FB - Elementary Rezoning

Image of a hiker climbing a hill planting a flag. Derry Cooperative School District Forward BoundOverview

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. Davis Demographics was hired to conduct the process of redistricting the Derry Village population into the remaining schools with no change to the current populations of those buildings.

Restructuring and New School Questions and Answers

The Process

  • The District contracted with Davis Demographics in order to provide technical and logistical assistance with transitioning from 5 elementary school zones to 4, as a result of the closure of Derry Village Elementary School.
  • Davis Demographics facilitated a work session with district and building administrators to develop potential elementary zones. This resulted in the creation of 3 options. Although other options were explored, they were eventually discarded due to problems with feasibility, inequity, or population density.
  • Davis Demographics facilitated a presentation and feedback session with administrators, school board members, teachers, parents, and town officials.
  • Davis Demographics revised the three options and the school district posted the three potential maps online and solicited members of the community for feedback. The maps were posted online on Friday, September 22, along with a survey. The survey continued to accept feedback (comments and questions) through Wednesday, October 11.

Community Input

  • The district leadership team received a total of 24 questions and 88 comments, from a total of 113 individual submissions.
  • The district leadership team developed answers to the most common questions and posted them on the District Restructuring page of the DCSD website. They can be found at the bottom of this page.
  • The district leadership team reviewed every comment and categorized each one so that we could understand if there were common recommendations or concerns.
  • The district leadership team analyzed those comments and have used that information to make a proposal on October 24, 2023.

October 24 Proposal: Blue Map

Approved by the DCSD School Board October 24, 2024

Map picture

Rationale:

  • It does the best job of keeping our existing neighborhoods together
  • It is the most geographically efficient
  • It ensures receiving schools have adequate and appropriate space
  • It maintains the existing boundaries of the 4 remaining schools

Next Steps

  • The administration will notify enrolled DVS families of their new school assignment for 2024-2025.
  • The administration will work with Davis Demographics and elementary administration to calculate the anticipated grade level enrollment for each of the 4 remaining elementary schools.
  • The administration will work to refine teacher assignments based on anticipated enrollment.
  • The administration will begin planning for transition activities for students and families.

Frequently Asked Questions - Elementary Residency Zones

  • Are there before and after school care programs at each elementary school?
    • Yes-For info about Ernest P. Barka, Grinnell, and South Range - Jane Cuthbert- (603) 818-1008
    • For info about East Derry - Cheryl Morincmorin@sau10.org
  • Will the specialized programs like the New England Center for Children (NECC), ISLE, and Project ME stay in their existing schools?
    • Currently there are no plans to move the existing elementary school specialized programs in the four remaining elementary schools. It is possible that changes or additions to these programs may be made based on the redistricting of Derry Village students.
  • Why do some neighborhoods move to schools that are geographically further away from another elementary school option?
    • While it would be simplest to assign students to the closest geographic school, there are other factors that we need to consider including balancing the total school populations of each school, keeping neighborhoods intact, and designing efficient bus routes.
  • Are Derry Village School students the only students being moved?
    • Yes. Our plan was to limit the redistricting of students and families to only those that need to be moved.
  • How will the restructuring impact class sizes in the elementary schools?
    • The plan does not change the class sizes in grade K-4 because the plan was created with the existing school board class size goals in mind.
  • If we are planning to build a new school in the future, why are we closing a school and redistricting students now?
    • There are two primary factors that have contributed to the decision to close DVS now and not wait. First, the total number of students enrolled in the district has decreased by more than 1,000 in the last 20 years but we have maintained all 7 school buildings. Second, the district’s facilities are aging and there are significant costs associated with maintaining them. These maintenance and repair costs require immediate action.