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Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston and Assistant Superintendent David Ryan visited with the Hooksett School Board Tuesday night. (RYAN O'CONNOR/Union Leader Correspondent)

Manchester superintendent visits Hooksett School Board

HOOKSETT — As district officials move closer to nailing down a short-term solution for Hooksett’s high school future, Manchester Superintendent Debra Livingston and Assistant Superintendent David Ryan attended Tuesday’s Hooksett School Board meeting to discuss the current state of the Queen City’s educational offerings.

Livingston provided background on Manchester Central’s incoming principal, John Vaccarezza, currently an administrator at Pinkerton Academy. Livingston called him a “great match,” for CHS, and Ryan said that Vaccarezza was chosen from 33 applicants from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and Colorado.

Livingston also discussed the recent New England Association of Schools and Colleges assessment report on CHS, which provided the school with 48 commendations, but also 39 recommendations.

“There are many great things happening at Central, but we also recognize there is work to do,” said Livingston, who noted a decision on CHS’s accreditation is likely to be announced within the next couple days.

Among the other topics discussed were Manchester West’s STEAM Ahead New Hampshire program, which currently has 65 students enrolled to take classes for college credit next year, and the district’s standards and K-12 curriculum, which Ryan said uses Common Core recommendations as its floor, but builds on those standards based on Manchester’s unique educational needs.

“We’re really pleased with some of the things we’ve started to put in place,” said Livingston.

In addition, Livingston and Ryan spoke on Manchester’s dropout rate, which both admitted was unacceptably high for the 2012-13 school year. Ryan said the district’s data for this year shows that number will be nearly cut in half, from 211 last year to 107 for this school year.

He explained district officials cut the number down by encouraging principals, assistant principals and counselors to reach out to students who may be showing signs of academic trouble, but who were within five credits of earning a diploma.

“Of the students we were able to reach out to, the majority remained and found some success,” said Ryan. “I think it really does come down to not giving up on kids ever, and letting them know that.”

Hooksett board member Jim Sullivan requested data from Manchester, breaking down their dropout rate and academic success of Hooksett students compared to Queen City students.

Livingston assured Hooksett School Board members that the approved Manchester school district budget won’t result in any reductions in force.

The Hooksett School Board continues its high school discussion at a special meeting on Tuesday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. at Cawley Middle School.

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