A group of Manchester citizens has come together to form an organization that will engage residents, businesses, and community organizations in developing a shared vision and strategic plan for the city’s public schools.
Manchester lawyer, Brad Cook, praised the group known as Manchester Proud. So far, the organization has garnered the endorsement of organizations, businesses, and individuals across the city, and recently received a unanimous endorsement from the city’s Board of School Committee.
Every once in a while a very encouraging event happens, and such activity is currently going on in Manchester. A group of citizens, concerned about education in the Queen City, and knowing that the present “strategic plan” for the Manchester School District is about to expire, have come together to form an organization known as “Manchester Proud.”
This nonpartisan, non-ideological group seeks to develop a plan that will put Manchester’s schools in the forefront of education in New Hampshire, notwithstanding the formidable challenges faced. Leaders of the group have indicated that in a school district having nearly 14,000 students, with all of the urban challenges, Manchester needs to send a signal to the state and surrounding communities that it is a leader in public education.
This is not only a necessary effort, but also key to solidifying the economic development already taking place in Manchester, since the success of the Manchester School District is key to the success of the community.
The group has done a credible job so far in getting support from all sorts of entities, from the police department to law firms, businesses, nonprofits and religious organizations.
In a very encouraging development, the Manchester School Board unanimously endorsed the effort at its meeting on May 14.
Now, the real work begins. Manchester Proud will collect data, hold listening sessions, develop policies, and in about a year, present those findings to the school board for its consideration and adoption.
Manchester faces significant challenges as do other cities. The number of students below the poverty line, those receiving subsidized school lunches, those for whom English is a new language, those who move from school to school during the school year, and parents who are unable to care for their students because of the opioid crisis or other conditions all contribute to the challenges faced by the district and teachers in the classroom.
Against all these challenges, however, reports come out daily of great achievements in the schools, wonderful educational accomplishments, tremendous performance in science, math and the arts and the fine colleges to which many graduates of the Manchester high schools go.
All New Hampshire citizens from every region of the state, have a stake in the success of Manchester Proud, as the success of the city — the financial, technological and business hub of the state — is critical to the success of the state as a whole.
Manchester Proud seeks to have input and participation from all sectors of the community and in no way excludes anyone or any ideas. Hopefully, great educational programs that are taking place in other parts of the country will be examined and suggested as part of the plan and innovative solutions to education integrated into it.