade level receives at least one book to take home for the
summer. Please spread the word and clean out those book shelves!

MSD director of EL instruction is a UNH distinguished alumna

Manchester School District's director of English Learner instruction, Wendy Perron, was awarded the "2017 Distinguished Alumni Award" during the University of New Hampshire's Education Department commencement on May 19.

As part of this honor, she was the featured guest speaker for the Education Department graduation. Wendy shared her perspective on what makes Manchester's schools so special and diverse, and how our school communities welcome all cultures. Her inspirational speech challenged these new educators to make critical reflection a part of their practice, as well as ensure that they would continue the quest for equity in education for all students.

We're proud that Wendy plays such an important role in educating our students!

Life after high school: An EL student's success story

Vanessa Wallace, Central High School class of 2007, visited Mrs. Swenson and Ms. Droney's advanced English Learner classes this spring to tell her story as a Central High School EL alumna. When Vanessa and her family arrived in Manchester from Colombia 12 years ago, she started at Central as a junior. She described to students her struggles and successes, her determination and persistence, and expressed her gratitude for teachers who believed in her.

After graduating from Central, Vanessa attended the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a B.S. in business administration and B.S. in international affairs in 2011. She continued her education at UNH and received a masters in administration in 2013.

Vanessa is now married, has two children, and is an accountant at BAE Systems. There, she also serves as VP of Activities for HOLA (Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement), and she is a company-trained emergency responder.

During her presentation to Central's curre…

"The Little Green" honored with New England award

The Little Green, Central High School’s student newspaper, received a second place All-New England Award for Class I newspapers from the New England Scholastic Press Association (NESPA) for the second consecutive year. The paper also received the Highest Achievement Award, which was presented at the NESPA’s 69th annual spring conference at Boston University’s College of Communications on May 5.

In addition to the All-New England honor, Little Green editor-in-chief Aidan Ryan was recognized for Best Page Design for his “Election 2016” feature, and writer Lily O’Connell received an award for her article, "The Central 'Stache."

The Little Green, which is published eight times a year, is a forum for student expression and is not funded by the school district. Faculty advisers are Carol and Scott MacDonald.

NESPA’s judging panel consisted of Boston University journalism professors and experienced scholastic media advisers, who considered entries from 800 New England school publi…

Principal McCafferty receives inaugural SNHU Loeffler Prize

Hillside Middle School principal Brendan McCafferty is the first ever recipient of Southern New Hampshire University's newly established Loeffler Prize, recognizing those who have unselfishly and generously contributed their time and talents for the enrichment of others and the betterment of their community. In the description of the award, SNHU says honorees set an example for the spirit of generosity, everyday contributions, sometime heroism, and perseverance.

Mr. McCafferty was honored in part for his hard work to build a network of opportunities for his students across the city of Manchester. He has been an instrumental champion in the work of local nonprofit BRING IT!, an acronym of the program’s full name: “Bringing Refugees, Immigrants and Neighbors Gently Into Tomorrow.” An average of 100 kids attend the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions after school, which started at Hillside and is now also offered and hosted by the Middle School at Parkside. These evenings feature dance,…

Major donation gives elementary school needed technology

New Hampshire businessman Bill Binnie delivered 60 Chromebooks, a laptop, and smart TV to Smyth Road Elementary School this morning, fulfilling a promise to pay for technology upgrades there. Binnie, president of investment company Carlisle Capital and perhaps better known as owner of several television and radio broadcast stations in the state, recently became acquainted by chance with the school’s assistant principal. She talked to Binnie about how a business could support the needs of Smyth Road.

“All of the schools in Manchester welcome partnerships with members of the business community,” said Rachelle Otero, assistant principal. “I mentioned Smyth Road’s wish list of technology items, and Mr. Binnie promised right then to donate $20,000.”

While donations of similar value have been made to the school district or multiple schools at a time in the past, it’s very rare for one benefactor to make such a large contribution to one school.

“We are grateful for Mr. Binnie's extremel…

Free Sam Carey Memorial Summer League for Students Entering Grades 3-8

The Sam Carey Memorial Summer League is a free program open for children in Manchester who are entering grades 3 - 8. For more information please comntact the League Director, David Greenidge, Jr. at or the Recreation Supervisor, Erik Bukowski at

Download a flyer and registration form.

Parks & Recreation is hiring for the summer

The city is looking for applicants for pool checkers and Fun in the Sun counselors. Pool checkers must be at least 14 years old and completed 8th grade. Counselors for Fun in the Sun must be 18 or older.

Interested? Fill out an application and return it to Human Resources at City Hall.

Seeking exchange student host families

MANEX, the citywide high school exchange program created by the Office of the Mayor in 1983, is currently looking for Manchester families to host a German student for about three weeks in the fall of 2017.

German students usually arrive in October, attend school with host students, and are interested in everyday American family life.  It is a fabulous opportunity for college readiness skills and to get to know a student from Europe!

Manchester students from Central, Memorial and West high schools then travel in the spring to Neustadt and der Weinstrasse in Germany. They attend our sister school, visit historical and cultural locations, meet with local officials, live with a local student's family, practice world language skills, and make lifelong friendships.

Students interested in hosting and/or travel applications for the 2017-2018 should contact their school's German teacher or Ms. Witkowski at for more information.

Summer school positions posted

We are looking for teachers and paraprofessionals to staff our summer programs.
Please apply online!