MANCHESTER — Ten months of math drills, writing assignments and multiple choice tests start Wednesday for city school children, but families at Gossler Park School got an early taste of school on Tuesday.
Taste as in a Kona snow cone, a chocolate brownie and a fresh sandwich.
The West Side school, which has been lauded recently for its Leader in Me program, got ready for Wednesday’s start with its annual lunch-hour meet and greet for students, parents and school staff.
The city health department provided lunch; the school parent-teacher group provided the Kona treats.
Students got to meet the teachers and reconnect with friends from last year.
Organizations as diverse as the city library and Southern New Hampshire Services made parents aware of their offerings for people who live in the area.
And parents prepared emotionally for Wednesday.
“I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for five years; he’s leaving,” said Elizabeth Walker, who brought her only child, William, 5, to Gossler Park to meet his kindergarten teacher. “It’s nerve-wracking, but I think it’s going to be good.”
She signed her boy up for soccer and a library card on Tuesday.
Gossler Park has been holding the last-day-of-summer event for seven years, when it became a designated community school.
As a community school, Gossler is eligible for extra staff and equipment, much of it provided through Manchester Health Department grants, said Principal Lori Upham. The health department funds two social workers at the school.
The Greater Manchester Mental Health Center visits on a regular basis. The school stocks a food pantry and has a washing machine and dryer, sometimes used by homeless families.
And at the end of the year, the school will host a year-end Earn a Bike giveaway, at which most fourth-graders will get a bicycle.
“We want the community involved, we want the parents involved,” Upham said.
Some of the city’s other grade schools have similar events.
Webster School hosted a meet-your-teacher event on Tuesday, according to its website.
Last Friday afternoon, Henry Wilson School held meet-your-teacher and bookmobile events. And the Bakersville Parent Teacher Group held a welcome-back jamboree last Wednesday night.
Highland Goffe’s Falls, Smyth Road and Parker-Varney allowed new students to visit the schools on Tuesday.
Hundreds showed up for the Gossler Park event, including Anne Reischer, who accompanied her grandson and son. They represent three generations of Gossler students.
“I love this school,” Reischer said. “There’s a lot of hands-on activities, a lot of programs. For being in the inner city, they do.”