Principal Dobe Shares News of Preparations for School Year

Tentative date for fall Open House

By Dennis Dobe, Principal, AE/MS

Greetings from your friends at the Andover Elementary/Middle School! It has definitely been getting cooler at night, and that can mean only one thing: it is Back to School time!

We have had another busy and productive summer here at AE/MS, with substantial progress made on a number of facility projects, new hires, professional development opportunities for staff, and important work on a number of school improvement initiatives.  Now, with our preparation completed for School Opening 2023-2024, we are ready to welcome our students back to AE/MS on Wednesday, August 30.

Here is some information for our school community, and the greater community of Andover, most of which you can access on our school website,

Updated AEMS Student and Parent Handbook.  We’ve posted our AE/MS Student and Parent Handbook, updated for 2023-2024, to our school website (  This document (and our entire school website) includes a great deal of helpful information about our school.

School Hours and School Calendar.  We open our doors for students at 7:30 AM, buses arrive by 7:40 AM, and all students should be in their classrooms by 7:45 AM, in time for morning announcements and other daily opening activities. 

We begin dismissal at 2:45 PM, and the last of our students typically depart AE/MS by 3 PM. For the 2023-2024 school year, we open on Wednesday, August 30, and anticipate closing our school year on Friday, June 14.  Our adopted school calendar can be found on our school website, and we’ll have an updated school activities and events calendar posted there in the near future, as well.

Pick Up Patrol. New families have received (or will receive) a Welcome to Pick Up Patrol email from PUP, and we encourage parents to open that email and create an account for your family; enter necessary defaults indicating how your children should go home after school. For returning families, it is time to review your information/plans from last year, and update as necessary.  There is an introductory letter found on our website that will help guide parents through this process. Thanks in advance for your help with this.

Bus Routes and Schedules. Bus routes and schedules for both AE/MS and MVHS are now posted to our school website. Our bus drivers are pretty confident that they will be on time the first week of school, but we ask you to remain patient as we refine our routes and schedules. 

Parent Drop-Off and Pick-Up. You can find details of this important process on our school website, as well. The procedures are most efficient when students and families remain focused on the task at hand, and are ready when their time comes to disembark from or load vehicles so as to make the process as safe and efficient as possible.

Food Service. Families will need to purchase meals for their children at school, unless they send a cold lunch to school with their children. Don’t forget to load your child’s MySchoolBucks account for the new year. For 2023-2024, snack/lunch milk or juice will be $.60, breakfasts will be $1.75, and lunches will be $2.75, unless you qualify for free/reduced meals. 

It is critically important that you apply now for free/reduced lunch if you believe you may be eligible. We will be sending paper copies of this application home with students during the first week of school, but many people find it helpful to simply complete the online application. You can find a lunch menu preview on our Food Service website page.

School Supplies. Although some students and/or families would like to purchase school supplies for the new year, only our middle schoolers have a suggested supply list. Students in Grades 6 through 8 travel from classroom to classroom and therefore need a “mobile office” that promotes good organization. Other than the binder and folders requested for our middle school students, all school supplies will be provided for AE/MS students.

Staff Organization. Over recent months, we have bid farewell to a couple beloved staff members (Jay Hubbard & Brenda Lance), and have also welcomed new talent to our AE/MS team (Laili Kazemi, Grade 5, and Julie Matz, Grade 2).  For details regarding staff assignments, please refer to the Staff Organization page on our AE/MS website.

Fall Open House. We have tentatively set our Fall Open House date for Thursday, September 14, most likely from 6 to 7:30 PM. A confirmed Open House date and program specifics will be sent to families in the near future.

Student Activities. AE/MS Soccer (Grades 7 and 8)  will begin preseason practices from 4 to  5:30 PM, August 23 through 25, and our Cross Country team (Grades 5 through 8) will begin practices right at the start of the new school year. 

Coach Churchill will work with our soccer players again this year, and Coach Hattan will work with our Cross Country runners again this year.  Coaches Churchill & Hattan could use assistant coaches, so if you are interested and available to support one of these programs this fall, please reach out to our school’s Athletic Director, Lauren Manteau.

AE/MS Spiritwear. We still have a number of AE/MS spiritwear items available for sale in the AE/MS Main Office. These items feature a new logo introduced for our school by an AE/MS-FTA volunteer, and they look really cool! Gray t-shirts ($15) and hoodie sweatshirts ($25) are available in various sizes. Contact the AE/MS Main Office by email or at 603 736-5494 if you would like to arrange a fitting.

That does it for now. You can look forward to regular AE/MS news submissions to the Beacon by our student news team and their advisor, Kasey Schoch. As always, if you have any other information needs, or if we can be helpful to you and your family, please reach out to us by phone 603 735-5494 or email.