Manchester Ink Link’s Ben Dion highlighted new businesses in the city in a recent column, all with the common mission of uniting the community and bringing people to Manchester. Like these businesses, investments in our public schools will help families, professionals, and new businesses make the decision to come to (and stay in!)  Manchester.

The city is evolving into New England’s newest high-tech hub, welcoming companies like Oracle, Pill Pack (the online pharmacy recently acquired by Amazon), the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (Dean Kamen’s biomedical company), and more in the past two years alone.

But new, small businesses are also popping up. Dion mentioned The Bookery, an independent bookstore on Elm Street, the Manchester Brew Bus, and the pedicab service Peddl MHT. The city has many more restaurants, fitness and activity clubs, cafes, and even makerspaces that give it a unique, modern feel.

“There’s definitely a flourishing community of like-minded people in Manchester that are trying to be the driving force behind the city,” says Karina Kelley, owner of the art gallery Kelley Stelling Contemporary. “There’s an energy you can feel. And I think in that way we can say Manchester is on the cusp of being cool” in the same ways as  Portsmouth, Portland, and Boston.

The city is emerging as one of the fastest growing places to live, work, and play. It’s one of the top 100 places to raise a family, according to WalletHub, and one of the top 25 cities to find a job. But to stay on that path, the quality of our public schools is crucial.

That’s why Manchester Proud is bringing together our communities to create a vision for the future of the city’s schools. Through one-on-one conversations with residents, to citywide listening sessions and online surveys, we’re collecting information on what makes Manchester and its schools great and how we can be better.

Our community-based approach brings in families, students, educators, and community members to help shape and drive a collaborative, strategic planning process for the district. Together, we will define priorities for student and family outcomes, and build in the communications and accountability needed for effective implementation.

There are many ways to become part of the Manchester Proud effort. To share your thoughts on living, working, and/or going to school here, complete our community survey. If you are interested in canvassing with us, RSVP here. Follow us on Facebook to get the latest news about our work and events we are hosting around the city!

Read Ben Dion’s column, New business is good business for the city, on Manchester Ink Link.