October 18, 2013

Post date: Mar 31, 2014 6:49:29 PM

As I write this DES principal’s post, the NECAP testing has been completed. We are in the final stages of packing the boxes and literally sending the NECAP away for good. With the exception of the Science NECAP, which fourth graders will take in the spring, we will be converting over to Smarter Balance for our standardized testing. The Smarter Balance test is a testing instrument that works with each individual student taking it. Simply put, if the student is experiencing success within the test, the questions become more challenging. Should a student experience difficulty, the questions become less challenging. This calibration per student really sets Smarter Balance apart from the traditional standardized tests we are so used to. Thanks to the foresight of many individuals at SAU 19, students at DES have been tested within a similar test for years: the NWEA. I have attached links to both Smarter Balance and the NWEA so you will be able to explore both testing instruments. http://www.smarterbalanced.org/about/ & http://www.nwea.org/

Students at DES take the NWEA in the spring so we are able to gauge their yearly growth as students. It is important to note that although the NECAP and the NWEA are both valid and good testing instruments, we must not allow those scores to be the sole definition of success for our students. Our students must also be defined by their successes in the classroom and beyond. We must be willing to think outside the norm for every child and realize that although standardized testing certainly serves a purpose in determining the successes of some areas of a school, a child learning and growing as a whole person is just as important! I would encourage you to foster a zest for art, music, athletics, technology, service to the community, and beyond as well as a love of learning.

I would like to take a moment to thank the Dunbarton Transitions Town committee for inviting me to attend their last meeting. This group has come together to discuss creating a sense of community within Dunbarton and finding ways to foster that on a daily basis. In my experience, Dunbarton is a great community and this group would like to build upon this sense of community involvement to get others involved and create an even stronger community.

Along those same lines, Dunbarton Elementary School was again recognized as being a Blue Ribbon School. The description of what defines a Blue Ribbon School can be found here: http://www.nhpie.org/ . In order to qualify as a Blue Ribbon School, you must have a quality volunteer program at your school. DES has that in abundance. We have an extremely strong PTO presence and we are never at a loss for individuals willing to lend a hand in whatever fashion is needed. The most current display of this can be seen in the front of the building with the wonderful work the Dunbarton Garden Club has undertaken. The landscaping work they have completed is no easy feat. They have done so with the end goal of creating a school entryway and front that is inviting and naturally beautiful. They are well on their way.

In closing, I would like to wish all the DES families a wonderful and restful autumn weekend. I don’t think we will have too many more of these unseasonably warm days, so I hope everyone has the opportunity to spend some time outside with friends and family.


Owen Harrington