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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nashua school district busy preparing for students’ return

Tina Forbes

It’s still the lazy days of summer for Nashua’s students, but school officials are busy getting ready for the first day of school on Aug. 26.

The school district is finalizing hiring decisions, updating its website, putting the final touches on the Broad Street Elementary School and launching the new Air Force ROTC program and the Nashua Program at Brentwood. ...

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It’s still the lazy days of summer for Nashua’s students, but school officials are busy getting ready for the first day of school on Aug. 26.

The school district is finalizing hiring decisions, updating its website, putting the final touches on the Broad Street Elementary School and launching the new Air Force ROTC program and the Nashua Program at Brentwood.

Broad Street Elementary was at the top of the list of back-to-school discussion topics during a recent school board meeting.

“There’s not much happening around this district except for Broad Street, where a lot is happening,” said Superintendent Mark Conrad.

The school has been undergoing renovations since April, when the area in front of the building was nearly clear-cut of all its trees. The multimillion-dollar renovation project cleared trees to make room for more parking spaces, and to increase visibility for drivers coming in and out of the school. Conrad said the construction crew already has laid down the first coat of pavement in the new parking area.

He said Broad Street would be ready for school to begin despite its current appearance.

“The school will be ready for the beginning of the year, it will be cleaned up and completely safe,” he said.

School staff displaced by the construction of the new entrance will be relocated back into their offices, and new signs will direct people to the correct entrances, he said.

The renovations, which include work on the building’s heat and electrical system, will continue through next summer.

“Once school begins, we’ll stage construction in individual wings, we’ll rotate students out to temporary classrooms in the gym. That’s what we did in the last three schools where we worked on the heat and electrical systems,” he said.

School websites will undergo some changes as well. The district plans to change the each school’s online appearance to correspond with the format and design the district adopted for its website this fall, according to Conrad.

He said the wireless access points in the high schools will also be refreshed before the start of school to facilitate faster Wi-Fi.

Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Seusing said they’re hoping to use federal “E-Rate” money from the FCC to add additional access points in the near future.

Conrad said the district is ready to start up the Air Force ROTC program this year, and that they have two top-notch instructors ready to go. “We have exceptional interest from students for this program. We have every expectation we’ll have a good start to that program,” he said.

In terms of the delayed class schedules, they should be available on Tuesday.

“We are very much focused on getting them done, and getting them done right,” said Conrad.

The district is in the process of filling 30 vacancies between all of the Nashua schools. As of the beginning of this week, 11 positions were pending and 19 were in the final stages of the hiring process.

“Sometimes it comes down right to the day, but we’ve typically been successful,” said Conrad.

“We’re not concerned at all about hiring any of our elementary positions, we’re in good shape there,” said Conrad of the 11 open elementary school positions. He said they are concerned more with two open math positions at Pennichuck Middle School and Nashua High School South. For the worst-case scenario, a substitute will begin the year with the students until a permanent teacher is hired, he said.

Conrad said the hiring process is going well for the Nashua program at Brentwood, with the program’s positions either filled or in the final stages of hiring.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402 or tforbes@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Forbes on Twitter (@Telegraph_TinaF).