January 29, 2016

Post date: Feb 10, 2016 6:31:31 PM

Dear Parents,

The crazy weather is certainly continuing. Unfortunately our playground area has become very icy again with the melting and freezing that is occurring with our unseasonably warm weather. Because of this, for safety’s sake, we have been limiting some of the activities they are able to play. For those of you that signed up for the Boys tubing event at McIntyre Ski Area, please remember that will be taking place tomorrow at 11:00 am. Arrival is suggested between 10:30 and 10:45, and remember to bring your Liability Waiver. I am sure it will be a very memorable event.

I wanted to take a moment to give you an update on our Lucy Calkins Writing program. My focus for teacher observations this month has been the Lucy Calkins Writing program. When I visited the classrooms and conducted the subsequent conversations with teachers, there is a genuine excitement for the writing program and writing in general. Students are engaged in their writing and are not balking at the writing process. Students generally are not fond of writing due to the amount of genuine work involved: drafting, writing, revising, editing and sometimes going right back to the drawing board. Whether first graders are writing opinion papers about their favorite collections, second graders are writing lab reports, third graders are writing about their opinions, fourth graders are writing informational papers, the fifth graders are practicing reading response, and the sixth graders are working within Peg Writing (a computer based writing program, the students are engaged. Perhaps more importantly, students are happily engaged in the writing process. In my humble opinion, this is the most beneficial aspect of the Lucy Calkins Writing.

In speaking with students, they are enjoying their writing time and look forward to it each day. The teachers are learning as they go, since it is a new program, but I know with continued use, the teachers will mold it to fit their teaching style as well as staying true to the consistency of the program. Due to this, DES students will grow as writers and continue to work on finding their voice in their writing. It is an exciting process.

February 3rd is an important day in the school budgeting process. On February 3rd, the school board will hold its annual budget hearing. What this means is at the start of the meeting (6:00 pm), the school board will review its proposed budget for the 2016-2017 school year. As part of this process, the Dunbarton public in attendance will be able to ask questions and/or give their input about the budget. It is important to know what the budget holds and how it could have an impact on your child, your household, the school as a whole and the community at large. Then on February 10, two petitioned warrant articles will be presented and discussed during an open hearing with the School Board at 7:00 pm in the school library. I would encourage you to attend both February meetings so you have an understanding of what will be presented on March 5th during the Dunbarton School District Meeting.

We have started the process of looking into our Everyday Math program to determine if this is the program we will continue with for the foreseeable future. Yesterday a representative from each grade, Special Education, our math coach, Dr. Gage and I met to discuss our goals and what we hope to accomplish by examining our current practices. I can easily say right now we are in a very exciting place in that we are taking the time to review our current curriculum and determining whether or not it is fitting our needs, the needs of the Common Core and most importantly the needs of DES students. As time goes on, we will be having this discussion in conjunction with the Bow School District in order to ensure for a consistent pedagogical approach within the SAU as a whole. No matter what, whenever schools take the time to review teaching practices and come together to ensure for consistent educational experiences for students, it is a benefit all the way around. At this point, I can honestly say I don’t know where we will be at the end of the process, but I do know I am going to enjoy the journey.

The following are notes from Mrs. Hast - School Nurse:

While it certainly hasn’t’ seemed like winter weather this week, there has been a slight increase in illness here at DES, mostly in the form of colds.

Cold symptoms can last a week to ten days. While over-the-counter products do not kill a cold virus, they can alleviate symptoms. Your child’s provider or the pharmacist is a good resource for products that might be appropriate for your child. Please be aware that multi-symptom products often contain a pain medication such as acetaminophen. This is important to know as you would not want to give additional pain medication on top of a cold symptom reliever.

To speed recovery, encourage increased rest and fluids (send in a daily water bottle), coughing in elbow/sleeve and frequent hand washing (for everyone!) Consider a day of rest and fluids if your child is struggling with symptoms. It is a long day for a child who is not feeling well.

After a brief hiatus, a few cases of strep throat have been reported here at DES. There is usually a sudden, severe sore throat, accompanied by fever, tender swollen neck glands, headache and stomach ache. There might be a sandpaper type rash.

Strep diagnosis is made by throat culture by your child’s health care provider. If I suspect strep throat, I will certainly call you. Strep is in nose and mouth secretions so it can be coughed, sneezed or smeared around on hands. Children are most likely to spread strep to others when they have symptoms, not during the 2-5 day incubation period.

Strep infections are treated with antibiotics. This is important to prevent the spread and possible development of rheumatic fever. Children can usually return to school after 24 hours on the antibiotic.

A fact sheet with more on this topic can be found on my website. As always, please call me with any concerns and updates. It is very helpful for me to know what is “going around”. Your child is important to me!

I wish you all a relaxing weekend and, as always, please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or concerns.

Owen Harrington