January 27, 2017

Post date: Jan 27, 2017 8:25:07 PM

Dear Parents,

I hope this email finds you well. As I indicated earlier, we are definitely off to the races this time of year. Every time I visit classrooms, students and educators are fully engaged in the learning process and are in the midst of hard work. It is a great sight to behold.

I wanted to remind you again that February 1st is the Dunbarton School District Budget Hearing. The budget hearing is held during a regular school board meeting, so it will start at 6:00 pm in the school library. This is a prime opportunity for any resident to attend and hear the budget as well as the thought process behind the decisions made. Just as important, if you have questions or comments related to the budget, this is a great time to share them. I know the school board and administration have put tremendous thought into this budget to ensure that it meets the needs of all students, while still being conscious of the taxpayer impact. This is always a delicate dance, and the Dunbarton School Board board handles this responsibility with care for both town and school.

I also wanted to take a moment to bring you up to date on how the enVisionmath 2.0 implementation is going. The teachers have been speaking highly of the program and stating that students now understand and can use high-level math vocabulary and concepts. We are also impressed with the time frame of the introduction of the concepts. A good example of this is multiplication in 3rd grade or algebraic concepts in 6th grade. Both were introduced very early on in their respective grade levels and teachers were somewhat hesitant with this order. Students jumped to the challenge and are able to use and understand these concepts much earlier. In an effort to further solidify teacher and student understanding of the program, we will be bringing back a trainer we used at the beginning of the school year to meet with us during the March professional development day. The focus of the day will be problem solving skills, but we will also use the time to ask specific questions we have about the program to seek clarification. This will be a very valuable day for us. Should you have any questions about the program, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or me.

Next Wednesday will mark our last day of Winter Activities. Overall, I feel the partnership with New England College was a success. The DES students were able to get outside and learn more about their natural environment. During the activities I attended, I learned some team building games as well as what to do should I ever need to survive in the wilderness. The students have told me that they have enjoyed the lessons and it seems the New England College students have also learned from the process. We welcome any and all feedback from parents, should you have any suggestions.

I discussed STAR testing in my previous email. I wanted to let you know that we are almost finished with our second round of testing. We do still have some classrooms testing next week, but will have it completed by the middle of the week. Following the completion of the testing, we will be meeting as grade-level teams and having an internet-based training with a representative from Renaissance Learning. There is a definite difference between the data provided by STAR and NWEA, we need to review the results in order to better understand what they mean and how to interpret them to provide the best instruction to your children. I appreciate your patience and am happy to answer any questions you may have about the assessment.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

Owen Harrington