Londonderry Schools Start New Year on Aug. 29

Londonderry schools will open Monday, Aug. 29, with a student population “in the neighborhood” of 4,360, according to Superintendent Nathan Greenberg.

In a phone interview Friday, Greenberg emphasized that this number is subject to change. “We still have people continuing to walk in,” he said. “It changes every day.”

The tentative number is flat from the number they ended the school year with last spring, and 506 over the projected enrollment for 2016-17, Greenberg said.

And they are younger. “Sixty-five percent of our new registrations are elementary students, and 29 percent of those are first-graders,” Greenberg said, pointing to a pattern of younger families moving into town. On his own block, a house recently sold to a family with a kindergartener and 2-year-old, he said. He is also anticipating more students, particularly in the North School area, from new developments such as Lorden Commons.

But Greenberg cautioned that the numbers won’t be firm until Oct. 1, the date the state Department of Education uses for its benchmark.

Londonderry children will be exposed to a number of new programs, on all three levels of education, Greenberg said. He’s excited about one initiative, I-Ready, overseen by Assistant Superintendent Scott Laliberte. I-Ready was piloted last year, Greenberg said, and involves a computerized assessment program along with reading and math curriculum.

He’ll continue to build on the foundation he has, including encouraging high school students to take part in the “dual enrollment” program. LHS students can enroll in more than 30 college courses in order to gain college credit, and two students are on track to receive both high school and associate degrees this spring, he said.

College itself has been a focus, with 94 percent of the 2016 graduating class enrolled in either two- or four-year programs. “Our goal was 95 percent by 2020, and we are well on the way,” Greenberg said.

Also at the high school, the staff has expanded the school’s Futures Lab, in which students create digital portfolios for college and careers. “I am really pleased with that,” Greenberg said.

The schools will continue to emphasize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), with a Bosch grant allowing an after-school STEM program at South Elementary School. Greenberg said one of the physics teachers from the high school will team up with the elementary teachers to give children an extracurricular head start on STEM.

“We have a whole host of things coming up,” Greenberg said, adding, “It’s going to be a good year.”

An orientation for students in grades 1, 6 and 9, to introduce them to their new schools, will be held Friday, Aug. 26.

Bus routes are posted online at www.londonderry.org/departments/business_office/bus_routes.

Business Manager Peter Curro announced the following new services for parents of bus riders: an alert system and a GPS (global positioning system) software tracking system.

Curro wrote in a memo, “We believe these services will enhance both the service and communication of transporting our students to and from school. Both systems are expected to be available shortly after the opening of school. The alert system will be used to inform parents/guardians when an issue is known regarding your students’ bus route. When we are notified of an issue regarding a bus route, a text message will be sent to the address you provided to the School District. The text will provide a brief message informing you of the issue impacting the transportation of your student(s) and what alternate plans, if any, you may need to make given the text message. 

Curro wrote, “The service is free to all parents and relies on you providing us a current cell phone number or email address and the preferred method for receiving a message.”

The GPS system will allow administrators to see how buses are progressing through their route, where buses are located at a certain points, and track the times of stops and routes. Parents, at their discretion, can purchase an application to download the GPS service and track the location of their student(s) bus.

For more information, call the district office at 432-6920.

The first day of school for Moose Hill Kindergarten is Monday, Aug. 29, with kindergarten students attending with their parents on an abbreviated schedule. Children will attend school without their parents on Aug. 30.

Children who will be 5 by Sept. 30 are eligible for kindergarten; to register, call the district office at 432-6920, ext. 1112 to set up an appointment.

Hours of operation are: Londonderry High School, 7:20 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Londonderry Middle School, 8:05 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.; and elementary schools, 8:50 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. Hours for Moose Hill are morning kindergarten, 8:45 to 11:30 a.m. and afternoon kindergarten, 12:30 to 3:05 p.m.

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