Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - February 2020

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

During the month of February, we will be preparing to celebrate Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Read Across America is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer and illustrator best known for authoring popular children’s books under the pen name of Dr. Seuss. Did you know that Dr. Seuss would be 115 this year? While he is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the pages of his books.

Dr. Seuss had written and illustrated over 60 books during his career. His first book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street was published in 1937. Other favorites include such books as Horton Hears a Who!, Happy Birthday to You!, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, and one of my favorites and the last book published in 1990, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Dr. Seuss’s books have been translated into more than fifteen languages and his works have provided the source for eleven children’s television specials, a Broadway musical, and a feature-length motion picture.

In preparation of March 2nd, the teachers are working on activities to promote reading during the month of February, with a culminating celebration in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday/NEA Read Across America. Please help us by encouraging your child to spend time reading at home. Try choosing your favorite Dr. Seuss book!

Reading as a family is always an enjoyable experience and reading aloud to your child is the number one suggestion from reading experts across the country. Reading aloud to your child, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes literacy and language development, improves reading ability, and perhaps most importantly, fosters the love of books and reading. Reading aloud to your child requires only a book and your willingness to spend a little quality time with your child. While the sacrifices are few, the benefits are many. Your child will learn to read better, think better, imagine more richly, and become a passionate and lifelong reader. So take time with your child and share the enjoyment of a good book.

Once again, I thank you for your continuous support in helping us to build a caring and supportive school community. Our partnership makes a world of difference!

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

By Dr. Seuss


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for February

  • 2/5 PTO Enrichment Program-Surcari at Washington Primary School
  • 2/7 Grade 2 Field Trip to Downtown Cabaret Theatre
  • 2/10 Audubon Programs
  • 2/10 REACH Open House, 2:30 PM
  • 2/10 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM
  • 2/11 CAS Elementary Celebration of the Arts Banquet
  • 2/12 Grade 2 Community Program with Roxbury Seniors
  • 2/19 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM
  • 2/17-18 February Break – School Closed
  • 2/26 Dental Program

Big picture

Designing Booth Free’s Future

Superintendent Megan Bennett presented the multiage school configurations to approximately 50 Booth Free parents and community members on Thursday, January 30th. The event showcased two options for multiage classrooms at Booth Free. The presentation was the first of a six-part series regarding rationales for change, performance information, scheduling outlines, small group conversations, which all lead up to the final presentation of the Booth Free multiage age change proposal.

The presentation illustrated the dual-grade level and tri-figured grade level configurations along with the certified teacher to student ratio. The superintendent shared that the change was an opportunity to use staffing more fluidly. The multiage classrooms allow teachers to morph the classroom based on the needs of the students rather than asking the students to conform to the requirements of the classroom. Mrs. Bennett shared her view on the outdated industrial model of grade leveling. Her goal is to provide more personalized learning and attention to the students’ learning needs.

A hardcopy survey was sent home to parents. Please fill out the survey and return to the main office by Friday, February 7th. If you did not receive the survey, please contact the school. We want to hear the voices of the families.

The next Designing Booth Free meeting is Thursday, February 6th, from 5:00-6:00. This meeting will be small group conversations to allow for parent discussion of the multiage topic. Parents will be able to rotate through talks hosted by other parents, principals, superintendent, and families currently educating their child in a multiage classroom.

You can access the PowerPoint presentation by clicking the button below. The January 30th presentation was videotaped and will be posted on the Region 12 YouTube channel. We hope you stay informed about the changes. Any questions or concerns can be e-mailed to Superintendent Bennett or Principal Colella at Region 12 is excited for the future of Booth Free!

Designing Booth Free School Presentation 1

Upcoming Meeting Dates:

  • February 6th at 5:00 - Parent small group discussions/Survey
  • February 12th at 6:00 - Parent Presentation for survey results
  • February 26th at 7:00 - Presentation of Scheduling
  • March 12th at 5:00 - Multiage Decision and Next Steps
  • March 16th at 7:00 - Parent Meeting

Grade 1 - Learning Math Strategies

Math problem? No problem! Our first graders have been learning new strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems with efficiency. These young scholars have been learning how to use number bonds, simple math drawings, and related number sentences to demonstrate their thinking. In addition, the class is learning to explore different ways to solve an equation so they can find the strategy that works best for them! One of our favorite ways to solve is the “make-ten” method.

Grade 3 - Writers and Meteorologists

Would you like to read a fascinating book? Write your own! Our third-grade authors have been writing nonfiction texts about favorite subjects. From goats to tigers to guinea pigs, our writers have researched information, added personal knowledge, organized ideas, and composed engaging nonfiction texts about topics of personal interest. Each book includes a table of contents, a variety of chapters, a glossary, and list of sources. Students have been encouraged to peer-edit, learning how to constructively offer advice and support. What a great application of nonfiction writing elements!

Not only are our third graders authors, they are also budding meteorologists! Our science unit on weather has captured their interest. After learning about cloud types, students predicted the upcoming weather. Their cloud identification indicated precipitation was imminent. Within 10 minutes, we were in the midst of a snow squall. It was a great reward for accurate observations and reinforced the importance of science. If only all weather forecasts were as accurate.

Big picture

Grade 5 - Tower Garden

Thanks to the generous donation by the Quaranta family, the 5th grade class has been learning about growing their own food in a Tower Garden. The class worked together to follow the directions and assemble the Tower Garden, quite literally using nuts and bolts. With the help of Andrea Price-Johnson, a local Tower Garden aficionado, Mrs. Quaranta, and the fourth graders, the class then planted a variety of seeds in small pods. When the sprouts are more mature, the baby lettuce, basil, and arugula plants will be transferred into the Tower Garden. Be sure to check out our crops in the upstairs hallway the next time you are at BFS!

Booth Free School PTO

Parents are our partners in the important job of educating all our children. I urge you to attend and support the PTO, become a member, volunteer, and take part in helping your child to grow academically. PTO meetings will be held each month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will be on February 19 at 6:30 pm. We hope you plan to attend!

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

Flu Season is Here!!

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick.

CDC recommends a three-step approach to fighting flu:

1. Get a flu vaccination each year

2. Call your doctor if you get the flu, there are prescription antiviral drugs that can treat your illness and might be recommended for you

3. Practice everyday preventive actions to prevent the flu like:

  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Stay home for 24 hours after a fever is gone
  • While sick, avoid contact with others
  • Practice good cough and sneeze hygiene
  • Wash hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
  • In case of an outbreak of flu, follow public health advice
There is more information on fighting the flu on the Region 12 School Nurse Website under “Important facts and information”. The school nurse, Mrs. Sandi DiBella read “Germs are Not for Sharing" by Elizabeth Verdick and "Germs Make Me Sick" by Melvin Berger the students.

Visit Our Website!

Our web address is Once you are at the district’s home page you can visit Booth Free School’s website. The staff will be adding information regularly. Please use it as an additional resource for information gathering.

¿Qué Pasa? Español News from Señora Granka

Our Booth Free School students from Kindergarten through Grade 5 are consistently working hard to meet our learning targets during Spanish time!

Students in Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade have been learning winter vocabulary words for weather, clothing, animals and activities, and are using this vocabulary to listen to stories and express opinions.

Third Graders are nearing the conclusion of our “Capybara” story. What an adventure! While reading this story, students were introduced to the country of Ecuador, and learned about the capital city of Quito and the Galápagos Islands (where the Capybara travels to).

Fourth and Fifth Graders are almost at the conclusion of our “Perezosa Impaciente” (Impatient Sloth) story. It’s been exciting! While reading this novel, students were introduced to the country of Colombia, and learned about endangered animals and illegal wildlife trafficking.

Big picture

Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

What We’ve Been Doing:

Grades 2-5 began their monthly visits to Minor Memorial Library. While there, the classes took time to familiarize themselves with the Library and discover all that their public library has to offer all year long. I encourage all families to take time to visit the Minor Memorial Library to allow your children to show off their new library knowledge while discovering for yourselves what a valuable resource the library is to all BFS families. Please note, all BFS families can obtain library cards in person or online at HERE. Additionally, books can be returned directly to the library or via Ms. Gordon.

A special thank you to the library’s director, Teresa Roxburgh, and children’s services coordinator, Paula Sapse, for orchestrating, collaborating and planning these valuable visits!

This month every grade started talking about or reviewed book genres, examples and where to find them in our library.

What We’re Reading:

Grade 5 The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende

Grade 4 The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Grade 3 The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Grade 2 Clementine by Sara Pennypack

Grade 1 Gorilla Thumps & Bear Hugs by Alex Ortner and illustrated by BFS parent, Erin Mariano!What Would Danny Do, School Day by Ganit & Adir Levy There’s an Alligator Under my Bed by Mercer Mayer

Kindergarten Unicorn (and Horse) by David Miles The Little Red Cat by Patrick McDonnell

A Look Ahead:

February is devoted to children’s literature, with major awareness events including National Storytelling Week in the UK (January 26 to February 2), World Read Aloud Day (February 1), Take Your Child to the Library Day (February 1), Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week (1st week in February), Library Lover’s Day (February 14) and Tell a Fairy Tale Day (February 26). In the library keep an eye out for shelfies, Valentine/ Library Lover’s Day Fortune “cookies” and info about Read Across America Week (March 2- March 6) when our school will hold a week long celebration honoring Dr. Suess’s March 2nd birthday!

Stay warm with a good book!

BFS Star Writer of the Month Jane Light Grade 5

Congratulations to BFS 5th grader Jane Light! With the help of Mr. Hosking, Jane just published her first book! The book, entitled Cameron’s Race is a completely original piece that includes original cover art and illustrations. From start to finish, publishing the book, which included writing, editing, designing and drawing, took Jane almost a full year. When asked what inspired her to write a book, Jane who enjoys writing, said that she really loves horses and she wanted to tell this story of a girl who tries to enter a “boys only” horse race. Although she found the process of writing an entire book a bit challenging and lengthy, Jane believes it was well worth it and has already begun work on a second book!

Booth Free School's Lego Club, Team Roxy!

Several second and third graders continue to build their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in Booth Free School’s very own FIRST LEGO League Jr. team, Roxy’s Stars. In this before school club, the students build models using LEGO components and program the robotic parts they have built using a simple coding language. They work together using the FIRST (an international robotics competition with programs for students in elementary school through high school) core values, including discovery, exploring new skills and ideas; innovation, using creativity and persistence to solve problems; impact, applying what they learn to improve our world; inclusion, respecting each other and embracing differences; teamwork and fun. Guided by Mr. Hosking and Mrs. Palumbo, a parent volunteer, students build a mix of creative and planned models and create Show Me posters to present what they have learned.

The club focuses on building interest in STEM through a real-world challenge; this year's project is entitled Boomtown Builds. In the Boomtown Builds challenge, the students are presented with various problems that two community members of Boomtown face as they strive to make their city more accessible, environmentally responsible, easier to live in, happier, and more connected. During this challenge, thus far, Roxy’s Stars have researched and modeled Roxbury’s community buildings. They have also continuously used critical thinking skills and imagination to solve weekly mini problems. As the club’s work progresses, they will continue to use all of these important skills and may even have an opportunity to share their hard work and creative problem solving to other teams at a local convention! The club members and advisors look forward to continuing to grow as Roxy’s Stars!

Lego Club

Unified Concert

Elementary music in Region 12 is where students grow to become independent, creative, and confident musicians. This was evident on Thursday, January 16 when SVS hosted our Unified Concert! The event featured the combined choruses and bands from all three elementary schools. As a special treat, the 8th grade chorus and band also performed and then joined the elementary ensembles for their finales.

The students worked hard to prepare for the performance and with only one brief pre-concert rehearsal combined to make beautiful music! This was an incredible opportunity to prepare our students for a successful transition into middle school music. The elementary students were able to experience performing as a full ensemble, meet future classmates and teachers, and get a better idea of what music ensembles at SVS are like. The elementary students were also inspired as they listened to the 8th graders perform knowing that someday they too will reach that skill level. Thank you to everyone who helped make the evening a success and bravo to all our students who participated!

Leaders of Tomorrow!

Burnham and Booth Free Elementary Student Leaders in grades four and five recently attended the CAS Leadership Conference on January 8, 2020. Booth Free students, Wilson Benner, Grady Hughes, Frank Mariano, Rose Baker, Liam McGuire, Cameron Schell and Burnham students, Victoria Bargellini, Natalie Orletski, Liam Riendeau and Mason Romanoff traveled to Naugatuck Valley Community College with Mrs. Brooks to spend the day collaborating with peers from around the state, in some exciting leadership courses. Upon arrival they were encouraged to be independent and “ready to lead” at a moment’s notice. After they established their schedules, students excitedly headed off to participate in their classes.

The conference stressed the acquisition of four leadership skills: productive thinking, ethical decision making, creative problem solving, and communication. Students were divided into groups and assigned to breakout sessions that covered these skills with a variety of unique approaches. From collaborative games and art, to solving problems, communication activities, role plays, and “straight talk,” students couldn’t wait to share their learning with their friends and advisors. The day concluded with a poignant presentation which addressed bullying and highlighted the importance of being an upstanding person. Students left the conference excited and inspired to lead with assertion, creativity, and kindness.

School Closing Reminders:

Now that we have begun to experience a taste of cold weather, it is a good time to review school closing procedures. When snow or ice creates unsafe driving conditions, school may need to be closed early, school opening may need to be delayed, or school may need to be closed for the day.

School closing information is available on our web site ( or may be heard over one of several radio or television stations. The Region-12 Notification System will also be activated for delayed openings and closings, and also when the decision to dismiss school early is made, so please be sure we have your correct telephone numbers.

The following stations broadcast our closing and delays:

WTIC AM 1080/WTIC 96.5 FM, WINE 940 AM/WINE 95.1 FM, WLAD 800 AM/WLAD 98.3 FM, WHCN 105.9 FM, WREF 850 AM, WKSS 95.7 FM, WZBG 97.3 FM, WVIT -TV 30, WTNH - TV 8, and WFSB –TV 3.

Delayed Opening Times for a 2 Hour Delay:

Please see our district website for additional scheduling information. For a delay, please be aware of the following:

  • Students should wait at their bus stop 2 hours later than the normal pick-up time.
  • Students in K through grade 5 may arrive at school at 10:40 a.m.
  • School will begin at 11:00 a.m.

Good Character Traits:

(Referenced in Board of Education Policy #0210.3)

Region 12 is dedicated to strengthening the character of our students by encouraging a consistent set of ethical values that direct and guide behavioral choices. These universal values, which transcend political, religious, cultural, and the Golden Rule encompasses economic differences, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Therefore, good Character Traits are essential to the learning process. We work throughout the year in developing the following:

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Respect
  3. Responsibility
  4. Fairness
  5. Caring
  6. Citizenship

Good conduct is synonymous with good citizenship. Students are expected to exercise good citizenship at all times while in school, attending school-related activities and after school activities conducted at the school. This includes showing respect for the rights of others and regard for personal and school property. Students should strive to contribute to the climate of the school by being courteous and well mannered.

Booth Free School also utilizes The Second Step Program to promote social skills necessary to be a caring community. Additionally, grades three through five have access to a second program, Steps to Respect when needed.

It is our hope that the power and influence of the school-family partnership will provide consistent messages to our students regarding the development of positive student behaviors and thus, improve student learning.

Notification Service:

The Regional School District #12 Schools have a Notification Service to enhance parental communications. This service will allow us to send a voice message to ALL of our students’ parents on ALL of their contact numbers within minutes, if an emergency occurs at a school. The notification service will also assist the schools in reducing the recourses needed to pass along key information regarding school events or reminders.

The district will be utilizing this service for :

  • Emergency Notification
  • Inclement weather - early dismissals due to inclement weather
  • Rumor Control
  • Early-Release Reminders

Your child’s school may be utilizing this service for:

  • Attendance
  • Report Card Reminders
  • Grade level information i.e. field trip reminders
  • Notification of Open House/Parent Teacher Conferences/Parent Visitation Day
  • Art Shows and Concerts

The ability to deliver a message is only as successful as the contact information we have for our families, so please make certain we have the most up-to-date direct dial numbers. If this information changes, please let your child’s school know immediately.


  1. The service will leave a message on your voicemail or answering machine.
  2. If you have such things as Telemarketer Zapper or Privacy Director on your telephone lines, you may not receive the call.
  3. The service does NOT call extensions. If you have a direct dial number at work, you should provide your child’s school with the direct dial number not a main number plus an extension.

Travel and Parking Safety

Please help keep our students safe. Remember that it is a state law for all vehicles to STOP whenever a school bus has its red SOS lights activated. When the SOS lights are flashing, cars cannot pass the school bus. This means when picking up or dropping off students at their residence and even in the school parking lot. Violators are subject to a fine for each bus that a car passes.

Big picture
Big picture