The busy buzz of school approaching is filling the halls of every school in the Londonderry District. Teachers, office attendants, custodial staff, and maintenance crews are all working away to make sure each school is ready for students by August 29.
At Moose Hill, “the custodial staff has done an excellent job of cleaning the building and many of the teachers are already in, getting their classrooms set up to welcome their new students,” said Director Bonnie Breithaupt.
Because Londonderry continues to grow, enrollment at Moose Hill continues to rise. To help accommodate this, they added an additional .5 LEEP teacher, which required another classroom. Their library was dismantled and creatively moved to take up space around various locations in the building. Other conversions include changing the faulty room into a reading room, and the main office conference room into a workroom for staff.
A new program they, along with North School and South School for grades three through five, have implemented is called Math In Focus, a research-based curriculum that focuses on classroom learning, discussion, and practical use through real-world, hands-on experience.
“Even with the changes and challenges, our goal is always to make the time our students are here at Moose Hill a time for learning, growing, making new friends, and giving students the skills and strategies they need to meet the challenges ahead of them,” Breithaupt said. “We have an excellent staff, great parent volunteers, and a very supportive community. We are looking forward to a wonderful school year!”
According to Principal Linda Boyd, South School has also expanded, adding five new teachers and expanding from four to six classes for each grade. In addition to the Math In Focus program, South School is introducing “Yoga 4 Classrooms,” which came out of their school-wide discipline program called PBIS, which focuses on a proactive approach to behavioral management.
Yoga 4 Classrooms is a yoga and mindfulness program that promotes “social, emotional, and physical health and wellness, learning readiness, and a positive school climate.”
Their goal is to have “kids increase their stamina and perseverance, and [help] them focus and calm their minds and their bodies.”
Paul Dutton, the principal at North School, is looking forward to the new year, especially the implementation of the Math In Focus program. He believes that with this program, his students will build a good foundation for “continued success” once they reach the upper grade levels.
While not many changes have occurred at North School, the custodians have been hard at work preparing, cleaning, changing around the classrooms, and getting everything in shape and ready for the staff.
“Thanks to all their help, we’re in great shape and we’re excited,” he said.
Over at the Matthew Thornton Elementary School, Principal Shannon Putney is “obviously super excited” about the first day of school. Like the other elementary and middle schools, Matthew Thornton is piloting the Math In Focus program.
On Monday at 1:30 p.m., Matthew Thornton will host an orientation for new students and first-graders.
Multiple renovations took place over the summer, much to the appreciation of the staff. There are new staff bathrooms, a new water bottle filling station on the second floor near the fourth and fifth-grade classrooms, and a new generator.
“Sometimes, they don’t seem exciting to other people, but to us, these are things that help our school run well,” Putney said.
She is excited for the first day of school because “There’s just this excitement in the air when the kids are coming in and everybody’s ready for them.”
“We always say the first day we get them in safely, we feed, and we get them home safely,” she joked.
At the high school level, Jason Parent – principal at Londonderry High School and recent winner of the Londonderry Old Home Day “Kiss the Pig” contest – said there have been new additions to the staff and that they had their orientation this past Tuesday. A fun new addition to the school grounds comes from some volunteers who want to start an outdoor classroom. This week, they started mulching around the seating to prepare it for the first day of classes.
Though this summer seems to have flown by, any information regarding scheduling and important dates can be found on the school district’s website: www.londonderry.org. Orientation for grades one, six, and nine will be held on Monday, August 28, and the first day of classes is Tuesday, August 29.