Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Manchester educator advances to 2018 Teacher of the Year finals

The NH Department of Education has named Smyth Road Elementary School kindergarten teacher Shauna Webber one of five finalists for 2018 NH Teacher of the Year.

The other four finalists are a first grade teacher in Rochester, a middle school teacher in Gilford, and two high school teachers in Bow and Concord.

The rigorous selection process continues this summer before the NH Department of Education announces the Teacher of the Year in September.

Good luck, Mrs. Webber!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Manchester educator selected as 2018 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow

The NEA Foundation named Karyn Burgess, a special education teacher at Hillside Middle School, as one of the 48 public school educators to become a member of this year's class of Global Learning Fellows. Burgess will spend a year building the capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance -- otherwise known as global competency skills.

As a result of the Fellowship, Burgess will be better equipped to prepare students for global citizenship. Fellows also create valuable global lesson plans for their students that are freely shared with educators across the national and the world through open-source platforms.

“The Global Learning Fellowship provides a great opportunity to teachers who are interested in sharing the world with their students,” says Burgess. “I love the idea of learning even more about global competency since it aligns with my teaching philosophy.”

The 2018 Fellows were selected from more than 400 applicants from across the country. They teach all grade levels and all subjects: from visual and performing arts to agri-science, vocational studies to history. They come from rural, suburban, and urban schools. They are National Board Certified, curriculum coaches, IB coordinators, foreign language speakers, and more. Some have participated in similar programs, and some have never traveled abroad. The diverse cohort will allow educators to learn from each other and bring global perspectives to a wide range of students.

“We believe that educators are the key to giving students the skills to thrive in an interconnected world,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “We created the Global Learning Fellowship to provide professional development in teaching global competencies and to support educators as they integrate these skills into classroom instruction.”

Over the course of a year, the NEA Foundation staff, partners, and field experts will support Burgess as she immerses herself in online coursework, webinars, and collegial study, including a two-day professional development workshop this fall and a nine-day international field study next summer, bringing the full cohort together with experts in global learning.

Prior Fellows have contributed valuable knowledge to the field by posting replicable lesson plans on open-source platforms. Past Fellows have returned to advance global competency in their schools and districts—one Fellow recently brought Peruvian artists to her school to teach her students how to incorporate their own culture into their art.

The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, foundations, and others who support public education initiatives. The NEA Foundation will accept applications for the 2019 Global Learning Fellowship this fall.

Monday, June 12, 2017

DOE recognizes West High School for Career Day success

Representatives from the NH Dept. of Education and the Manchester Area Human Resources Association recognized West High School for a successful career day, which was held on March 29.

Robyn Chadwick, Claudette Knieriem, Deborah Stratton,
Jim Hinson, Renee Beaulieu, Laura Lord,
Richella Simard, Michael Oliveira, Alicia Moylan,
Rick Dichard, Mary Ann Wood
West brought about 75 business professionals into their classrooms to introduce different career options in various fields. What was different from traditional career day events is that the students were exposed to a variety of experts all day long as they rotated through their regular class schedule, instead of setting up the typical "career fair" format in a gym where professionals waited to be approached by students.

The Dept. of Education and MAHRA took notice, and those organizations are now working to duplicate this career day model in other high schools around the state. It will be an annual event at West.
Today Chris Hinson from the DOE and Robyn Chadwick from MAHRA presented the West High School career day planning committee with certificates of commendation signed by the commissioner of education Frank Edelblut, in recognition of their "commitment to bringing students and business professionals together to help students set future career goals."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

“Booked for Summer” encourages learning all year long

City schools are kicking off a new initiative which educators hope will keep students of all grades reading and learning during the summer months. The program, called “Booked for Summer,” is a school district-wide coordination of resources and learning goals that will touch every student.

“Our schools and teachers have always encouraged students to read during their time away from the classroom,” said superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas. “What’s different this summer is that we are collaborating community-wide to share ideas and set expectations for all of our students, no matter which school they attend.”

The Booked for Summer website provides learning resources, including recommended reading lists by grade level, goal trackers, and event calendars. The information covers pre-k through grade 12.

Preschool and elementary school students through grade four can participate in the Booked for Summer passport program, an ongoing activity in which children can visit various locations around Manchester and get their “passports” stamped for completing a goal. At the middle school level, students will establish learning goals and an outline for accomplishing them. Graduating fifth graders will be directed to the middle school section of the website. High school students – including rising ninth graders – will find links to articles related to the summer reading theme promoted by state libraries across the country. Peer-recommended books make up the high school summer reading lists.
Part of Booked for Summer’s launch includes a book drive for elementary schools. From now until June 9, members of the community can donate picture books and appropriate chapter books to any elementary school. They will be sorted and shared among all 14 schools to make sure that every child in preschool through fifth grade receives a book to bring home.

Community organizations and businesses are helping to promote Booked for Summer. Some have agreed to be passport locations, such as SEE Science Center, Amoskeag Fishwways, and the Currier Museum of Art. Students and families also can check the Booked for Summer website for information on learning activities and various summer reading reward programs like those sponsored by the Manchester City Library and Barnes & Noble Booksellers, among others.

“We appreciate when our partners use their influence to support education in Manchester and supplement our efforts,” said Dr. Vargas. “Working together, we can make a greater impact on our students and have a better chance of success in making summer reading a priority.”

The schools will officially introduce students to Booked for Summer in the last week of school, June 12-14.  Printed materials will be provided and discussed before the students leave school for summer vacation.

Students and families are encouraged to use the #booked4summer hashtag on social media or email bookedforsummer@mansd.org to share with the community what they’re reading and learning.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Get Moving Manchester's winning schools announced

For the second year in a row, McLaughlin Middle School and Highland-Goffe's Falls Elementary School received awards for the highest participation in Get Moving, Manchester. The voluntary wellness program, which just completed its 16th year, encourages students in grades three through six to establish and maintain healthy lifestyle choices.

Students use a Get Moving, Manchester log over the course of four weeks to keep track of eating, exercise, and screen time based on 5-2-1-0 goals.  Following 5-2-1-0 guidelines means:
eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day
spending 2 hours or less on the computer, watching TV, playing video games, or texting
getting at least 1 hour of physical activity a day
drinking 0 sugar-based beverages.

This year, 1,432 students tracked their nutrition and activity goals all four weeks. Highland-Goffe's Falls and McLaughlin had the highest rates of participation, 97% and 93%, respectively. Mayor Gatsas presented those schools with a trophy. Several schools considerably increased their participation from last year: Northwest (88%), Beech Street (83%), Smyth Road (87%), and Jewett Street (78%) all did a great job promoting the benefits of Get Moving, Manchester.

Participating Get Moving, Manchester students had the chance to win fun prizes when they completed their weekly logs. Those prizes include Palace Theatre tickets, Fisher Cats tickets, Spare Time Bowling coupons, and gift cards from Sky Zone and Indian Head Athletics. The students who participate all four weeks were eligible for the raffle to win the grand prize of a new bicycle from Bike Barn. The winning student was Emma Palanco, a sixth grader from Southside Middle School.

In addition to those businesses which provided generous donations, Get Moving, Manchester also was sponsored by Catholic Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester.

Survey of higher learning opportunities open

The Manchester School District wants to hear from parents, students and staff to better understand how effectively it is communicating higher level learning opportunities to students and their families.

Higher level learning opportunities include honors level (Level 3) and Advanced Placement (Level 4) courses, the Manchester Community College’s Running Start program, and Southern New Hampshire University’s Dual Enrollment Program (a/k/a College in the High School).

We are proud that our high schools are offering more AP courses than ever before, and enrollment in those classes has increased by nearly 50% over the past few years, from about 900 students to more than 1,350. There is an ongoing effort in every high school by teachers and counselors who see the potential in their students to recruit them for AP courses.

Responses to this voluntary survey will help the school district determine the success and challenges of those efforts. We encourage all students in grades 8-12 and their parents/guardians to complete the appropriate survey below by Friday, June 9.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Smyth Road Elementary School earns national healthy school recognition

Smyth Road and school district staff, students, and Mayor Gatsas pose with
the HealthierUS bronze award banner 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that Smyth Road Elementary School has earned a bronze HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms award. Smyth Road is the fourth in Manchester and joins the ranks of an elite group of schools across the country recognized for excellence in their integration of health, nutrition and fitness education. Only about 7% of the nation’s schools have achieved bronze, silver, gold, or gold of distinction HealthierUS status.

In 2016, Hillside and McLaughlin middle schools both received bronze awards; Beech Street Elementary School earned a silver award last year.

The HealthierUS challenge is a key component of a national initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. Schools participating in the challenge voluntarily adopt USDA standards for food they serve at their schools, agree to provide nutrition education, and provide opportunities for physical activity.

To celebrate Smyth Road Elementary School's accomplishment, a representative from the USDA presented MSD School Food and Nutrition Services director Jim Connors, school administrators and staff with a banner and plaque.