Community Planning Group Minutes, June 19, 2019

Location: SNHU, Gustafson Center

Community Planning Group members present: Christina Bui, Kimiya Parker-Hill, Anthony Poore, Will Kanteres, Forrest Ransdell, Meredith Young, Abigail Gemme, Joede Brown, Mike Delaney, James O’Connell, Mike Skelton, Trinidad Tellez, Amanda Egan, Katie Labranche.

Community Planning Group members not present: Dianne Fitzgerald, Patty Lynott, Lizabeth MacDonald, Norma Gonzalez, Anna Thomas, Deo Mwano, Amy Allen, Donna Crook, CJ Chretien, Rev. Eric Jackson, Liz Kirwan, Nicole Lora, Jennifer Gillis. 

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

The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. 

Action items:

–Two group members will join Barry at the next BOSC meeting (June 24, 2019) to update the BOSC on Manchester Proud. Other CPG members are encouraged to attend the meeting to illustrate that MP is a community effort.

–CPG members interested in attending MP’s presentation to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce on July 17, 2019 will need to register on the Chamber’s website.  The invitation to the event should be posted on the site in about a week.

–CPGMembers at the meeting will update the members who could not attend. (See list of “not present” above.)

-A subgroup will decide whether to add one or two additional students and how to solicit students.  They will make their selection(s) and share information with the CPG in order that they can be invited to upcoming meetings. 

Updates on Manchester Proud

Community-led effort

Manchester Proud is about the plan reimagining the city’s schools that is being developed but also about the community-led process being used to create the plan. Beyond the plan, it is important to create an infrastructure to keep this work going.

The intent of including many hearts and minds in this work is to include as many voices as possible, and we need all hands on deck to make this a community project. More than 250 people have volunteered their time and effort to get Manchester Proud to this point.

CPG members need to feel empowered to create the strategic plan and to connect their friends, families and networks with this effort.

As hard as we thought we were trying to be inclusive and hear all voices, it has become clear that there are communities within the city with whom we are not connecting. A ad-hoc group is working on a plan to bridge that gap. They are proposing an Inclusivity and Equity Committee that will connect with communities we have not reached. CPG members who are interested in participating in that work, which is separate from Manchester Proud, can reach out to the ad-hoc committee.

The community engagement work done for Manchester Proud is the most comprehensive community engagement work done in the history of the city. The community engagement piece is essential to what makes this plan different than any other plan.  It will continue in the months ahead as drafts of the proposed plan are shared. 

The CPG’s comments at the last meeting illustrated the group’s desire to learn more and dig deeper into the information. The group’s agency is really important to Manchester Proud’s success.

Manchester Proud’s mission and vision: 

Every current and future child deserves equal access to a great education that enables them to find a path and something they can be passionate about so they can go on to be a healthy, happy human being. 

Schools are essential to the future success of the city. 

Unexpected intervening circumstances 

The recent unanticipated developments noted below have impacted the timeline of Manchester Proud’s work. 

-The NH Superior Court has ruled that the state’s formula for funding public schools is neither equitable or adequate. 

-The Legislature is working on a budget that will likely mean more money for the state’s schools, including Manchester. The amount of money Manchester may receive could range from modest to profound and has the potential to impact the implementation of the plan. 

–We were not anticipating having a new superintendent when we began this work. Dr. John Goldhardt, the new superintendent, is eager to be part of Manchester Proud’s efforts and views the community initiative as a powerful asset to the district. Manchester Proud will be scheduling more in depth briefing sessions with Dr. Goldhardt on Manchester Proud’s work  We are very pleased that Dr. Goldhardt will become a member of MP’s Council and the CPG.. 

CPG’s work tonight:

The Community Planning Group has begun exploring information gathered during community listening sessions and an in depth review of the school district.

CPG members spent nearly two hours reviewing the initial “hunches” (observations) discovered through research and community engagement work to date.  These “hunches,” which will inform the writing of the strategic plan, were organized into five categories: Teaching and Learning, Governance, Finance, Community Partnerships, and Organizational Effectiveness.

CPG members made note of what they wanted more information on, what left them with questions, and where they had additional ideas. They shared initial impressions.  It was emphasized that all of this is very preliminary — the beginning of the planning process. 

This was the start of a conversation that will continue and deepen through at least September. 

Manchester Proud will do a similar exercise with the BOSC, school district leadership and the MP Council.

The meeting adjourned at  8:30 p.m.


The diversity of the Community Planning Group members brings a wide variety of experiences and perspectives to Manchester Proud’s effort to reimagine the city’s schools.