, Gloucester, MA

August 29, 2013

Smooth start for Manchester Essex schools

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — MANCHESTER — New students and new staff members settled into their first day back to school across the district yesterday with little to no obstructions.

“So far, its gone remarkably well,” Essex Elementary School Principal Jennifer Roberts said.

When elementary school starts, first-year pupils can get tied up with the picture-taking, waving, but Roberts said the tear-filled goodbyes were missing this year.

“One school bus was late, but that’s typical,” Roberts said.

Manchester Police officers said traffic flowed in and out of the elementary and middle high schools in their town fairly smoothly with no incidents.

“We actually moved seamlessly, more so than other (back to school) days,” Patrolman Steven Fiore said.

Fiore and Patrolman Joseph Archambault were outside of Manchester Memorial Elementary School as children were arriving and leaving for the day while police Sgts. Mark McCoy and Todd Fitzgerald were on duty at the regional middle and high school.

Fitzgerald said one minor issue came up when a car circled around a school bus dropping off students, but other than that, it was a great day to come back to class.

“It was perfect, everything ran smoothly ... just like it did the last day of school,” he said.

At Essex Elementary School, Roberts said the local Parent Teacher Organization treated parents to refreshments in the cafeteria as an estimated 267 pupils got acclimated with their teachers.

Developing the right classroom routine is the first step in that process.

“Once you get the routines under your belt, kids are feeling confident, and learning can begin,” Roberts said.

Things at the high school level went equally well.

“It was a great opening, things have gone very smoothly,” new Manchester Essex Regional High School Principal Patricia Puglisi said.

Puglisi said she enjoyed greeting students and has already met all of the faculty and staff.

“I’m just amazed about how passionate they are about teaching,” she said.

Yesterday and today, students met with advisory teachers and got right into their schedules, Puglisi said.

The high school enrollment is 487, a slight increase.

On a district-wide scale, there are 18 new staff members, with some filling newly created positions, Superintendent Pamela Baudouin said.

She said the others were people replacing retired faculty and those who have resigned.

The middle and high school recently received the Green Ribbon award from the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

“It was wonderful opening day,” Beaudoin said, adding she is glad to see students walk the halls once again. “It just doesn’t seem right without them. I’m excited for a good year.”

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000 x 3455 or