Letter to Parents & Guardians from Superintendent Manuel


September 30, 2017


Dear Parents/Guardians,

I hope this letter finds you well and that you had an enjoyable summer. Hopefully, the first month of school has gone smoothly for your child. Each of our administrators was busy this summer hiring new staff members. We continue to attract high-quality applicants and look forward to working with and supporting approximately thirty new staff. I am excited to announce the hiring of the following new administrators:

Tim Harkins – Director of Food Service

Katie Joseph – Assistant Superintendent

Nathan Priest – Athletic Director/Dean of Students at Morse High School

Eric Varney – Assistant Principal at Morse High School

We are fortunate to have a talented staff that cares deeply about the success of students. As we prepare for another year, I feel it is an opportune time to remind you of the importance of school attendance. Below are some facts about school attendance (Attendanceworks.org):

  • Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school.

  • One in 10 kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent. Poor attendance can influence whether children read proficiently by the end of third grade.

  • By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.

  • Research shows that missing 10% of the school year, or about 17-18 days, negatively affects a student’s academic performance.

Making regular school attendance a priority is one of the most important ways you can prepare your child for success - both in school and in life. We are here to work with you if regular school attendance is a concern.  

Morse/BRCTC Building Project Update:

The district continues to make progress on the high school building project. A straw poll vote on the concept design and budget was held on September 12th with 161 people present. The overwhelming majority of people in attendance voted in favor of the project. On September 13th, the State Board of Education unanimously approved the project design and budget. The next step in the process is a referendum vote on November 7th.

The new site will be adjacent to the Middle School and the recreational fields already used by Morse High School.  It is in the Wing Farm Parkway and will have a dedicated entrance from Congress Street to facilitate pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic.

We have designed a school to integrate all the elements of our high school programs while retaining the integrity of each.  We have created a community of learners for the twenty-first century, while honoring the long and historic tradition of Morse.   

The overall projected cost of the project is $74,686,890. The state’s contribution will be $67,486,890 and our local costs will be $7,200,000 or 9.6%.  We will make a committed effort to raise a portion of these monies through a capital campaign (of at least 10%) and the balance will be bonded through taxpayer approval.  

The portions of the project for which we are seeking voter approval include a larger auditorium (rather than just one-third of the 650 students), a second gym which can be consolidated with the primary gym for large community and school events, and a geothermal system for heating and cooling.

It is our expectation that the new school will be used for a wide variety of community events, including plays and concerts, alumni banquets, graduations and rentals by community groups.

We expect to break ground on the site in the summer of 2018 and construction of the building will begin in the spring of 2019. Doors to the new school will be open beginning in September, 2020.  The first class to graduate from our new school will be this year’s incoming freshmen, the Class of 2021.


Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns at pmanuel@rsu1.org or 443-6601.


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Patrick Manuel

Superintendent of Schools

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