October 20, 2017

Post date: Oct 23, 2017 11:51:46 AM

Dear Parents,

I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful color in the leaves. It seems we are definitely nearing a high point for the season. I often find this season to be one of the many reasons to tout the benefits and joys of living in New England.

As I am writing this email, two activities I have mentioned frequently are beginning to take a much firmer shape. Our student rules committee is actively working on its whole school presentation. At this point, we have commissioned the services of one of Bow High School’s students, Connor, who is showing great promise as a filmmaker. We are hoping to lean on Connor to show us what effects we are able to achieve when we film some scenes throughout the school of students following the rules and how doing so benefits them as individuals and the school as a whole. It should be a lot of fun and having that interaction between DES and BHS again is exciting.

We are also moving forward with our mission and vision work. We had six citizens from Dunbarton who attended various incarnations of Dunbarton Elementary School share their experiences with the 3rd and 4th Grades. We had individuals ranging in ages from mid 50s to mid 80s sharing. I can easily say their experiences were different than current DES students. To say the students were in awe would be accurate. They really enjoyed hearing from fellow Dunbartonians and enjoyed the give and take of simply conversing with these individuals.

The focal point of this exercise was to learn what was valued in Dunbarton schools in the past so we can recognize that as we move forward in the development of a more current mission and vision. Our next step will be to have the 3rd and 4th grades create reports to share out concerning past ideals and to share those with people who are interested in working on creating new mission and vision statements. It will be fun work. When we get closer to being ready to present, I will let you know so you will be able to participate should you be interested.

As we are moving through the month of October, certain gears of the school begin to become more involved with the overall machinery of the school. One such gear is that of Response to Intervention (RTI). RTI is a program in which students who may be behind their grade level peers in reading, math, and/or behavior are referred to the RTI team to be reviewed. When a student is referred to the team, parent notification will be sent and the team will meet to review any data on the student to determine next steps. In reading and math we have multiple sources of data such as STAR, DIBELS, SBAC, DRA, AIMS Web and classroom performance.

Should the RTI Team determine that a student is in need of intervention services, a plan will be developed. Generally speaking, this plan is to provide extra instruction outside of the general classroom instruction. We have blocks of time built into our schedule for this extra instruction. Our math coach and/or math interventionist would provide these services in math. Our reading specialist and/or reading interventionist would provide these services in reading. Kindergarten is handled a little differently in that the general instruction is given throughout their half-day program. If a student is identified as needing intervention services, he or she would receive these services after the half day of instruction. There are other students still who may be receiving Occupational Therapy or Speech Therapy intervention as well. Those students are scheduled for brief interventions at mutually agreed upon times between the service provider and the classroom teacher.

Throughout the RTI process students are assessed to determine if they are making progress and are approaching or at grade level. If a student is not making progress, he or she would then be referred to the special education team to determine if an evaluation for special education is in order. This can be a very daunting process for a parent, so I want to make it a bit clearer. Should you receive a notice about RTI for your child, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or me to clarify any questions you may have concerning the process.

As we are moving through the month of October, I wanted to take a moment to remind you of a couple of important events. The Dunbarton Capital Improvements Committee is hosting a community forum on October 30th at 6:30 in the DES library about the proposed building project. I would encourage you to attend to better understand the project and ask any questions you may have. I would also encourage you to remind any friends and neighbors you may have who are Dunbarton residents but do not currently have children in DES. It is important their voice is heard, as well that they have as much knowledge as possible concerning the proposed project.

I also wanted to remind you of the annual DES Halloween parade being held on October 31st at 1:45. For those who have not attended this event before, it is a great Dunbarton tradition. Students dress in their Halloween costumes and make their way around the town common. Both parents and community members gather to support the students as well as to revel in the tradition. As was done last year, the student council will be hosting a canned food drive during the event. Please consider donating to the event as we raised a significant amount of food for the local food pantry.

Don't forget that Trick or Treating will be held on Halloween evening around the Town Common. See the attached flyer from the Garden Club. Keep your eye peeled for the reigning Miss New Hampshire, who will be making an appearance on the Common during Trick or Treats. And it's not too late to send in your Halloween candy. DES Office staff is distributing the candy to residents on the Common next week.

Raffle basket items are needed for the PTO's Harvest Moon Supper held in the gym on November 4. See the attached flyer to learn which raffle items your child's grade is responsible for.

Dunbarton Rec. Basketball signups are in the school library this coming Monday, October 23 from 6-8 pm and Wednesday the 25th from 7-8:30 pm. Signups are open to boys and girls from Kindergarten through 6th grade. A fee is involved, but scholarships are available.

The last item I wanted to mention today is we are launching a Dunbarton Elementary School Facebook page. The hope is to use this page as another source of information for anyone who is interested. I will post these weekly emails on there as well as brief reminders. Feel free to follow the page as well as to share this with those you think would be interested. If you are on Facebook, just simply search for Dunbarton Elementary School and click the pages tab at the top to narrow the search for pages and follow the page to receive updates.

I hope everyone is able to get outside and enjoy the weather this weekend. It looks like it will be a great weekend for some outdoor activities.


Owen Harrington