Principal's Page

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


Owen Harrington


June 16, 2017

posted Jun 16, 2017, 10:47 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

To begin, I wanted to remind all of you of the DES Field Day and Spring Fling that will be taking place on Wednesday, June 21st. If you have any gently used plush animals, DVDs, books, games, video games and age-appropriate toys that you are willing to part with, Mrs. Spill is looking for them for the Spring Fling White Elephant table. Please send your offerings in with your child before next Wednesday, or drop them off in the school office.
I also wanted to say thank you to all of the parents of promoting 6th graders who are the youngest in their family. These parents will be attending their last DES event (6th Grade Promotion) on June 20th at 6:30 pm and I wanted to thank them for their dedication to their children and DES as a whole. Your kind and supportive natures will be missed, and we wish nothing but the best for you and your children as they continue on their journey through life. 
In order for you to start planning for the next school year, I have included the 2017-2018 school calendar
In an effort to capture the year as a whole, I would like to recap the year. We had some great initiatives this year that I wanted to review.

enVisionmath 2.0
We instituted a new math program this year - enVisionmath 2.0. It has been very clear to us this year that this program is a program of merit. Students have worked hard on their problem-solving skills and it is abundantly clear that this program is full of grit. Students need to stick with problems in order to solve them. They have worked hard in solving problems and need to ensure for multiple methods of thinking in order to approach each problem. From kindergarten all the way through 6th grade, the students are experiencing this phenomenon. More importantly, the students are meeting with success. In my opinion, this is due to a three-pronged approach: students are up to the challenge, the teachers are preparing them well and parents have been supportive of the endeavor. Thank you. Just as important, when instituting a new program, very often standardized test scores will go down. Early indications for the math portion of the SBAC are strong. This is a key indicator to the success of the program and may hint at increasing success with time. We will continue to provide teachers with professional development at the start of the 2017-2018 school year to further hone our understanding of the program.

Summer Professional Development
A strong improvement to our approach this year was the use of summer professional development. During the summer of 2016 we had teachers in the building working on a mentoring plan, the implementation of Wilson Language, establishing our partnership with Constellations, providing time for new teams to work together to develop curriculum, ensure for consistent delivery of the Fundations program and to set a solid foundation for the implementation of all-day kindergarten. We used Title Two funds to pay for this work and will continue to do so during the summer of 2017 as it was hugely successful.
Continued Increase in Technology Access
This year all 4th graders had access to Chromebooks. In doing so we were able to push the remaining Chromebooks into the lower elementary (1-3)  classrooms. This allowed for "pods" of Chromebooks for the lower elementary classrooms. In doing so, all students had increased access to research, writing, better access to accommodations in all subjects and all around improved educational opportunities. We were also able to put all o four iPads in the kindergarten classrooms. As is always the case, technology in a school setting is simply an educational tool and used ineffectively is simply not helpful. I can say without reservation we have put tremendous thought into how we are using Chromebooks and other technologies.  Furthermore, we will be fully transitioned to SAU 67 with Bow taking over the technology supervision aspect of DES. This will create a seamless transition for students, but also improve our access to technology and create a scenario in which we will have increased opportunities for improvement in our technology program. It is an exciting development.
New Phone System
As the year progressed last year, it became increasingly clear that we needed to address our aging phone system. We were able to do so and have seen a marked improvement in parents' ability to contact us and, therefore, further improve our communication.
Continued Classroom Renovations
We have continued with our systematic classroom renovations from year to year and this year was no different. We were able to install new carpeting and improve the overall aesthetic qualities of both a kindergarten and first-grade classroom this school year. We are continuing in this manner this summer and are hoping to finish up the kindergarten, first, and second-grade classrooms. 
Improved 504 Oversight
We were able to increase our guidance time slightly this year to improve our 504 management/oversight. In doing so we were better able to meet the needs of our students with 504s as well as better meeting the needs of their families. This was a great opportunity for us as it only improved the educational opportunities of those students.
All Day Kindergarten
Although this is a bittersweet item for me, I cannot discuss the improvements this school year without mentioning All Day Kindergarten. I feel this program was a huge win for kindergarten students as well as the school as a whole. The kindergarten students were given a greatly improved and much more thorough curriculum. Not to mention, these students are now much better equipped to enter first grade from both a systematic and academic point of view. Furthermore, their presence alone enriched our school. I will miss seeing them all day, every day. wise.
Architectural Designs
I am greatly looking forward to the work that will be developing from now until next March. The Dunbarton School District Capital Improvements Committee took the step of recommending the Dunbarton School Board to hire Warren Street Architects as the architectural firm that will be developing plans for two proposed additions to DES. By taking this step, the Dunbarton School Board has committed to creating a vision for the future of DES. This is exciting work in that should it come to fruition, it will most certainly open more doors to learning for all of our students. I commend the board and the Dunbarton community for taking this leap forward.  
In closing, happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s reading this email. 
Owen Harrington

June 9, 2017

posted Jun 9, 2017, 11:42 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,


It is hard to believe we are entering into the last full week of school. As of today all the SBAC tests are finally complete. We are starting to wrap up the other end of year assessments and the weather is showing signs of summer. It has been a long week and we are due for more of the same the next two weeks. Our list of activities/events is as follows:


Saturday, June 10th

  • Bow High School Graduation


        Monday,June 12th

  • Assembly to Celebrate all the completed “Caught Being Kind” forms


Wednesday, June 14th

  • Grade 3 Field Trip to Seacoast Science Center 8:15

  • PTO Reading Contest Ice Cream Reward Party Grade 5, 1:35 pm

  • DARE Graduation 1:15 pm


Friday, June 16th

  • Grade 5 to the Polar Caves 8:15

  • PTO Reading Contest Ice Cream Reward Parties K-4, 1:45 pm


Tuesday, June 20th

  • 6th Grade to BMS for Move-Over Day 8:15 am

  • 6th Grade Promotion Ceremony 6:30 pm


Wednesday, June 21st

  • Field Day (AM)

  • Spring Fling 12-2 (contact PTO or office to volunteer for Spring Fling)


Thursday, June 22nd

  • Last Day of School/Step-Up Day/Early Release 12:15 (with no After School Program)


This always seems to be a hectic and frenetic time of year. I know, based on personal experience, with all the baseball and lacrosse practices we are attending, I am looking forward to things slowing down as well. I wish you all the best as we move through this time of year and, as always, please contact us if you need anything.




Owen Harrington

June 2, 2017

posted Jun 2, 2017, 10:40 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope everyone is enjoying this newfound weather. I didn’t think we were going to see the sun again! I wanted to remind and inform everyone of the special election occurring this upcoming Tuesday, June 6th. If you normally drop your child off at school, this will change things for you. On that day you will need to drop your child off at the back entrance by the playground. You would enter the drop-off area per normal, then go up the service road and drop off from there. Mrs. Hast and Chief Sklut will be there to escort your child into the school. Since there is the potential for multiple people being in the community center on that day, students will be eating lunch in the classroom as well as having physical education in the classroom. The door from the community center to the school will also be locked.

On Wednesday, the 7th, we will have a Full Evacuation practice for the whole school at 9 am. During this exercise, our students will be led by the staff and Dunbarton Police across the ball field and to the Town Offices, the rallying point for emergencies. When your children get home, feel free to ask them about the practice and how it went. We are looking at this as a walkthrough so students and staff know what to do in the event of an emergency. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

For those of you that are interested, we still have a limited number of DES yearbooks for sale in the office. Each yearbook is $9.00. The Silver Birch 4-H Club is holding a plant sale on the Dunbarton Town Common this Saturday from 8:00 to 12:00. Sounds like a great opportunity to get a head start on your gardens. Just a reminder, the last day of school is Thursday, June 22nd and this will be an early release day. After “Step-Up”, during which time they will meet their teacher for next year, students will be released at 12:15. It will be here before you know it!

We are very close to the end of testing for 5th and 6th graders. The initial results are starting to come in for the 3rd and 4th grades. As a whole, they are looking quite good. Again, this is only one test in each child’s life, so we take everything with a grain of salt with the understanding that an SBAC score does not solely define the successes and areas for growth for each child.

6th graders will be going on their annual overnight field trip to the Boston Museum of Science this upcoming Thursday and Friday, June 8th and 9th. This is always a great opportunity for students to learn more about their regional history as well as to take in some sights and learn some great science. It is certainly an exciting and valuable experience for our 6th graders.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Owen Harrington

May 19, 2017

posted May 19, 2017, 6:36 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Thank you to all of you who braved the hot community center last night for the annual DES Spring Concert. All of the students, Mrs. Campbell, Mr. Jenkins, and Mr. Hodges did a great job. Performing in front of others is hard work. The students took it all in stride and were wonderful.

If you have a vehicle in need of washing, the 6th grade is hosting its annual car wash today from 2:00 to 6:00 in the back parking lot adjacent to the police and fire stations. This is a donation only event. All proceeds go towards the 6th grade overnight field trip to the Boston Museum of Science.

As I have been walking through the halls and classrooms as of late, there is an annual phenomena occurring. Certain areas of the school are much quieter due to testing. As an education professional, this is a bittersweet occurrence in that there is not the normal hubbub inherent to the hustle and bustle of an elementary school. The plus side of testing is this is an opportunity for students to see where they are at in their schooling. This is always an opportunity for celebration in that there is always growth in some areas. Testing also shares where improvement can be found. This is where true learning and growth occur when we are given an opportunity to improve. The trick is finding the area and creating that sense of sticktoitiveness needed to improve. In a word: Grit.

As we are getting closer to the end of May, we will hold our annual Memorial Day observance on Friday, May 26th. This year’s observance is taking an interesting turn in that the Dunbarton Historical Awareness Committee is in partnership with us and will be providing information and materials to make our observance a bit more Dunbarton-centric. It should be a great learning opportunity for children and adults alike. For more information concerning the information that will be shared, please refer to the latest Teacher Tidbit Sheet shared by the Dunbarton Historical Awareness Committee.

The Dunbarton School District Capital Improvements Committee is well on their way in moving forward in their efforts to create a solid plan for the growth of Dunbarton Elementary. They interviewed a group of architects yesterday. The architectural firm they choose will be creating plans to address multiple areas of improvement for DES. This is an exciting development and I expect you will be hearing more information as soon as it is available.

On a final note, the town of Dunbarton has asked that I include this survey concerning a possible alternative in internet service providers. If you are interested in completing the survey, please click on the following link. Should you have any questions about the survey, feel free to call the town or go to the town website for more information.

I hope all of you are able to enjoy your weekend. It looks like it is going to be a great one.


Owen Harrington

April 12, 2017

posted May 12, 2017, 12:18 PM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I had the true honor today to introduce Chief Sklut to the NH School Administrator’s Association as the Southwestern NH Champion for Children. This was a wonderful event and it was truly enlightening to hear all of the good that is happening in NH thanks to the efforts of some truly dedicated folks.

I trust that you heard about our assembly with Monte Selby yesterday. If not, I have to say it was a wonderful time had by all. Mr. Selby shared some of his previous songs he created with other schools as well as some he wrote for his CDs. When he moved on to the songs written by our students, it was a great experience. Our students created some wonderful metaphors and imagery that really translated well into song. It was clear to me the students enjoyed the assembly and the 2017 DES Artist in Residence program was successful. If you are interested in purchasing a CD from the grammy award winning Monte Selby, you can download the order form here.

The PTO Reading Challenge continues for the next 2 weeks. The Reading Slip can be accessed here

I wanted to remind all of you about our school wide Spring Concert on Thursday, May 18th at 6:00. I hope you all have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing as many of you as are able on the 18th. I also wanted to wish all the mothers who are receiving this email a Happy Mother's Day on Sunday. It is well deserved.

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

1-10 of 98