Community Partnerships and Engagement Valued at Hillside Middle School
The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) education committee and Hillside Middle School Principal Brendan McCafferty invited Chamber Members into the home of the Hillside Eagles for a tour and open conversation how to best introduce students to future workforce opportunities and innovative programs being offered at the school.
This was the second in a series of tours within the Manchester School District (MANSD) that the GMCC Education Committee is conducting in an effort to deepen the engagement between the business community school district. The GMCC strives to ensure that members of our community have a balanced and informed view of our schools.
Principal McCafferty explained to the group that there are four unique pillars that Hillside Middle School has implemented within the last year that help to foster an environment where students can develop their abilities in communication, decision making, citizenship and intellectual growth:
Building up the Media Hub and Makerspace
The Media Hub and Makerspace is an incredibly unique learning environment. The space would not have been possible without community donations and partnerships that helped provide the technology and equipment now being used by students.
Establishing a Peer Advisory Program
This is a program where each student has an adult that checks-in with them on a weekly basis. They work on agenda items that speak to things such as character value and community service.
Many teachers and volunteers are taking on the role of creating interesting clubs for students. There have been 10 different clubs that are piloting the concept this year.
Identifying ways to encourage community members to partner with the school, such as sponsoring or donating equipment or materials that can be used in the Makerspace and Media Hub or helping create an educational program that provides a new learning experience to students.
McCafferty expressed how valuable community partnerships really are to the district. “There is a reputation about our schools that does not reflect what is really going on inside,” he said. “The GMCC community could have a real influence. We need to invest at a level to attract families to the district.”
“I can’t ask you enough to share your ideas and thoughts with us. A thriving school district correlates with a thriving city. It’s not rocket science,” McCafferty continued.
The GMCC is focusing on how the business community can help solve some of the challenges facing the Manchester School District by first examining how to bring more attention to the many positive programs and initiatives already underway in our schools.