Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Public Hearing on the FY18 Tentative Budget

December 14th @ 7:00pm 
MERMHS Library


Public Hearing on the FY18 Tentative Budget

Presentation of the Tentative Budget followed by public input. This is an opportunity for  the community to learn, ask questions, and provide feedback about our proposed budget for FY18. 

December marks the start of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget season.  Manchester Essex Regional School District (MERSD) remains committed to a collaborative approach to budget planning.  Throughout each budget season, we work cooperatively with Boards of Selectman and Finance in both Essex and Manchester meeting regularly to provide on-going progress reports on our planning process and outlook.  During the next few months, a great deal of our time and energy will be focused on budget development, spending priorities, and fiscal responsibility.  It is important to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of our budget is to support our school and district goals.

School Committee Goals 2016-2017
  • Target resources to support the social/emotional needs of students and foster creativity and innovation across the District.
  • Support the implementation of programs that enhance our organization’s cultural proficiency and promote respect and appreciation for individual and cultural differences.
  • Continue to focus on strengthening the Middle School as a separate entity and addressing its large class sizes.
  • Develop and deliver a fiscally responsible budget that maintains educational quality, supports District goals, and aligns with our multi-year budget commitment to work within the confines of Proposition 2 ½.
  • Begin Feasibility Study module of the MSBA process for the Memorial Building project and develop a capital plan to maintain Essex Elementary.
  • Continue ongoing review of all District policies, updating existing policies and job descriptions where needed, and researching new recommendations. 
Budget Goals for FY18
  • Position MERSD for continual improvement of educational program and student achievement 
  • Manage Enrollment 
              -Strive to meet School Committee class size guidelines
              -Serve increasingly diverse student educational needs 
  • Exercise fiscal responsibility 
                -Seek internal efficiencies to offset growth needs when possible 
  • Meet local, state and federal responsibilities while controlling growth

Please visit our Finance & Operations page for information about our budget process, a complete budget season calendar, and links to our strategic plan which outlines the work going on in the district. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

MERHS Annual Senior Holiday Luncheon!

Manchester Essex Regional High School will hold its Annual Senior Citizen Holiday Lunch at MERHS on Saturday, December 10 at 11 AM. Senior citizens of Essex and Manchester will dine on a  holiday dinner prepared for them with all the fixings. The high school student Council will serve as waitresses and waiters during the luncheon . The high school band and chorus will perform holiday music throughout the program. 

If you are interested in attending please e-mail Paul F. Murphy at murphyp@mersd.org or call 978-526-2041


Coding is Elementary

Coding Is Elementary 
Authored by Jenna Seymour & Jeff Bodmer-Turner

Essex Elementary and Memorial Elementary have participated in the Hour of Code since its inception in 2012. The HofC is a week-long event originally created by a professional computer science organization designed to stimulate interest in computer coding. The activities involve game-based modules that teach basic block programming and some text programming in JavaScript. The idea initially was to devote a single class period to these coding activities so that students would become interested in coding and ultimately pursue computer science as a field in college. The website presents all the statistics about job growth in the field and the lack of qualified American graduates emerging from our universities.

Each year we set aside time in the elementary classrooms, usually a math period to participate in the Hour of Code. Students enthusiastically joined in the activities. They expressed that it was really cool to get the Zombie to eat the sunflowers by guiding the Zombie through a maze using repeat commands and conditional statements (if a path to the left, take it, etc.). Craving more and more activities, some students continued to pursue coding challenges in the computer labs as extension lessons or free time activities.

Starting two years ago, and especially last year, the code.org website began experiencing traffic problems. Millions, literally millions, of students were attempting simultaneously to log on to the most engaging activities and site delivery crawled to a stop. The organizers cut back on saving individual student progress and still students experienced website delays and crashes. Our students were frustrated with the activities they previously really enjoyed.
Before the Hour of Code was even started, MERSD elementary school Technology Integration Specialists saw the importance of including coding and programming in the technology curriculum. With the advent of HofC these specialists realized that a week of coding activities was insufficient to teach anything that would last. We don’t do an “Hour of Nonfiction Writing” or an “Hour of Biology” and expect students to pursue careers in Journalism or Pharmacology. In the past we had some coding in first and second grade built into the Lego Engineering program. We also had bits of coding in other areas and grade levels of the curriculum. Together the two elementary technology specialists, Jenna Seymour at MMES and Jeff Bodmer-Turner at EES, began to piece together a vertically integrated coding curriculum which starts in first grade and extends through fifth grade. These pieces are being taught utilizing a simplified engineering design cycle, tablet based software to write programs, and hardware that includes age appropriate, hands-on devices (e.g., Blue-Bot programmable floor robots, Pro-Bots, and Spheros). We also teach using Apps such as Daisy the Dinosaur, Codable, Scratch, Jr., et al. Our goal is to include coding curriculum in well-designed units of instruction which go beyond a single week of the Hour of Code.

As a result of these experiences and curriculum design decisions, we are building a more sustainable model for elementary students to learn to think about solutions to challenges utilizing coding concepts. More work needs to be done in the transition from block-based programs to language-based code. For now we are trying to reach as many students in the elementary schools as possible with activities based on the Massachusetts Instructional Technology Standards and the ISTE National Technology Standards for Students.
An Hour of Code is pretty cool. Five years of spiraling curriculum at the elementary school level is, we believe, a stronger approach.
Thank you for this opportunity to share with the School Committee our work with students in this particular area of technology.

Jeff Bodmer-Turner                              Jenna Seymour
Technology Integration                         Technology Integration
Essex Elementary                                 Manchester Memorial Elementary


MERHS Week of Gratitude

The MERHS Guidance office is looking to collect a large supply of "Thank You" cards for a "Week of Gratitude" in February. Supplying an assortment of cards makes it easy for students, particularly seniors, to pause, reflect, and write a quick note of thanks to a teacher or other staff member. If you are able to contribute a package of "Thank You" cards, please feel free to drop them off in the high school main office or the Guidance office on the second floor.  For more information please contact Bev Low, Director of Guidance (lowb@mersd.org)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Spaulding Auction for Education!


Jingle Ball Concert Tickets + Spaulding Education Fund + You = A BIG WIN

Spaulding Education Fund is auctioning off TWO Premiere Tickets to the SOLD OUT
Kiss 108 FM's Jingle Ball Concert on December 11, 2016 at the TD Garden!
These sold out tickets are available to the highest bidder
with all proceeds to benefit Spaulding Education Fund

Opening Bid is $500
Tickets are located in Loge 12, Row 8
Face value of a single ticket is $273.95 (with tax, etc)
Electronic Ticket Transfer. Verifiable through Ticketmaster
Please make your bid via eBay Item Number: 172426936229 
Seller: spauldingeducationfund_50
Or email your bid with a phone number to SpauldingEducationFund@yahoo.com

Tickets will go to highest offer. Bidding will close at noon on Wednesday, December 7th.
Spaulding Education Fund will post bidding updates through Facebook.

For more information, please visit SpauldingEducationFund.com

THANK YOU! 

The tickets were generously been donated by Cape Ann Development Partner
a premier full stack software development company, headquartered in Cambridge, MA.
(CapeAnnDevelopment.co)


Monday, November 28, 2016

Fiscal 2018 Budget Process Begins!

December marks the start of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget season.  Manchester Essex Regional School District (MERSD) remains committed to a collaborative approach to budget planning.  Throughout each budget season, we work cooperatively with Boards of Selectman and Finance in both Essex and Manchester meeting regularly to provide on-going progress reports on our planning process and outlook.  During the next few months, a great deal of our time and energy will be focused on budget development, spending priorities, and fiscal responsibility.  It is important to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of our budget is to support our school and district goals.

School Committee Goals 2016-2017
  • Target resources to support the social/emotional needs of students and foster creativity and innovation across the District.
  • Support the implementation of programs that enhance our organization’s cultural proficiency and promote respect and appreciation for individual and cultural differences.
  • Continue to focus on strengthening the Middle School as a separate entity and addressing its large class sizes.
  • Develop and deliver a fiscally responsible budget that maintains educational quality, supports District goals, and aligns with our multi-year budget commitment to work within the confines of Proposition 2 ½.
  • Begin Feasibility Study module of the MSBA process for the Memorial Building project and develop a capital plan to maintain Essex Elementary.
  • Continue ongoing review of all District policies, updating existing policies and job descriptions where needed, and researching new recommendations. 
Budget Goals for FY18
  • Position MERSD for continual improvement of educational program and student achievement 
  • Manage Enrollment 
              -Strive to meet School Committee class size guidelines
              -Serve increasingly diverse student educational needs 

  • Exercise fiscal responsibility 
                -Seek internal efficiencies to offset growth needs when possible 
  • Meet local, state and federal responsibilities while controlling growth

The MERSD School Committee will meet on Tuesday, December 6th at 7:00pm to discuss and approve its tentative budget.  This will be followed by a public budget hearing on Wednesday, December 14th at 7:00 at the MERMHS Library.  This event is meant to provide the community with an opportunity to learn and ask questions about our proposed budget for FY18.  


Please visit our Finance & Operations page for information about our budget process, a complete budget season calendar, and links to our strategic plan which outlines the work going on in the district. 

Two Key Meetings will take place in December:

December 6th @ 7:00pm (MERMHS Library) 
MERSD School Committee Meeting
Presentation of the Tentative Budget to the School Committee

December 14th @ 7:00pm (MERMHS Library) 
Public Hearing on the Tentative Budget
Presentation of the Tentative Budget followed by public input. This is an opportunity for  the community to learn, ask questions, and provide feedback about our proposed budget for FY18. 



Fiscal 2018 Budget Process Begins!

December marks the start of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget season.  Manchester Essex Regional School District (MERSD) remains committed to a collaborative approach to budget planning.  Throughout each budget season, we work cooperatively with Boards of Selectman and Finance in both Essex and Manchester meeting regularly to provide on-going progress reports on our planning process and outlook.  During the next few months, a great deal of our time and energy will be focused on budget development, spending priorities, and fiscal responsibility.  It is important to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of our budget is to support our school and district goals.

School Committee Goals FY18
  • Target resources to support the social/emotional needs of students and foster creativity and innovation across the District.
  • Support the implementation of programs that enhance our organization’s cultural proficiency and promote respect and appreciation for individual and cultural differences.
  • Continue to focus on strengthening the Middle School as a separate entity and addressing its large class sizes.
  • Develop and deliver a fiscally responsible budget that maintains educational quality, supports District goals, and aligns with our multi-year budget commitment to work within the confines of Proposition 2 ½.
  • Begin Feasibility Study module of the MSBA process for the Memorial Building project and develop a capital plan to maintain Essex Elementary.
  • Continue ongoing review of all District policies, updating existing policies and job descriptions where needed, and researching new recommendations. 
Budget Goals for FY18
  • Position MERSD for continual improvement of educational program and student achievement 
  • Manage Enrollment 
              -Strive to meet School Committee class size guidelines
              -Serve increasingly diverse student educational needs 

  • Exercise fiscal responsibility 
                -Seek internal efficiencies to offset growth needs when possible 
  • Meet local, state and federal responsibilities while controlling growth


The MERSD School Committee will meet on Tuesday, December 6th at 7:00pm to discuss and approve its tentative budget.  This will be followed by a public budget hearing on Wednesday, December 14th at 7:00 at the MERMHS Library.  This event is meant to provide the community with an opportunity to learn and ask questions about our proposed budget for FY18.  


Please visit our Finance & Operations page for information about our budget process, a complete budget season calendar, and links to our strategic plan which outlines the work going on in the district. 

Two Key Meetings will take place in December:

December 6th @ 7:00pm (MERMHS Library) 
MERSD School Committee Meeting
Presentation of the Tentative Budget to the School Committee

December 14th @ 7:00pm (MERMHS Library) 
Public Hearing on the Tentative Budget
Presentation of the Tentative Budget followed by public input. This is an opportunity for  the community to learn, ask questions, and provide feedback about our proposed budget for FY18.