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March 4, 2016

posted Mar 4, 2016, 12:14 PM by Owen Harrington

Dear Parents,


We are entering into a parallel time of excited controlled chaos both in the seasons of New England and the education world. For me personally, I really enjoy this time of year as it is a great experience taking the time to take the back roads home after work and seeing all the sap lines and buckets on the maple trees indicating spring is poised and ready to take hold. This year I took the time to tap some maple trees with my sons at our house. It has been a great experience of working together to learn more about the process and just enjoying the time together. In general, it is a time of great promise and excitement. Right around the corner are packed schedules as the next sports/activity season is around the corner. I know we (the Harringtons) will be driving from one baseball/t-ball practice and/or game to the other until summer.


At the school level, we are looking at the sunrise of the third trimester coming into view. The juxtaposition  is this is not only our last curricular push to ensure for student understanding of material, but it is also the start of assessment season with SBAC, NWEA, AIMS Web and Dibels all ahead of us. Although the loss of instructional time can be frustrating, the addition of accountability and/or confirmation of our successes is a much needed facet of 21st century education and provides students, parents, communities and the school with necessary feedback on our successes and areas in need of improvement.


With this said, I want to share with you some words of wisdom from our Director of Curriculum: Dr. Gage.


Spring administration of Smarter Balanced Assessment:
As a school district we endeavor to care for each individual every day, focus on learning and teach to touch the future.  In order to help guide the work we do, to meet these three core values, we engage in self-reflection.  Formal surveys, anecdotal comments, your correspondence, awards, national recognition and most importantly student progress, help us in this process of self-reflection.


Throughout a student's academic experience here in SAU 67, students and parents receive feedback on student progress in many forms. Parent conferences, returned assignments, report cards, NWEA1 assessments, and SAT2 scores to name a few.  This feedback provides stakeholders with information regarding student progress that is informed by local expectations (assignments and report cards) and more global expectations (NWEA and SAT).  Again this spring students in the Bow and Dunbarton School Districts will be participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC3), grades 3-8.  This assessment provides feedback in English language arts and mathematics.    SBAC is an adaptive digital assessment, meaning it is delivered online and student responses, to questions, will determine the complexity of the student's next question.  Your student will experience questions that are easy for them to answer and questions that they will find challenging.  Adaptive assessments provide a more personalized reflection of student achievement.  


Our assessment portfolio provides our school district with information to guide our self-reflection and it provides parents with information regarding their students' academic growth.  We understand that no single data point fully reflects what a student knows and can do.  We are exploring more comprehensive ways to report out students' portfolio of data.   We expect results from SBAC sometime in the fall of 2016.


For more information regarding Smarter Balanced Assessment please contact Don Gage, SAU 67, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment  228-2210  ext 346 or dgage@bownet.org


1NWEA = Northwest Evaluation Association
2SAT = Scholastic Aptitude Test
3SBAC = Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
4NECAP = New England Common Assessment Program


On another front, tomorrow is one of the most important days of the year (systemically) for Dunbarton Elementary School.  At 3:00 pm tomorrow the Dunbarton School District meeting will be held in the Community Center. During this meeting many items will be up for discussion and vote for pass or fail: the 2016/2017 budget, the teachers' contract, All Day K, 2.5% tax cap and a discussion on SB2 to name a few. The full descriptions can be found in the 2016 edition of School Bells. If you do not have your copy, it can be found here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZHVuYmFydG9uLmsxMi5uaC51c3xkZXN8Z3g6NTI3OGNkMjU4ZjM0YzVkYg . 


I would encourage you to come out to the meeting as child care will be available thanks to the Dunbarton PTO. It is important to be as knowledgeable as possible concerning your child's education and to ensure that your voice be heard one way or the other. I also wanted to remind you there will be no school on Tuesday as there will be voting. The school staff will be in to conduct professional development. 


With this dense email, I hope all of you take the time to take the back roads and enjoy the sites of seasons on the cusp of changing. Take some time to just enjoy family and whatever activities make you happy. We are looking at the final push coming just around the corner and will soon be in the fray of the spring activities. I am looking forward to the adventure, but know the whirlwind that accompanies it. In all sincerity, enjoy the ride.



Fondly,
Owen Harrington
Principal

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