Jan. 6, 2019

Minutes: Community Planning Group

Gustafson, SNHU

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Community Planning Group members present: Lizabeth MacDonald, Abby Gemme, Joede Brown, Deo Mwano, Katie Labranche, Amanda Egan, Mike Delaney, Hunter Churchill, Liz Kirwan, Mike Skelton, Grace Puninu, Jenn Gillis, Dr. John Goldhardt, Kimiya Parker-Hill, Donna Crook, Diane Fitzpatrick, Trinidad Tellez

Community Planning Group members not present: Rev. Eric Jackson, Meredith Young, CJ Chretien, Amy Allen, Patty Lynott, Will Kanteres, Norma Gonzalez, Nicole Lora, Forrest Ransdell, Anna Thomas, Christina Bui, Anthony Poore

Others present: Barry Brensinger, Manchester Proud Coordinator; Rachel Lopkin and Adam Rubin of 2Revolutions; Evelyn Aissa, Liz Canada and Annmarie Timmins of Reaching Higher NH.

Manchester Proud’s (MP) Coordinator  called the meeting to order at 5:40 p.m. 


MP Coordinator thanked the many Community Planning Group (CPG) members who participated in Manchester Proud’s community visioning and validation work with teachers, parents, students, community members, and business owners over the last several months. 

MP Coordinator updated the CPG on the two recent trainings Manchester Proud and 2Revolutions did with the new Board of School Committee (BOSC). The board was complimentary of the work done by Manchester Proud and the CPG. Mayor Craig said she had never seen such meaningful community engagement. Other board members said the plan will provide important and useful information for their work. 

MP Coordinator shared that MP will be promoting the Feb. 20, 2020 presentation to the BOSC with yard signs and possibly a mailer. 

Upcoming dates:

Jan 21, 2020, 7 p.m. – Manchester Proud update the Board of Mayor and Alderman at City Hall

Jan. 28, 2020, 5 p.m. – Manchester Proud presents draft plan to the BOSC  at City Hall

Feb. 20, 2020, 6 p.m. – CPG with support from 2Rev presents final plan to BOSC at Memorial High School

2Rev will schedule a CPG meeting to further discuss the Teaching and Learning ideas within the plan.

Validation results:

2Revolutions shared the results of recent validation sessions where members of the public were asked to indicate which of the plan’s proposed ideas they liked best. 

Nearly 500 people participated in validation, either in person at validation sessions or online. Between 40 percent and 60 percent of the responses came from Manchester School District (MSD) employees. The highest level of MSD response was related to the Teaching and Learning section of the plan.

Some of the ideas to garner the most support were: strengthening ties between the schools and BOSC; increased equity; hiring a curriculum coordinator and other management positions; improving culture; stronger collaboration between schools and city non-profits; more wraparound supports for students; improved professional development for teachers; limiting classes to 20 students in grades k-4; and creating magnet schools.  

CPG members explored why some ideas had more support than others. They wondered whether some ideas were less understood because they needed further explanation (e.g. “student-based budgeting”)  or because respondent thought they were a given, or, already in progress (e.g. “be a learning institution” and “student-based learning”). 

CPG members asked whether the plan will include funding sources for each idea. 2Revolutions is working with the school district to identify potential revenue sources for the plan’s ideas that include one-time money from the state, the mayor’s budget, school district funds, and philanthropic sources.

CPG members discussed how the plan will address the research showing the district’s number of teachers has remained consistent as enrollment has declined. This topic falls under “rationale teacher placement” in the plan. 2Revolutions said the plan will be divided into three sections and each section will include methodology and context; research and rationale; metrics for measurement; action plans (the cost, timeline, and responsible parties); as well information on how each idea connects to improving equity. 

CPG members discussed the impact and contents of the plan. There is a desire to have a bold and impactful plan that highlights the community’s and CPG’s shared desire to address culture and equity.

MP Coordinator said the purpose of the Manchester Proud was always two-fold: 1) Create plan and see increased achievement. 2) Foster community engagement with the schools that is ongoing. Together, the hope is that future needs would be routine and solvable with a new approach and culture. 

 MSD Superintendent said the plan as proposed would have significant positive impact on the school district. He said it would bring much-needed alignment to the district and introduce a multi-tiered system of support that improves learning among all students and thereby reduces the number of students who need intensive support. 

Revolutions will incorporate the CPG members’ feedback from their group discussion and written notes into the plan and share the updated version with the CPG at the end of this week. The CPG will then have an opportunity to view and comment on the updated version before final edits. 

MP Coordinator closed the meeting at 8:30 p.m. He thanked CPG members for the time, energy, and expertise they brought to their work over the last many months. This marks the end of CPG meetings. He encouraged CPG members to attend and invite friends to the Feb. 20, 2020 presentation to the BOSC.