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


February 16, 2018

posted Feb 16, 2018, 7:59 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

It is with pervasively confused and sad thoughts that I write to you today. I can’t explain enough how much these school tragedies affect all of us. As educators for some of us (myself included) they affect us on two fronts as both parents and professionals. Trust that during these times as a parent I understand and respect your concerns for your child’s welfare. As a professional, I am affected on a different level. I know how much I love my job and that child welfare is inherent in all that I do as well as any and all of my colleagues at DES and across the country. These tragedies touch us to our core.

What I am confident in saying is at DES we have done and will continue to do all that we can to ensure for your children’s welfare both in times of emergencies and the day in and day out stressors of life and school. As you know, we practice an enhanced lockdown procedure. We also ensure for multiple emergency drills throughout the year. Most important, we stay in contact with local emergency personnel and the town to ensure for a collective and organized response in the event of an emergency.

From the social emotional perspective, we have increased our guidance time to almost full time. I have seen the effect of this throughout this year. We are more fluid in our response to students in need and/or crisis. As a whole we are following the Responsive Classroom approach this year to ensure for not only academic success but also the creation of a community that supports each and every individual and strives to create a classroom and school community.

The next question is what can we do as individuals to counteract these tragedies? I would suggest starting at home. Hug your children as often as you are able. Check in on them. Make sure they are well adjusted and feel supported. If you are able, volunteer at your local school, coach a team, attend PTO meetings, or simply stay involved with your local community. On a larger, less local scale, contacting your representatives and expressing your beliefs may be helpful.

I would encourage you to contact the school or the Dunbarton Police Department if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s safety in particular or the school as a whole. We value your concerns and input and use it in decision making or as valuable feedback towards school improvement. We are in this with you and look forward to continuing to support your children in becoming productive and valued members of their local and greater communities.

Just a reminder, Monday is an early release day. Dismissal will begin at 12:15. Following dismissal, teachers will have a half day of professional development. The goal of this day is to move towards the completion of our science competencies. For those teams who are done with competencies they will begin the process of creating performance tasks (assessments) and rubrics to determine a child’s competency level on those performance tasks. It is exciting and important work.

I also wanted to remind you that the DES Student Council is continuing with its Pennies for Patients fundraiser. I have attached a flyer describing this fundraiser and how you can donate to it if you so choose. As a reminder, Saturday, March 10th is the School Meeting Day. This is your only opportunity to vote on the school budget as well as the proposed building project. You must be in attendance to vote. You also must be registered to vote in order to vote on the items. Please contact the town in order to become a registered voter. Please feel free to contact your school board members or any of us in the school if you have any questions.

Next week is also DES Spirit Week. The following is the list of Daily Dress-ups:

Monday:       Crazy Hair/Crazy Hat 
Tuesday:      Sports 
Wednesday: Red, White and Blue
Thursday:     Mismatch/Mixup 
Friday:           Class Colors
Kindergarten: Orange
First:              Blue
Second:         Green
Third:             (excused, because it’s Charlotte’s Web Day)
Fourth:           Red
Fifth:               Yellow
Sixth:              Black/White

Finally, next Friday, February 23rd is our last day of school before the February break. DES will be out from February 26th through March 2nd. Students and staff will return on March 5th.

I wish you all a restful weekend. It certainly looks to be a brighter couple of days. I am hoping you will have some quality time with friends and family.


Owen Harrington

February 9, 2018

posted Feb 9, 2018, 9:50 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

We are coming to that time of year when time starts to move very quickly. I don’t know if you are noticing it, but it is becoming more and more clear to me. Winter activities have closed and we are moving ahead in the middle of the latter half of trimester two. It is full steam ahead to February Break. This is an exciting time in that we are able to make a strong, consistent push of uninterrupted student learning in the classrooms and the school as a whole. Once we return from our February break, it will be more of the same through the months of March and April.

I wanted to say thank you to those of you who braved the elements on Wednesday night to attend the Dunbarton School District Bond and Budget Hearings. I feel the Dunbarton School Board did a great job reviewing the proposed building project as well as the accompanying proposed bond. Moreover, the presentation itself was extremely informative and eye-opening for those in attendance. The budget was also reviewed and it was clear to those in attendance the budget goals of the school board. If you were unable to attend, the school board will hold an informational session on Monday, February 12th at 6:00. They will be reviewing the proposed building project, the proposed bond as well as the 2018-2019 budget. If you are still unable to attend the information session, a slideshow of the presentation can be found here. It will be more beneficial to attend the information session so you can ask any clarifying questions you may have.

Again, I cannot encourage you enough to attend these sessions so you are aware of what the building project entails, the improvements that could be made and what your tax dollars would be going towards. It is also important for you to attend the annual Dunbarton School District Meeting which will be held on Saturday, March 10th at 1:00 in the community center. This is your opportunity to vote on both the budget and the building project. You must attend the meeting in order to cast your vote. Please make sure you are registered to vote in the Town of Dunbarton by March 3.  You can register in the Town Clerk’s office or at the next meeting of the Supervisors of the Checklist. The phone number for the Town Offices is 774-3547.

We are in the middle of our annual Pennies for Patients fundraiser that is organized by the DES Student Council. For more information on the fundraiser, please refer to this flier. There will be a PTO Meeting on Thursday, February 15th at 6:30 in the DES library. I also wanted to remind everyone that classrooms will have their Valentine’s Day parties on February 14 starting at 1:45. Students will have an activity, a water, and a healthy treat. Students will also exchange Valentines with their classmates. It should be a good time.

The Family Fun Poetry Night has been rescheduled to Wednesday, March 21st. A flier reviewing the event can be found here. I also wanted to share a link to the most current lunch menu. As a reminder, the lunch menu can always be found under the Parent tab of the school website.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend. 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

February 2, 2018

posted Feb 2, 2018, 9:02 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

We were finally able to get outside at our most recent Winter Activities. The only issue was that we were pretty low on snow. Hopefully we will have more snow with the upcoming weather pattern so we can have the full experience on our last Winter Activities Day. I hope the students have been enjoying the opportunities. I have found this second year with NEC to be a much smoother process and I feel the activities are richer. I am expecting more of the same as time goes on. Feel free to give me any feedback you have as the coordinator of the program welcomes any feedback so she can use it to improve the students’ experience.

I also wanted to remind you of Wednesday, February 7th,  at 6:00  which will be the annual Dunbarton School District Budget Hearing. There will also be a bond hearing to provide information for the proposed building project. In many ways, I find this evening to be one of the most important opportunities of the school year for parents and community members. The school board does a great job providing very detailed information about the budget. This year is even more important as the board will also be presenting detailed information concerning the proposed building project. No matter which way you choose to vote, it is imperative to have the accurate information so you are able to make an informed decision. If you would like to preview the building project information before attending the bond hearing, it can be found here.

Following the budget and bond hearings, the Dunbarton School District Meeting will be held on March 10th at 1:00 in the Dunbarton Community Center. You have to be present in order to vote. This applies for any portion of the meeting. Should you have any questions about the meeting process or items to be voted on, I would encourage you to contact any of your school board members. Their information can be found here. If you would like to attend this meeting to vote, please make sure you are registered to vote before you attend. You will not be able to vote if you are not a registered voter. If you have any questions about registering to vote, please contact the town hall.

Student Council will be sponsoring a new fundraiser for the group Pennies for Patients. This is a fundraiser the student council has traditionally sponsored each year. Most recently, they have partnered up with the Dunbarton PTO and will do so again this year. If you would like more information on the fundraiser, it can be found here.

I also have a few other reminders for you for the upcoming week. Dunbarton families (who have children playing rec basketball) have an opportunity for a reduced cost to attend tonight’s Bow High School game. All the students will need to do is wear their uniform and they will be able to attend for free. Parents will pay a reduced admission cost of $1.00. Sounds like a great deal!

I also wanted to remind you of the free Family Fun Literacy Night coming up on Monday, February 5th from 6:30 to 7:30. More information about the event can be found here. I also wanted to remind you again about lacrosse sign ups. More information about this can be found here.

I hope you all have a chance to get out and enjoy the weekend. 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

January 26, 2018

posted Jan 26, 2018, 8:58 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Wow! What a week it has been. On Monday, we had our annual Spelling Bee. Congratulations to Luke on his well-earned win. He had an exciting come-from-behind victory in the last two rounds. Pretty fitting given his wardrobe of a #12 jersey. Congratulations are also in order for Runner-Up Gabriella as she was also a spelling dynamo. She held her own quite well and certainly deserved her place in the last rounds. Watching the two of them duel at the end of the spelling bee was as exciting as any sporting event I have witnessed in recent time. Luke will represent DES at the State Finals in February in Concord.

We also had our second installment of Winter Activities on Wednesday. As it so often seems, the weather has been a challenge. We needed to forgo Winter Activities on the 17th due to a snow day and on this past Wednesday, we stayed indoors. Our recess area and the majority of the surrounding woods has become a skating rink! The NEC and DES students handled this with grace and ease and a good time was had by all. Hopefully, the warmer weather coming through the next couple of days will go a long ways towards melting much of the ice.

We had our annual Winter Concert last night. I feel as though it was one of our better concerts! There was a general level of excitement in the air. Strings and band were, as always, great. I am always amazed at the level of expertise the students are able to acquire in such a short time with both Mr. Hodges (strings) and Mr. Jenkins (band). Kindergarten had a great showing singing two songs they had practiced for quite some time. As always they had the audience in the palm of their hands.  Ms. VanderBok lead her first concert as the general music teacher at DES. It was a very successful showing with grades 1-3 performing individually and culminating the concert with a whole group rendition of a selection entitled “Snow Day”. For those of you in attendance, I am sure you understand why I have had the chorus of “Snow Day” in my head all morning…

As we are moving ever closer to the month of February, I wanted to once again remind you of the upcoming Dunbarton School Board meeting on February 7th at 6:00 pm. This will be a multi-tiered meeting in that there will be first a bond hearing, then a budget hearing, and finally a regular school board meeting. Should you have questions about the budget or the proposed building project, it is imperative that you attend. This is your opportunity to ask questions about the budget as well as the building project. You are also able to share your thoughts on either. 

Both the budget and the proposed building project will be voted on during the Dunbarton School District meeting on March 10th at 1:00 pm. You must be in attendance in order to vote. Childcare will be provided during the School District meeting. As always, I highly encourage you to attend in order for you to stay informed on the progress of the school district as well as to have the opportunity to have your vote counted. Should you desire to preview the documentation of the proposed building project, various information points can be found here.

We will be shifting gears with our mission and vision project. Instead of trying to find a date and time for community members and parents to attend a meeting to create the mission and vision, we will be working on this in a more internal manner and emailing out drafts to receive feedback. This will still allow for parent and community feedback but in a less invasive manner. I hope to have something out to everyone sometime towards the end of next week. If you would prefer more direct involvement than this, please let me know and I can share meeting dates and times.

Attached is a flier for our upcoming evening literacy program The Silly Laughing Fun Musical Poetry Show on February 5 from 6:30-7:30. This will be a free evening of fun for the whole family-we hope you can attend!

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


Owen Harrington

January 19, 2018

posted Jan 19, 2018, 11:16 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

We have had quite a disjointed week with no school on Monday and no school on Wednesday. Due to there being no school on Wednesday the Pat’s Peak Ski Program and Winter Activities will be extended for an extra day and will now conclude on Wednesday, February 7th. Please let us know if you have any questions about any of this information.

Today we had another whole school morning meeting. We ran it a bit different than in the past in that we had 13 separate groups doing the same morning meeting work. The twist was all grades were represented in each group. Sixth graders took the leadership role to ensure the younger students were comfortable and felt included so they could participate. 

Overall, I think it was a success. The younger students were somewhat shy, but I think their shyness will be alleviated the more we run this style of meeting. The focus of the meeting was recess. Students discussed what they liked to do at recess, how to stay safe at recess, and how to be kind and respectful at recess. I really enjoy observing the whole student body interacting with one another and simply encouraging one another. Perhaps this is my favorite part of Responsive Classroom, seeing the interaction among all the grades. Since the school has embraced Responsive Classroom I have noticed a more whole school/our school feel. It is a pleasure to be a part of this growth.

Included in today’s email are three attachments. We have a reminder for the Family Movie Night on Saturday, January 20th. There is also a notice that lacrosse signups are open. Think spring! I have included a reminder of our family literacy night with Jeff Nathan.

Finally, I have included a posting concerning the school board meeting on February 7th which will also be a public hearing concerning the proposed bond for the building project, which will be voted on at the School District Meeting on March 10 at 1:00 pm in the school gym. Directly following the bond hearing will be the school district budget hearing. As always, I can’t stress enough how important it is for parents and other residents to attend these hearings as they are extremely informational. It is also a good opportunity for residents to ask questions and provide input to the school board as they are finalizing the budget. The 2018-2019 budget is an extremely important budget and no matter which way you choose to vote, it is best to be as informed as possible. As a reminder, much of the building project information can be found here. Please feel free to let Jeff Trexler, Clem Madden or me know if you have any questions about the documents or the building project in general.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office. It looks like it will be a great weekend, so I hope you are all able to find some time to enjoy the beautiful weather.


Owen Harrington

January 12, 2018

posted Jan 12, 2018, 9:53 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Our first session of winter activities went very well! The students from NEC had very organized activities which the students seemed to enjoy. I started out at Winter Ecology where we discussed the various animals, trees, and environmental factors we can see along the wooded trail at DES. We also did a food chain activity. A pit stop was made at Shelter Building where we learned how to put together a makeshift shelter to stay warm in winter weather. I then made my way to Team Building and tried to help teams of students become untangled. I was not the most helpful adviser in this venture. From there I also observed Games in the Field and Arts and Crafts. Who knew you could make a volcano out of snow?! I did not get a chance to see Camp Cooking, but I heard it was great fun. The Snowshoeing and Nature Walk was a strenuous but exciting adventure! Those students in Survival Skills will certainly have some exciting new skills to share should you find yourself in a precarious situation in winter weather. Overall, this was a successful week. During the end of the reflection circle time, the students were very excited about their activities and shared what they liked so others could determine what they would like to do the next time around. I am looking forward to next week.

We are finally able to meet to begin the task of working towards a revamped mission/vision statement. I will personally reach out via email to those parents who expressed interest (early on in the school year) in participating. For those of you who were unsure of your ability to commit earlier in the fall we will have a meeting on January 24th to discuss the history of Dunbarton schools. We will further discuss what we want to keep from our history and what we are hoping to envision for Dunbarton Elementary School moving forward. If you are interested in attending, we will be meeting on January 24th at 6:00 in the library. It is sure to be an exciting opportunity to discuss where DES has been and where we want to be. I don’t expect we will have a revamped mission/vision by the end of this meeting, but we will be heading down that road.

Just a reminder, our DES Winter Concert will be held on Thursday, January 25th at 6:30. We are changing things up a bit this year. Only the grades K-3 choral students, band, and strings will be performing. During our spring concert the 4-6 choral students will be performing. This should bring about a more streamlined concert which is something we have been trying to achieve for a long time. This also marks our first concert with our new music teacher Ms. VanderBok. I am excited for all of you to experience her passion for music and to see how excited and engaged your children are when they work with Ms. VanderBok. It is sure to be a great night.

The PTO will be hosting a movie night on Saturday January 20th at 5:00 pm. The movie to be shown will be Cars 3. Take a look at the attached flier as there are some nice packages for pizza, water, and popcorn for various family sizes. Send in your order as soon as possible! It is sure to be a great family night.

On Monday, February 5th, DES will be hosting an enrichment assembly by Jeff Nathan. Mr. Nathan is an author who will be sharing his expertise in the area of literacy as well as music and fun! As part of this package, we will be hosting a family night in which families can come in and experience a similar show. The Silly Laughing Musical Fun Poetry Show will start at 6:30 on the 5th in the DES Gym.  Attached is Mr. Nathan's flier describing the event.

I also wanted to remind you of the screening of Screenagers on Wednesday, January 17th at 6:00 pm in the Bow High School Auditorium. I have attached a  flier describing more about Screenagers along with some information for you to view to aid in discussions with your children.

Finally, I also wanted to remind everyone of the February 7th Dunbarton School Board meeting which also serves as the Dunbarton School District Budget Forum. This is your opportunity to learn more about the 2018-2019 Dunbarton School District proposed budget. The board will go through the budget as well as the building project and, in detail, review each. I would highly encourage you to attend this meeting so you will be more informed of the working parts of both of these items. Attending this meeting will afford you the opportunity to ask questions as well as to share thoughts on the budget and/or the proposed building project. I would also encourage you to share this meeting date with your Dunbarton friends and neighbors so any and all interested parties are aware and can attend if they so choose.

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

January 5, 2018

posted Jan 5, 2018, 10:59 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year! I hope everyone is making the best out of this blissful New England weather pattern. I know my own children were enjoying the snow day until it came time to get to work clearing snow - indentured servitude at its best. With that said, I wanted to take this opportunity to once again remind you that we have taken the step to reduce our outdoor recess cutoff temperature to 15 degrees. Students will need to come to school with their winter clothing: hats, gloves/mittens, jacket and snow pants if they would like to play in the snow during recess. If they forget their winter clothing, they will need to play on the blacktop. If a student forgets gloves/mittens or a hat, he or she can get a new one to keep from Mrs. Hast (school nurse). Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Our first session of Winter Activities will begin next Wednesday! Dr. Viti from New England College came to our most recent staff meeting to discuss our second annual program and it is sure to be another exciting year. The main focus of the program will be to have DES students experience the opportunities a New England winter provides. As we had last year, students will be able to participate in Camp Cooking, Winter Survival, Shelter Building, Winter Ecology, Games on the Field, Team Building, Nature Walk/Snowshoeing, or Arts and Crafts. Your children will have the opportunity to choose their top three choices this upcoming week and we will work towards getting them into those top three activities throughout the four weeks of Winter Activities. This was a successful program last year and I am predicting this year will be even more so. It is a nice dynamic seeing NEC students, DES students and DES staff all learning from one another and enjoying themselves.

Don’t forget, Monday is free lunch day. Any child who would like to have a school lunch on Monday is able to get one free of charge. Please note, pizza day has switched from Wednesday to Monday. As you may be aware, we have switched pizza vendors from Constantly Pizza to Gils Pizza. I want to personally thank Constantly Pizza (specifically Dave and Justyn Constant) for their years of service to DES. They have been a good partner for us and I appreciate all they have done.

Since we have made the switch to oversight for our school lunch program to Mrs. Carbone (SAU 67 Food Services Director), some exciting changes have come into play. One of the biggest changes is the number of choices offered. I am sure you have heard about it at home. If not, ask your child. I also wanted to thank Pam Ducharme as she has stepped up to be the Head Cook and she is doing a great job being flexible with change and continuing to provide a great lunch to students. I also wanted to introduce you to our new Kitchen Assistant - Danielle Drew. Both Pam and Danielle have been working hard with the new system and are excited to be at DES.

The Dunbarton PTO has been approved for an Amazon Smile account. What this allows for is for you to go through this account when you order anything through Amazon. In doing so, Amazon will donate a portion of the proceeds from your order to the DES PTO. For more information on this program, please follow the following link.

Just a reminder that our winter concert will be on January 25th at 6:30 and will consist of the K-3 choral program as well as band and strings. It is sure to be a great concert and will be the first concert with our new music teacher Ms. VanderBok. I know you join me in welcoming her to DES. She has brought a new energy to the DES music program and I look forward to her sharing your children’s musical abilities with you.

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

December 15, 2017

posted Dec 15, 2017, 10:35 AM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,

I hope everyone has been enjoying the frigid weather. The current weather pattern is certainly problematic for recess and getting students outside. I am sure you are aware that our practice is to have students stay in if the “real feel” temperature drops below 20 degrees. Unfortunately, that has been the case the past three days. To try to alleviate this situation, we do bring a grade down to the gym to get more activity rather than simply staying in the classroom. With that said, please remember to send your child(ren) to school with the appropriate winter clothing so they can play in the snow if and when we make it outside. The appropriate clothing would be a hat, gloves/mittens, boots, jacket and snow pants. If a child does not have this, they will need to stay on the blacktop so they are able to stay dry.

As we are making our way towards the holiday break, the excitement level in the school is growing. This is certainly an exciting time for children! Please remember if you are sending in food for the holiday party, you need to get in touch with Mrs. Hast to ensure for it meeting the expectations of our wellness policy as well as not containing any allergens that could be problematic in some classrooms. The holiday parties will kick off at 1:15 on the 22nd. The 22nd is also a Wear Your Pajamas day. I have yet to convince students that I wear a shirt and tie as pajamas, but there is still hope. Please note that the 22nd is a full day of school.

When we return to school on January 2nd, the next day (January 3rd) will mark our first day of the Pat’s Peak skiing program. Due to the college schedule our winter activities program we do in conjunction with the New England College Outdoor Studies students will not begin until the following week on January 10th. For those students staying back and participating in the winter activities at DES, we will have similar activities from last year, with a few new additions. I will give you a more detailed update closer to the date.

I don’t foresee me emailing out on the 22nd, so if that is the case I do wish you and yours happy holidays and I hope you are able to spend time with friends and family.


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

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