Thursday, Feb 2, 2023

IT’S AN ANNUAL MONTH-LONG CELEBRATION of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history, but as many have noted Black History should be heralded not just in February but year-round. That’s the goal in the school district and we have more info below. Also today is Groundhog Day and a big deal at the Lutz, where Chuckles didn't see his shadow, meaning we can expect an early spring. We haven't had much of winter anyway, at least snow-wise so far, but it will be brutally cold this weekend.

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Humans of Manchester

Ed Entsiwah, a junior in the Medical Careers Academy, is the latest addition to our 'Humans of Manchester' gallery's special student series. We've featured 20 standout MHS students over the past month and you can read all about them on the district Facebook page and other MPS social media sites.
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Ryan Parker, a race and equity coordinator in the district, compiled a variety of resources for staff to use to celebrate Black History and it's so thorough we are sharing it with everyone here. We also have a related story about creativity and collaboration at Bentley Academy at the bottom of today's newsletter.


  • On Saturday, Feb. 11 the Manchester Symphony Orchestra is presenting a concert at Manchester High entitled "Black Excellence" and subtitled An Orchestral Celebration of Black Composers from the 1700's to the Present. We have more information here.
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Board Of Education News

  • The Board of Education has scheduled another budget workshop for Tuesday, Feb. 7 to review aspects of Superintendent Matt Geary's proposed 2023-24 school budget. The meeting will be held in Room 293 at MHS at 6:30 p.m.
  • Geary's proposed budget, which would increase spending by 4.38 percent to $125 million, will be voted on by the BoE at its regular meeting on Feb. 13. (Humanities and STEM K-12 updates are also on the agenda.)
  • The budget will then be sent to the town manager, with the Board of Directors eventually determining the amount of the school appropriation.
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PJ Day, Project Graduation and 'The Pulse'

  • The district PJ day in December raised $6,718 for the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, according to campaign coordinator (and Waddell teacher) Kate Dietch. The district has raised about $40,000 since the annual event began in 2015.

  • MHS Class of '23 Project Graduation is looking for donations and volunteers. Click here to learn more, and here to get in on their digital popcorn fundraiser that runs through Feb. 15.
  • Check out the latest edition of The Pulse, Manchester High’s award winning news program.


  • MPS families -- if you have not yet taken the Winter Family Survey, please do. Your input is valuable and makes a difference.

  • FirstView, our new bus tracking and parent communications app, lets you track where your child’s bus is in real-time and has a multi-stop view if you have multiple students on different buses. Click for details.

  • Winter weather can take a toll on school attendance so please consider these steps to keep your children healthy and in school.
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Town Historian Susan Barlow led a group of nearly 150 on a walk down the historic Cheney Railroad last Saturday, which was the second installment in the ‘23 Walks with the Town Historian’ series. The next walk is scheduled for Saturday at the Botti Farm property on Bush Hill Rd. starting at 1 p.m. Click here for more info on the walk series.

This Week's Highlights

Thursday, Feb. 2
1:30 - 6:30 p.m. -- Red Cross blood drive at North United Methodist Church, 300 Parker St.

Friday, Feb. 3
7:30 p.m. -- Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery opens at Cheney Hall.

Saturday, Feb. 4
10:30 a.m. -- Take Your Child to the Library Day: Jocelyn Pleasant & the Lost Tribe at Mary Cheney Library.
1 p.m. -- Free walk at Bush Hill Farms, 300 Bush Hill Rd.
7 - 8 p.m. -- Chamber music concert (free) at Emanuel Lutheran Church, 60 Church St.

Monday Feb. 6
6:30 p.m. -- Our Companions Parenting with Pets at Mary Cheney Library.
8:30 a.m. -- 1 p.m. -- Red Cross blood drive at Manchester Memorial Hospital, 71 Haynes St.
7 - 8 p.m. -- Can and bottle drive at World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, 16 Brainard Place.

Tuesday, Feb. 7

6:30 p.m. -- BoE budget workshop at MHS (Room 293)
7 p.m. -- BOD meeting at Lincoln Center.
6 - 7 p.m. -- Friends and Family CPR class at Community Y, 78 N Main St.
7 p.m. -- Nathan Hale Toastmasters meeting at 595 Tolland Tpke.

Wednesday, Feb. 8
7 p.m. -- Manchester Conservation Committee meeting at Lincoln Center.

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The town followed up its Bicentennial Celebration launch (which you can read about at Better Manchester) with a video capturing the highlights of the event and also released its Living History project trailer. Pictured above at left are Dan Thompson and Bill Ludwig (town troubadours past and present) singing “Songs of Village Charm'' and at right the aforementioned Ryan Parker, the town’s poet laureate.
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8th Utilities District Approves Merger

Voters in the 8th Utilities District on Wednesday approved merging with the town fire and sewer departments and the JI has the story.


  • Better Manchester: Community members can add their name and experience to Manchester’s living history; find out what’s next with ‘Manchester Next’ and meet new Youth Service Bureau educator Caitlin Barclay; plus there’s a new Pups in OurParks program that you (and your pup) will want to get in on.
  • Manchester Historical Society: Artists needed for an exhibit of Manchester's past, featuring themes from 1823 to 1923; learn about wartime business sacrifices; take a 90 minute history walk (the third in a series of 23 in 2023) at the Botti Farm property on Bush Hill Rd. plus a few snippets from a January 1933 Manchester Herald.
  • Manchester Matters: Manchester's 200 anniversary kickoff story and pictures, Black History Month programing at the Connecticut Historical Society; Manchester Next open house info and a lot more. A free subscription is just a click away.

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Board Game Chatter

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Jenn Bartlett, reference librarian at Mary Cheney library, was a guest on WFSB discussing the library's extensive collection of board games. Watch it here.

Illing Hoops

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The boys and girls teams competed in the 35th Buzz Wooldridge Invitational Basketball Tournament and drew large crowds to the Kelley Gym last weekend.RHAM needed overtime to beatIlling in the boys final while East Hartford won the girls tournament after beating Windham . Check the OneManchester CT Sports page on fb for more pictures from the tournament.


  • Manchester Travel Basketball has a fundraising pasta dinner on Sunday (Feb 5) at Manchester Country Club. Click here for details.

  • Manchester Little League’s Challenger program registration is open until March 3. Click here for details, and here for MLL baseball and softball registration, which is ongoing through Feb. 25.

Schools are recognizing Black History Month in many ways including by decorating bulletin boards. Here's a peek at the process that took place at Manchester High's Bentley Academy.
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Teacher Pam Woodruff and para Darcelle Long took the planning lead while students helped assemble the board and gave feedback on the Love acrostic. The board features notable people chosen by students and each has a QR code that links to the student-created profile. Next to ‘The Future’ is a mirror where students see themselves as they pass by.
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“We specifically left out any mention of the month,” said Woodruff, “as the board will remain up well beyond February.”
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  • NOTE: OneManchester is compiled by Paul Ofria of the school district's communications office but is dependent on contributions from people and institutions throughout the town and school district. So if you have something, anything, that you think people would want to know about, please let us know. Photos, fliers, links, tips, whatever -- please share with Paul at