November 18, 2016

Post date: Nov 18, 2016 7:31:20 PM

Dear Parents,

Where to even start? We are in the midst of an extremely busy and exciting time at DES. I want to thank all of you who took the time to vote for the grant proposal to install water bottle filling station. Thank you as well to Mrs. Hast who had the foresight to propose and write this grant. At last count, we have a comfortable margin, but this is the last day of voting and if you have not voted yet, please consider voting.

As I am typing this, we are in the midst of a facilities walk-through. Although this may sound mundane, I can assure you it is far from it. The school board understands the needs of the building, but wanted to commission a Capital Needs Improvement Report in order to flesh out the various needs and their costs. A gentleman from On Site Insight is here with Mr. Simons (DES maintenance) reviewing the various areas of the building. Where this gets really exciting is On Site Insight will create a report that details the various needs of the building, a suggested timeline of meeting those needs and a cost analysis over time. This is an extremely useful tool in the areas of budgeting and planning.

If you are interested in viewing the screencast of the enVisionmath 2.0 program review as well as how to access the parent resources on Pearson Realize, you may do so at the following links: enVisionmath 2.0 Program Review and Pearson Realize Parent Resources. Both of these videos should "pull the curtain back" some for you as parents. I would encourage you, at the very least, to take a look at the screencast of the various parent resources available to you on Pearson Realize. I know these resources will help you to support your child at home. If you have any questions about any of the information shared, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I wanted to take a moment to thank the student council for all of their great work. They have come up with a list of projects they would like to take on. What I find most promising about this list was they had the sense of purpose to reach out to their fellow students and create suggestion boxes. From the suggestions they received they created their list of ideas to improve DES. So far they have created a bulletin board upon which students who have been caught doing something good are posted. This is a wonderful way to simply recognize students for being good citizens. As I previously mentioned they also conducted a food drive. A sub-committee of student council came up with the idea of soliciting phone calls for our grant proposal. This simple idea certainly put us over the top! I am looking forward to the other great work this group will bring about and will keep you informed of their progress. Thank you as well to Mrs. McCormack for all of her great work with them as their adviser.

Speaking of students having a voice at DES, students will have completed the first round of the Panarama Survey early next week. As you may recall from last year, students in grades 3-6 have the opportunity to share their thoughts on their experience at DES via the Panorama Survey. At last count, most of these students will be done by next Monday. This is a valuable resource for the teachers as they receive anonymous, personal feedback from students. As a former teacher, I cannot tell you how valuable this is as it is information directly from those who are learning from your teachings. This information has the potential to reshape a teacher's methods on both small and large scales dependent upon the feedback she or he receives. It can also further support the great work DES teachers are already doing.

Along these same lines, the latest edition of the Praxis will be coming out soon. Dr. Gage is hard at work creating a Praxis loaded with examples of students learning. I had the opportunity to review the most recent draft and it is chock full of information for you as parents. I highly recommend that you take the time to review the information within and, who knows, maybe you will see your own child(ren) in the pictures.

I also wanted to share some more information with you about the 2017-2018 budget process. This is a unique budget year for a multitude of reasons, one of them being the increase in enrollment costs in Bow. Our costs will be increasing at Bow High School next year simply because there are less students graduating than entering into the 9th grade creating a cost increase. Although I am not able to share a definite cost for you due to the cost not being completely determined, I can state it is a significant cost increase.

This creates a dilemma for the school board in that they need to weigh the overall budget costs/needs with the budget proposals coming in. Some decisions must be made in this type of scenario. As I have come to know and understand this board, these decisions are not made lightly and are made with consideration and great respect for the outcomes of said decisions. I would encourage you to do your best to stay abreast of the budget as there will be opportunities to learn more about the dynamics of the budget process at the various board meetings from now until the school hearing in March. The next school board hearing will be held on December 7th at 6:00 pm in the DES library.

Please note there is no school for students next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday in recognition of Thanksgiving. The teachers and I will be here Wednesday morning working on our competencies in reading, math and writing. I am looking forward to this work as it will have a direct positive impact on your children. I will not be emailing you next week so I wanted to wish all of you a restful and enjoyable time with friends and family on Thanksgiving. I hope you are all able to set aside your busy lives and take some time to sit back and reflect on all that is good in your lives. Sometimes this is a challenge and I have always found Thanksgiving a good time to do so.


Owen Harrington