With the start of school for teachers on Aug. 21 and students on Aug. 27, staff and parents are gearing up for another school year, and so are the schools. As of last week, the district had an enrollment of 4,540 students.
Londonderry High School has three new teachers this year: Brittany Skudder, math; Erin Moloney, Social Studies; and Ann Emmerling, Spanish. It will also have 150 iPads for use by freshman science, Advanced Placement (AP) environmental science and reading classes.
According to Art Psaledas, assistant principal in House 2, Charlie Wilton and the custodial staff have the school “shining like a new dime. Walls painted, floors waxed and everything scrubbed and cleaned!” He said the baseball field has been refurbished and vastly improved, and the teaching staff have worked throughout the summer to improve curriculum.
Psaledas noted that Freshman Orientation Day is Monday Aug. 26, which will be followed by the first day of school for all students on Tuesday, Aug. 27. At Londonderry Middle School, Principal Richard Zacchilli welcomed new Assistant Principal David Sutherland and new Special Education Program Director Joan Campo to the school.
“David comes to us from the Allenstown School District, where he served as the elementary and middle school Assistant Principal,” Zacchilli said. “ Prior to his administrative experience, David worked as a sixth grade teacher in the Bedford School System. He will be an integral part of our administrative team at the middle school, and I am sure he will make a positive impact with students, parents, and staff.
“Mrs. Campo comes to us from the Derry School District, where she served as Special Education Coordinator,” he said. “Joan has extensive experience in the area of Special Education at both the middle and high school levels. She has been in during the summer months, working with parents and staff, and I am sure that her transition to LMS will be a smooth one.”
Zacchilli said the middle school added a trimester elective course this year called Creative Computing and Media. Students have a choice between this course and Technical Education (woodworking). “As is generally the case when a new class is added, students are unsure of expectations, class workload, etc.,” Zacchilli said. “I sent out detailed information to parents for this class during the spring via email, and administrators spoke to all seventh grade students in June. Because of class size safety restrictions in woodshop, numerous students were moved into the Creative Computing class through a lottery system.”
Carolyn Roy will teach Creative Computing. “During our school board presentation highlighting the class goals and objectives, it was clear that much planning and research went into the development of this class, thanks in large part to Mrs. Roy’s efforts and expertise,” Zacchilli said.
South Elementary School went from 25 classes to 22, with a current enrollment of 462, although principal Linda Boyd said enrollment figures change daily as students register and withdraw. Projected enrollment was 453, and last year at this time, South had 511 students.
Boyd said a few teachers changed grade levels. Maria Marquis and Danielle Bowersox looped up with their first grade class to second grade, and Katherine Ward moved to first grade. Boyd said that South School will continue its focus on strong, clear goals for behavior with PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) and for work habits with executive functioning goals, and will continue with PLC (Professional Learning Communities) meetings at each grade level. “Teams will start the year by setting a SMART (strategic, measurable, attainable, results-oriented and time bound) goal for student achievement,” she said.
North School principal Mary Coltin said a new gym floor will be greeting returning students and noted the custodial staff “has done an outstanding job getting the school ready for a new year.
“Due to the decline in enrollment, North School will have one less class this year,” she said. “As a result, Jon Rheault will be teaching fifth grade at Matthew Thornton. Two of our Special Education case managers have moved on to LMS. We look forward to Rachel Levine joining the North School family as a Special Education case manager.”
She added that Pat Adamkowski has taken the position of Administrative Assistant for Jill Connors, Assistant Principal, and will assist Connors and the Special Education staff.
Coltin said that all of the schools in Londonderry have moved forward in their efforts to ensure the safety of children and staff, with new equipment installed in all of the schools to provide further security.
At Moose Hill School, kindergarten coordinator Bonnie Breithaupt said the staff are looking forward to welcoming a new group of LEEP (Londonderry Early Education Program) and kindergarten students.
“This year, the kindergarten class will have approximately 235 students, with LEEP having approximately 111 students,” she said. Moose Hill is home to the district’s kindergarten classes.
Joining the staff this year are Fawn Deitsch and Nancy Winter as Special Education teachers. Sue Brackett, Jackie Demers, Tina Schofield, Deb Villars and Kathy Walley are instructional assistants new to Moose Hill, having transferred from North or Matthew Thornton.
“We are pleased that we will continue our relationship with the YMCA, who will be providing day care for students in our kindergarten program that need before or after program care,” Breithaupt added.