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Bedford school officials say school year off to good start

BEDFORD — The Bedford School District was one of the first to open its doors on Tuesday, and school administrators say they are motivated and eager for the new school year.

“It has been a pleasant day. We had a great drop-off this morning,” Dan Mitchell, assistant principal at Peter Woodbury Elementary School, said on Tuesday.

Local elementary students had the opportunity to visit their classrooms and meet their teachers on Monday, which Mitchell said helped ease some nerves.

“There were a few tears, but for the most part it was joy,” he said of the students arriving on Tuesday.

Peter Woodbury has about 530 students enrolled this fall; it typically averages about 530 to 560 students, according to Mitchell.

“The kids really seem happy and eager and ready to be back,” he said, adding the school welcomed a new kindergarten teacher this year, Rozanne Sylvain.

At Memorial Elementary School in Bedford, there are slightly fewer than 500 students enrolled this year, said Principal Phil Schappler, who was hired in June to replace Principal Pam Ilg. Ilg is taking on the assistant principal position for one year, replacing Assistant Principal Janice Souza who recently retired.

“It was a great day, actually. It was a very positive start to the school year,” said Schappler. “It is so much fun having the kids back in the classroom.”

Schappler said he is ready to get to know the students better, and that he enjoyed spending lunch and recess with the children.

Schappler, a former Bedford School Board member and former principal at Sunset Heights Elementary School in Nashua, said that it is his goal to ensure that the school is a warm, friendly and welcoming place for students and staff.

“I am excited about this whole new endeavor and coming to a new school district. I am really getting a community feel within the building,” he said before school dismissed on Tuesday. “Making connections and building community is one of our goals and themes for the staff this year.”

New this year at Bedford High School is a town-wide student parking permit system designed to alleviate parking issues at the school and surrounding parking lots.

While the high school’s parking lottery system for preferred parking spots at the high school campus is still in operation, any young drivers that were unable to win a lottery spot must acquire a parking permit from the town to park vehicles in the Sportsman Field parking lot on Nashua Road, the Riley Field dirt parking lot on Nashua Road and the parking lot at the town pool and tennis court area on County Road. Previously, parking permits were not necessary for those alternative parking lots.

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