September 16, 2016

Post date: Sep 16, 2016 4:49:17 PM

​Dear Parents,

Today I am going to shamelessly steal a metaphor John House-Myers (Bow High School principal) regularly uses. I would ask you to imagine that the school is a plane and that the months of the year are the various points along that plane's flight plan. With that said, the month of September would be akin to a plane taxiing on the tarmac, preparing to take flight and taking off. With the various classroom visits I have made so far this month, we are in great shape.

On one of my last tours I found engaged and excited students and teachers. In 6th grade, students were plugging away on fraction problems. Many of them were experiencing some challenges along the way, but they clung steady to solving the problems. Grit is a great thing and it was on display for all to see.

In fifth grade, students were either engaged in a science experiment in which they were creating Carbon Dioxide gas or they were working on reading. As is with most experiments this was a messy and engaging process. Students were loving the excitement of the exercise and were thoroughly proficient in taking notes of what they were observing. Other fifth graders in another class were reading away and clearly engaged in the literature. Some were working in small groups,others were reading and still others were engaged in conversation with their teacher.

Fourth grade students were involved in technology class and occupied with learning the inner workings of programs. The other fourth grade class was knee deep in writing, working on their pieces and following the teachings of "Lucy" as the Lucy Calkins Writing Program is often referred to at DES.

In third grade students were working on iPads to review and challenge themselves in enVisionmath 2.0. They were clearly enjoying the process and could explain to me in clear terms what they were doing and why.

Second grade was working hard on their reading. Those students who were not working directly with their teacher in a reading group were completing independent work at their desk or somewhere else within the class as the work dictated.

First grade was comparing numbers. Their excitement in learning about numbers and their relationship to one another (greater than, less than, etc.) was an infectious feeling. Kindergarten students were engaged in a similar exercise in that they were working on counting numbers. Again, this was an excited group learning more about the language of mathematics.

Sprinkled throughout were students engaged in strings lessons. Clearly, DES is a busy place, but it is also a well oiled machine. Beyond the classroom visits, it is clear to see that DES is prepared for takeoff as we are honing the schedules to work out any issues, the building has come together nicely, Chromebooks are abuzz and the children are arriving to school with a smile. Before you know it, we will be at cruising altitude and preparing for the rest of our 2016-2017 journey.

Speaking of Chromebooks, we just received shipment of our 4th grade Chromebooks. At the last school board meeting, the decision was made to purchase 4th grade Chromebooks to create a one-to-one environment for 4th grade. This decision is a very momentous one for us for multiple reasons. This one-to-one-environment creates a cascade effect. Now we can take the remaining Chromeboooks (40) and distribute them among the first-through-third grade classes so each class has a "pod" of Chromebooks. Roughly each class will receive six Chromebooks. The kindergarten classrooms will receive the iPads so each class will have a "pod" of those. This is an exciting decision, as it will really streamline our use of technology. Furthermore, students will have continuous access to technology at some level. Although access to technology is not education, it is certainly a strong and useful tool for teachers and students both.

Thank you to all for your continued patience during the student drop-off procedure. Our kindergarten friends are still learning the process, but are getting more and more confident with each day. I would ask that you please wait in the line as opposed to passing others who are still unloading their children. Although we ask that students exit on the passenger side of the vehicle, it is not always a possibility. Passing a parked car in the student drop off line is dangerous. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

The Book Fair is here! Students in all classes will have the opportunity to attend the book fair next week. On Monday Mrs.Turcotte's and Mrs. McCormack's classes will visit. On Tuesda,, Ms. Walleston's and Mrs. Spill's classes will visit. On Wednesday, Dr. Harrison's and Mrs. Morissette's classes will visit. Mrs. Virta's and Mrs. Wicklow's classes will visit on Thursday. On Thursday evening, the family night will be held. Parents and students are welcome to come in from 6:00 to 7:00 to purchase books. Mrs. Belanger's and Ms. Carter's classes will visit on Friday. The following week, Mrs. Gagne's and Mrs. Campbell's classes will visit on Monday and Mrs. Parzick's class will visit on that Tuesday. Thank you in advance for your support of the DES Book Fair.

Boy Scouts sign ups for grades K through 5 will be held on the Book Fair Family Shopping Night on September 22 from 6-8 pm.

Just a reminder that Old Home Day is this Saturday. The event will be held from 10:00 to 4:00 with a parade at 11:00. As is tradition, there will be a Ham and Bean Supper from 5:00 to 7:00 hosted by the Historical Society this Saturday at the Community Center. The Dunbarton Fire Explorers will be hosting a pancake breakfast on Sunday from 8:00 to 10:30 at the Dunbarton Fire House. There is no fee, but donations are greatly appreciated. Enjoy the festivities and your weekend.

Owen Harrington