November 17, 2017

Post date: Nov 17, 2017 6:12:54 PM

Dear Parents,

It feels like time is flying this school year as next week will be Thanksgiving. Along with this time of year comes family holidays. We would ask that if you are going away during the school year on a family holiday or vacation that you please inform your child’s teacher(s). By taking that step we can make sure your child stays on track and doesn’t get too far behind. With technology today (especially with Google Docs and our math program having an online component) it is becoming easier and easier to do so.

In the previous email I discussed Winter Activities. We did have a chance to meet with New England College (NEC) to discuss the upcoming Winter Activities season. Much will be the same this year as it was last year. Students who are going skiing will start on January 3rd. The NEC portion of the program for those who don’t go skiing will not begin until January 10th. We need to start this portion later due to the timing of the NEC 2nd semester. Many of the activities will be the same as last year: shelter building, winter survival, camp cooking, team building, and winter ecology to name a few. They are still working on organizing activities so when I hear more I will let you know. As we discovered last year, students who don’t go skiing have exciting activities of their own and they learn more about the winter season in New England.

Just a reminder that next week is a very short week with students attending only on Monday and Tuesday. We will have a professional development day for classroom teachers on Wednesday. Our focus will be on Science Competencies. Those who are not classroom teachers will have separate activities focused on their specialization area. Once we complete our science competencies we are left with social studies competencies. Our focus will then be the identification and/or creation of performance tasks (assessments) to determine whether or not a student has met the specific competencies. Many of those performance tasks are already part of our math and writing programs. We will have the task of creating reading, science and social studies performance tasks. I don’t anticipate this being a tedious task, as much of what we are already doing will meet those needs. Feel free to contact Dr. Gage (SAU 67 Curriculum Director) or me if you have any questions about competencies or performance tasks.

We have finally reached the pinnacle of our DES Rules Development. I have really enjoyed this process and am very encouraged by the thoughtfulness and pride of the students who are writing the rules. On Monday we will present the rules to the school in the form of a whole school morning meeting. The students who created the rules will be running this meeting. It should be a great opportunity for them and the school as a whole. Once we have presented, I will email out our new rules along with the video the committee made via the direction and production of Connor who is a Bow High School student. This was a great journey on so many fronts.

Once we have this project completed, I plan on moving full steam ahead on our mission/vision development. We have started the process. Our next step is to have a presentation on the history of Dunbarton schools. I will email an invitation out to parents and community when we get closer to the date. I already have a list of parents who would like to participate in this process. If you indicated an interest in doing so when the survey was sent out to you, I will be in touch in the near future to see if you are still able to participate. I am excited in that we will be able to utilyze the mission/vision in our future decision making.

Looking toward the holiday season, there are a number of community events coming up:

Operation Secret Elf

Created in the mid 1990’s by then Dunbarton Welfare Director Dick Mannion and the Dunbarton Congregational Church Food Pantry manager Patty Shearin, Operation Secret Elf is a grassroots effort to help families in the town of Dunbarton during a financially challenging time of the year. Assistance is given to the families that choose to participate in the form of a gift for their child or children. Tags are made with the child’s gender, age and gifts wishes on it and are distributed to “secret elves” in the community. The gifts are purchased by the “secret elves” by a determined deadline and distributed on a scheduled evening in December in time for the holidays. Would you like to be a “ Secret Elf” for a Dunbarton child? For further information or questions, please contact Patty Shearin @ 774-3208 or

Dunbarton Tree Lighting

The Town of Dunbarton annual Holiday Tree Lighting (brought to you by the tireless Dunbarton Rec Association) will be held on the Town Common at the gazebo on Sunday, November 26 from 5:30-6:30.

DES PTO Handmade Holiday Workshop

The DES PTO is holding a 'drop-and-shop" event on December 2 from 9:30-12:00 in the gym. You can drop your children off so they can create handmade holiday presents, and you can spend some quality alone time shopping! More information can be found here. To volunteer for the event, email

The following Saturday, the PTO will be hosting a holiday cocktail party on December 9th. Please see the attached flier for more information.

Dunbarton Rec Annual Bus Ride to Boston

The Dunbarton Parks and Rec sponsor a trip to Boston every year. This year's trip will be December 2nd, with the bus leaving at 7:30 sharp. It returns at 5:00. The cost is $10 per person. There is a maximum of 50 seats. The bus drops off and picks up at Fanueil Hall. If you are interested in attending you can call or visit Line Comeau at the Town Office. The last day to sign up will be November 30th.

Dunbarton Community Holiday Concert

The annual Dunbarton Holiday Concert, featuring many DES students as well as pianist Daniel van Kalken and a chorale, will be held on Sunday, December 3 from 4-6 pm at the Dunbarton Congregational Church.

Wreaths Across Dunbarton Chili Supper

A chili supper fundraiser will be held for “Wreaths Across Dunbarton”. Money raised will go toward purchasing holiday wreaths and bows for the graves of the 182 veterans buried in Dunbarton cemeteries. The supper will be served from 5:30-7:00 pm on Friday, December 15 in the Noyes Community Center (school gym), and tickets are on sale at the school office. Call 774-3181, ext. 201 for more info.

I hope everyone is enjoying the fall season and since I will not be in touch next week, I wish you all the best for your Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a great chance to reflect on all that is good and enjoy doing so amongst family and friends.


Owen Harrington