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.
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, 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,.
I wanted to again remind everyone of the 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.School District Meeting. The meeting will be held at in the Community Center. Information on the budget being proposed can be found
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.