September 23, 2016

Post date: Sep 23, 2016 3:17:12 PM

Dear Parents,

I trust your week has gone well. It continues to be a wonderfully eventful time here at DES. As you know, we had our first Scholastic Book Fair this week. Students were excited! I hope the students brought home some quality books to share with the family. I know time tends to be short on availability as we are all leading hectic lives, but there are few activities that are more enriching for your child than simply reading a book to/with him or her. I would encourage you to make some time this weekend to do so. I am going to try my best to do the same as my 4th grader even still enjoys and looks forward to sitting down with his brother and sister to listen to a story. Often he enjoys being the big brother and reading to his siblings and parents; that is super fun to watch. Leave those dishes for a bit one night and give it a shot. You will feel better for it, trust me.

These past two weeks have been somewhat fragmented for me as I have spent some time at workshops and conferences on leadership and best practices in curriculum and instruction. One message kept ringing loud and clear to me throughout my time away: we are fortunate here in Dunbarton. We are members of an extremely supportive community from the school board/sau level down to individual students and families. Education and student success is a priority. I know from first hand experience, DES is staffed with individuals who care about students, each other, and the success of the school as a whole. Many heavy weights are able to be lifted with such an ethos.

We were given a great opportunity at the start of this school year. Jack Rich, a senior at Bow High School, decided he would focus on anti-bullying for his senior project. As part of that, he has commissioned Acacia from Tiny Girl Big Dreams to speak to students at both Bow Elementary and Dunbarton Elementary. As part of this, Rich will also be donating a "Friendship Bench" to the students of DES. This bench will a companion piece to the "Buddy Bench" we will install on the playground at the same time, a gift donated by the Staff of DES in honor of retiring teacher Donna Brightman. This is a great opportunity for students to reflect on the impact of simply being kind to one another. We will have our assembly for students on Friday. This would be a great opportunity for you to talk to your children about being kind and have them share with you what they learned. If you would like to know more about Tiny Girl Big Dreams, more information can be found here: .

In speaking of students taking ownership of their learning and being more accountable, I am pleased to announce we are recommissioning the Student Council at DES. There is certainly a palpable excitement throughout the 4th through 6th grade students as they are writing their application essays. Although this is a great opportunity for improved student involvement in school wide decisions and experiences, it can also be a student's first foray into the world of politics and voting. Although we would wish for all students to have an opportunity to represent their class, only two per classroom will be selected (four for 6th Grade). Please keep this in mind as a great opportunity for character building for students since not everyone will be chosen, but it is important to be an active participant in the greater community. I am proud of every student that has taken the initiative to apply as a student council member and look forward to working with them more in the future.

Remember that the PTO Autumn Festival will be held here at DES on October 1 from 3 - 6 pm. They are still looking for volunteers.

As we enter in the first days of autumn, I wish you all the best and hope you all have a great weekend. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Owen Harrington