Concerns and hopes from our international community

When we talked with former refugees and immigrants at the International Institute of New England in July, nearly 50 people attended and they participated in a variety of languages, including Swahili, Spanish, Arabic, and French.

We asked attendees three questions: What do they want their children to know and be able to do when they graduate and what barriers are getting in the way?

The audience had a wide range of hopes for their children:

  • Become resilient: “Never, never, never give up.”
  • Learn how to be a good person.
  • Develop an interest in technology.
  • Know that the effort of today is the reward of the future.
  • Learn English as well as possible and complete all levels of education.

What do they think is getting in the way?

  • Parental education. 
  • Schools receive too little money.
  • School isn’t interesting to kids anymore.
  • Bullying and behavior problems.
  • Drug use in the community.

Their answers echoed what we’ve heard from other community members. 

Creating deeper connections between all Manchester families and their schools is one of the reasons Manchester Proud has spent  13 months asking the greater Manchester community what kinds of school experiences they want for our students. 

We believe the community’s answers to that question should guide the development of Manchester Proud’s plan for our future schools. We are putting what we hear into that plan, which we hope will help our school board, district leadership, principals, teachers, and staff create and manage the type of schools the community wants. We will present the plan to the board early next year.

In the meantime, our community engagement will continue with events like these, and we want to hear from you. Email us at to keep up to date on future events or just to let us know what you think.

July 22, 2019