, Derry, New Hampshire

August 22, 2013

Derry schools are in good shape for opening day

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — The district’s schools are in good shape and ready for the opening day bell to ring.

Classes for all students in Derry begin Aug. 26. Sixth-graders will attend school on Aug. 23.

Teachers and staff will welcome back a total of 3,441 students in grades K-8. That’s about 109 fewer students than the first day of school last year.

District business administrator Jane Simard said although all schools are now freshly painted and cleaned, there were not many major projects to tackle this year.

“The maintenance department has been very busy,” she told School Board members last week. “There were no really big projects, mostly paving at West Running Brook and taking down a wall at East Derry Memorial Elementary School.”

Other jobs included the basis summer upkeep and cleaning, painting and making sure all classrooms would be moved and set up correctly when teachers arrive this week.

Simard said other changes this year include a new traffic flow pattern at Derry Village Elementary to hopefully alleviate some traffic jams and backups on Route 28 during the morning and afternoon pick-up hours.

The new pattern will be for the morning student dropoff only.

“No cars will be admitted to the upper circle while the buses are in the loop,” Simard said.

Families will receive information on the changes prior to the first day of school and traffic monitors will be on hand to help make sure the new traffic patterns run smoothly.

“We are trying to mitigate a lot of traffic backup on Route 28,” “Simard said. “People get stuck in traffic. We think it’s a good plan.”

The district will also modify on bus route to save the cost of one bus to the district, a savings of $34,000.

The bus change will not impact students, Simard said, as it’s a minor change to one route.

Another change is the arrival of new school resource officer Adam Petkus, who will serve the Derry district and replace former SRO Officer Peter Houlis, who served for two years.

Superintendent Laura Nelson said Houlis was “graduating” and heading over to work at Pinkerton.

“Officer Houlis will move over the Pinkerton in early October, but will help Officer Petkus in his transition to the Derry district,” Nelson said. “We are looking forward to forming a new relationship with Officer Petkus.”

All the information parents need prior to the beginning of school including class supply lists, bus routes, and other pertinent information can be found at the school district site at