Principal's Page

Welcome to the Dunbarton Elementary School (DES) Principal’s Page. It is my goal to periodically update this page to keep parents and the community at large informed about the various happenings at DES.


Owen Harrington


June 8th, 2018

posted Jun 8, 2018, 7:41 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

As we are barrelling towards the end of the school year, we tend to lose sight of things that are coming up as opposed to simply eying the last day of school. In an effort to keep you informed here are the most important dates:

Bow High School Graduation
June 9th - 10:00 AM at the Bow High School

Public Forum to Discuss Dunbarton School District $1,000,000.00 + Excess Fund Balance

June 12th - 6:00 PM in the Common Area of DES

6th Grade Promotion Ceremony
June 13th - 6:30 PM in the DES Gymnasium

Last Day of School
June 14th - Full Day of School

Step Up Day
June 14th - 1:00 PM Students will have the opportunity to meet their new teacher as well as see their new classmates for the 2018-2019 school year.

Moving Day
June 16th - Dunbarton volunteers will come together to help move teachers’ materials out of their classrooms into storage pods for the construction project. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Heather Lalla at .

Professional Development
Staff members will be participating in professional development activities from June 18th - 20th at Bow High School.

This tends to be a very hectic and frenzied time of year. Not only are field trips happening throughout, but energy levels are high among the students and staff. It is important for us all to take a moment to step back and reflect. As such, I wanted to share a couple of photos with you concerning the progress of the building project. The first picture is a representation of the color scheme in the new rooms as well as the rooms that will be renovated. We really like the earthy tones as they will be calming, sophisticated, and simply will look great for our incoming DES students and staff. Well deserved. The picture can be found here: 

The second picture is a view of the siding with the lower trim as well as a new window in place. It is a bit hard to picture, but imagine this throughout the building with specific areas having an accent of dark blue vertical shingles. It will be sharp, just like our DES students. 

As I have said many times already, thank you to the town of Dunbarton as well as the school board and Dunbarton School District Capital Improvements Committee for all their work towards making this project a reality. It will have a tremendous impact on Dunbarton Elementary School students and the town of Dunbarton for many years to come!

With that said, I wish you all a wonderful weekend. It looks like we are in store for a nice one! I am hoping everyone will be able to get outside, enjoy the nice New England weather and relax so DES students are ready for that final push to the end of the school year. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office.


Owen Harrington

June 1, 2018

posted Jun 1, 2018, 10:33 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Welcome to June! We are entering into one of the more stressful/exciting months for schools and students alike. We have an ever-shrinking window of time to make those last curricular pushes. Students are excited to enter into the summer months and enjoy their newfound freedom. With these two forces in juxtaposition, there is generally an uptick in behavior. June 2018 is no exception. The excitement is palpable and the students are barely able to contain it. It is fun and something to try and contain all at once.

We are almost complete with NHSAS testing. Next week, sixth-grade will only have to take their reading and math sections. Overall, given the circumstances with a new testing instrument and construction all around the building, the testing season has gone well. Initial scores look good and are giving us positive feedback on our programming/student learning. It is important to remember, as with all standardized testing, this is only a snapshot of a child’s abilities and it far from defines anyone. We realize that and treat it as such.

6th graders will be going on their annual overnight field trip to the Boston Museum of Science this upcoming Thursday and Friday, June 7th and 8th. This is always a great opportunity for students to learn more about their regional history as well as to take in some sights and learn some great science. It is certainly an exciting and valuable experience for our 6th graders.

We will be embarking on a new district-wide tradition on June 7. The graduating seniors from Bow High School will parade in cap-and-gown through our school building--all 165 of them! Our students will be able to high-five the seniors as they pass through the halls.

Thank you to Brandon Skogland and the rest of the Dunbarton Rescue Squad/Fire Department as they have been instrumental in helping us with providing tourniquets, bandages, and other items to aid in the event of an emergency. Although it is not something we like to think about, it is important to make sure we are prepared. Thank you to Mr. Skogland and the rest of the Dunbarton emergency services for their support of the safety of DES staff and students.

As a reminder, due to construction restraints, we do not have a spring fling/field day this year. We do have our annual step-up day which will be held on our last day of school, June 14th. Students will learn about their new class and teachers at 1:00 on that day. Just a reminder the last day is a regular, full day of school.


Owen Harrington

May 25, 2018

posted May 25, 2018, 7:29 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

It is that time of year where teachers and other school staff are experiencing an ever-shrinking window of time to get everything completed and wrapped up. We are nearing the end of our curriculum track for the year. Staff is working on the annual preparations for the next school year. Students are excited about the warm weather and as such are nearing full capacity with their energy levels. The construction is really starting to come into place and with that comes more contractors getting work done as well as more opportunities for DES staff and construction workers to coexist and work together to achieve the goal of an improved Dunbarton Elementary School for 2018-2019. It is awesome!

Given the unique qualities of this spring season at DES, we honored Memorial Day in a different manner. We shared a moment of silence at the start of the day and teachers were given the opportunity to address Memorial Day as they see fit in their classrooms. This provides the opportunity for teachers to provide a fully differentiated experience for students that a whole school assembly just can’t easily achieve. I am hoping this is successful as I feel approaching Memorial Day with a kindergarten student is very different than how you would approach it with a sixth-grade student. With that said, I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and is able to enjoy the unofficial start of summer as well as having an opportunity to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

Don’t forget the Bicycle Rodeo will be held this Sunday starting at 2:00. Please follow this link to read the flier . This is a great opportunity for children to learn about bike safety and even get some free bike safety items. Not to mention they will have the opportunity to meet some fire and police staff which is a good opportunity.

Please remember our annual Spring concert will be held on Wednesday, May 30th at 6:30. The one change this year is this is a concert for students in grades 4-6 as well as strings and band. Our last concert was well attended and those in attendance were very excited about the students’ performance. I am expecting more of the same. I have walked through many of the music classes and I can say with confidence there are some exciting new performances in store. Stay tuned.

Just a reminder, the last day of school this year is June 14th. This is a full day of school. We will have step up day that day at 1:00 right before the end of the day. Students will have the opportunity to meet their new teacher(s) as well as to see who they have as classmates. It is always an exciting time.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office. Have a great weekend. Overall the weather looks pretty nice so it should be a great Memorial Day weekend.


Owen Harrington

May 18, 2018

posted May 18, 2018, 8:33 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

It has been a great week! It is clear that spring is in the air as students are excited with the weather and we have had some EPIC kickball games out at recess. Thankfully, with such great weather we have been able to go outside before school almost every day this week so students are able to breathe in some fresh air and get their blood flowing before Morning Meeting. It has been a joy. Not to mention we still have a crew of bicycle riders coming to school each morning. We are in the process of purchasing a new recycled plastic bike rack with our money we receive from the town for recycling. It will take some time to receive the bike rack, so we may not see that until September.

The construction is continuing to make tremendous headway. The addition has exterior walls and the eaves have been put up. We also have seen great progress on the community center roof. Electricians are hard at work in the attic running lines for the new fire alarm system as well as wiring for revamped small learning spaces. The construction sounds in the building are a mixture of music to my ears and cringe-able moments. It’s great! I continue to be amazed by the tenacity and fluidity of DES students and staff as they are simply rolling with the pleasant obstacles the construction is creating. I appreciate the patience of the public and parents as we are going through this as well. I would encourage all parents to be cognizant of where they are on the campus, especially where there is roofing occurring. We have taken detours with students to keep them away from these areas and I would encourage parents to do the same.

The Bow Athletic Club Soccer registration is now open for the Fall 2018 program providing soccer opportunities for children in grades 1-8! Register today by visiting their online registration site: . You will also find useful information on this page.

Please note the following message from the Food Services Department:

Good day to you all-
As this school year is coming to an end, I would ask that you understand that the lunch accounts need to be paid in full by the last day of school June 14.. I do understand working families, as I have one. I will work with you as best as I can; however, we need your child's account to be in the positive, not negative- PLEASE.
As for the parents and/or guardians of any 6th graders moving on to Bow next year, their lunch accounts do NOT transfer over, so please be mindful of this. I can transfer money to younger siblings that are still in the Dunbarton school if a balance is still in their account. Please just let me know if you need any help.
Thank you!
Pam Ducharme, DES Food Service

I wanted to let you know this will be the last email message I will send this year as we are transitioning to Parent Square. I believe you will find this to be a much more user-friendly interface. If you have not signed up for Parent Square, you should have received an email invitation from Roy Bailey (SAU 67 Technology Director). If you need to look through your previous emails to find it, his email address is 

As always, I hope you have a great weekend. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office.


Owen Harrington

May 11, 2018

posted May 11, 2018, 11:06 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

The construction is really starting to take shape. All the walls for the addition are complete. The trusses for the roof are going up as I type. Siding and roofing is also full steam ahead.We had a construction meeting yesterday morning and it is exciting to listen to all the construction professionals discussing the progress and next steps.  Although DES looks like a work in progress, it is going to be a beautiful finished product. Thank you to everyone for being flexible during this transition. I know it can be somewhat frustrating at times, but as I have been saying all along, it is going to be so worth it!

NHSAS testing has been going well. We have not run into too many glitches and the students’ stamina seems to be strong. The only roadblocks we have come across are the potential distractions from the construction. We have been working around them and creating alternative plans as need be so we are not getting in the way of the construction progress. Next week 5th grade will continue with testing and end their testing on May 17th. Testing for 6th grade will begin on May 22nd. The 6th grade testing will be somewhat disjointed as they will be doing activities with Bow Memorial 6th graders that week as well. As such, they will not complete their testing until June 1st. Yes, we are already talking about June 1st

Our annual Spring Concert will be held on Wednesday, May 30th. This will be a concert for grades 4-6 as well as band and strings. As those of you who attended the previous concert can attest to, it was a good time had by all and the students energy level was infectious. I expect more of the same on the 30th.

Remember that Dunbarton Arts on the Common is this weekend, rain or shine! It runs 10-4, with over 50 artisans and craftspeople selling their wares, plus live music and food.

An upcoming event you’ll want to put on your calendar is the Dunbarton Police Department Bike Rodeo on Sunday, May 27 from 2-4 pm in the lower parking lot. The DPD will be giving out free bike helmets and inviting students to take part in the bicycle obstacle race.

We are still in need of volunteers to help move items out of classrooms on Saturday, June 16th. We are currently very much below the numbers we need in order to make this light work. If you are interested or you have or know of high school students who could use the volunteer hours (or would simply like to help), please contact Heather Lalla at .

I hope all the mothers who are reading this email have a wonderful Mother’s Day. It is well deserved for all you do!


Owen Harrington

May 4, 2018

posted May 4, 2018, 9:47 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

What a difference a week makes! Just last night I was in a lawn chair in shorts and a t-shirt with sunscreen and bug spray on watching my 10-year-old son pitch in his first baseball game of the season! Besides the black flies, it was a very welcome change. He did great by the way. He was a regular Papelbon closing out the game not allowing any runs and throwing the heat! Showing my age and my bias with that reference…

We are seeing an uptick in students walking and or riding bikes to and from school. This is a great thing! I would encourage students to time out their rides or walks to ensure they arrive at school between 7:35 and 7:50. We have some students arriving pretty early. No real worries other than they are stuck in the chairs outside the office until 7:35. Their time is probably better spent elsewhere. Students are welcome to leave their bikes down below under the overhang by the gymnasium. I would encourage them to bring a bike lock of some sort to lock their bikes while in school. I don’t foresee any issues without, but you can never be too sure.

By the end of today, we will be halfway completed with our NHSAS testing. Students in fourth grade will be taking their last test today. Students in fifth grade will begin testing on Tuesday with their English/Language Arts test. As always, I would encourage students who have testing to make sure they get a good night’s rest, eat a good breakfast, bring a healthy snack and above all else, don’t stress. This has been the major focal point when I am speaking with students about testing. This should not be a stressor for them. It is a tool for us to determine how well students are learning with the methods we are using. There is enough stress in life as it is; we don’t want to add any more to it with standardized testing. I would encourage you to use the same logic with your children. My thought is as long as they try their best and don’t stress, I am willing to bet we will see much better results than if they try their best and do stress. Not to mention that it is far healthier for them to not be stressed over a few hours in their lives.

I also wanted to share a few reminders for your calendars. Tuesday, May 8th is a poetry night. This is a free event for families and is directly connected to the enrichment program we are offering for students that day called Curriculaghs. For more information on the program, feel free to follow this link . Dunbarton Arts on the Common will be held on Mother’s Day weekend, May 12 and 13, from 10-4 each day. Over 50 juried artists and craftspeople will be there, as well as live music and food and drink. The Dunbarton Police Department will be hosting a Bicycle Rodeo in the DES Community Center parking lot on Sunday, May 27th from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. This sounds like a pretty exciting event with the following description: Between the Dunbarton Fire Department, Dunbarton PTO and the Dunbarton Police Department, we’ll have folks posted around a skills and agility course. We’ll be passing out free multi-sport bicycle helmets and bicycle safety equipment (first come, first served) that we received from a CHaD grant as well as some ice cream sandwiches. S&W Sports will be providing free bicycle safety checks. More information can be found here.

The DES construction project is continuing to make very steady progress. This week there has been consistent work on the roofing, wiring of fire alarms and other electrical components, as well as the building of walls for the addition. I am expecting to see walls up very soon along the addition and would expect to see roofing throughout as well. The DES staff chose the color scheme for the new siding, which will be shades of gray and blue with white trim. The siding has been ordered as well as the new windows. All of this is very exciting indeed. As the saying goes, many hands make light work. As such, if you have any interest in volunteering to aid in this project, we could use your help in moving boxes and items out of DES into storage pods. If you have an interest in volunteering on June 16th, please contact School Board Member Heather Lalla at so she can get your contact information.

In closing, be on the lookout for your child’s progress report today. If you have a child in Grades 4-6, you are able to log in to Infinite Campus to see your child’s progress. Should you have any questions about his or her progress, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher. Enjoy your weekend.


Owen Harrington

April 20, 2018

posted Apr 20, 2018, 7:59 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope everyone is looking forward to the April break. There is certainly an excitement level that has built up here at DES. It was a good day for us to run an evacuation drill! Students and staff handled the drill well and were very organized. All students and staff were accounted for within five minutes start to finish. We even threw some curveballs in the mix with one teacher locking down with most of her class and one student staying with Chief Sklut. This was not overlooked due to the staff’s diligence in accounting for their colleagues and students. I am proud of all members of DES as well as the Dunbarton Police Department for all their hard work in making sure students are safe.

We are in the midst of NHSAS testing. Third grade has completed the testing and did a nice job rolling with the demands of the testing. Fourth grade started their first day yesterday. Although we have a new dynamic this year with the construction, they also did a nice job with the testing. They will continue with more of it when we return from the April break.

The third-grade students will be sharing their many inventions during today’s invention convention. I am expecting some really ingenious solutions to our common, everyday problems around the house. For all of you who are able to attend, I hope you enjoy yourselves and are inspired by the various solutions the 3rd graders create.

The DES PTO put out a call for donations for Staff Appreciation week May 7-11. Donations of gift cards in small denominations for the teaching staff can be sent in with your child when we return from vacation.

Remember that on May 8 at 6:30 pm in the gym we will be hosting a free night of family fun with The Silly Laughing Musical Fun Poetry Show. We had to reschedule this show twice because of the weather, so we feel pretty safe that May won’t hold any surprises for us!

I won’t be writing to you next Friday, so I wish all of you the opportunity for some great family time this upcoming week. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office.


Owen Harrington

April 13, 2017

posted Apr 13, 2018, 10:21 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Progress is sometimes messy business. I can attest that the construction right now is sometimes loud, sometimes a bit of a distraction and is certainly a different look for DES. It is progress and it is beautiful! DES has a rich history of progress. Within the past 10 years or so you can look back and see the work done by the staff here in the areas of curriculum with Everyday Math, Guided Reading, science and social studies as well as the growth of writing. Most recently, we have had great progress in technology, writing, and math with the adoptions of our 1:1 Chromebook program, Lucy Calkins Writing, and enVisionmath 2.0. We are moving forward with progress in technology with the steady movement from Promethean Boards to Promethean Panels. Our next curricular push will be in the area of science with the review of our curriculum and following the lead of the Next Generation Science Standards.

When I go outside and see the steady development of the construction, I am reminded of all the progressions DES has gone through and am humbled by the staff’s work as well as the support of the town of Dunbarton. You are to be commended for your unwavering support of not only your own children but all children from Dunbarton as well as the town as a whole. You did a great thing this past March with the vote and I am looking forward to taking full advantage of the newfound opportunities for your students. I have attached some construction pictures to this email and hope to keep you updated on the progress from now until the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Just a reminder, the annual Dunbarton PTO sponsored Sweetheart Dance is this Saturday. This is a dance for girls and their special someone. Doors open at 5:00 and the dance will be on until 7:00 in the evening. This is a really great event and is traditionally well attended. I hope the girls who attend and all their special people have a great night! For more information, please follow this link:

Third grade started us off this week with the NHSAS testing. Before they tested on Tuesday, I stopped by to speak with both classrooms. Both Mrs. Wicklow’s and Ms. Wing’s classes were ready to go! They seemed prepared and not the least bit concerned with the testing. This is good! Based on what I heard in our conversations, the students were excited to give it their all and then get back to their regularly planned learning. Next week, third grade will conclude their testing, and fourth grade will begin on Thursday. Please remember to ensure your children get a good night’s sleep the night before a test and eat a good breakfast the day of the test. For next week the testing schedule will be April 17th - 3rd-grade math and April 19th - 4th grade English/language arts.

Next Thursday we will have an enrichment program with Len Cabral. Mr. Cabral is a storyteller from Rhode Island. It should be an exciting and culturally enriching experience for the students. Mr. Cabral tells African, Caribbean, and Cape Verdean folktales. It will be a great experience for all involved. If you would like more information on Mr. Cabral, you can find it here: .

Next Friday, we will have our second full-scale evacuation drill of the year. Students and staff will have the opportunity to practice evacuating classrooms and meeting at our rendezvous point. We will enhance this further than our last drill by selecting specific points within our rendezvous point for grade levels to await the next step. This will provide greater organization with a fluid and fast-moving situation. At our last staff meeting, the Dunbarton Police Department provided the DES staff with six various tabletop emergency scenarios. The staff was given the opportunity to review the scenario and determine next steps with an opportunity for the police department to provide feedback. This was a wonderful exercise for us to review emergency situations and best practices in resolving said situations. We also recently had a “Stop the Bleed” training for staff. This was provided to us by the Dunbarton Fire and Rescue. With the combination of these three training opportunities and the support of Dunbarton, Police, Fire, and Rescue I feel confident we can handle emergency situations to the best of our ability until emergency responders arrive at the scene.

Just a reminder, April 20th is the start of the April vacation for students. They will have the full week from April 23rd to April 27th off. I hope those of you who are going away have a great break. For those of you like the Harringtons, who will be staying local, enjoy the break and I hope you are able to find some fun New England activities to fill the days. I hope you all have a great weekend and, as always, should you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s teacher(s) or any of us in the office.


Owen Harrington

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April 6, 2018

posted Apr 6, 2018, 12:34 PM by Owen Harrington   [ updated Apr 6, 2018, 12:37 PM ]

Dear Parents,

It has been exciting here at DES. Today the concrete footings for the addition were poured! Many areas of the building are also now siding-free. Although this may seem unsightly, I see nothing but progress! Students, as they are so apt to, have taken all of this in stride. There have been many different noises and sights. The students are not missing a bit. From what I can gather, there is just a bit more to be entertained by at recess. Other than that, it is business as usual. The DES educators have done a wonderful job modeling how to politely ignore the commotion and are looking forward to the completion of the project. If you are interested in volunteering, we could definitely use your help in moving out classrooms. The more people we have volunteering, the easier this work would be. We expect this to happen one or two days after the last day of school, which is a full day on June 14. Because of the constraints of construction, we will forego the usual Field Day/Spring Fling on the day before the end of school. It will be back next year.

For those of you who will be impacted (due to childcare issues) by the end date of school this year, the decision was made at the board level that it is not feasible to provide a summer camp experience for DES students during the week of June 18th. Although this may cause some difficulty for some parents, please remember this is a very isolated situation and the likelihood of it happening again in the future is very slim. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

I wanted to remind the parents of 3rd graders that the NH Statewide Assessment System testing will begin next week. Please ensure your child has a good night’s sleep and eats a good breakfast the morning of testing. I can’t stress enough that standardized testing is certainly not the end-all-and-be-all of education, so I sincerely do not want students to stress over the testing. We just ask that they do their best and the rest will be up to their teachers and the rest of us at DES. Should you have any questions about the testing, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office. The actual testing days will be April 10th and 13th of next week with reading and English/language arts respectively.

Just a reminder, the Dunbarton PTO sponsored Sweetheart Dance will be next Saturday. DES girls are welcome to bring any special person they would like to be their dance partner.The Sweetheart Dance is a week from tomorrow. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. The PTO is seeking a volunteer with a camera to take pictures during the dance. No prior experience is required. Contact the school office if you can help.

Our Artist in Residence, Marek Bennett, is selling autographed copies of his books. Order forms are due in the school office by April 11.

I hope you all have a great weekend, in spite of the snow that is currently drifting down outside my window.


Owen Harrington

March 30, 2018

posted Mar 30, 2018, 11:04 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Spring is certainly in the air! As such we have seen more behavior issues than normal during lunch and recess. We will address these as needed with individual students as well as during morning meeting. If you would be willing to support at home with a conversation about the DES school rules, that would be much appreciated. Our rules (created by the students) are as follows: Be Safe, Be Caring, Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Honest, and Have Fun, Work Hard and Don’t Give Up.

My children and I really enjoyed the Easter Bunny Breakfast last weekend. It was great to share in some good food and good company. I enjoyed seeing all the DES students and their families who were able to make some time to come out during a busy weekend. Thank you again to the Dunbarton PTO for sponsoring this event. Thank you as well to the Dunbarton Rec Commission for calling in a favor with the Easter Bunny and providing the candy.

The next big PTO event is the Sweetheart Dance. This annual event celebrates daughters and their special person. The dance will be held on Saturday, April 14th from 5:00 to 7:00 in the community center. You can find more information here .

I was out of the building a bit this week attending a conference on Next Generation Science Standards. I am really excited for what is in store for our students. With the new science standards and the revamped teaching and learning processes, I see students’ knowledge of science and learning experiences, in general, moving forward. The inquiry opportunities students were able to use in these learning opportunities were simply exciting. I can’t wait to bring this forward where we are able at DES. If you would like more information about the Next Generation Science Standards, you can find it here .

The 2018 Artist in Residence (AIR) program is here! We are excited about our new program as students will have the opportunity to learn from a professional cartoonist who is renowned for his talent as well as his innate storytelling ability. Children today are very intrigued with the genre of graphic novels which are akin to comics. Marek Bennet is well known in NH for his expertise in this area. I am really looking forward to the various aspects of cartooning the students will learn from him. If you would like more information about him as an artist, you can find it here .

Please keep an eye out for the notice going home about ROOTS club. Students will have the opportunity to sign up to participate. Due to the construction going on there may be some exciting new developments available for ROOTS members.

The Dunbarton Energy Committee is hosting its annual energy fair on Saturday, April 7th 2018 from 9:00 to 3:30 at the Dunbarton Community Center (gymnasium). There are some really great workshops available for all in attendance. More information can be found here .

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend.


Owen Harrington

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