District Prepares for First Day of School Aug. 26

The seven schools in the Derry Cooperative School District will open Monday, Aug. 26.
Laura Nelson, superintendent of schools, said that sixth-graders at Gilbert H. Hood and West Running Brook middle schools will have their first day on Friday, Aug. 23, with all schools in full swing on Monday, Aug. 26. Teachers begin work Aug. 21, Nelson said.

Anticipated enrollment as of press time is 3,508 students for the seven Derry schools. Enrollment for all of Derry, including high schoolers at Pinkerton Academy, is projected at 5,821.
New teachers and their positions are:

• Grinnell Elementary, Chrystal Barbetta, Special Education; Kristen Diorio, Title I Math; Mitchell Edwards, Physical Education; Allison Strobel, English as a Second Language, and Courtney Wilkins, Grade 5;
• Ernest P. Barka Elementary, Deirdre Smith, Special Education;
• South Range Elementary, Karen Laplante, Special Education;
• East Derry Memorial Elementary, Catherine Mulready, Grade 2, Sara Ogden, Special Education; and
• Gilbert H. Hood Middle School, Sarah Hicks, English/Language Arts, Jessica McKittrick, Math, and Jaclynne Monaco, Math.

One-year retrospective
Nelson is finishing her first year as Superintendent of School Administrative Unit (SAU) 10. It has been a good year, she said. “It was a wonderful transition,” she said. She gave credit to the School District, her contacts at Pinkerton Academy and the community at large.

“It’s been a successful year – we’ve formed a lot of positive relationships,” Nelson said.
Nelson considers those positive relationships the biggest accomplishment for her team for 2012-13. There are stronger connections with Pinkerton Academy, the district’s high school of record, and stronger internal connections. “We are ready to move forward in our work with children,” Nelson said.
She’s also pleased with the work of her team on laying the groundwork for the Common Core standards. “We will continue to move forward to implement the standards, and find ways to support our teachers,” she said. “They need the resources, and I consider that my role.”

If there were a low point, it would be communication. “I would like to see stronger communication within the district,” she said. “That needs to improve significantly.”
But she’s willing to work on that for as long as it takes. “I hope to be here a long time,” Nelson said.
Getting Ready
Business Manager Jane Simard said building preparation is going well. A small wall was removed from between the library and computer lab at East Derry Memorial School, and paving was done in the West Running Brook courtyard.
Painting is ongoing in all seven schools, she said, and is expected to be completed by school opening. Stripping and rewaxing of gym floors is also ongoing, Simard said.
Simard said there were no major projects this summer. The school district has had a maintenance improvement plan for 10 years, she said, and each year it analyzes its needs. This year there were no major areas that needed attention, she said.