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TELL US: How Can Manchester Improve Its Public Schools?

The school board will make its decision - but Patch wants to know what you think!

The Manchester Board of Education is in the process of drafting a list of suggestions that it plans to submit to the committee tasked with formulating a long-term plan for Manchester's public schools. 

The School Modernization and Reinvestment Team Revisited, or SMARTR committee, is a 13-member panel made up of members of the Board of Education, Board of Directors and general public that has been charged with developing a long-term, sustainable model for the town's public schools. But it has sought feedback from the Board of Education on areas it should focus on and avoid. 

The school board discussed the issue for more than half an hour as part of its meeting Monday, but decided to give the subject further thought and attention at a planned Board of Education retreat in early October, and to possibly also hold a public forum to get feedback from residents on Oct. 9. The school board plans to officially act on the request at its Oct. 10 meeting.

Interim Superintendent Richard Kisiel sent the Board of Education a list of potential concepts it could recommend to the SMARTR committee last week, which includes making preschool more available to children, extending instruction time and combining all fifth and sixth graders into a new autonomous academy that would replace the current sixth-grade only Elisabeth M. Bennet Academy. 

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But Manchester Patch wants to know what you think? What improvements would you like to see made to Manchester's public schools? What needs changing? And how do you pay for them? 

Share your thoughts, ideas and concerns with the Manchester community in the comments section below. 

Rdb September 28, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Have teachers be full year employees! Use the summer months on trainings! No more money
M. Troy September 28, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I reallydon't know what to say. But letting a few people make such a major decision doesn't sound right. Things like that should be put to a vote and not in one of your meetings. And please explain where Manchester is coming up with all this money? I know we get Grants but the town still has to come up with all this money. I see nothing but huge mill rates to be put in sooner or later. I know we are not Stafford Springs but just an example they don't have enough money for a snow removal budget. That's just something I heard.
John September 28, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Publish the guidelines concerning "school choice" for public schools in Manchester. When I contacted several principals about this topic recently, the responses were all over the map. One said school choice had been cancelled due to lack of funding, another principal said they would have to check to see if there were any slots for my daughter in her grade, but it went year by year, and getting a slot this year did not mean a slot would be available for her the following year. Still another pricipal had a different story, indicating that there was not any school choice among public elementary schools, and that we would have to enroll my daughter in the assigned school for my district. Does school choice exist for parents with children in the Manchester public schools, or is that just an urban legend? If parents are able to choose which elementary school they want their children to attend, please publish the appropriate guidelines so parents and school administrators will all have the same information.
JAC September 28, 2012 at 11:01 PM
52 weeks a year is a great idea for teachers! But 52 weeks with no extra pay and a Master’s Degree? No one will want to be a teacher anymore. Yikes!
James Bond September 29, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Who works 52 weeks a year? Blame the teachers is always a safe bet.Our BOE wants to get rid of teachers by making it economically imposible to be one,or what to be one.The BOE can't even keep a building up and running properly,but blame the teachers.
Alex September 29, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Please offer Spanish to kids beginning in elementary school!
Tony M September 29, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Anyone who thinks teachers should work 52 weeks without pay, must be from a different planet. Where are we supposed get the necessary training without paying for it? We have to pay taxes the same as everyone else, utility bills have to be paid, not to mention the cost for food unless you think we can survive without eating. Those of us who are fortunate to have a home, must pay our mortgage the same way other homeowners must. You want to improve the public schools in Manchester? This is how, have parents take FULL responsibility for their children; discipline them at home, don't expect teachers to do your job. Our's is to teach. When you child comes home whining that the teacher is unfair, or doesn't like my looks, hair or clothes. Don't call the ACLU to lodge a complaint first . . . . "CALL" the school and ask for a meeting with the teacher and administrator to resolve the problem. Wake up parents, you are allowing the students to take over the schools; no wonder there are low achievement scores.
Tony M September 29, 2012 at 07:17 PM
John: Does it really matter which school your daughter attends? I would be more concerned with the total curriculum and how the faculty was implementing it.
Tony M September 29, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I forgot to mention that I taught at the former Bennet Jr. High for 33 years.
Jason N. September 29, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I agree with Tony M... starts with parents, bottom line. The teachers/admin staff are on the front line, they deserve all the credit for the great product that Manchester has to offer. Almost all the negative events we hear about can be traced back to parents or lack of parenting. I know there are exceptions to every rule, but being a good parent goes a long way. Stop playing the blame game. Lets approve a new high school, build a top notch school with state of the art programs and sports fields. Manchester could be a leader in the state with the diversity we offer and the outstanding business community we have. Lets rally together.
Rdb October 02, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Parents should be a part of the education process. However, too many of them have had such negative situations during their own education that they stay out. I work 52 weeks a year and get vacation time just like most people. Teachers get 2+ months of school off and school vacations. If we agree that the education situation needs to be improved... steps to improve schools, teachers, and parent involment need to be made. I beolive that teachers need more training and education and need to work on that year round. Teachers make plenty of money for only working 40 weeks a year.

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