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September 08. 2013 10:32PM

New Manchester superintendent to offer state of city schools


MANCHESTER — School Superintendent Debra J. Livingston will present the school board tonight with a report on the state of the city schools, traditionally given at the start of each school year.

Topics to be discussed will include class sizes and an update on how the first four days of school went under the new hours-based calendar that has students spending more of the school day learning, Livingston said Friday.

Livingston, who took over as superintendent in July, said getting a good handle on student enrollments will be a key task in the weeks ahead.

Enrollment figures traditionally are in flux during September as administrators track how many students have withdrawn and entered the school system, she said.Livingston said she set Sept. 13 as the date to tabulate student enrollments for all schools, then make any necessary adjustments to class sizes starting the following week.
“We are going to use that data we collected to make good decisions about what we need to do about enrollments at specific schools,” she explained.

State standards require a maximum of 30 students per teacher.

Livingston said Friday that “we feel we are doing well at our high schools,” but “we need to look at what to do at some of our elementary classrooms.”

The intent is to keep student-teacher ratios as low as possible at the elementary level.

She said she could not comment further, since enrollment figures are changing daily.

Livingston said the start of classes on Sept. 5 went smoothly.

“We still have a couple of changes that we are making and adjustments we are making at the end of the day. But overall this school year started extremely well,” Livingston said.Central office staff helped with bus duty to ensure all students got home safely given the shortened amount of time school staffers have to assist students at the end of the day under the new hours-based schedule.

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