From creating lifelong learners to redefining “student success,” nearly 100 parents, educators and community leaders brought their ideas for the city’s future schools to Manchester Proud’s two community Visioning Sessions.

The first session was held May 23 at Northwest Elementary. The second session was held May 29 at Beech Street School. There will be additional opportunities to give your feedback on the strategic plan that will be presented to the Board of School Committee later this year.

With a goal of including all communities within the city, Manchester Proud provided interpreters for several languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, French, Swahili, Arabic, Nepali and American Sign Language) as well as childcare.

2Revolutions, a national educational design lab working with Manchester Proud, led the sessions’ attendees through a journey that began in the 1890s, when a group of 10 men, all of them white, created a standardized school day and universal curriculum that schools still use today, nearly 130 years later. Several people shared the same takeaway: Those 10 white men do not reflect the diversity in Manchester’s schools today.

Attendees spent the rest of the sessions answering two big questions at the core of Manchester Proud’s mission: What does Manchester want its students to know and be able to do when they graduate and what barriers stand in the way?

Answers to these questions are critical to creating an educational plan for the city’s future that is written by the community, for the community. This crowd had a lot to say about both questions. Here are a few of the responses:


–Manchester’s schools need to welcome all students, including those with diverse backgrounds and learning challenges.

–The goal of education should be to create good citizens who care, are smart, who love to learn and have empathy.

–Students should graduate knowing how to think critically and creatively and be able to own their own learning that is tied to their chosen path.

–In addition to academics, students should learn social skills and how to cooperate and work together.

–Schools should not punish failure but see it as a necessary step to learning.

–School should inspire students to love learning and become lifelong learners.



–Schools are underfunded.

–Teachers do not get the support – financially and otherwise — they deserve and need to be successful.

–Special education services are not meeting student need.

–The faculty does not reflect the diversity of the student body.

–Too many adults are unwilling to learn about differences among students and how to help.

–There is a lack of willingness to change.

–Schools do not individualize learning.

In the coming weeks, 2Revolutions will use data from the Visioning Sessions to identify common ideas for the future and perceived barriers. We will share that report here, on our Facebook and Twitter pages and via email. This information will inform the educational plan Manchester Proud will present to the Board of School Committee.

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Community members shared hopes and perceived barriers at the Visioning Sessions in group discussions and on sticky notes.