Push to bolster Manchester schools exceeds expectations, organizers say

Business community plays key role in Manchester Proud coalition


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Manchester Proud – a citizens’ coalition committed to uniting the Queen City behind an aspirational vision for its school system – is off to a flying start, organizers say.

In an Aug. 27 presentation to the Board of School Committee, they said that community engagement with the organization has exceeded expectations and is on target to grow even more rapidly over the coming months.

According to the organization, since its launch earlier this year, Manchester Proud has formed five community-led work groups and held over 40 meetings; it has held over 50 fundraising visits and raised over $300,000 from the Manchester community; and it has released a request for proposal seeking a firm to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the Manchester School District to provide the community with a baseline, objective understanding of the current state of learning in the city.

“The community’s response to Manchester Proud continues to amaze and inspire us,” said Barry Brensinger of Lavallee Brensinger Architects and Manchester Proud’s coordinator. “There is clear consensus that now is the time for this essential work, and we simply cannot fail.”

Brensinger, along with Arthur Sullivan of Brady Sullivan Properties, and Patty Lynott of Southern New Hampshire University, provided the update to the board at the Aug. 27 meeting.

They told the board members that a community survey will soon go live on Manchester Proud’s website to gather input and engage community-members in the work. In addition, neighborhood canvasses will be conducted across the city starting on Saturday, Sept. 15, at McLaughlin Middle School and a community resource mapping workshop is scheduled to be held Oct. 18 at SNHU. 

Representatives will also begin holding one-on-one meetings will with every school principal in the district.

“We are excited that so many people have already signed up to join in a canvass or listening session. As students, families, and educators head back to school, Manchester Proud will be out there talking with them, celebrating all of the amazing work happening in our classrooms, and listening about how we can move forward together,” said Lynott.

According to Sullivan, “Manchester’s business community continues to deepen its support for Manchester Proud.”

He said the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has hosted a number of meetings on the effort and “plays a pivotal role on the communications work group and community resource mapping work group. It is clear the business community recognizes our future depends on our ability to educate our students and retain our graduates.”

All members of the community are invited to join in supporting the Manchester Proud effort. For additional information, visit manchesterproud.org or its Facebook page.

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