Past Posts

Post date: Aug 19, 2014 9:52:46 PM

May 28, 2014

It is hard to believe, but we are truly nearing the end of the 2013-2014 school year. As the year progresses forward, I cannot stress enough how fast-paced and stressful the end of the year can be for both students and staff. Students will be going on field trips, working on projects and continuing to learn at a rigorous pace. I would encourage you to send your child in with a water bottle of some sort since many, if not all, the classrooms will soon become very hot with the impending June weather. Thankfully it looks like we are all set to end the year much sooner than you did last year so that may not be as much of an issue.

The staff is also moving towards the end of the year at a rapid pace. I have spoken with many of them and they have all expressed the same thoughts of making sure they are meeting the curricular needs of the classroom as well as ensuring for a smooth end of the year. They are truly a great group of people who have your children’s well being as their main focus. I see this each and every time I visit the classrooms and see how hard the staff and students are working.

I hope everyone has or had the opportunity to see the Community Center entrance. Liz Van Saun did such a nice job with DES students as this year’s artist in residence. The best part of the project is that it is based on the history of Dunbarton. I am sure you will recognize the various aspects of Dunbarton when you see it. Thank you as well to Kim Belanger for working on this with Mrs. Van Saun and for having the foresight to do so since the 250th anniversary for Dunbarton is next year.

We have truly become a much greener school in the last two months. We have a much stronger recycling program and have branched out to include an outdoor bin for clean textiles. These would include any clothing, sneakers, hats, etc. All the items will be collected and the school will receive money for any items that are placed in the bin. If you would like to donate any items, the bin is located to the right of the community center entrance. Thank you to Woody from the Dunbarton Transfer Station for making this a reality for us.

Congratulations to Dylan, Falon, Finnian and Justin for having the opportunity to read their Memorial Day essays at the annual Dunbarton Memorial Day ceremony. The Dunbarton American Legion hosted the event and the students read their essays in front of all the attendees. All of the students were well received and represented DES very well. I thank them all for taking time out of their Memorial Day weekend to pay respect to the fallen soldiers and their town. Thank you as well to Ms. Griffin and Ms. Schult for supporting and organizing it on the school end.

I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.


Owen Harrington


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May 9, 2014

What a difference a couple of weeks make! Spring in New England is certainly one of those magical times of year. It is clear we have rounded the corner and we have the opportunity to enjoy the warmer weather and some great sunny days. With this in mind, I wanted to congratulate the efforts the Roots Garden Club is making to provide DES students with the opportunity to experience growing vegetables and various other plants. Not only are the students learning this, they are also learning how to work together, be members of their community and environment. These are all key life lessons. Thank you to Mrs. Hast, Mr. VanKalken, Chanti Berube Labrecque and Ken Kerber for all their efforts in organizing such an enlightening and fun experience for DES students.

The transition to the Bow School District is starting to come full circle. As we are coming closer to July 1st, I cannot thank the Dunbarton School Board, the SAU 19 and SAU 67 enough for the professional and collaborative leadership they have provided along the way. It has made a world of difference with such a complicated journey. Both SAUs and the school board have made it clear that Dunbarton students are the focus of this transition and will remain as such. With this said, I look forward to July 1st when the transition is no longer one of our main foci and student learning will no longer share the spotlight. It will be the spotlight.

In the spirit of discussing the transition, I wanted to remind you of the upcoming open house day for Bow Memorial School and Bow High School on May 13th. The open house for the middle school will start at 6:00 and conclude at 6:45. The open house for the high school will start at 7:00 and conclude at 7:45. All Dunbarton parents and residents are welcome to attend and learn more about both schools. School administration will be on hand to answer any questions and lead the events.

I also wanted to take a moment to remind parents of the NWEA and NECAP testing we will be conducting over the next few weeks. This past week the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students took their NWEA reading, language usage and math tests. Both the 5th and 6th grades will be taking these tests during the week of May 19th. Next week the fourth grade students will be taking their Science NECAP exam. This exam is composed of two types of tests: two standard pencil paper exams and one performance assessment (science lab). I know with what I have seen in both fourth grade classes, the students are as ready as they can be.

Next week will also start the 2014 DES Artist in Residence program. I can’t wait! With what I have seen from Liz Van Saun and the work she has in her studio ( the entrance way to the Community Center will be a sight to see. The mosaic tiling will be based on the history of Dunbarton. It is always a good thing when we can have a permanent piece of student artwork as part of our schools. This one is certainly no exception, but the truly great aspect of this piece is it will be about the community and for the community.

In closing, I wanted to wish our 6th graders a great overnight trip to the Boston Museum of Science on May 15th and 16th. I have taken a moment to look at the itinerary and it looks to be a great night and following morning. What is most exciting is the museum will be open solely for students to explore and experience. I think it will be a wonderful event and a nice opportunity for the students to begin their last leg as DES students before entering Bow Memorial School as 7th graders.

I wish you all the best and enjoy the warmer weather.


Owen Harrington


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April 23, 2014

We are now entering, quite possibly, the busiest time of year for students, staff and parents alike. It is time to dust off the baseball/softball cleats and gloves, spend plenty of time outside, begin that final curricular push in the classrooms and as parents hold it all together and keep it organized until the end of the school year. As we are entering this time I want to highlight three major events happening here at DES. We will be conducting the Northwest Evaluation Assessment (NWEA) testing. We will also be welcoming our 2014 Artist in Residence. Finally, the PTO will be hosting their final parenting workshop of the year with the Merrimack County Juvenile Diversion Program. The topic of this workshop will be illicit drug use among today’s youth.

We will be conducting the NWEA test the two weeks following our return from our April break. All students in grades 2-6 will be participating and this test will be conducted on laptops. As I requested during the NECAP testing, I would ask that students get plenty of sleep during these weeks and eat a good breakfast the morning of each test. Just these two alone will put a student in a better frame of mind for testing. As a school we use the NWEA test results mainly for progress monitoring of each student. The NWEA test results allow us to take a close look at our students’ progress and determine if we need to provide assistance in specific areas.

I am especially excited about the 2014 Artist in Residence program at DES. This year a local artist, Lizz Van Saun from Hopkinton, NH will be the artist in residence. Mrs. Van Saun’s medium of choice is mosaic tile art. Mrs. Belanger and Mrs. Bragg put their heads together and came up with the great idea of having Mrs. Van Saun visit us and help the students create a permanent art piece that will be displayed on the Community Center entrance. I can’t wait to see how great this is going to be and how it will brighten everyone’s day as they enter the building. I was fortunate to visit Mrs. Van Saun’s studio and I was amazed by her artwork and the passion she has for her artwork. If you would like to visit her webpage and see some of her amazing pieces, her page is as follows: .

I also wanted to highlight the last of the PTO parenting workshops for the 2013-2014 school year. Both Chris Averill and Rich Cram from the Merrimack County Juvenile Diversion Program will be the speakers and they will share their knowledge of illicit drug use and what is the most current information available. I have spoken with both of these individuals and I am most impressed with their backgrounds and approaches to this topic. They will be forthright, honest and compassionate. I cannot stress enough that this is a parent workshop and we ask that you arrange for childcare or take advantage of the childcare the PTO has so graciously provided.

I was very excited to see all the various Earth Day activities students were participating in yesterday. Throughout the school students were going outside and taking the opportunity to observe their natural surroundings. Some students wrote pledges, haiku, or simply took the time to be outside and one with nature on a quick nature hike. Mrs. Bragg is working with students to have each student create a leaf which will be displayed in a large, whole-school art project. We will conclude the week with a revamped recycling program that will be student-run. It is an exciting time and I am sure you share my excitement.

I also wanted everyone to know we held a fire drill today. Per usual, the drill was conducted quickly and efficiently. The students and staff knew right where they needed to be and all students were accounted for in less than three minutes. Conducting drills is an important facet of our emergency preparedness and allows us to solve problems while conducting a drill as opposed to doing so in an emergency situation.

In closing, in honor of administrative assistant day, I wanted to sincerely thank Mrs. Brown and Mrs. McKernan for all of their hard work. They have certainly been a life saver for me in this first year as school principal. I also know they are extremely important to all the staff at DES and the students. Without them, DES would not run nearly as well as it does. Needless to say, they are the glue that holds all of DES together and we are lucky to have them with us.

If I don’t see you before the April break, I wish you all the best.

Owen Harrington


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April 7, 2014

In the spirit of Volunteer Appreciation Week, I wanted to thank the numerous volunteers that are present each and every day at Dunbarton Elementary School. You are all performing a myriad of necessary activities for Dunbarton students and I want you to know we all appreciate it.

Even though what you are volunteering for may seem small to you, it is huge for us. It allows the students and staff to move further in their work than they could have done without your help. This is invaluable. All I can simply say is thank you.

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