students play with water on water day at the Summer Experience at Smyth Road school

Manchester School District’s summer learning programs are in full swing! Over the next week, we’ll be highlighting our programs, which include several new offerings. Today, we’re focusing on the Summer Experience program.

MANCHESTER – Now in its third year, the Summer Experience is a partnership between the 21st Century Program and the Summer Learning Academy. The Summer Experience provides students with an extra four weeks of learning and enrichment (with some fun mixed in, too). 

The program is running during the month of July and serves students from kindergarten up through 8th grade. There are four elementary school sites – Beech Street, Bakersville, Gossler Park and Smyth Road – and one middle school – Southside. The program runs from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., and includes blocks for academics and enrichment. Tom McGee, the director of the 21st Century Program, said that in 2021, several district summer programs combined forces to create the Summer Experience. Participation has steadily grown each year, now serving nearly 500 students a day. McGee credits the program staff of teachers, paraeducators, site coordinators and college students for that success.

“Everyone has collaborated to build off of the success we have had the last two summers and create the largest summer program in Manchester's 21st Century program’s 19-year history,” McGee said. “Teachers worked with our Academic Coordinator Alex Levesque to build a fun and engaging curriculum to help students with math and reading skills, while site coordinators and program staff crafted a daily schedule of activities to make this a memorable summer experience for all of our students.” 

Each week of the program has a theme that’s reflected in the activities. The theme for week three, which finished up Friday, was “The Physical World.” As part of that, middle schoolers at Southside spent time touring a portable planetarium on loan from the McAuliffe-Sheppard Discovery Center. McGee said that two of the elementary sites rolled out a new offering, as well. 

“For the first time this year, students at Smyth Road and Beech Street had the special opportunity to participate in a French Heritage Club and Spanish Heritage Club,” McGee said. “This exposed them to French or Spanish language and culture.”

The Summer Experience wraps up its final week on July 28. If you’re interested in learning more about the 21st Century school year program, go to