Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Welcome Back!

Summer is drawing to a close, and our preparations are almost complete, pre-season is in full swing, and the teachers have arrived.  We are ready for the students to return!

As we begin a new year, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support of our students and of our schools.  I encourage you to stay involved.  Schools are a part of their communities and work best when the lines between home and school remain open.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher, counselor or building Principal.  I welcome and value your input so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need assistance with an issue.

We are excited for the year ahead, and we are looking forward to seeing you and the students tomorrow!

Meet the New Faculty 
Hiring has been a focus of our summer work.   Thanks to the successful override we have been able to add four new positions (1 MS English/Social Studies Teacher, 1 MS Math/Science Teacher, 1 HS Biology Teacher, and a Secondary Digital Learning Specialist).  This additional staff will help us meet our goals of maintaining class size and integrating technology into every day teaching practice. These new additions, combined with annual retirements and individuals moving on to new adventures give us 24 new staff members! Last week we held our annual New Staff Orientation Day, where all new faculty were invited to spend the morning getting to know the district better.  At this session, we introduce them to the full-year staff, share with them the district Mission and Vision, and provide them an overview of our expectations for teaching and learning.  I have been incredibly impressed with the level of professionalism and student-centeredness that our new members have exhibited, and I am certain they will make our team stronger. 

Safe Routes to School
If you’ve driven by the Memorial School this summer, you’ve noticed that there is an extensive amount of work being done on the roads and driveway.  This is all part of the Safe Routes to School State Grant Project.  The Town of Manchester, in cooperation with the local Bike and Pedestrian Committee, applied for and won a state grant to improve sidewalk and road conditions in the area around the Memorial School.  The finished product will be a great benefit to the schools and town and is no cost to us.  The work will be substantially complete by Wednesday, and there will be no impact to traffic during pick-up and drop-of at either the Memorial School or the Middle High School.

Elementary Facilities Project Outlook
This April MERSD submitted a Statement of Interest (“SOI”), which is the first-step in the MSBA’s program for building construction, addition/renovation, and repair grants.  MSBA grants could offset the project cost by up to 40%.   In November we will learn if we have been accepted into the project “pipeline”.  Applications are assessed not only against a set of standards but also on the basis of need as compared to other applicants.  For more information: Elementary Configuration Task Force Report & Recommendation

District Calendar
The District Calendar  has been updated and is available in the Quick Links Section of the district and school homepages.  Please note that the last day of school, if all snow days are used, will be June 23rd; without the use of snow days, we are scheduled for the last day of school to be June 16th. Should we exceed five snow days, additional make-up days will be added to the end of the year through June 30th.

How to Stay Informed
MERSD Weekly is a weekly round-up of MERSD school news, sports, and student activities – the first issue of the year will be out at the end of the week.  The How to Stay Informed  & Follow Us Online links are located on the district and school homepages.  This link provides a one page reference of online resources that will help to keep you informed of school and district events and activities.  We are always working to improve home-school communications.  We hope these resources will be of help in strengthening the lines of communication.

Upcoming Events
Open Houses
o   Essex Elementary:  September 10th @ 6:00 pm
o   Memorial School: September 10th @ 6:00 pm
o   Middle School:  September 16th @ 6:30pm
o   High School: September 17th @ 7:00 pm
·         Parent/Student Athlete Fall Sports Meeting:  September 2nd @ 6:30 pm MERMHS Auditorium.
·         SOS Parent Evening at MERHS:  September 21st @ 6:30 pm MERMHS Auditorium.