February 16, 2018

Post date: Feb 16, 2018 3:59:04 PM

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