MANCHESTER — Members of Manchester Proud — a citizens’ coalition committed to uniting the Queen City behind an aspirational vision for its school system — announced Wednesday the group has chosen a firm to help design a new strategic plan for city schools.
Manchester Proud issued a release Wednesday saying after “a rigorous, six month search process” the organization’s Consultant Selection Work Group chose 2Revolutions, LLC to partner with in crafting “an aspirational and achievable strategic plan” for the Manchester School District.
According to a company website, 2Revolutions is a national education design lab which claims to have spearheaded 400 professional learning and design projects in over 35 states, including more than 20 school design efforts with over 300 school design teams in the last five years alone. The company advertises itself as a virtual firm with employees scattered across the country, but with offices in New York City; Burlington, Vt.; and Denver, Col.
“We had an outstanding response to our request for proposals and ultimately reviewed and scored seven,” said Meryl Levin, executive director of Mill Falls Charter School, who served on the Work Group. “The Work Group unanimously chose 2Revolutions because they demonstrated a clear commitment to community-centric education and a deep understanding of equity and how it applies to students from various backgrounds, learning styles, and other contexts. Their portfolio of work exhibited vast experience working with educators as partners. For this work to be successful, the support and engagement of our teachers is a must.”
Levin added that 2Revolutions showed an “eagerness to tailor their approach” to the Queen City.
“They truly stood apart from other applicants with their willingness to authentically engage with the community in a creative and innovative way, so that the community will be deeply involved in each step of the process while leveraging the strengths this group brings to the table,” said Levin.
“2Revolutions has been engaged in a range of work throughout New Hampshire, including Manchester, since 2011,” said Adam Rubin, founder and partner of 2Revolutions in a statement.
“We believe our first-hand knowledge of the context of the state makes us strong partners. We have learned that ‘Live Free or Die’ is a living concept in New Hampshire public education. We respect the importance and power of local communities to steer public education and we’re excited to leverage our unique skill set to support such an important, community-driven transformation effort.”
2Revolutions led the design of Manchester School of Technology in the Queen City eight years ago. Karen Machado, the school’s principal, said the firm “understood that students who have different learning styles, paces, and interests thrive in an environment that is responsive to their needs.”
“2Revolutions was truly committed to helping us empower each and every student to be successful,” said Machado. “As a result, student engagement has increased and our graduation and attendance rates are the highest in the district. Student and family satisfaction has soared, and this is a school that families want their kids to be at.”
According to organizers with Manchester Proud, members of the Consultant Selection Work Group vetted 2Revolutions’ portfolio of work across the country and in New Hampshire as part of the search process.
Barry Brensinger of Lavallee Brensinger Architects and Manchester Proud’s coordinator, along with founding Proud members Arthur Sullivan of Brady Sullivan Properties, and Patty Lynott of Southern New Hampshire University, recently provided members of the city school board with an update on the group’s future plans.
According to Brensinger, the process will unfold in four phases: discovery, design, validation and, finally, implementation.
The discovery phase includes assessment of the district, with Brensinger saying “we understand it’s really important to have a solid foundation of information.”
For the design phase, Brensinger said Manchester Proud is proposing to create a community planning group which will work “hand in hand” with the group’s chosen planning consultant. The group will consist of school district leaders, teachers, parents, students, staff and city partners.
In the validation phase, drafts of the group’s vision for the district will be posted on its website and made available to board members to take back to their constituents “so everyone in the community has an opportunity to critique the plan, share in the plan, and guide it’s development.”
A final version of the strategic plan will be submitted to school board for consideration in the fall of 2019.
The effort is funded entirely by private citizens, business leaders, and community organizations in Manchester.