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


March 24, 2017

posted Mar 25, 2017, 7:06 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

We are certainly moving through the month of March. As we move through this month, I begin thinking about testing (SBAC, STAR, Science NECAP) schedules, the 2017-2018 school schedule, writing evaluations, and what work the teachers will be doing during the summer months. Starting last year, we re-purposed our Title Two funds to fund summer curriculum work for teachers. Through that funding we were able to give teachers who were new to a grade level time to work on curriculum. We were able to give teachers time to learn about new programs (Fundations and enVisionmath 2.0) they will be using in their classrooms. This year, we will continue along those same lines. Once I have an opportunity to talk to staff members, I will get back to you about what specifics our summer work will entail. No matter what, it will all be for the betterment of DES, which is nothing less than exciting.

Not only is this a busy time in the school office, it is also a busy time in the classroom. Staff and students are working hard to get through the curricular demands of the various subjects. It is exciting to see. Many of the students are currently working on instructional/informational writing. It is fun to watch the level of passion our students have for the various projects they are choosing. If you get a chance, ask them about it. I am sure they will be able to teach you a thing or two about their chosen topic.

One of the unfortunate aspects of our society that I have seen on the rise since I have been in education is anxiety. Unfortunately, anxiety is not only on the rise for adults, but also for children. It is imperative for us as parents to recognize anxiety in children and to know how to alleviate these stressors. Bow High School (BHS) will be hosting Lynn Lyons (nationally recognized speaker on childhood anxiety) to come in and speak to parents about anxiety and how to counteract and/or avoid it. Ms. Lyons will be presenting at Bow High School on April 19th at 6:00 p.m. I would encourage anyone who feels as though this would be helpful to them to attend. The flier can be found here. At this point in time, BHS is working on providing babysitting for families of small children so there are no child care barriers to attending.

The DES Sweetheart Dance will be held tomorrow night from 6:00 to 9:00. I am sure there are some very excited young ladies out there who will be attending with their special someone. This is always a great event for the DES girls and I am sure this will be no exception. The theme for the night is "Under the Sea". If you have any other questions about the event, feel free to check here.

On a last note, we have some wonderful news to share. Dunbarton's own Police Chief Dan Sklut has been recognized as the New Hampshire School Administrator’s Association 2016 Southwest Region Champions for Children. Chief Sklut is one of five people in the state to be recognized with this honor. We are very thankful for all that he has done for us in the areas of safety, community building and simple good will towards children and families. If you have dropped your child off for school, you have experienced this first hand. I know you join me in congratulating Chief Sklut.

I wish you all a great weekend. I hope you are able to spend some time enjoying family and friends.


Owen Harrington

March 17, 2017

posted Mar 17, 2017, 11:27 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you. At this time of year, I wish we were headed in the right direction with the weather, but it seems we are moving back towards snow and cold. Such is life. With that said, as I predicted earlier, we are running on all cylinders here at DES. In my walk throughs of classrooms, I have noticed something very interesting and exciting about our new math program. To a classroom, all of our upper elementary classrooms are working on fractions. This creates some powerful learning when students are able to all be on the same page. Just as important, it facilitates meaningful dialogue among the teachers when they can discuss how things are looking in one another's classrooms further discussing what is working and what isn’t. Powerful.

I wanted to remind all of you that the Dunbarton PTO Boys Day Out is still taking place tomorrow morning at 9:00 in the community center. This should be a great opportunity for the boys of DES and their parents to enjoy some time together as well as learning more about wild animals with theWildLife Encounters. Shortly following the Boys Day Out, the Dunbarton Town Meeting will be held in the community center at 3:00. This meeting was rescheduled due to the snow event on Tuesday.

Congratulations to all of our 3rd-grade students. The 3rd graders worked hard during their Invention Convention. It is always fun to see their imaginations on display. I often see the inventions and want to encourage the students to immediately put in for a patent as they come up with common sense solutions to everyday problems. Fun.

Report cards are coming home today, so be sure to look them over, sign the envelope, and return it to your child’s teacher on Monday. You will also find a “Reading Rally” handout and package in your child’s folder. The school runs this mini-fundraiser to raise funds specifically for the “Time for Kids” magazine that each class uses. No purchase is necessary. If you have any questions about it, please call Shelley at 774-3181, ext. 201.

The Dunbarton School Board will be holding a special meeting on Wednesday, March 29th to discuss kindergarten next year as well as the CIC design schedule for next year. The meeting will be held in the library at 5:00 pm.

Should you have any questions or concerns, as always, feel free to call your child’s teacher or any of us in the office.


Owen Harrington

March 10, 2017

posted Mar 11, 2017, 11:24 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

It is good to be back and moving ahead in our school adventures! The students came back in a fervor ready to learn and grow as individuals and a collective. Exciting to see. It was also nice to see students and staff refreshed and ready to move forward. Last year at this time I emailed you about our family adventure tapping maple trees and boiling the sap to make syrup. We are so excited to be doing this at the school level with Mr. Ralph Fellbaum at the helm. Our kindergarten and 6th grade classes are working with Mr. Fellbaum to collect and boil sap as well as to learn about the process. The 6th Grade has been mentoring the kindergarten students. It has been nothing less than a joy to see the students involved in such a New England phenomenon. Good stuff!

I cannot encourage you strongly enough to attend tomorrow's Annual Dunbarton School District Meeting in the Dunbarton Community Center at 3:00. Babysitting will be provided. My understanding is we will have a plethora of high school students looking to earn their community service hours as babysitters. With this in mind, your children will be broken into small groups with games, activities, snacks and movies available. This is an important meeting in that your voice needs to be heard. I also need to stress that this meeting is all school based. Everything discussed and voted on at this meeting will have a direct impact on your child’s school experience now and in the future. All the materials that will be reviewed can be found here and here as well as in your town report.

We will not have school on Tuesday due to town voting. With that said, there are two school board seats open with three candidates. A "Meet the Candidates Night" was hosted by the Dunbarton PTO last week. Here is a link  to the video.  Voting will take place in the community center from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. Directly following voting (at 7:00 pm) the Town Meeting will be held. At this point in time the town budget will be discussed and voted on.

During the day on March 14th, staff at DES will participate in professional development activities. The classroom teaching staff will be participating in an enVisionmath 2.0 training focused on problem solving. This will be a great opportunity to further fine tune our delivery of this program.

The DES PTO wants you to know that this coming Monday, March 13, is the last day to send your ticket order in for the "Boys Day Out" event on the 18th, but that after that, you can still purchase tickets online through the PTO website.  Also, the PTO Fundraiser packets are due back this Monday.

The Dunbarton Historical Awareness Committee (DHAC - a town committee dedicated to fostering an appreciation of Dunbarton's unique history) is the organization that provides monthly newsletters to the staff and students at DES. This month's article is about Women's History month, and can be accessed here. The DHAC is also responsible for bringing historical artifacts to school for the students to explore, as well as helping with the 3rd Grade Gingerbread Project and various artist residencies. We are so grateful for the involvement of these community members who keep Dunbarton's history alive for our students!

In closing, I wanted to take a moment to thank Deb Foster for her 13 years of service to the Dunbarton School Board. Mrs. Foster was a strong proponent for education as well as the town of Dunbarton. Tomorrow will be her last meeting as a Dunbarton School Board member. Her service will be missed and I know you join me in thanking her for her years of service to the town as well as the children of Dunbarton.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible tomorrow at the school district meeting. Again, the meeting is at 3:00 in the community center and babysitting will be provided.


Owen Harrington

February 24, 2017

posted Feb 24, 2017, 10:24 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

We are entering into that magical time of year for elementary school age children: February break. We have certainly picked a great week to have it with the weather we have been experiencing and what is coming down the line.

When we return from February break, it will be full steam ahead. All of our STAR training has been scheduled for those two weeks back. We will have a professional development day on March 14th (a day off for the students, and your Town Voting Day, with the Town Meeting in the evening), during which the teachers will have their second training in enVisionmath 2.0. This is one of our biggest opportunities to make a strong curriculum push as we are hoping for limited-to-no snow days from now until April break.

Our kindergarten and 6th grade students are involved in a great community experience. Mr. and Mrs. Felbaum have volunteered to support an interactive, multi-faceted field trip for the students. Today we tapped trees in the town common under the supervision of the Felbaums. Following this the students in 6th and kindergarten will be able to go to the Felbaum’s sap house to see how maple syrup is made. This will be a great opportunity for students to learn about the science, math, history, and economics of maple sugaring in NH. We chose kindergarten and 6th grade students as they have been working together at multiple times throughout the year, so this was simply another opportunity to foster that mentoring relationship. Great on many levels. We will be entering a contest to see if our maple syrup meets the grade. More information on the contest itself can be found here.

Congratulations again to our Scripps National Spelling Bee winner Eliana. Eliana will be participating in the NH state level of the spelling bee tomorrow, competing with other NH students at the the Capitol Center for the Arts. We know Eliana will represent DES well and we wish her the best of luck as she competes.

The PTO has a fundraiser going home with the kids today. Please check their backpacks. Also, the PTO is hosting a "Meet the Candidates" night in the school library on Tuesday, March 7. This is the perfect opportunity to meet the townspeople who hope to win your vote on election day, March 14.

I wanted to again remind everyone of the March 11th School District Meeting. The meeting will be held at 3:00 in the Community Center. Information on the budget being proposed can be found  here. If you are interested in viewing the Budget Hearing, that can be found here. I cannot encourage you enough to attend the meeting as this is when big decisions are made and these decisions directly impact your child’s experience here at DES as well as at BMS and BHS. Should you have any questions about any of the proposals or warrant articles, I would encourage you to contact a school board member, Dr. Cascadden or Mr. Ford at the SAU, or me. We would all be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

As the students head off into school vacation week today, I hope that all of you are able to set aside some family time. It is good for the soul. Wishing you all the best.

Owen Harrington


February 17, 2017

posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:27 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

The snow continued to wreak havoc on the continuity of school this week with a delay and a cancellation. The educators are doing their best to take advantage of the time we have until the February break to deliver content and ensure for student learning. On the flip side of this, the students are loving the sheer volume of snow available during recess. It is simply Rockwellian watching the students playing in the snow during recess.

It seems only fitting given the success of New England sports (Patriots Superbowl win, Celtics dominating, and the Red Sox starting spring training) that DES would become the mecca of New England sports. The Dunbarton rec basketball teams are doing a wonderful job competing with the boys 3/4 team winning the championship with an undefeated season. The girls 3/4 team made the playoffs. The girls and boys 5/6 teams are both in the finals. We have our fingers crossed they will both win and bring home a trifecta for DES! No matter what, we are proud of all their efforts.

I wanted to remind you we are having an early release day next Monday the 20th. We will start dismissal at 12:15. The educators will be working on some team building exercises and taking stock of what we have done as a group and what is on the horizon. It will be some time well spent. Furthermore, we will have another professional development day on March 14th. During this time, we will have an enVisionmath 2.0 trainer on site to continue our professional development in this area. The focus of that training will be the teaching of problem-solving. We will also use that time to have the trainer answer questions we have been collecting throughout our implementation.

I also wanted to remind you of the Dunbarton PTO movie night this Saturday. They will be showing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Movie night will start at 5:00 in the Community Center. We will also be having Reading Spirit Day on Wednesday, February 22nd. The end of next week marks the start of the February break. There will be no school during the week of February 27th. I hope you all will have the opportunity to spend some quality family time together. When we return, it will be full steam ahead. The months of March and April are again a great chunk of time in which we can focus on teaching and learning.

The Dunbarton Historical Society would like you to know the Dunbarton Town Library has a subscription to available for Dunbarton residents. You will need to make an appointment to use it as it has garnered plenty of use. Per the Dunbarton Historical Society’s statement, "Our intent, per our mission statement, is to make this tool available to school children, but by happy default, it is available to all town residents.  The subscription runs from January to January. Please call the library to make an appointment time, as this service has proved popular!” I have also attached their most recent newsletter they prepare for the students and the school. It is certainly an interesting read.

I hope you all have a great weekend and can take some time to enjoy the snow. We have plenty of it and the weather looks absolutely gorgeous with some warm and sunny weather ahead. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact your child's teacher or any of us in the office.


Owen Harrington 


Attachments area

February 10, 2017

posted Feb 10, 2017, 11:25 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

What a disjointed week! With all the snow we have had as of late, it has been an interesting week with two snow days and a delay. I can say the students and teachers have hit the ground running and we’re right back to the task of teaching and learning today. As I visited classrooms, students were on task and seemed glad to be back at work. Unfortunately, at this point it is looking like we are anticipating more snow this weekend into Monday. Let’s hope we can make it in for Monday.

As we move forward into next week, I wanted to remind everyone of the upcoming Valentine’s Day parties. If you are bringing in any treats to share with the class, please make sure to check in with Mrs. Hast to ensure for no allergy issues in your child’s classroom.

Unfortunately, we are still trying to solidify dates for our STAR training. It looks like we will be at least two weeks out before we will be able to send those scores out. We appreciate your patience as we learn more about the program and how to use its data.

The PTO is hosting its second movie night at 5 pm on February 18. They will be showing Star Wars:The Force Awakens.  As always the movie is free, and you can find the pizza order form here.

As we move into next week, I wanted to remind you that Monday, February 20th is an early release day as staff will be using the second half of the day for professional development.

What an opportunity the New England Patriots gave all of us this past Superbowl! During our last faculty meeting we discussed a little about grit and how it is so beneficial for students to develop grit. The main facet of grit is simply students developing a sense of “sticking with it” until they reach their goal. As educators, we strive to develop grit within our students. It is clearly seen when students are working hard on a math problem and can’t seem to “crack the code” or when they have a long term project with no real end in sight. Another way to look at it is to never allow your child to say, I’m not good at (fill in the blank). Another way to put it is to allow him or her to say I need to work harder on (fill in the blank) so I can get better at it.  I would encourage you to foster grit in your children whenever you can as it will only help them in future years. Who knows, maybe you have the next Tom Brady in your household who will lead his or her team back from 25 points with no victory in sight. This was certainly a life lesson for all of us. If you would like to see the video we referenced at our staff meeting, it can be found here.

I hope all of you have a great weekend and are able to take some time to enjoy the snow with your family.


Owen Harrington

February 3, 2017

posted Feb 3, 2017, 10:51 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Thank you to those of you who came out to the Dunbarton School District Budget Hearing that was held at the last school board meeting this past Wednesday. Due to the timing of the posting of the meeting, the school board will be hosting a second budget hearing on February 13th at 6:00 pm in the school library. If you were unable to attend this past session, I would encourage you to attend the second hearing. This is a good opportunity to ask questions and/or express your thoughts on the budget created. The budget packet can be found here:  Budget Packet. I would also encourage you to read through this so you will be able to understand what is being proposed and in what amounts. There are many moving parts to this budget and the board and administration have certainly created a budget that will meet the needs of all the students.

As we look forward, the Dunbarton School District Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 11th at 3:00 pm in the Community Center. I would, again, encourage any and all of you to please attend this meeting so your voice can be heard when voting for the budget and the various warrant articles. There will be babysitting provided.

We are finished with our second round of STAR testing. At this point we are starting the process of scheduling our PD dates with our Renaissance Learning representative so we can ensure we are correctly reviewing the results. Once we are finished with this portion of our training, we can get those results out to you and be able to better answer any questions you may have.

We have completed Winter Activities for the 2016-2017 season. I feel as though the bringing on of New England College students to conduct activities with our students was a success. Overall, we do have areas of improvement, but it seemed to be a good experience. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please feel free to share with us.

As we move forward into the month of February, please remember we will have an early release day on February 20th for a professional development day. We will also have February vacation from February 27th to March 3rd.

The Student Council's CANDYGRAM campaign is gaining steam. All CANDYGRAMS and payments (50 cents each) are due February 10. To access another candygram form, click here.

For those of you who would be interested in supporting the Bow Falcons hockey team, feel free to participate in the following event:  Join us on Feb 17 from 7-11 PM at the Bow Community Building for a great time that is open to all 21 and older. Support the Bow Falcons hockey team and you can enjoy dancing, raffles, appetizers, a silent auction and a chance to get together with friends. We are also holding a food drive to benefit Friendly Kitchen in Concord so please bring a non-perishable food item. Tickets are $30/person. Contact a Bow Falcons Hockey Team parent or e-mail You won't want to miss it!

I also wanted to let you know that Ms. Roy (DES Art Teacher) is looking for donations of scrap fabric. If you have any scrap fabric that you would like to donate, please feel free to send it into the office with Ms. Roy's name on it.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and stay warm as it seems it will be a cold one tomorrow.

Owen Harrington 


January 27, 2017

posted Jan 27, 2017, 12:25 PM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope this email finds you well. As I indicated earlier, we are definitely off to the races this time of year. Every time I visit classrooms, students and educators are fully engaged in the learning process and are in the midst of hard work. It is a great sight to behold.

I wanted to remind you again that February 1st is the Dunbarton School District Budget Hearing. The budget hearing is held during a regular school board meeting, so it will start at 6:00 pm in the school library. This is a prime opportunity for any resident to attend and hear the budget as well as the thought process behind the decisions made. Just as important, if you have questions or comments related to the budget, this is a great time to share them. I know the school board and administration have put tremendous thought into this budget to ensure that it meets the needs of all students, while still being conscious of the taxpayer impact. This is always a delicate dance, and the Dunbarton School Board board handles this responsibility with care for both town and school.

I also wanted to take a moment to bring you up to date on how the enVisionmath 2.0 implementation is going. The teachers have been speaking highly of the program and stating that students now understand and can use high-level math vocabulary and concepts. We are also impressed with the time frame of the introduction of the concepts. A good example of this is multiplication in 3rd grade or algebraic concepts in 6th grade. Both were introduced very early on in their respective grade levels and teachers were somewhat hesitant with this order. Students jumped to the challenge and are able to use and understand these concepts much earlier. In an effort to further solidify teacher and student understanding of the program, we will be bringing back a trainer we used at the beginning of the school year to meet with us during the March professional development day. The focus of the day will be problem solving skills, but we will also use the time to ask specific questions we have about the program to seek clarification. This will be a very valuable day for us. Should you have any questions about the program, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or me.

Next Wednesday will mark our last day of Winter Activities. Overall, I feel the partnership with New England College was a success. The DES students were able to get outside and learn more about their natural environment. During the activities I attended, I learned some team building games as well as what to do should I ever need to survive in the wilderness. The students have told me that they have enjoyed the lessons and it seems the New England College students have also learned from the process. We welcome any and all feedback from parents, should you have any suggestions.

I discussed STAR testing in my previous email. I wanted to let you know that we are almost finished with our second round of testing. We do still have some classrooms testing next week, but will have it completed by the middle of the week. Following the completion of the testing, we will be meeting as grade-level teams and having an internet-based training with a representative from Renaissance Learning. There is a definite difference between the data provided by STAR and NWEA, we need to review the results in order to better understand what they mean and how to interpret them to provide the best instruction to your children. I appreciate your patience and am happy to answer any questions you may have about the assessment.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

Owen Harrington


January 9, 2017

posted Jan 9, 2017, 6:04 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope the transition back to school from the holiday break has been successful. I know as a school we have certainly hit the ground running and have been moving fast. All the classrooms are abuzz and working hard. I always find this to be one of the best times of year in education. We are streaking ahead down the thruway of learning with little delay in our way. The excitement is palpable. I apologize for not emailing you on Friday. I was out sick with the lingering head cold so many of us seem to be experiencing this year.

On Wednesday, January 11th the school board will be hosting a public forum concerning current and future space needs. You received a mailer earlier and another notice was sent home this week. I cannot stress enough that we want as many constituents from the town of Dunbarton in attendance as possible. It is important to the school board to hear from a variety of voices in order to get a full gestalt of the concerns of the town population. I would encourage you to please suggest to as many people as possible that they attend. I have linked Dr. Cascadden’s space needs study delivered to the board here.

Just a reminder, the all-school Winter Concert will take place on Thursday, January 19 in the gym at 6:00 pm.The lower grades will perform before the intermission, so as to allow for early bedtimes. We always look forward to the school concerts as it is a great opportunity for students to display their hard work in the arts.

Thursday I emailed out a listing of the various winter activities. Friday the students chose their first activity. Again, if they did not get their first choice, they will have three more opportunities to choose. It seems these activities from NEC are exciting to the students and are of high interest. I expect it will be a fun learning opportunity for all the students. Please make sure they are dressed on Wednesdays for outdoor activities. Should you have any questions about the activities, please feel free to contact us. It is also extremely important that parents complete the NEC Liability form in order for your children to participate. If the form is not completed, the child will not be able to participate and we will have to provide an alternate activity. Click here to access the form.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.


Owen Harrington


December 16, 2016

posted Dec 16, 2016, 11:23 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

It seems we are in the midst of a very strange weather pattern. I hope all of you are able to stay warm as we are in the midst of a definite cold snap. It also seems the probability of a white Christmas is very much compromised with the weather coming in throughout the next week. Irving Berlin would be disappointed. With that said, we did not have outdoor recess the past two days due to the frigid weather. In an effort to have some physical movement for some students, we did have indoor recess in the gym for some classes. We will continue to do that throughout the winter as we are able. Please remember to send your child to school with plenty of winter gear. Your child will not be able to play in the snow during recess if he or she does not have a coat, snow pants, gloves, and hat.

I wanted to remind everyone of the upcoming public forum concerning space needs at DES on January 11th at 6:30 in the library. You should be receiving a mailer soon to remind you. I would encourage you to invite all your friends and neighbors as it is imperative that the school board hears the concerns and suggestions of as many Dunbarton residents as is possible.

We had a great time with author Marty Kelley this week.There is still time to order one of his hilarious books and have them autographed for your child. Click here to download the order form, which must be returned on Monday,

I trust that everyone received their child’s report card. If you have any questions about the contents of the report card and/or are concerned with your child’s progress, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher. We value the parent/school relationship and look forward to working with you as you deem needed.

I also wanted to remind you that December 23rd is an early release day and students will be dismissed at 12:15. The students are certainly in the midst of a crescendo of excitement as they are gearing up for the anticipated break. I will most likely not be emailing out next week, so I wanted to wish all of you a happy holiday and/or a great time with friends and family. 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


1-10 of 93