The Derry Cooperative School District School Board met Aug. 31, discussing an agenda dealing with enrollment numbers, first day of school, and other business in the district.
The board heard details on the following:
— The board approved a $1,000 donation from the Derry Village Rotary Club to be used to purchase library books for the Derry school district. The plan is for the district to purchase the books, store them at the administrative offices on South Main Street and then provide to the Derry Village Rotary Club to use when guests speakers/Student of the Month honorees are recognized at Rotary meetings. Once signed by a Rotary speaker, the books would then be returned back to the school district to be used in a school library.
— The board heard updates from member Lynn Perkins on the status of a proposed construction project at Pinkerton Academy. Perkins and other representatives from Pinkerton's contracted sending towns were able to tour spaces at Pinkerton where the high school hopes to make improvements/upgrades or potentially build new construction to aid in issues where both the school's Social Studies wing and Shepard Building are showing their age.
"The (Pinkerton) trustees hold the ultimate decisions," Perkins told the board, adding he was thankful to be part of the sending towns/board member team that got to see the Pinkerton space concerns up close.
In April of this year, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges said its accreditation visit to Pinkerton showed various deficiencies in the Social Studies wing, built in the early 1970s and currently housing the school's Alternative Comprehensive Transition Program, New England Center for Children and social studies classes.
The Shepard Building is also showing its age, built in 1963 and housing a variety of classes, theater, gym and cafeteria spaces.
Several potential outcomes and price tags for the projects will come later this year, Perkins said, and sending towns will gather to hear more finite details.
As Derry's high school, what is done at Pinkerton affects the community and taxpayers.
"Decisions Pinkerton Academy makes has a large impact on our budget," said board Chairman Erika Cohen.
Perkins said he was thankful to be part of the representatives that were involved in seeing what Pinkerton might have planned.
"Although we have differing opinions," Perkins said, "We had a good dialogue for the most part."
— District Business Administrator Jane Simard told the board that the West Running Brook Middle School field planning is moving along and updates will be coming in the next several weeks. Simard said the district has a strong, positive relationship with community members and departments and said information is set to come before the Town Council later this month and then come before the school board.
— Superintendent MaryAnn Connors-Krikorian stated that the first official day of school, Aug. 31, was a good one, and she was happy to visit schools, meet staff and students and hear stories and see positive things in action for the new year.
"I can't say enough about the energy of our staff and students," Connors-Krikorian said. "They are excited to be back in school."
The superintendent also credited the commitment of staff and teachers who gathered days prior to opening day for the annual meeting held in Pinkerton Academy's Stockbridge Theatre, then spent several more days before opening day with professional development and classroom preparation.