September 18,2015

Post date: Sep 18, 2015 8:00:42 PM

Dear Parents,

On my drive in this morning I noticed it is becoming closer and closer to the change of the leaves. The changing of the leaves is certainly one of the joys of living in New England. The changing of the leaves got me thinking about the many changes we have made at DES this year. I have an equally satisfying feeling as I think about those changes as each change we have made is a direct benefit to each child at DES.

I hope your children have been enjoying the first few weeks of school. I know the staff at DES have enjoyed every moment. Today marked our first Dunbarton Elementary School spirit day. As you saw in the notice, this is something we are looking to do every Friday. Students are welcome to wear Dunbarton gear, but certainly do not have to do so. Students and staff are also welcome to simply wear blue and white clothing to show their school spirit. It was certainly fun to see all the blue and white clothing this morning. We have plenty of school spirit at DES. I will refrain from the, “Yes we do!” and “How about you?”

Lucy Calkins Writing is in full swing at DES. The teaching staff is working hard to ensure for consistent instruction for all students. As such, we have already had a lower elementary school (K-3) meeting to discuss how it is working in the classrooms and I am happy to report that the teachers are enjoying the interaction between students. Early reports are showing a sincere excitement among the students to write. Writing is one of those subjects that can be very difficult to instill excitement about, as it is such a labor-intensive activity. Writing is such a key activity in our daily lives whether we are filling out applications, writing cover letters for job applications, writing reports, creating presentations for future or current clients--the list could go on and on. I feel very secure that the Lucy Calkins Writing program and the DES staff teaching it are putting DES students in a wonderful place to succeed as writers.

We held our first whole-school fire drill yesterday. I am sure your child(ren) shared this with you yesterday afternoon. The major difference from other years is it is the first time we had a planned fire drill as a whole school in our new location. Mr. Simons, day custodian, painted lines and labeled each row by grade levels, such as 1A and 1B. This allows us to be organized and efficient, even if a substitute is taking the students down to the evacuation area. Furthermore, we have all students and staff in one place and can quickly determine whether or not all students are accounted for. (Teachers hold up green cards to let us know if they have all their students or a red card to show they are missing students.) From there we are able to quickly determine whether or not students are actually missing or simply were released early or are absent. Needless to say, it is a quick process and our first fire drill from start to knowing all students were accounted for was complete in less than four minutes.

Your children may be coming home talking about the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) that he or she took. Each student at DES will be given a DRA to determine his or her current instructional level in reading. On a similar note, every student in grades 1 through 3 will also be assessed by one of the reading interventionists, using the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) benchmark tool. The information will be shared with classroom teachers to add to our knowledge about each individual as a reader. In doing so, the classroom teacher (with our reading specialist, Deidra Turmelle’s guidance) can review each student’s level and work towards completing an individualized plan for each student’s reading instruction. In doing so we are truly differentiating each student's instruction in an effort to maximize his or her learning. Should you have any questions about the DRA process, DIBELS or your child’s reading instruction, feel free to contact your child’s classroom teacher, Mrs.Turmelle (ext. 224) or me.

Mrs. Routhier (Guidance) and Mrs. Lunn (Occupational Therapist) are starting a new program for interested students. At the very start (7:35) of student arrival on Mondays and Wednesdays, students are welcome to join Mrs. Routhier and Mrs. Lunn in the kindergarten room to participate in energizing activities called Go Noodle . Please feel free to let your child know so he or she could participate if he or she so chooses.

The following is some information shared with us from Rene Ouelett, who is the social worker for the Bow School District. It is a great opportunity for any interested Dunbarton residents:


When Dunbarton joined an Area Agreement with Bow two years ago it began a connection between the two communities that has the potential to grow in ways that could benefit both towns. One possible part of that connection involves Rotary.

Bow has had a chapter of Rotary since 1970. The club currently has over fifty members. The club meets weekly on Fridays for a breakfast/meeting. The mission of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

    • The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
    • High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
    • The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
    • The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Part of the commitment to service for the Bow Rotary Club is to provide enrichment opportunities for disadvantaged students in the schools and to provide scholarships for graduating Bow High School seniors. Now that Dunbarton students also attend Bow Schools, they are also eligible.

The membership of Bow Rotary is interested in having members of the Dunbarton community join them, to expand the vision of the Club and to expand their service area.

You can learn more about the Bow Rotary online at If you would like to speak to someone about Rotary, attending a meeting or possibly joining Rotary please contact Rick Minard, at 340-5954 or


I also wanted to remind parents the school board is hosting an all day kindergarten forum on September 24th at 7:00 in the DES library.The PTO will be providing babysitting for any parents who are interested. If you know of anyone who would be interested in attending, please feel free to make him or her aware of the forum and the babysitting. That same night the Boy Scouts will be holding a sign up for any boys interested in joining. The sign up will be taking place from 6:00 to 8:00.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or any of us in the office.


Owen Harrington