December 23, 2015

Post date: Jan 8, 2016 6:09:15 PM

Dear Parents,

It is hard to believe we are leaving for our holiday break. This year is really flying by. I hope this email finds you in a jovial and festive mood. As I am reflecting on what I want to email to you today, I am thinking back to the budget and our SBAC scores. Although both of these can be daunting in their own way, they are also both great tools for change and positive development.

The school budget for the 2016-2017 school year is truly starting to take shape. I can assure you the SAU, school board and school administration are working together to create a budget that meets the needs of each student, the school facility and is cognizant of the individual taxpayer’s fiscal responsibility. With that said, I wanted to let you know the school board will be discussing the budget further on January 6th. During this meeting there will also be an update from the All Day Kindergarten committee in which they will report their findings and suggestions to the board. It is sure to be an informative meeting in which the school board (as is always their main cause) continues the all important process of determining the future path of DES. Exciting!

The SBAC scores have given the staff at DES some time to pause and reflect. Although the scores for some grades were not great, this opportunity for reflection is. We will be spending the next couple of months determining how to best meet the needs of students educationally as well as ensuring we are best meeting their test-taking needs. Although I firmly believe that the SBAC test is simply a moment in time for each student and needs to be taken as such, it is also a small reflection of student and school success. As such, we want to make sure each student is put in the right position to succeed. This might include providing testing accommodations (many of them are available to all students), ensuring students are receiving the appropriate classroom interventions, making sure the students have the appropriate test-taking strategies and simply making the testing a positive school event. I know that before I arrived here DES was a school in need of improvement in the area of math. As a school community, DES rallied and put in some stop-gaps similar to what I described, and the scores subsequently rose. More importantly, instruction and student learning improved. They did it then and I know they can do it now. As always, student success and a positive self outlook for each student is our main goal each and every day--not high test scores.

For those of you who are interested, the listing of DES honor role students will be published in the December 24th edition of the Goffstown News. I also wanted to remind you that we will be returning to school on January 4th. I hope you all have the opportunity to spend some time with friends and family to celebrate the holidays and/or just enjoy the time out of school. DES is a great community of learners and it continues to amaze. I hope you feel the same and I Iook forward to seeing all of you in the new year.


Owen Harrington