Next Year’s updated schedule warrants a need for advisory changes

Due to the separating the middle and high school schedules, the current system of advisory calls for change, according to Principal Patricia Puglisi.

Puglisi explained the origins of turbo advisory as a result from the converging schedules of the middle school and high school.

“When we implemented advisory, the high school schedule was paired up with the middle school schedule. Since the middle school gets out at 11:32 a.m., and the high school doesn’t get out until 2:15 p.m., there needed to be a schedule that would match for the shared staff. So we created this turbo advisory block which was two hours and 30 minutes of something different,” she said.

Currently the turbo advisory days are planned ahead of time; however, Puglisi said the prescheduling of advisory should change once the middle and high school schedules separate next year.

“If we find we want to do a particular event, then we can just do that at a time when it seems needed,” she said.

Following the prescheduled calendar, a 2 hour and 30 minute turbo advisory was held on March 18, when the students took a Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) survey, and participated in The Pages Project, which is an art project Ms. Powers and the National Art Honors Society configured. With leftover time, the grades compete against other grades in trivial games.

However, the most recent Turbo Advisory had scarce attendance, specifically senior students, according to Principal Puglisi.

“A bunch of my friends didn’t come to school that day, and I don’t really blame them. It’s not like anything substantial could be taught in the half hour classes, and there clearly wasn’t much importance to those games we played afterwards,” senior Meghan Conway said.

Sophomore Annabelle Lord-Patey said she thought that advisory was important for each class.

“I don’t have any classes with some of the kids in my advisory. Advisory is a welcome break from schoolwork, and I get to see other people in my grade whom I don’t normally,” she said.

The advisory scheduling was discussed recently, according to Puglisi, and there have been adjustments made to the schedule for the rest of the year.

“The rest of the school year will be the half an hour advisories. June 3rd scheduled to have an Turbo advisory, but we have decided against that and to have a full day of school that week, mainly because it is graduation week and it’s a difficult date to manage,” Puglisi said.

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Report cards transition smoothly from a hard copy to electronic

By Avery Shaw

 

To save money, paper, and manpower, both the high school and middle school of Manchester Essex have changed their methods of sending out report cards from a paper copy delivered through the mail to an electronically posted copy.

High school Principal Patricia Puglisi discussed the school’s reasoning behind the change in systems.

“Printing the report cards and mailing them are not very green, which looks bad being that we are a green school, and it also takes a lot of man power and postage to do that on a regular basis. Given that Aspen has that capability for us to be able to communicate that information electronically, we just believe that’s more in line with how people do business these days,” Puglisi said.

This change was influenced by the success that other school districts have had with the electronic system, Puglisi said.

“Both the prior schools I worked at did all communication online in terms of grading and report cards and it is just a more streamlined way to do it, and students do get their report cards more quickly,” Puglisi said.

From a parent’s perspective, the new “frustrating” online system deters from parents viewing their children’s report cards, according to Mary Clunan, parent of a Manchester Essex high school student.

“It affected my motivation to check my child’s report card. Even though I eventually managed to see the report card, it ended up being time consuming. I would get frustrated because I was having trouble figuring out the website,” Clunan said.

Puglisi had anticipated flaws in the system but overall believes that the transition was smooth.

“I think one thing we could have done better is providing more explicit directions on where to find the report card on the student’s page, but overall it was pretty efficient in terms of making sure all the grades were in and getting posted. Certainly there is always room for improvement, and we continue to try to improve in our use of Aspen,”  Puglisi said.

Sophomore Charlie Otterbein appreciated the modern approach to the report card system.

“I like the accessibility of the report cards. I no longer have to wait to see my grades. Considering how everything else is online now, I think it is appropriate to have our grades there too,” Otterbein said.

 

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Friendship Tree lighting brings together community

By Avery Shaw

 

Held at the First Parish Church, the annual Friendship Tree lighting was hosted by the Manchester Women’s Club on Dec. 7.

The Manchester Women’s club consists of about 60 volunteers over 50 years of age and sponsors the event every year, according to Martha Elder, a two-year member of the club.

Elder explained the club’s purpose.

“We are community oriented. We give two $5,000 scholarships every single year to children. And that’s the whole point: to give back and to help the education of young kids,” Elder said.

The event consisted of a concert, including the Manchester-Essex School Band, Soundwaves, High School Chorus, Memorial School Chorus, and La Petite Choral performing inside the First Parish Church.

“It is always a great way to start off the holidays. The music, the community coming together, and all the children are what the holidays are really about. It’s just a lot of fun,” band director Joe Sokol said.

After the show, members of the Women’s Club volunteered to dress as Mrs. Claus and to hand out candy canes and hot chocolate. The lighting of the Friendship Tree took place on the Town Hall Common directly after the concert.

Elder explained why she chose to volunteer to hand out candy canes.

“My favorite part is the children, of course. When they come up to get their candy canes, they are just precious. They look at me with their eyes wide open, and usually I have to bend at the knees to their level so they won’t be scared or afraid. And I have to just stand there or else they will start walking back as if they are afraid I’m going to pounce on them. It’s just the cutest thing,” Elder said.

This event has become a tradition for the families of the Manchester community, according to Charlie Otterbein, a sophomore who attended the event.

“Ever since I moved here, we have gone to the tree lighting,” Otterbein said, “When the tree gets lit up and everybody goes nuts. They count down from 10 and it just brings the whole town together.”

 

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