April 2020 Newsletter
Dear Manchester Proud Champions,
In this challenging time, we want to share some encouraging news about our schools and introduce our new Champions Council.
BOSC approves teacher contract
In a unanimous vote, the Board of School Committee passed a three-year contract for teachers on Wednesday night that gives educators a 1.5 percent pay raise in the first year and a 3 percent raise in years two and three. The prior contract expired in 2018.
Superintendent John Goldhardt told the Union Leader “this vote by the Board of School Committee tonight is an important step forward and a strong signal that the board recognizes how valuable our teachers and staff are.”
“Our goal,” he said, “is to provide an equitable, high-quality education for Manchester children — to be able to do that, we need to make sure we are recruiting and retaining the best teachers and staff. These agreements put us in a better position to compete with surrounding communities, which will be a benefit to the entire community.”
The contract goes next to the Board of Mayor and Alderman.
Read the Union Leader story for more details.
Mayor’s budget supports schools
Mayor Joyce Craig included additional support for teachers and school resources in her proposed budget this week. The Manchester Ink Link has a full story and a recording of Mayor Craig’s budget address on its website: https://manchesterinklink.com/mayor-craig-delivers-citys-fiscal-year-2021-budget-proposal-from-home/
Highlights include a $1.1 million investment in technology to increase student access to devices and three professional development days for teachers, items the community recommended in its plan, as well as $180,000 for one-time classroom supplies and money for school building projects previously approved by the board of school committee.
You can help reduce the “digital divide”
Remote learning has increased the inequity between students who have computers and internet access at home and those who don’t. Mayor Craig’s budget request for technology will help reduce that inequity.
You can help too!
The National Collaborative for Digital Equity (NCDE) is asking for help getting refurbished Windows and Chromebook computers to Manchester students who don’t have them at home.
- You can make a tax-deductible contribution through their website: Operation Lemonade.
- And, organizations that have 20 or more devices to donate can get them picked up and refurbished at no cost.
To learn more, please contact NCDE executive director Dr. Robert McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making it personal
Starting this week, the Manchester School District will dedicate every Wednesday to personalized learning to ensure students are getting support for their individual learning needs. Instead of being taught new content on “Response to Remote Learning Intervention” (R2LI) Wednesdays, students will have time to practice skills, and educators will reteach content to students who need that support.
This will not be a day off from school. Instead, it will be time for students to work on long-term projects and revise work based on teacher feedback and reflection. Students can use the time to make up work and pursue enrichment activities such as creative arts, outdoor exploration, exercise, reading and writing, and science activities. Teachers will hold office hours for students and parents on Wednesdays.
Incredible support from our community
Our city continues to prioritize helping city residents impacted by COVID-19.
This week, Makin’ It Happen hosted “I’m Ok, Are you Ok” online forum for parents trying to manage stress, anxiety, and fear while balancing homeschooling and working from home. The conversation was part of Makin’ It Happen’s ongoing series “Pandemic: Survive and Thrive Together Guide.” Check it out for tips and resources.
Southern New Hampshire University is providing meal kits for Saturday pick ups with support from Manchester Police and Fire and the Manchester Transit Authority. Locations and additional details are on the school district’s website: https://www.mansd.org/covid-19-resources/food-resources
Students under 18 can also grab meals to go when school is not in session at the YMCA of Downtown Manchester’s Teen Center, 32 Stark St. The Manchester School District website has more details: https://www.mansd.org/covid-19-resources/food-resources
Meet our new Champions Proud Council
We continue our commitment to supporting the implementation of the community’s plan for our future schools. This week,l members of Manchester Proud Champions Council, which came together at the start of our work, and our Community Planning Group, which led the writing of the plan, have joined forces to form our new Champions Council. They are:
School leaders and educators
Superintendent, Dr. John Goldhardt
Assistant Superintendents: Amy Allen and Jenn Gillis
Principals: Lizabeth MacDonald and Forrest Ransdell
Educators: Amanda Egan, Abby Gemme, Liz Kirwan, Katie LaBranche
Donna Crook, school district data analyst
Community nonprofit leaders
Diane Fitzpatrick, Manchester Boys and Girls Club CEO
Talmira Hill, Principal of T.L. Hill Group
Pawn Nitichan, City Year New Hampshire’s Executive Director
Mike Skelton, Manchester Chamber President and CEO
Joede Brown, Manchester School District Accounting Technician
Michael Delaney, Principal McLane Middleton Law Firm
Bob Baines, Former Mayor and West High Principal
Ellie Cochran, Development coordinator and philanthropist
Kathy Cook, Bean Foundation Grant Manager
Arthur Sullivan, Owner Brady Sullivan Properties
Trinidad Tellez, M.D, Director Office of Health Equity
Barry Brensinger continues to serve as Manchester Proud’s Coordinator.