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The Compass

Facilities Plan Priority One Support

Tonight, November 21, 2023, at the Board of Mayor & Alderman Meeting, Manchester School District Superintendent of Schools, Jennifer Chimiel Gillis, Ed.D. is requesting the approval of the Long Term Facilities Plan – Priority One. Manchester Proud supports this work and believes that this will provide the facilities that our students deserve for their education.

This planning project has been underway with vendor, SMMA since March of 2023. The purpose of this is to provide a long-term facility plan for the district. The team has been working with the board-approved concept of 3 High Schools, 4 Middle Schools, and 12 Elementary Schools.

This project is large and is broken up into two priority lists. This first list includes the following recommendations:

– To close Wilson Elementary School for the fall of 2024.

– To build a new elementary school at the McDonough Elementary School site.

– To locate modular classroom space at: Beech, McDonough, Parkside, Southside, McLaughlin, and Hillside in June 2024.

– To approve additions and renovations at all four of our middle schools.

– To approve up to $306 Million – Priority One budget.

November 2023 Update – Window into 2024

Blankets of colorful leaves, a bit of a nip in the air, and the resetting of clocks are unmistakable signs that another calendar year will soon pass.  2023 has been a good one for Manchester Proud and with your support we have shared more good news, built new and bolstered ongoing partnerships, and engaged more of Manchester in our mission of making exceptional public schools.

Success breeds success and motivated by the progress of 2023, your Manchester Proud team has already drafted its plan and goals for the new year.  Our work in 2024 will leverage progress to date with our focus sharpened by the collective wisdom of our Champion’s Council and Work Group volunteers. 

Following our tradition of candor and collaboration, here is a window into how we will be investing our time in 2024. It is aligned with the Opportunity Areas explored during our Council’s recent strategic planning sessions.  The time allocations represent estimated percentages of our total staff time to be dedicated to each initiative.  One or more of our staff will be responsible for the management of each initiative: Manchester Proud Director, Community Partnerships Director, and Community Communications Director.

OPPORTUNITY AREA #1: Community Communications and Engagement

Ongoing communications to share MSD progress (Newsletters, social media, websites)7%Community Communications Director
Develop strategic communications plan to align Manchester Proud, MSD, and community communications5%Community Communications Director & Manchester Proud Director
Develop, maintain, and promote Compass community resource portal13%Community Communications Director
Produce CelebratED festival and State of MSD public forum8%Manchester Proud Director
Explore potential of District-wide parental engagement network4%Manchester Proud Director & Community Communications Director.
Participation in community events and public presentations7%All Team

OPPORTUNITY AREA #2: School-Community Partnerships and Career Pathways

Continued Development of School-Community Partnership Network and Career Connected Learning25%Community Partnerships Director
Coordination of Community Schools Grant5%Community Partnerships Director


Assistance with facilitation and management of Work Groups: Membership & Equity, Fundraising, Organizational Planning14%Manchester Proud Director
Exploration of opportunities and potential partnerships6%All Team
General operations and coordination6%All Team

We provide this information to enable our supporters, our community, and ourselves to better understand and oversee the work of Manchester Proud.  Among our observations are:

  • Our work is appropriately aligned with Manchester Proud’s Mission – to “Build community engagement and partnerships with the Manchester School District to champion student success and make exceptional public schools.”
  • We remain focused on Manchester Proud’s unique role as a community facilitator and resource enabler, driving systemic change in our public schools and community. Change that is producing equity-based programs, services, learning opportunities, and career pathways for our students and families; Change that is aligning and optimizing the application of community resources to the needs of our students; Change that is advancing the organization and efficacy of our school district; Change that is building a culture of pride and engagement in our public schools and community. 

Of course, the above is only representative of our modest staff’s time organizing and leading initiatives.  The real progress of Manchester Proud is made possible by the countless hours volunteered by our Council; partners at MSD and our Board of School Committee; collaborators at Manchester service organizations and businesses; and community supporters.  

Together we continue ONWARD!