Community forums on redistricting proposal set ~ Public invited to weigh in on ideas to strengthen city schools

posted Feb 15, 2018, 5:39 AM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               Contact: Andrea Alley
February 14, 2018                                                                               603-624-6300 x135

Community forums on redistricting proposal set
Public invited to weigh in on ideas to strengthen city schools


MANCHESTER — Members of the community will have several opportunities in the coming weeks to ask questions and make comments on the Manchester School District superintendent’s draft proposal for the next phases of redistricting. Nine forums have been scheduled across the city, beginning on February 21 and ending onMarch 28. All parents, guardians, school employees, students, and other interested community members are welcome to attend any and all sessions. The full list of dates, times and locations is below and available online at

Dr. Bolgen Vargas introduced six draft recommendations to the Board of School Committee:

·         Replicate Parker-Varney personalized learning opportunities through an innovative network of the West Side schools

·         Establish grades 5-8 middle school model

·         Reduce class sizes

·         Adjust the school feeder pattern to send Beech Street and Wilson elementary students to McLaughlin and Central

·         Create preschool center at Memorial High School

·         Repurpose surplus space at high school level

The draft proposal is based on preliminary results from a comprehensive facilities study conducted by a local firm, CMK Architects. Among the early findings, there is enough space in the four middle schools to accommodate grades 5 through 8.

“A grades five to eight middle school education model has proven to work in other districts, including our neighbor, Goffstown,” said Dr. Vargas. “One of the benefits of establishing this in Manchester is that it will free up much needed classrooms in our elementary school buildings.”  

The additional space created when the fifth grades move to middle school will allow for smaller class sizes in kindergarten through fourth grades, accomplishing another district-wide goal.

Another highlight of the superintendent’s draft plan is to create a preschool center at Memorial High School, which has surplus space. Currently, preschool students attend five elementary schools and the Bishop O’Neil Community Center. Centralizing the pre-k programs would help teachers collaborate more and allow therapists to use their time with students more efficiently. In addition, preschool transportation services could be streamlined and cost less. Under the draft proposal, the O’Neil Center would remain open for preschool.

Dr. Vargas will present detailed elements of his draft recommendations at every forum and take feedback.   

“Involving the community and addressing concerns during this process is critical for success of any plan,” said Dr. Vargas. “The feedback we receive will help shape the final recommendations.”

The superintendent will present his final proposal to the Board of School Committee by early April.

Community Forum Schedule

February 21, 6-7 pm – Middle School at Parkside

March 7, 7:30 am – Webster Elementary School

March 7, 6-7 pm – Northwest Elementary School

March 8, 4:30 pm – McLaughlin Middle School

March 14, 6-7 pm – Beech Street Elementary School

March 15, 6-7 pm – Memorial High School

March 20, 6-7 pm – Hillside Middle School

March 22, 6-7 pm – Wilson Elementary School

March 28, 6-7 pm – Parker-Varney Elementary School


CHANGED!! - Basketball Tournament Schedule Change

posted Feb 6, 2018, 8:24 AM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

Due to the predicted weather for tomorrow, the City Middle School Basketball games have been moved to Thursday.  Times and locations remain the same.  
Boys A will be played at Hillside:  Southside v. Parkside 3:30 p.m;  Hillside v McLaughlin 5:00 p.m..    
Boys B will be played at Parkside:  McLaughlin v Parkside 3:30 p.m.;  Hillside v. Southside 5:00 p.m.    
Girls A will be played at McLaughlin:  Hillside v Southside 3:30 p.m.      McLaughlin v Parkside 5:00 p.m.     
Girls B will be played at Southside:  Hillside v McLaughlin 3:30 p.m.  Southside v Parkside 5:00 p.m.  

Finals will take place on Saturday as originally set.  

Mid-Year News

posted Feb 5, 2018, 5:07 AM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

Dear Parents, Guardians and Members of the Parkside Community,

There is a great deal of news to share and glad tidings for all.  We have reached the midpoint of the school year.  Quarter 3 began on Tuesday January 29.  This brings an end  to Semester 1 Unified Arts Courses and the beginning of Semester 2 Unified Arts courses.  Year long courses will continue.  Second Semester Schedules were distributed smoothly on Tuesday.  We will be making small schedule adjustments over the next several days (most are already completed) to balance classes and make changes to meet the learning needs of students.  More on that below.  Report Cards for Quarter 2 were sent home with students on Friday, February 2nd.  A large amount of information was included in the packet.  Please be sure to review all of it and respond when needed. Teams have set deadlines for the return of signed copies of the report card to help us ensure you received it.

Student Achievement News

The school is making great progress in the area of reading improvement.  As shared before the majority of students reaching middle school read below grade level.  150 students have been receiving intensive reading instruction throughout first semester in our Language Arts Essentials classes.     The Language Arts Essentials students as a whole have already improved the equivalent of one full grade level in less than half a year and will continue to make this exciting progress seeking grade level proficiency.   20% of those students have reached grade level performance and have been transferred to a traditional Unified Arts class.  We are proud of those students and congratulate them!  35 students have been moved into Language Arts Essentials for Semester 2 and will be promoted as they reach grade level proficiency.  Letters along with proficiency  information have been sent with report cards for both those promoted and those added to the classes.  

During second quarter a group of students have participated in Academic Support.  This program is our additional period after school for students who have failed two or more classes on the quarter report card.  Students are required to attend after school unless the teacher signs them off during the day as “caught up, not missing work and not needing reteaching.”  Teachers have been working very hard to help support student needs during this time.  We are very pleased to report that 50% of the students who were assigned to this program have improved their performance and can be released from Academic Support for Quarter 3 if the parent or guardian signs the letter sent home with the report card.  This is great news as it helps to build a culture of educational excellence and expectations of engagement and performance while reinforcing the idea that academic support available from teachers is not just an invitation but an expectation as we want to help.  A new group of students has been identified for Quarter 3 participation.  Again, a letter will be with the report card along with transportation information for bus riders.  The performance of this program is great news as it helps to build a culture of educational excellence and expectations of engagement and performance while reinforcing the idea that academic support available from teachers is not just an invitation but an expectation as we want to help.

Accelerated Courses

Students are succeeding in their accelerated work.  Algebra, Spanish and Art Students are entering the second half of the year taking their high school level courses and finding great success.  We look forward to the award of early high school credit for those that qualify through this process.  

Sports and Activities

With the second half of the year upon us we congratulate our Basketball teams for a good season.  The season will conclude this week with the City Tournament taking place Februrary 7th  (Boys A @ Hillside 3:30 p.m.,  Boy’s B @ Parkside 3:30 p.m. , Girl’s A @McLaughlin 5:00, Girl’s B @Southside 5:00).   If teams win they will play again on Saturday the 10th at Memorial High School. Our next school based sport is Track and Field.  It is possible we will also participate in a Spring Soccer League through 21st Century and a Flag Football League.  We will know more about those as the year progresses.  

Valentines Dance

We will hold a dance on Friday February 9 (from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30).  This is our only school wide night time dance.  Tickets will be for sale during lunches Feb. 5 - Feb 9.  Tickets must be purchased at lunches.  No tickets will be sold at the door.  


The Parkside Players will be presenting Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella this spring.  We are proud to offer our students a chance to participate in a full production musical theater show each year.  Tryouts are this coming week.  February 5 and 7 after school in room 101. PTG Information

Our next PTG meeting is February 21st at 6:00 p.m. in the Library.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend.  A flyer reminding families about box top submissions is included with report cards.

Summer Camp Information

With Parkside Pride, 
Forrest Ransdell, Principal

7th Grade Health Curriculum

posted Dec 26, 2017, 5:15 PM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

Per the recent parent notification, if you would like to preview the upcoming puberty curriculum for the 7th grade health class, please visit Mr. Chasin's website at:

Winter Illnesses - Please Read!

posted Dec 18, 2017, 8:21 AM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

Dear Parents/Guardians;

Since we spend more time inside during the cold/winter months with doors and windows closed, illness can spread more quickly in the school.

                ·    Children who arrive at school sick should NOT remain in school.
                ·    A child with a fever (100° F or greater) should not come to school until his/her temperature is normal (about 98.6° F or less) for a minimum                    of 24 hours without having taken any fever-reducing medication.
For some additional guidelines to follow, please read the attached document.

Estimados padres/guardianes:

Como pasamos más tiempo con las puertas y ventanas cerradas durante los meses fríos/de invierno, las enfermedades se pueden extender más rápido en las escuelas.

  • ·        Los niños que lleguen a la escuela enfermos no deben de quedarse en la escuela.
  • ·        El niño/a con fiebre (100°F o más) NO debe de venir a la escuela hasta que su temperatura se normalice (98.6°F o menos) por 24 horas sin haber tomado medicinas que reducen la fiebre.
Aquí hay algunos concejos a seguir:

**URGENT** Winter Concert Plan in case of inclement weather

posted Dec 11, 2017, 6:59 AM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

Dear Parents, Guardians and Members of the Parkside Community,

Concert Plan in case of Snow Day (School Cancellation), Early Release, or Cancellation of After School Activities on Tuesday 12/12/17 due to inclement weather. This does *NOT* apply to a Delayed Opening.

Should there be a School Cancellation, Early Release, or Cancellation of After School Activities on Tuesday, December 12th,  the following plan will be in place for the 6th Grade concert schedule:

We will postpone our 6th Grade Winter Concert and hold it in conjunction with the 7th/8th Grade Winter Concert on the 13th.   We will hold two separate concerts on Wednesday the 13th using the following schedule

  • 6th Grade Concert will begin at 6:00 p.m.  (Students must arrive by 5:30 p.m.)

  • 7th/8th Grade Concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. (Students must arrive by 7:00 p.m.)

We ask families that have a child/children performing in only one concert group to only attend the concert for their child/children.  This plan has been established to ensure we have all of the support needed for both concerts.  We use outside individuals to support lighting and sound in order to give you the best experience possible and we are not confident we can schedule them on another day.  The athletic schedule also plays a role, as the gym is in heavy use during the winter for basketball by grades 6-12.  As with anything that changes planned events there will be challenges with this approach. Parking will be the most significant issue.  Please remember there are two very large lots behind Parkside between the cafeteria and Gossler Park Elementary School.  Parking is also allowed on Parkside Avenue from the split with Blucher all the way up the hill to Putnam St.  Please note any signs that limit this.  

Parkside Family Update 9/18/17

posted Sep 22, 2017, 11:06 AM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

Dear Parents, Guardians and Members of the Parkside Community,

The school year has begun in a really strong manner.  Students and staff have been engaged and getting right into the important jobs of teaching and learning since day one.  Already a large number of things have taken place that are preparing your children for a successful year.  As we enter the third week of school, (time is already flying) here are a few updates you need to know.  As you may already know we have a new Assistant Principal.  Mrs. Colleen Fields has joined us and is doing a terrific job.  New programs this year include Health - grade 7; Spanish - grade 7 and 8;  Art for High School credit, as well as an expansion of our reading program to serve more students.   Our First PTG Meeting

The PTG will meet on Wednesday, September 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Parkside Library.  This is a very active group of parents and all are welcome and encouraged to attend.  

Primary Election Day (School Closed)

Tuesday, September 19th is the City Primary. Parkside will be closed to allow for district facilities to be used as polling places.

Picture Retake Day

October 24th will be picture retake day.  By that time packages will have come home and you will be able to make any arrangements for retakes.  If your child did not get a photo taken on the first day this is the day to get that done.  

Student Led Conferences (Back to School Night)

Your child will be bringing home an invitation to his/her Student Led Conference.  This is your opportunity to learn and understand the classroom curricula, expectations and school wide information for the coming year.  Your invitation will have a specific appointment date and time on it.  

8th Grade - Tuesday, September 26

7th Grade - Wednesday, September 27

6th Grade - Thursday, September 28

Conferences will take place at 6:30, 7:00 and 7:30 pm.  To assure seating, please follow your scheduled time and enjoy the time talking with your child about the beginning of the year.  Your child will receive a grade in each of his/her classes for preparation undertaken for this event.  S/he will be really excited to share with you.  It is important you attend.

Reading Instruction

All students can improve their reading proficiency.   To address this, students will be participating in a program titled Reading Plus.  To assess a child’s reading proficiency levels and needs we must give each child a reading assessment.  This assessment will begin taking place at the end of this week or during the following week.  We hope to have as much information about your child’s reading levels as possible in the Student Led Conference Portfolio.  Please speak to your child about this assessment and help them understand their best effort will lead to the most informed decision regarding the instruction they need.  Students who are 1-3 grade levels below their current grade level will be scheduled for additional reading instruction beginning within two weeks in place of a regular Unified Arts Class.  School wide use of the program will begin during second semester and be incorporated into regular instruction.


Parkside has instituted “Breakout.”  This is a daily 15 minute period allowing students to run, play and/or just take a few minutes of “down time.”  Physical activity allows for better concentration and is missing from many kids lives.  Improved academic performance as well as behavioral outcomes are likely when the balance of physical and academic time is a target goal.  This takes place after period C at 10:25 am and basically splits the day.  All students participate and are segregated by grade level during this time.    

The Agenda Book

You should have seen the Student Handbook (AKA -  The Agenda Book) by now.  Please ask for this each day and check it.  It should contain assignment information for all of your child’s classes.  If it is blank, you need to know why from your child as it is an expectation that all classes provide daily posted information for the book as well as time to complete it.    

School Wide Fundraiser

Today we had grade level assemblies to introduce our school wide fundraiser.  We do one per year here at Parkside.  The PTG, Music, teams, etc also may do fundraisers but this is the only one that is of benefit to the entire school.  We use the money raised to support student activities such as field trips and events in school.  For example if we need to bus students to someplace as close as the SNHU Center for a field trip, the cost to send one grade level is between $400.00 and $600.00.  The costs increase from there as the distance to the trip location increases.  This fundraiser allows us to help defray some of the costs that we would otherwise have to pass on to families.  Your child will bring home the packet today.  We hope you can support this important cause.  Packets are due back by October 4.  

We welcome you to the school year and hope for great success for all.   Again, it has been a terrific start and the kids are doing a great job.  

With Parkside Pride,
Forrest Ransdell, Principal

Parent Meetings

posted Sep 12, 2017, 7:10 AM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

Together is the only path to achievement!

A parent or guardian must attend one of the opening parent meetings for this year. There are three different dates available. Important information regarding programs and expectations will be shared. Dates and times are:
Tuesday 9/12 @ 9:00 am
Thursday 9/14 @ 6:30 pm
Saturday 9/16 @ 9:00 am

FIRST Tech Challenge Team

posted Sep 6, 2017, 12:40 PM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

FIRST Tech Challenge Team:  students who are interested in joining the FTC team needs to see Ms. Barber, room 237, or Mrs. Soucy, room 239, on or before September 7.  Kick Off is on September 9 at FIRST Headquarter and we need a count.   

6th Grade Orientation & Supplies

posted Aug 16, 2017, 12:41 PM by Stacey Rust-Belforti

6th Grade Orientation will take place on Wednesday August 30th from 9:00  a.m. until 12:00 p.m.  The morning will be split into three major activities. Students should arrive no later 9:00 a.m. and report to the cafeteria.  At 10:00 a.m. we will split into small groups and spend 90 minutes on a scavenger hunt allowing students to become familiar with the school building and important aspects of their schedule and day.  We will serve a pizza lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.    This is an important day to help kids be comfortable on the first day of school.  All students should attend.  The scavenger hunt/tours will be led by staff members and current students.  

Many students and parents wish to know what supplies and materials will be needed as the year begins.  Each team will provide a list of supplies needed when the school year begins.  However, please have students bring a notebook, lined paper and pencils on the first day of school as minimum supplies.  

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