May 15, 2015

Post date: May 19, 2015 4:51:47 PM

Dear Parents,

As I sit and type this message out to you, I am enveloped in a feeling of thankfulness and the usual level of stress that accompanies the latter portion of the school year. I am sure as you read this,you concur. There is plenty to be thankful for as we review the school year. I am sure you are able to see the gains your child(ren) have made since September. This is exciting. The one thing we cannot forget (here is the stressful part), the school year is not over. We actually have quite a bit more to do. It would be much appreciated if you could help us to keep the students on point, so to speak.

Our first Smarter Balanced Assessment is finally complete. The sixth graders completed their testing this week. We were expecting results shortly following the testing, but that time frame has been extended some. We were able to look at this round of testing and learn from it. With more technology on the horizon, we will be able to make this a shorter process in the coming years.

Just a reminder to all fathers and daughters, the Me and My Guy dance is tomorrow night. If you are planning on attending, the dance will be starting at 5:30 and concluding at 8:30. There will be a DJ, plenty of food and fun. With the theme of country hoedown, how could that not be fun? If you planned on attending, but did not purchase tickets, you are more than welcome to purchase tickets at the door. Each ticket is $8.50.

As I am looking into the next week, there are a few big events coming up. We have our spring round of the NWEA testing coming up. Students in grades 2-6 will be partaking. This is a much less involved test than the Smarter Balanced testing. The advantage to the NWEA test is we are able to compare the scores from the fall test to determine the level of growth a student has made. This will help the teacher to assess his or her teaching as well as the student’s individual learning. It is imperative to note this is only one data point at one time in a student’s learning. I am a strong believer in never hanging our hats on one data point. A student should never be defined by his or her scores on a test, rather he or she should be looked at as a whole child. With this said, I hope you support your child in taking the test by ensuring a good night’s rest and a solid breakfast the day of the test. On Wednesdayboth the 6th and 3rd grades will be testing. Second graders will be testing on Thursday and 5th grade will test on Friday. The students will be taking the reading portion of the test and it is expected that it will take roughly 45 minutes for them to complete.

You may note that 4th grade is not listed for NWEA testing.This is due to them taking the Science NECAP next week. This is a fairly involved test in that students will be taking three different tests during the week. There will be two portions of the test devoted to multiple choice and short answer. It is expected that each one of these will take roughly 45 minutes. The third portion of the test is a science experiment, which is also called the inquiry portion of the test. Although we have transitioned to Smarter Balanced, the science portion of the testing is still given in the NECAP format, which is a pencil/paper test. The fourth graders will be taking this test on Tuesday, Wednesdayand Thursday of next week. You will be receiving a letter today that will give you more details on the testing.

With the warmer weather here, it is beneficial to be reminded about the dress code. The dress code can be found in the student/parent handbook on page 24. Of important note, we ask that shorts and skirts be, at minimum, fingertip length. We also ask that spaghetti straps not be worn. Flip-flops and shower sandals are not allowed. We would appreciate your help in making sure the dress code is followed.

If your car is in need of a car wash, the sixth grade is holding a car wash on Friday, May 29th from 2:00 to 5:00. The event will be held in the back parking lot by the fire department. There is no specific fee for a car wash. It is donation only and all proceeds will benefit the 6th graders’ overnight field trip to the Boston Museum of Science.

In observance of Memorial Day we will be having a small Memorial Day assembly on the morning of Friday, May 22nd. Thank you in advance to the Dunbarton VFW for aiding us in observing Memorial Day.

In closing, I am extremely thankful for the years of service that Shelley Westenberg and Lisa Cross have provided as the president and vice-president (respectively) of the Dunbarton PTO. Via their leadership the PTO has provided DES students with top notch programming. I cannot overstate how positive and helpful these two ladies have been to DES as a whole. One would be hard pressed to walk through this school and not find multiple aspects of the school that the PTO was not a part of developing. Shelley and Lisa are a driving factor in this and are to be commended for their hard work and dedication to the children of DES. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I wish you all a wonderful and restful weekend.


Owen Harrington