December 2, 2016

Post date: Dec 2, 2016 6:26:07 PM

Dear Parents,

I trust everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. It is always a great time to catch up with family and friends. We have some exciting news to share within this email. Thanks to all the efforts from students, parents, teachers and especially Mrs. Hast, we won the “What’s not to like?” grant from Merrimack County Savings Bank. Thanks to you, DES will have two water fountains with water bottle filling stations installed. They will be similar to the following units: water bottle filling station. We can’t wait!

During our most recent professional development day on November 23rd, we worked on competencies. At this point, we have completed all of our competencies (reading, writing,and math) and are now going through the process of cross walking our programs with our competencies. As an example, we sat down with our enVisionmath 2.0 program and ensured that it would align with our competencies. I can assure you it all does. To document all of this, a google sheet was created with a tab for each grade level. Each grade level then listed the competencies and then labelled where in the program the competency is addressed. The teachers did some great work through this process.

Competencies are a facet of the local (school level) curriculum. Within each subject a set of competencies is created. The goal is that a student would be "competent" with his or her understanding of the competency. As an example,this is one of our K-2 math competencies: I can represent whole number quantities in multiple ways (words, symbols, expressions, equations, etc.). Based on this competency, we are able to gauge a student's success in learning the concept as well as whether or not the teacher needs to find a different way to teach the competency. More importantly, it is so much more informative than a simple letter grade. Even more important, it creates a greater level of understanding for a student about his or her own learning. Instead of "doing the work" to boost a grade, a student will work harder towards learning. It is a powerful tool.

We are far from done, but we made some wonderful headway. Our next step is to finish this process for writing and reading. From there, we will need to identify and/or create performance tasks. Performance tasks are activities that show a student is "competent" in their learning. The beauty of enVisionmath 2.0 is many if not all of the performance tasks are already created. The same can be said for Lucy Calkins Writing. We will need to create some for reading, but that will not be a problem. The next step is to move into creating a report card that identifies that competencies have been met. The trick to this is creating a report card that is useful for parents, students and teachers. When we get closer to this point, I will be reaching out for parent input. Again, this is a long ways out, but I just wanted to keep you aware of the process.

The annual PTO Holiday Shop is starting on Monday, December 5th and will be running until Tuesday, December 13th. Your child(ren) should have received an envelope he or she can use to bring cash to school for the Holiday Shop. The PTO is still looking for volunteers to run the Shop. If you are interested in volunteering, you can sign up by contacting the volunteer coordinator at .

The DES Student Council is continuing to do great work. Their latest project is to hold a holiday toy drive for children in need. If you are interested in having your child participate, he or she can donate a new toy on December 13th. On the 14th the DES Student Council will deliver the toys to the Dunbarton Food Pantry. This is a great opportunity to help those in need in your own backyard.

We are heading into the holiday season, which can be a challenging time for many. If your child is experiencing any stressors that you feel could be impacted by school or could manifest at school, please feel free to contact us. We want to make sure we are always helping your child to put his or her best foot forward.

As we are moving further 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 "realfeel" 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.

There has been a rash of sickness as of late, especially the stomach bug and significant upper respiratory symptoms. I would encourage you and your children to practice frequent hand washing to combat this as it is certainly not a pleasant experience. Please practice caution and call your child in sick if you suspect an illness. Please call us at 774-3181 to report their absence, and remember to report symptoms in your message if there is a fever over 100 with cough and sore throat. You may also choose to report your child's absence through the Pickup Patrol.

The Annual Dunbarton Holiday Concert is this Sunday, December 4, at 4 pm, at the Dunbarton Congregational Church. Tickets are available at the door. There are 20 Dunbarton students involved in the concert this year, which features Danny Van Kalken (Mr. VK) on piano.This is always a great opportunity to get in the "holiday spirit" and it is a good opportunity to see our talented students in action!

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