April 8, 2016

Post date: Apr 8, 2016 6:25:16 PM

Dear Parents,

Spring is certainly in the air, although there was a bit of a stutter-start at the beginning of this week with the weather. We are sharing in the spring experience at the Harrington household as we just picked up eight baby chicks yesterday and are all working together to make a new home for them. It has been fun to see the joy on our children’s faces as they experience the initial stages of raising the birds and learning how to gently hold and care for baby chicks. The excitement is palpable.

The same can be said about the excitement level at DES. With that stated, there has been an influx of minor behavior incidences. If your child has been involved, I have been in contact. I would appreciate it if you could please have a pep-talk with your child concerning behavior and ensuring for appropriate and respectful behavior with all parties. Each behavior incident (no matter how small) is disruptive to that specific student’s educational experience as well as those around him or her.

Along with the spring season comes the potential shuffling of teachers for the following year. We do have three moves for the 2016-2017 school year. Ms.Harrison will be moving to 5th grade. Ms.Harrison has been at 3rd grade for many years and is ready for a change and is looking forward to the new/old grade level. I say new/old as Ms.Harrison taught at the upper elementary level for many years and is very knowledgeable about the age level. Mrs. Wicklow will be moving to 3rd grade. Mrs. Wicklow is also ready for the move and has taught multiple grade levels, so she is also able to adapt and do well in a 3rd grade classroom. Our final change is perhaps our most exciting in that it involves All Day Kindergarten. Ms. Walleston will be moving from 6th grade to Kindergarten. Although this is a large gap in ages, Mrs. Walleston has a tremendous amount of experience at the preschool level and combined with her experience in 2nd and 3rd grade, she makes a solid candidate for the kindergarten position as she is fully able to grasp the academic avenue students take from K through 6th grade. Rest assured, all of these changes were well thought-out and the teachers involved are excited about their new assignments.

In conjunction with the new teacher assignments, I will be sending out the 2016-2017 classroom placement letter late next week. Again, I would ask that you please not request any specific teacher, but instead if you want to write a letter concerning the placement of your child, you can describe your child as a learner and what type of environment would be most conducive to your child’s specific learning style. I am open to you writing to me concerning a previous experience you may have had with a teacher that you would prefer not to repeat.

We need to change our concert format once again. I apologize for any inconvenience ahead of time, but our spring concert will be a whole school combined concert. In an effort to be respectful of bed times, there will be a short intermission between the lower and upper elementary portions of the concert to allow for the younger students to go home. We understand there will be some who will have siblings performing during the upper elementary concert and we, again, apologize for any inconvenience, but this was an unavoidable situation.

An issue that has continued to be on students’ minds is Pokemon. I have informed the lower elementary students that they are no longer able to bring Pokemon cards to school to play or trade during school hours. There have been hurt feelings and regrettable trades that have occurred. In order to alleviate that,I would respectfully ask that all Pokemon cards be kept at home for the lower elementary students. There have been no issues with the upper elementary students and with separate lunch and recess times, this seems like a natural split. Thank you for your understanding and support with this issue.

As we march forward through the year, the SBAC assessment is coming closer and closer. As I indicated to you all earlier, we significantly pushed back the assessment this year and will be looking to give the assessment in May. The dates for the testing are as follows:

3rd Grade - May 17 - 26

4th Grade - May 3 - 12

5th Grade - May 3 - 12

6th Grade - May 17 - 26

Since we were most recently able to purchase Chromebooks for 5th grade students, we are able to provide more flexibility in when and where the SBAC is given. Not to mention, we have done a significant amount of planning for students this year and have ensured for the appropriate accommodations and preparation for each student to be best prepared for the test.

Speaking of the Chromebooks for 5th grade, now both the 5th grade and the 6th grade students are experiencing a one-to-one environment. This allows for a multi-layered approach to education all around. With this step, we are able to provide more access to Chromebooks for the K-4 population as well, since they will not have to compete with the 5th grade for Chromebook cart time. It is pretty exciting for sure!

Just a reminder the Sweetheart Dance is this Saturday evening at 6:00. I hope all the dads and daughters have a great evening. If you are planning to attend the dance but did not pre-purchase tickets, please email dunbartonptopres@gmail.com . I wish all of you a restful and relaxing weekend and, as always,please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office with any questions or concerns.


Owen Harrington