Manchester is making news – for the right reasons.
We were thrilled to be included in Business NH Magazine’s recent story about Manchester’s renewal, alongside the city’s top-notch health care providers, innovative business start-ups, vibrant downtown, arts scene, and 11 colleges, universities, and trade schools.
We encourage you to read the piece and join us in celebrating Manchester. Here’s what the magazine had to say about Manchester Proud.
The Manchester public school system has more than 14,000 students enrolled at 14 elementary schools, four middle schools, and four high schools. More than 10 percent of students are immigrants and refugees who are learning English. In fact, more than 70 languages are spoken by the city’s students.
After numerous media reports in 2017 revealed low test scores, low graduation rates, and other challenges facing the city’s schools, a group of business leaders, educators, and community leaders formed Manchester Proud, an ad hoc group creating a strategic plan for the city’s schools. The group won the endorsement of the school board, and its 300 volunteers began canvassing in all 12 of the city’s wards, knocking on 2,000 doors, surveying city residents (receiving 1,100 responses), and conducting 113 listening sessions to gather input from residents about their concerns and vision for the city’s schools, says Barry Brensinger, co-founder of Lavallee Brensinger Architects in Manchester and Manchester Proud coordinator.
The group has also met with all 22 principals in the district and formed work groups, including a 29-member community planning group to draft a plan for moving the city’s schools forward based on community input, Brensinger says.
“We’re doing comprehensive analysis of the current state of Manchester schools, from teaching to finance, governance and operational effectiveness, and community partnerships,” he says. Manchester Proud has hired consultants to calculate costs for the plan.
“We want the plan to be aspirational and inspire the community to want more for our schools, but expect it to be a practical and actionable plan,” Brensinger says, adding they expect to present a final plan to the school board in the fall.
Mike Skelton, president of the Greater Manchester Chamber, (and a member of our Community Planning Group) is optimistic. “I see tremendous opportunities for Manchester to continue to emerge as an amenity rich hub of innovation and tech and arts and culture,” he says.