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


December 8, 2017

posted Dec 8, 2017, 10:04 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I have what I think is an exciting, informational email for you today. As I mentioned in my previous email to you, I attended the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference recently and one of the exciting innovations that is making its way into classrooms is Virtual Reality. What is most exciting about Virtual Reality is the doors it can open for students. Imagine if you were a student learning about Australia and instead of using a textbook or a video, you were able to put on some VR goggles and be immersed in the subject. Students are literally able to move their heads and get a 360° view of the areas being described. Google Expeditions is the most known and utilized of these apps right now. I have included an introductory video in this email and I really think the boy in the video is similar to some of our students here in Dunbarton. Google Expeditions . When I watch this video, I think of students at DES going on trips to places they have not been before and may never get the chance to visit in their lifetime.

Another exciting video can be found here: Google Expeditions AR . This video is more of an “augmented reality” example where students have subjects come to life in their classroom. Again, students are immersed in the subject and can interact with it in a way we never were able to as students.

Opening this door for students is an exciting prospect. My one concern is cost. Within the budget, I am not able to purchase the various devices, goggles, carts and such to make this an easy possibility. I would like to do this in a frugal and efficient manner. My thought is if we were able to get some donated, used smartphones or other devices that parents or relatives may have and no longer have a use for, we could get off the ground. I will happily purchase the goggles from our budget and I do have access to an iPad that an educator can use to guide these “trips” or augmented reality expeditions.

I do agree that a VR trip or augmented reality experience is a hook to a lesson and the true learning occurs with what students do with the information in the trip/experience. With that said, this medium will speak to many of our students and may provide that extra hook they need to jump into their own learning. If you have any questions about this medium or would be interested in donating a used, factory-reset device, please feel free to contact me.

The building project process is moving forward. You may notice there is an invitation to bid posted on the website. Feel free to review the bid and/or let any of your friends or relatives who are in the business know about the posting.

With that said, voting for the school district budget will be held on  Saturday, March 10th at 1:00 ppm.his is a change in time compared to the most recent years, the thought being this meeting will most likely be a longer than normal one. Babysitting will be provided. 

It is imperative for Dunbarton community members to attend and vote in order for their voices to be heard. I would encourage you to speak to friends and neighbors about the school district meeting process as many are not aware that in order for their vote to count, they must be present. Many towns use the voting day as their opportunity to vote with a ballot. Dunbarton  does not. You must be present at the school district meeting to vote on our upcoming budget for the 2018-2019 school year.

Keep an eye out for “School Bells” (a publication from the Dunbarton School Board) as that will spell out the budget. The February school board meeting (February 7th at 6:00) will be the date of the Budget Hearing in which the school board will present the budget and the floor will be open for clarifying questions and statements. We also have a page on the DES website devoted to the building project which will be a major part of this year’s budget process. That page can be found here: DES Building Project .

The DES winter concert is coming! There will be a change this year. There will only be one date for the concert and it will be held on Thursday, January 25th at 6:30. Only the lower elementary (K-3) choral group, strings and band students will perform. The upper elementary (4-6) choral students will perform at the spring concert.

On Wednesday, December 13th we will be running a reverse evacuation drill during our recess blocks. This will allow us to practice emergency protocol should there be a situation in which we need vacate the playground for the school building. The teachers will discuss the drill with their students during morning meeting. We will also discuss students’ responsibilities with them during the evacuation. It will be a good exercise for all involved.

This time of year can be hard for many. Children are no exception. If you are finding your child is experiencing stressors that are affecting him or her at home, please let us know as those stressors will most likely manifest at school as well. It is our goal to be a part of your child’s team for success and we will do all we can to work with you to achieve this success.

Finally, report cards will be coming home today. Please remember to sign your child’s report card envelope and send it back with him or her for school on Monday. Should you have any questions or concerns about your child’s report card, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher.

Wishing you all a great weekend.


Owen Harrington

December 1, 2017

posted Dec 1, 2017, 11:11 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Holiday and good quality time with friends and family. The beauty of this time of year is the emphasis on being retrospective on the joys of friends and family. Along with this is the recognition of the passing of time. With this said, I cannot believe we are already in December of the 2017-2018 school year. Time is really flying and it seems as though so much has already happened this school year!

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you one of the posters of the DES School Rules we have posted throughout the building. There are six located throughout the school. The one I am sharing with you is posted right in the entrance to the school where visitors would push the button to be allowed access to the building. We have strategically placed them throughout. The crown jewel of these posters is the one in our common area that is surrounded by ratification sheets signed by both students and staff. It is a powerful statement indeed!

During our pre-Thanksgiving professional development day, we focused on Science competencies. This was an extremely productive day as it was lead by Dr. Gage (SAU 67 Curriculum Director) who reviewed the Next Generation Science Standards with us as well as a brief review of how other states and organizations are constructing their standards. Following this presentation, grade levels went to work aligning their curriculum and creating competencies to follow. This was good work in that it not only created grade level (horizontal) alignment of standards but also created school-wide (vertical) alignment from kindergarten through sixth grade. Although this is hard work, it is very useful and necessary.

By reviewing the Next Generation Science Standards and working on competencies, we are better able to create our own DES curriculum that best meets our needs. Moreover, by creating strong science competencies we are preparing students as well as possible for their ventures outside of DES. Our next step will be to review our social studies competencies then move on to reviewing performance tasks and rubrics for all of our competencies. In conjunction with this, we will be reviewing our schedule to make sure we are allotting the appropriate amount of time for each subject and/or competency. This is an intricate exercise with many moving parts. It is good and useful work that will enhance your child’s education.

On this past Tuesday and Wednesday, I had the good fortune of attending the annual Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference. This is an annual conference on educational technology that runs for four days in late November/early December. I often find this conference to be the most valuable professional development I attend each year. The reason being attendees learn about the various technological tools we can leverage to best meet the needs of each of our learners. For example, virtual reality was a big topic at this last conference. Although this seems very much like science fiction, I can assure you it is not. By utilizing virtual reality, a teacher can take her students on a trip to Mars, the Grand Canyon, King Tut’s Tomb, The Great Barrier Reef, or even in the human vascular system. Our children are no longer limited to the confines of their own classroom. Exciting.

Along with new technologies such as this is the pervasive message of helping students discover their personal learning strengths and leveraging those in order for students to learn most efficiently. Another facet of this is providing student choice in their learning. Student Choice is a large component of Responsive Classroom and there are quite a few technologies out there that create opportunities for student choice. Student choice can be as simple as providing various seating choices when reading or something more complex like using Read/Write Google to speak into a laptop as opposed to writing. In time, I hope we are able to bring more of these various technologies into DES classrooms so students are able to use these tools to find more avenues to their learning. Furthermore, these technologies will provide more tools for each teacher’s toolbox to help facilitate opportunities for learning.

As we are moving more into December, I wanted to remind you that colder weather is setting in. Please make sure your children are wearing warm clothes for recess so they are comfortable and safe while out at recess. We have outdoor recess as long as the “real-feel” temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If it is below 20, we will have an indoor recess for that day. Along with cold weather comes an overflowing lost and found box. If your child loses his or her gloves/mittens and/or hat, chances are they will be in the lost and found box. The lost and found can be found in the community center at the drop off entrance.

In closing, I wanted to remind everyone that the PTO sponsored “Handmade Holiday Workshop” for tomorrow has been canceled. The PTO shared the following information: "We know this is a very busy time of the year for one and all, and for that reason, the Handmade Holiday Workshop for the Children will be canceled this year.  We will review this event again in the spring for next December.  We hope you have a very Happy, Safe and Bright Holiday Season!"

Dunbarton Elementary PTO.

I hope you all have a restful weekend.


Owen Harrington

November 17, 2017

posted Nov 17, 2017, 10:12 AM by Owen Harrington   [ updated Nov 17, 2017, 10:14 AM ]

Dear Parents,

It feels like time is flying this school year as next week will be Thanksgiving. Along with this time of year comes family holidays. We would ask that if you are going away during the school year on a family holiday or vacation that you please inform your child’s teacher(s). By taking that step we can make sure your child stays on track and doesn’t get too far behind. With technology today (especially with Google Docs and our math program having an online component) it is becoming easier and easier to do so.

In the previous email I discussed Winter Activities. We did have a chance to meet with New England College (NEC) to discuss the upcoming Winter Activities season. Much will be the same this year as it was last year. Students who are going skiing will start on January 3rd. The NEC portion of the program for those who don’t go skiing will not begin until January 10th. We need to start this portion later due to the timing of the NEC 2nd semester. Many of the activities will be the same as last year: shelter building, winter survival, camp cooking, team building, and winter ecology to name a few. They are still working on organizing activities so when I hear more I will let you know. As we discovered last year, students who don’t go skiing have exciting activities of their own and they learn more about the winter season in New England.

Just a reminder that next week is a very short week with students attending only on Monday and Tuesday. We will have a professional development day for classroom teachers on Wednesday. Our focus will be on Science Competencies. Those who are not classroom teachers will have separate activities focused on their specialization area. Once we complete our science competencies we are left with social studies competencies. Our focus will then be the identification and/or creation of performance tasks (assessments) to determine whether or not a student has met the specific competencies. Many of those performance tasks are already part of our math and writing programs. We will have the task of creating reading, science and social studies performance tasks. I don’t anticipate this being a tedious task, as much of what we are already doing will meet those needs. Feel free to contact Dr. Gage (SAU 67 Curriculum Director) or me if you have any questions about competencies or performance tasks.

We have finally reached the pinnacle of our DES Rules Development. I have really enjoyed this process and am very encouraged by the thoughtfulness and pride of the students who are writing the rules. On Monday we will present the rules to the school in the form of a whole school morning meeting. The students who created the rules will be running this meeting. It should be a great opportunity for them and the school as a whole. Once we have presented, I will email out our new rules along with the video the committee made via the direction and production of Connor who is a Bow High School student. This was a great journey on so many fronts.

Once we have this project completed, I plan on moving full steam ahead on our mission/vision development. We have started the process. Our next step is to have a presentation on the history of Dunbarton schools. I will email an invitation out to parents and community when we get closer to the date. I already have a list of parents who would like to participate in this process. If you indicated an interest in doing so when the survey was sent out to you, I will be in touch in the near future to see if you are still able to participate. I am excited in that we will be able to utilyze the mission/vision in our future decision making.

Looking toward the holiday season, there are a number of community events coming up:

Operation Secret Elf


Created in the mid 1990’s by then Dunbarton  Welfare Director Dick Mannion and the Dunbarton Congregational Church Food Pantry manager Patty Shearin, Operation Secret Elf is a grassroots effort to help families in the town of Dunbarton during a financially challenging time of the year.  Assistance is given to the families that choose to participate in the form of a gift for their child or children.  Tags are made with the child’s gender, age and gifts wishes on it and are distributed to “secret elves” in the community.  The gifts are purchased by the “secret elves” by a determined deadline and distributed on a scheduled evening in December in time for the holidays. Would you like to be a “ Secret Elf” for a Dunbarton child?  For further information or questions, please contact Patty Shearin @ 774-3208 or  

Dunbarton Tree Lighting

The Town of Dunbarton annual Holiday Tree Lighting (brought to you by the tireless Dunbarton Rec Association) will be held on the Town Common at the gazebo on Sunday, November 26 from 5:30-6:30.


DES PTO Handmade Holiday Workshop


The DES PTO is holding a 'drop-and-shop" event on December 2 from 9:30-12:00 in the gym. You can drop your children off so they can create handmade holiday presents, and you can spend some quality alone time shopping! More information can be found here. To volunteer for the event, email


The following Saturday, the PTO will be hosting a holiday cocktail party on December 9th. Please see the attached flier for more information.


Dunbarton Rec Annual Bus Ride to Boston


The Dunbarton Parks and Rec sponsor a trip to Boston every year. This year's trip will be December 2nd, with the bus leaving at 7:30 sharp. It returns at 5:00. The cost is $10 per person. There is a maximum of 50 seats. The bus drops off and picks up at Fanueil Hall. If you are interested in attending you can call or visit Line Comeau at the Town Office. The last day to sign up will be November 30th.


Dunbarton Community Holiday Concert


The annual Dunbarton Holiday Concert, featuring many DES students as well as pianist Daniel van Kalken and  a chorale, will be held on Sunday, December 3 from 4-6 pm at the Dunbarton Congregational Church.


Wreaths Across Dunbarton Chili Supper


A chili supper fundraiser will be held for “Wreaths Across Dunbarton”. Money raised will go toward purchasing holiday wreaths and bows for the graves of the 182 veterans buried in Dunbarton cemeteries. The supper will be served from 5:30-7:00 pm on Friday, December 15 in the Noyes Community Center (school gym), and tickets are on sale at the school office.  Call 774-3181, ext. 201 for more info.


I hope everyone is enjoying the fall season and since I will not be in touch next week, I wish you all the best for your Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a great chance to reflect on all that is good and enjoy doing so amongst family and friends.


Owen Harrington

November 10, 2017

posted Nov 10, 2017, 11:04 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope everyone had a great/informative parent/teacher conference. If you were unable to schedule a conference, please feel free to get in touch with your child’s teacher to schedule one for another date. There are no people more influential to a child’s education than his or her parents. As such, we want to make sure we are keeping you aware of your child’s progress in his or her education.

Believe it or not, we are counting down to Winter Activities. As you may recall, last year students had two options: the Pats Peak Learn to Ski and Ride program or going through a set of activities at DES taught by New England College Outdoor Studies students. Both are great options and allow your child to explore all that winter has to offer here in NH. I will be meeting with New England College next week to discuss this year’s program and look forward to having more information to share with you when I have it. If you are interested in the Pat’s Peak program, it can be found here. Please note that the deadline for registering your child is this upcoming Monday. You can still register, but a late fee will apply. If you would like your child to participate, but it is a financial hardship, please contact Candace Harrison at to apply for a scholarship.

I also wanted to take a moment to remind everyone of our new Facebook page as well as the Dunbarton Elementary School Building Project page on our website. Both are new and informative. Our hope is to be able to use both pages to better communicate with the greater public. Please feel free to share these sites with your friends and neighbors who do not currently have children enrolled at DES.

As I mentioned in an earlier email, the first draft of the Dunbarton School District budget has been given to the school board. We are going through the budget process now. The school administration, SAU administration, and school board all work together to create a budget that best meets the needs of the district and community at large, with a focus on student learning. I would encourage you to attend school board meetings and budget hearings to stay apprised of the process. The next school board meeting will be December 6th at 6:00.

In closing, we had a great Veteran’s Day ceremony yesterday. What I love most about our Veteran’s Day ceremony is the coming together of Dunbarton veterans and our students. Not only are DES students shaking the hands of each veteran in attendance, but our 6th-grade students welcome and serve the veterans breakfast. On so many levels, these students learn what it means to serve your country, thank individuals for their sacrifice and interact with community members. So often we think of education as experiences in the classroom. Education is much more than the academics. It is about becoming a productive citizen, and this assembly aids in that venture. If you would like to see some pictures of this event, they can be found at our website here or on our Facebook page.

Enjoy your weekend.

Owen Harrington

November 3, 2017

posted Nov 3, 2017, 11:06 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. It sounds like the annual event on the town common was well attended. My understanding is it was one of the best Spooktaculars of all time! I am sure all the students who attended had a wonderful time. I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who came out for the CIC Forum on the DES building project. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but I hear it was extremely informative and some great questions were asked. Thank you to all of you who came out to better understand the project and why it is being proposed.

Thanks to Sarah Murray, DES technology aide, we have a new tab on our website devoted to the building project. I would encourage you to visit the page so you can see the documents that have been posted. Currently, there are three documents: an RFP for architectural and engineering services, an RFP for construction manager services, and the  On Site Insight Capital Needs report. All of these documents are informative in their own right. When I am provided with digital copies of the plans and other materials I will get those posted as well. I would encourage all your Dunbarton friends and acquaintances to visit this site as the fate of this project will have an impact on them one way or the other. Feel free to share this link  with anyone you feel would benefit from the information. I would also encourage you to continue to come out for any Dunbarton School Board presentations as well as any CIC presentations related to the project as those will be very informative and will provide a forum for you to ask questions.

At the most recent school board meeting, the initial drafts of the 2018-2019 school year budget were shared. It is very early in the process so I won’t go into any great detail, but as you can imagine the building project is a major focus. Another major focus is all-day kindergarten. Again, I would encourage you to continue to follow this as time goes on. The Dunbarton School Board, SAU 67 administration and DES administration will work together to craft a budget that best meets the needs of Dunbarton students as well as being mindful of the cost to the Dunbarton taxpayers. The February 7th Dunbarton School Board meeting will be the Dunbarton School District Budget Forum. Between now and then I will continue to reach out with information as I have it. I would also encourage you to attend school board meetings as well as to contact your school board representatives if you have any questions about the budget or the process.

Just a reminder that the annual PTO Harvest Moon Supper is tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:30. If you have not attended this event before, I would encourage you to attend. The food is excellent (thanks to the efforts of the Constant Family) and the company of fellow Dunbartonians is even better. I am sure you and yours will enjoy themselves. There is a huge assortment of raffle baskets this year, stuffed with all sorts of goodies for you to bid on. And remember, everything goes to support the Artist in Residence Program at DES.

If you still have your Yankee Candle order form, you can turn it in on Monday. The 6th Grade appreciates the support of the school community for their Field Trip in June.

Looking ahead to next week, we want to remind you that Thursday the 9th is an Early Release day ending at 12:15 pm. The students still eat lunch at the school. We will also have a Veteran's Day assembly that morning. There is no school on Friday for Parent/Teacher conferences. Mrs. Westenberg has a copy of each teacher’s Parent/Teacher Conference schedule, so feel free to call the office to confirm your appointment time.

Don’t forget to fall back this Sunday, as Daylight Savings Time ends at 2:00 am on the 5th.

We all want to wish our very own 2nd-grade teacher, Mrs. Campbell, and our School Nurse, Mrs. Hast, the very best of luck as they compete in the NYC marathon this Sunday. And to keep in the spirit of exercise, do consider participating in the “Get Out and Walk” event at BHS on Sunday afternoon. Registration starts at 1:30 pm.

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

October 27, 2017

posted Oct 27, 2017, 11:03 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

There is a definite excitement in the air as we are gearing towards Halloween. Many of the students are talking about their costumes and the scarecrows are lining up in preparation of our Halloween Parade. It is certainly a fun time of year to be an elementary school student as well as to work in an elementary school. As a reminder, the Halloween parade will take place on October 31st at 1:45. As I mentioned earlier, the DES Student Council is sponsoring a non perishable food drive. Please feel free to bring in an item to share. Thank you to all of you who have donated candy to Dunbarton residents who live in the town common area. They are most appreciative of your kindness. The annual Dunbarton Garden Club Town Common Spootacular will take place on October 31st from 5:00 to 7:00. Miss NH will make a visit to this year’s Dunbarton Halloween festivities at the town common sometime between 5:00 and 8:00.

Please mark your calendars for October 30th at 6:30. The Dunbarton Capital Improvements Committee (CIC) will be presenting the latest plans for the proposed DES building renovations in the common area of DES. Please consider attending to learn more about the plans as well as to ask any questions you may have concerning the project. The CIC, representatives from Warren Street Architects, Bauen Construction, Dr. Cascadden (SAU 67 Superintendent), Mr. Ford (SAU 67 Assistant Superintendent) and Laura Landry (DES Special Education Coordinator) will all be in attendance to answer questions as well. I apologize as I will not be in attendance due to a family commitment. I am happy to answer any questions you may have or direct you to someone who can as well, if you are unable to attend. The community forum is an integral step in this process, as it will be the first time the plans will be presented to the public at this magnitude and it will be an opportune time for the CIC and the Dunbarton School Board to learn more about the public’s thoughts on this project as it is currently organized.

As you may recall, the focal points of these plans are to create space for an all day kindergarten program as well as to create small instructional/learning spaces. Furthermore, the plan addresses multiple facility needs to ensure for improved efficiency as well as improving the longevity of the building envelope and mechanical systems.  Both Mrs. Landry and I have participated with the CIC in the planning stages of this project and I am excited by the prospects of the plan. I am also proud of the committee’s efforts in preparing a well thought out and respectful plan that keeps in mind the necessities of students as well as being conscious of taxpayer needs.

The annual Bow Rotary Auction is being held this weekend. Please note the attachment to this email. The Bow Rotary Auction is an important event for Dunbarton residents as the Bow Rotary Scholarship is open to both Bow and Dunbarton students of Bow High School. The proceeds of the auction help fund the Bow Rotary Scholarship.

The Harvest Moon Supper will soon be here as it is scheduled for Saturday, November 4th from 4:30 to 6:30. This is an annual event that is well attended and for good reason. Not only is the food great, but all proceeds benefit the DES Artist in Residence fund. Each year we have a high quality artist “reside” at DES for a week and, in conjunction with DES students, they create a permanent piece of art. As a reminder, here,  here,  here, and  here are the songs created last year with Monte Selby. Pie donations are still needed for the supper. If you are interested in donating any pies, the link to sign up can be found here .

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

October 20, 2017

posted Oct 23, 2017, 4:51 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful color in the leaves. It seems we are definitely nearing  a high point for the season. I often find this season to be one of the many reasons to tout the benefits and joys of living in New England.

As I am writing this email, two activities I have mentioned frequently are beginning to take a much firmer shape. Our student rules committee is actively working on its whole school presentation. At this point, we have commissioned the services of one of Bow High School’s students, Connor,  who is showing great promise as a filmmaker. We are hoping to lean on Connor to show us what effects we are able to achieve when we film some scenes throughout the school of students following the rules and how doing so benefits them as individuals and the school as a whole. It should be a lot of fun and having that interaction between DES and BHS again is exciting.

We are also moving forward with our mission and vision work. We had six citizens from Dunbarton who attended various incarnations of Dunbarton Elementary School share their experiences with the 3rd and 4th Grades. We had individuals ranging in ages from mid 50s to mid 80s sharing. I can easily say their experiences were different than current DES students. To say the students were in awe would be accurate. They really enjoyed hearing from fellow Dunbartonians and enjoyed the give and take of simply conversing with these individuals.

The focal point of this exercise was to learn what was valued in Dunbarton schools in the past so we can recognize that as we move forward in the development of a more current mission and vision. Our next step will be to have the 3rd and 4th grades create reports to share out concerning past ideals and to share those with people who are interested in working on creating new mission and vision statements. It will be fun work. When we get closer to being ready to present, I will let you know so you will be able to participate should you be interested.

As we are moving through the month of October, certain gears of the school begin to become more involved with the overall machinery of the school. One such gear is that of Response to Intervention (RTI). RTI is a program in which students who may be behind their grade level peers in reading, math, and/or behavior are referred to the RTI team to be reviewed. When a student is referred to the team, parent notification will be sent and the team will meet to review any data on the student to determine next steps. In reading and math we have multiple sources of data such as STAR, DIBELS, SBAC, DRA, AIMS Web and classroom performance.

Should the RTI Team determine that a student is in need of intervention services, a plan will be developed. Generally speaking, this plan is to provide extra instruction outside of the general classroom instruction. We have blocks of time built into our schedule for this extra instruction. Our math coach and/or math interventionist would provide these services in math. Our reading specialist and/or reading interventionist would provide these services in reading. Kindergarten is handled a little differently in that the general instruction is given throughout their half-day program. If a student is identified as needing intervention services, he or she would receive these services after the half day of instruction. There are other students still who may be receiving Occupational Therapy or Speech Therapy intervention as well. Those students are scheduled for brief interventions at mutually agreed upon times between the service provider and the classroom teacher.

Throughout the RTI process students are assessed to determine if they are making progress and are approaching or at grade level. If a student is not making progress, he or she would then be referred to the special education team to determine if an evaluation for special education is in order. This can be a very daunting process for a parent, so I want to make it a bit clearer. Should you receive a notice about RTI for your child, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or me to clarify any questions you may have concerning the process.

As we are moving through the month of October, I wanted to take a moment to remind you of a couple of important events. The Dunbarton Capital Improvements Committee is hosting a community forum on October 30th at 6:30 in the DES library about the proposed building project. I would encourage you to attend to better understand the project and ask any questions you may have. I would also encourage you to remind any friends and neighbors you may have who are Dunbarton residents but do not currently have children in DES. It is important their voice is heard, as well that they have as much knowledge as possible concerning the proposed project.

I also wanted to remind you of the annual DES Halloween parade being held on October 31st at 1:45. For those who have not attended this event before, it is a great Dunbarton tradition. Students dress in their Halloween costumes and make their way around the town common. Both parents and community members gather to support the students as well as to revel in the tradition. As was done last year, the student council will be hosting a canned food drive during the event. Please consider donating to the event as we raised a significant amount of food for the local food pantry.

Don't forget that Trick or Treating will be held on Halloween evening around the Town Common. See the attached flyer from the Garden Club. Keep your eye peeled for the reigning Miss New Hampshire, who will be making an appearance on the Common during Trick or Treats. And it's not too late to send in your Halloween candy. DES Office staff is distributing the candy to residents on the Common next week.

Raffle basket items are needed for the PTO's Harvest Moon Supper held in the gym on November 4. See the attached flyer to learn which raffle items your child's grade is responsible for.

Dunbarton Rec. Basketball signups are in the school library this coming Monday, October 23 from 6-8 pm and Wednesday the 25th from 7-8:30 pm. Signups are open to boys and girls from Kindergarten through 6th grade. A fee is involved, but scholarships are available.

The last item I wanted to mention today is we are launching a Dunbarton Elementary School Facebook page. The hope is to use this page as another source of information for anyone who is interested. I will post these weekly emails on there as well as brief reminders. Feel free to follow the page as well as to share this with those you think would be interested. If you are on Facebook, just simply search for Dunbarton Elementary School and click the pages tab at the top to narrow the search for pages and follow the page to receive updates.

I hope everyone is able to get outside and enjoy the weather this weekend. It looks like it will be a great weekend for some outdoor activities.


Owen Harrington

October 13, 2017

posted Oct 13, 2017, 11:12 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

We are in the middle of one of the more exciting times of year in an elementary school. Our wheels are up and it is smooth flying. When I am walking through classrooms and conversing with students and teachers, it is clear we are full steam ahead with learning. This will be the case all the way to our Thanksgiving break. As teachers and educators, we love these opportunities for uninterrupted learning.

Today the third and fourth grades will be hosting senior members of the Dunbarton community who also attended Dunbarton schools. As you may remember from earlier emails, we are looking to revamp our mission and vision statements and we are committed to honoring the Dunbarton ideals that have been fostered throughout the years. We felt a good way to to do so was to have elder Dunbarton statesmen and women share their experiences with students and have those students create reports. The students will then share their reports with community members who are interested in attending an informational meeting later this month or early November. I will keep you updated as those dates are solidified.

Next week I will meet with the group of students who created school level rules to plan out our presentation of school rules to the whole school. I am excited to get this moving and wrap up this project so we can use these rules as our foundation for success at DES. As we have discussed, these rules will be our (students and staff) guide as to how we work together to create avenues for success for all. This is an exciting prospect for sure.

I would encourage you to mark your calendars for the October 30th presentation by the Dunbarton School District Capital Improvements Committee (CIC). The CIC will be presenting the most current status of the Dunbarton Elementary School building project. I cannot state enough how beneficial a project this would be for student learning. The CIC has commissioned the planning of a fiscally responsible, yet highly effective project that would bolster student learning. Furthermore, this project would also provide marked improvements to the building envelope as well as the mechanical functions of the building. The CIC will present at 6:30 on October 30th in the DES library.

I wanted to remind everyone of some PTO/DES events coming up in the near and somewhat distant future. Tomorrow the DES PTO will be hosting its first Bingo for Books event. This is sure to be a great event in which students and grownups will have the opportunity to play some bingo and win some books. Bingo for Books will be happening from 5:30 to 7:30. You can find more information here. The annual Dunbarton Elementary School Halloween parade and parties will be taking place on October 31st starting at 1:45. A little further in the future the annual Harvest Moon Supper will take place on November 4th from 4:30 to 6:30.

Dunbarton Rec. Basketball signups will be held in the school library on October 23 from 6-8 pm and October 25 from 7-8:30 pm. Watch for more information coming home with your child next week.

Also coming home in their backpacks next week is the 6th Grade Yankee Candle Fundraiser. The Class of 2018 is raising funds for their overnight trip to the Boston Museum of Science  in June.

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

September 29, 2017

posted Sep 29, 2017, 12:47 PM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

It is hard to believe this will be the last email for September 2017. As it always happens, time is moving quickly. Thank you to all of you who supported the DES Scholastic Book Fair. From what I understand, this was a record year and due to this, there will be many new titles being donated to DES teacher’s classrooms. Clearly, this is a direct benefit to DES students. Thank you to the Dunbarton PTO and Mrs. Westenberg for organizing and supporting this yearly event.

At this point in time the DES Building Project is still in its planning stages, but it is starting to take a more concrete shape. I will leave it to the Dunbarton School Board to inform you further, but I wanted to ensure you that from my vantage point, some exciting work is being done. I would encourage you to stay informed of this process as the plans continue to take shape. I will keep you informed as the school board releases information. 

Another way for you to stay informed is to attend information sessions as they are scheduled as well as to attend Dunbarton School Board meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 4th at 6:00 PM in the DES library. In my humble opinion, we are at an important point in the continued growth of DES and it is important for you to stay as informed as possible so you are able to make a decision you are comfortable with in March at the Annual School District Meeting, when you will vote on the budget for the coming school year. .

On the DES rules development front, we had our meeting at Bow High School yesterday. We had two representatives each from grades 1 - 6 participating. It was an honor to be a part of this as the adults (Mrs. Routhier and I) really let go of the reins and allowed the students to discover a process to create rules. I was impressed with their steadfast approach in creating meaningful rules that not only benefit themselves and their immediate peer groups but also the school as an institution of learning. They really understood and respected their task and it was a joy as both a parent and an educator to observe. Once the rules are revealed to the student body, I will share those with you. Our next step is to plan out a ratification meeting with the whole school, and this group is already working on some fun ideas to make it a meaningful meeting.

We have been hard at work trying to find a replacement for our former music teacher Mrs. Sullivan. We think we have found one and are in the final stages of the hiring process. Once this person is officially hired, I will introduce her to you via email. I can tell you we are excited about her as a teacher and look forward to completing the hiring process.

The Bow/ Dunbarton school staff softball team will play against Bow town office staff on October 13th at 5:30 on the ball field between Bow Middle School and the tennis courts. There will be concessions and a 50/50 raffle, all in support of the Special Olympics. This will be a fun night out for the family and a chance for students to watch some of their teachers play softball!

The SAU Wellness Committee is sponsoring a "Get Out and Walk Day" on Sunday, November 5th. I would mark your calendars as this looks to be a fun event. I have attached the flier here for further review.

I also wanted to remind you we do not have school on Friday, October 6th or Monday, October 9th. There is no school on Friday due to NEA day and no school on Monday in honor of Columbus Day. I hope you are all able to take some time this weekend to enjoy the fall weather we have in store. 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

Attachments area

September 15, 2017

posted Sep 15, 2017, 10:51 AM by Owen Harrington

​Dear Parents,

We have just completed our first full week of school for the 2017-2018 school year. So far, this has been a very strong start to the school year. I know I already alluded to that last week, but this week was an extension of that feeling. I truly feel this is attributable to the hard work the staff has put into utilizing Responsive Classroom techniques while working with students. We are going to continue with this commitment in the area of professional development for staff as we have scheduled a training for them later in the year and many staff members will be taking the level one training. Furthermore, Laura Landry (Special Education Coordinator) and I will be attending a Responsive Classroom leadership conference in November to further support the school goals. It is definitely an exciting time to be a staff member at DES. From what I can gather, there is a similar sense of underlying excitement among the students. Recess is certainly a much smoother operation and lunch seems to have been smoothed out so one is able to digest his or her food in a calm manner.

Our next step in this process will begin next week. Two representatives will be chosen from each classroom (by the classroom) to represent them as we start the process of writing school wide goals. There will be four reps from each grade level. At each grade level we will discuss the classroom rules and distill those down to grade level rules. From there those four will choose two grade level representatives to form a school wide council of sorts to develop school wide goals. Each grade level will have been represented in this process. From there, the two grade level reps from each grade will meet with the other grade level representatives  to create school goals. This is a student-driven process. The final step in the school rules development is the presentation of the rules to the student body. My hope is that at this presentation adults will introduce the presentation, but the students will then lead the presentation of the goals to further establish the concept of it being student driven. I can’t wait.

Believe it or not, we are already planning for Winter Activities. As such, Dr. Harrison and Mrs. Virta have already been in touch with Pat’s Peak to discuss when we will be skiing and the process for registering your child. My understanding is you will be receiving some information as early as next week. The deadline to register is looming in that it is November 14th. Although that sounds like it is far away, it will be here before you know it. If you have questions about the program, more information can be found here.  

We had our first all school fire drill today. All of the classrooms practiced their drill routine in order to be on autopilot for future drills. As this was our first one, it was announced to students so they could review the procedure quickly with their teacher before we began. It went well and students and staff did a wonderful job staying organized and efficient while exiting the building. We all made it out and all were accounted for in 4 and a half minutes. This is a great time for our first drill. Our next drill will be unannounced so it will be more of a real time drill.

Just a reminder the annual Scholastic Book Fair is starting up next Tuesday, September 19th. The family shopping night will be held on Thursday, September 21st at 6:00 pm. The book fair is a great opportunity to purchase popular titles at a discounted price. Not to mention, many of the proceeds come back to the school in the form of books for teacher's classroom libraries. This is important as we have been steadily implementing the Daily 5 in reading and one of the 5 strategies of teaching reading is "sustained silent reading." As the school year goes on each classroom challenges students to improve upon and increase their sustained silent reading time and comprehension strategies. A great way to support this is to have high interest books in classroom libraries. The Scholastic Book Fair is a great resource for said titles.

Pickup time for the DES PTO  Fall Playground Mum Fundraiser is this Saturday the 16th at the gym entrance of DES. They will be there from 11:30 am until 1 pm. They are also raffling off a 12" multi-colored mum at the pickup. Tickets are $1.00 for one ticket or $5.00 for an arms length.  Drawing will be at 2:00 PM and the PTO will deliver it to the winner on Saturday.

Attached is the NH State Fire Marshal's September 2017 Safety Educator newsletter. This monthly newsletter is in its 5th year of distribution and is geared towards PreK-Grade 8 families throughout the State.  The information provided is intended to bring awareness, and create conversations, on fire and life safety.

The Dunbarton Transfer Station reminds all residents that the annual Hazardous Waste Disposal Day will be Saturday, October 7 at the Bow Community Center.

The Goffstown Truck Center is looking for bus drivers. If you are interested, please call 497-3111 to apply.

I wish all of you a great weekend and thank you for all of your support in ensuring for a smooth start to this school year.


Owen Harrington

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