Embracing Change: Derry Cooperative School District Restructuring
Building a Stronger Educational Foundation for Our Students
Overview: In the 2023-2024 school year the Derry Cooperative School District will go through a restructuring process to be implemented in the Fall of 2024 in order to provide more continuity throughout the curriculum, build stronger teams of students and teachers, make more efficient use of the existing buildings, and eliminate costly repairs.
Elementary Redistricting Information:
Elementary School Closure: On June 20, 2023, the Derry Cooperative School Board voted to close the Derry Village Elementary School effective June 30, 2024. The board came to this decision after receiving structural reports of the building that indicated extensive repairs were needed to the envelope of the building and the roof. Combined with the restructuring of the 5th grade moving to West Running Brook, the Kindergarten through fourth grade students will be redistricted into the neighboring elementary buildings that are closest to their residence. Though other buildings have similar structural needs, Derry Village was chosen due to the centrality of its location making redistricting less impactful on the remaining schools.
Derry Village School (Closing June 30, 2024)
Building Realignment: Beginning in the Fall of 2024, the Derry Cooperative School District will be comprised of six buildings in the following configuration:
East Derry Memorial School, Ernest P. Barka School, Grinnell School, and South Range School will serve students in grades Kindergarten through fourth.
West Running Brook School will house all 5-6 grade students throughout the district.
Gilbert H. Hood School will house all 7-8 grade students throughout the district.
Options are being explored for the closure and possible sale of the SAU building.
Benefits of Restructuring: Embracing change and reimagining education brings several key advantages:
Efficient Space Utilization: By consolidating buildings, we optimize space, reducing maintenance costs and enhancing learning environments.
Streamlined Administration: With fewer campuses, administrative tasks become more efficient, allowing us to allocate resources where they're needed most.
Cohort Entry in 5th Grade: Students join a cohort earlier, fostering stronger bonds and a smoother transition as they progress through the grades.
Cross-Grade Learning: New configurations encourage interaction among different grade levels, promoting peer learning and collaborative growth.
Enhanced Curriculum Alignment: Restructuring enables us to align curriculum and teaching strategies more seamlessly, enriching the educational experience.
Timeline: Preparation for the restructuring has already begun by the district administration and staff. Committees have been formed to address the following areas: Curriculum/Extra-Curricular Activities, Staffing, Redistricting, Transportation, Facilities, Special Education, and Transition Activities. The linked document details the timeline for the restructuring process and major milestones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the plan for bus transportation for West Running Brook and Gilbert H. Hood students?
Students in 5th-8th grade will ride buses together. Transportation between the two schools will be finalized as the schedules become more established.
Will any staff lose their jobs?
Every effort is being made to keep all staff members employed within the district. While some positions may be changed, the administration will work with both unions to make all processes as transparent as possible.
Are educators being involved in the restructuring decision making process?
The decision to close a school and restructure the district is an administrative decision made at the SAU level and School Board that was based on structural needs of the buildings, student populations, curricular needs, and financial sustainability. Once the decision to move forward with this plan was made, educator input has been sought after to provide details for how the plan will be implemented.
What types of input have been sought after in the restructuring plan?
Administration presented the restructuring plan to the Derry Education Association members and solicited feedback and questions.
Administration met with the leadership of the AFSCME Association to solicit feedback and questions.
The curriculum transition committee, comprised of educators, administrators, school board members and family members has met from May and August to work through instructional models for the new configuration. Members were encouraged to solicit feedback and questions from peers.
A survey was sent to all teachers to seek input on preferences within the new configuration.
Are there plans to build a new school?
Repairing aging schools may prove too costly for the district. The School Board continues to explore the option of replacing a building rather than investing in updates and repairs.
How will the school district support the social-emotional needs of students as they transition between schools?
Parent and Community Involvement and Communication:
The Derry Cooperative School District is committed to engaging parents, guardians, and community members in the restructuring process. Public hearings have been held throughout the 2022-2023 school year for citizens to express their ideas and concerns. Staff and parents are included in many of the restructuring committees. The school board and administration continues to encourage parents to contact them regarding their thoughts regarding the restructuring process. Contact information for school board members can be found on the members page of the district website. Each school board meeting provides an opportunity for delegates and individuals to come before the board and administration to provide input. This page will be updated regularly to keep all stakeholders informed of meetings, events, and milestones as they occur within the process.
School Board Presentations:
Derry Cooperative School District Administrative Facilities Presentation presented again on 2/14/2023
Gale Associates Board Presentation June 6, 2023
Honeywell Report-Structural Areas of Concern June 6, 2023
Honeywell Report-Structural Issues June 6, 2023
Gale Associates West Running Brook Middle School Report June 20, 2023
ESSER III Honeywell HVAC Project Report August 22, 2023
ESSER III Honeywell HVAC Project Upgrades Summary 8-22-23,
Facilities Repair Items - Barka, 5 c) Facilities Repair Items - East Derry, 5 c) Facilities Repair Items - Gilbert H Hood, 5 c) Facilities Repair Items - Grinnell , 5 c) Facilities Repair Items - South Range , 5 c) Facilities Repair Items - West Running Brook
The School Board, Administration, and Staff of the Derry Cooperative School District are committed to providing the best possible education for students in the Derry community. We believe that this restructuring will not only provide enhanced curricular opportunities, build long lasting relationships for students, and create more efficiency for staff, but also help the district achieve an annual budget that is sustainable for the community.
Change is hard, but we are excited about the possibilities for achieving more for students and their families.