Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023

TOMORROW IS THE 100TH DAY of the school year -- and a great time for parents to take stock of their child’s attendance record (because percentages are so easy to calculate!). We have lots of attendance information below including insights on how establishing healthy habits makes a big difference. Also, on Saturday the Manchester Symphony Orchestra has a special concert at MHS celebrating Black composers from the 1700's to the present. Details (and photos from a rehearsal) are below.

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Let's start with some good news: So far this year more than 400 of our 6,000ish students have not missed a single day -- which is great, as long as no one comes to school while sick just to keep a streak alive. But attending 95 percent of the time is a good target so you might want to check this weekend to see if your child has five or fewer absences.
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The statistics in the chart above assume enrollment during an 180-day school year.

  • There are lots of ways to measure attendance and one important metric is chronic absenteeism. This refers to students who miss 10 percent or more of the days they are enrolled in school, counting both excused and unexcused absences.

  • As of tomorrow, any student enrolled all year who has been absent 10 or more times will be considered chronically absent. The district CA rate is currently about 31 percent, representing more than 1800 of the almost 6,000 K-12 students in the district. Before the pandemic our rate was usually in the high teens -- but we are not alone as rates have spiked across the state and country since 2020.


AttendanceWorks is dedicated to improving student attendance and has an wide array of resources for parents and families including:

Budget Update

The Board of Education held its fourth and final budget workshop on Tuesday and is scheduled to vote on the proposed 2023-24 school spending plan at its regular meeting on Monday. (Humanities and STEM K-12 updates are also on the agenda.) Superintendent Matt Geary's proposed budget would increase spending by 4.38 percent to $125 million.

What's next? After the BoE votes, the budget will be sent to the town manager, with the Board of Directors eventually determining the amount of the school appropriation.

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In Our Classrooms

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At Illing Middle School, Ms. Silva and her eighth grade Robotics class design a house with a CAD program (left) and at right, students play virtual games in Chris Cannata's Gamified PE elective class.
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  • 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 next Wednesday.

  • 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.

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This Week's Highlights

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Works by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, William Grant Still Jr., Nkeiru Okoye and Carlos Simon will be performed at a special Manchester Symphony Orchestra concert Saturday night at MHS celebrating Black composers. Click here for details.
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At far left, that's Tom and Carol Maas during rehearsal; in the photo at right are high school students Mercury Goulet, Rashad Watt, Ava Lienau (Wethersfield), Nicholas Colon and Julia Viera-Reis (Manchester resident/East Catholic), who will be among the guest students musicians.


Thursday, Feb. 9
2:30 - 6 p.m. --
Manchester Teen Center is open, 63 Linden St.
7 p.m. -- Added performance: Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: a Sherlock Holmes Comedy at Cheney Hall.

Friday, Feb. 10
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. --
WORK_SPACE’s fifth birthday party, 901 Main St.

Saturday, Feb. 11
9 a.m.- 1 p.m. --
Spruce Street Farmers Market, indoors at Nathan Hale Activity Center, 160 Spruce St.
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. -- Polish food sale at St, John’s Polish National Church, 23 Golway St.
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. -- 3rd Annual Souper Bowl of Caring at MACC, 466 Main St. (but pre-orders were due by Feb. 8).

Noon -- Silk City Board Game Group at Mary Cheney Library.
7:30 p.m. -- A celebration of Black composers with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale at Manchester High School.

Sunday, Feb. 12
I - 4 p.m. --
Open House at the Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Rd.

Monday, Feb. 13
7 p.m. --
BOE meeting at Lincoln Center.
7 p.m. -- Manchester Garden Club hosts ‘Managing a Flower Farm’ at Assumption Church, 27 Adams St.

Tuesday, Feb. 14
7 p.m. --
BOD meeting at Lincoln Center.

Wednesday, Feb. 15
Noon - 7 p.m. -- Manchester Next’s community open house at WORK_SPACE, 901 Main St.
12:30 - 6 p.m. -- Manchester Teen Center is open, 63 Linden St.

6 p.m. -- Self-Care Sound Bath Meditation at Whiton Memorial Library.

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News and Newsletters

The town on Tuesday approved the purchase 942 Main St. (aka the Tong building) for $1.75 million and the JI has the story.


  • MACC MInutes: Highlights from MACC 50th anniversary bash; Souper Bowl Saturday is this Saturday; Meet Linda Roy, a volunteers at the Community Kitchen volunteer who helps prepare meals and picks-up food rescues; consider a visit (or donating) to the Community Threads Thrift Shoppe,
  • Manchester Historical Society: The society is looking for artists to help with a town-wide art project related to Manchester’s 200th anniversary; a few fun old time pictures from the North End; the Genealogy Group will be restarting on March 8; some great background info on Manchester’s first town manager, George Waddell and the school named in his memory.
  • Manchester Matters: Manchester’s Grand List was signed on Jan. 30; MyHomesCT Program offers help for homeowners; Manchester Next info; website for investors and stakeholders and an invite to WORK_Space’s fifth anniversary celebration. Click here to subscribe.
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The Manchester-based Hartford Shockers begin defending their East Coast Basketball League title on Feb. 25 when they host the Philly Raiders at 5 p.m. at East Catholic. Learn more about the team and the league here. Meanwhile the Jr. Shockers Basketball Academy for players age 5 through high school starts March 13 at East Catholic. Click here for registration information.


  • Senior Night for the MHS boys basketball team is tonight (Feb. 9) against Tolland.

  • 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.

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Bernadette, Connor and Janzé. They are the most recent additions to our 'Humans of Manchester' gallery, which for more than a month now has been featuring high-achieving MHS students. You can read all about them on the district Facebook page and other MPS social media sites. As part of this campaign our standouts students are also being touted on electronic billboards at Buckland Mall that are updated weekly.

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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