District Starts Year with Several Accomplishments

There was a lot for Londonderry High School to celebrate at the last school board meeting. Students, staff and community members enjoyed some happy news at the start of the meeting before hearing about fun activities coming soon.

Principal Jason Parent announced a major accomplishment by some of the new seniors – five of them were named National Merit Commended students, and one was listed as a National Merit Semi-Finalist. The news was even more impressive after learning that these six Londonderry students were part of the 1.6 million who took the PSAT test as juniors. Out of those, only the top 50 thousand are considered national merit commended. To be named a semi-finalist, a student needs to score in the top 16 thousand.

The rest of the senior class settled for a win during Spirit Week at the high school. Student Council member Tyler Cullen reported that there was a lot of participation by the students. He felt it was a fantastic way to start off the year and build class comradery.

Cullen also announced the LHS Student Council will be hosting the annual craft fair in November. The plan is to split the proceeds between the Student Council and a yet-to-be-determined charity.

The Teacher Liaison, Mary Wing Soares, said the LHS Drama Club will also be hosting the annual “Haunted Woods” at the ropes course between the middle and high schools on Oct. 17 and 18 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. “There will be free treats for those who survive the woods,” Soares said. Tickets will be five dollars to brave the woods, or three dollars for the more kid-friendly “Goblin Garden.”

Board Member Leitha Reilly changed topics to something more sobering. She commented the LHS administration on how well they dealt with “the challenge last week regarding the American flag.”

“I think there was great care taken in what we teach our students about our flag, our country and the proper way to hold it,” said Reilly. She thanked Parent “for continuing to reinforce that in our schools.”

Reilly switched back to something more jovial- the LHS Hall of Fame inductions. 10 citizens were named to the Hall of Fame, including Parent and recently retired Superintendent Nate Greenberg. Chairman Dan Lekas made some jokes about it being rigged on Parent’s behalf, causing the room to chuckle.

Rich Zacchilli reported that the math program, “Math in Focus,” seems to be working. The district turned away from the previous “Connected Math” to something they thought would provide more comprehensive to the elementary and middle school students.

“A key component with ‘Math in Focus’ is its alignment with college and career,” said Zacchilli. The students have been introduced to algebra earlier and been using it more frequently. In the high school, the approach to math is to start with concrete thinking, then work up to pictorial concepts, and finally explore more abstract ideas.

The hope is students will have a better understanding of their math lessons and have the experience needed to seamlessly transition from grade to grade.