Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School-October 2021

A Note from the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The students have settled in, and I am pleased to let everyone know that our school community is a happy and thriving one! In an effort to continue to strengthen our school community, our school continues to use the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning to foster safe, challenging, and joyful classrooms and school. Morning Meeting, one of the practices of Responsive Classroom, takes place each morning in every classroom.Teachers and students crave a certain amount of predictability and routine in the school day, especially at the start. The format of Morning Meeting is predictable, but there is plenty of room for variation and change. Meetings reflect the style of individual teachers and groups, sets the tone for respectful learning and establishes a climate of trust. It also motivates students by addressing two human needs: the need to feel a sense of significance and belonging and the need to have fun. It merges social, emotional, and intellectual learning.

Morning Meeting is made up of four, sequential components that intentionally provide opportunities for children to practice the skills of greeting, listening and responding, group problem solving, and noticing and anticipating. The daily practice of these four components are developed through the following activities: a greeting such as an air high five, student or teacher sharing of some news of interest or ideas, group activity through active participation and lastly a a daily message. Morning Meeting is so powerful in such a productive way.

In addition to the classroom morning ritual, students and teachers have developed their classroom rules and identified students’ hopes and dreams for the year. These two important exercises help to build an understanding of expectations and to set a tone for the classroom and the year.

Now that we have completed the first month of school, teachers have had the opportunity to get to know their students on a personal level as well as on an academic level. Teachers have begun to assess their students’ performance level to ensure instruction meets their needs. Our beginning year assessments in the areas of language arts and mathematics should all be completed by the first two weeks of October. In addition to the assessments given, teachers have been working with the students closely and are using observation to further gain understanding of how each child performs. This information is valuable.

Our Virtual Open House was recently held and it was a success. The staff and I thank the families that attended. If you were unable to attend, please contact your child’s teacher for a recording of the event. I applaud my staff for their efforts in showcasing their classrooms and sharing of important information.

Lastly, I thank all parents and guardians for your compliance with all procedures. Your cooperation and support are greatly appreciated and recognized. I also thank our PTO for supporting our Ice Cream Social. It too was a wonderful success and enjoyed by all.


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for October

10/4 PTO Meeting

10/7 Fire Prevention Day

10/8 Professional Development Day – No School for Students

10/11 Columbus Day – No School

10/20-10/22 Parent/Teacher Conferences – 12:45 p.m. Dismissal

10/25 & 27 Danbury Women’s Center Programs


You will soon be invited to one of the most important occasions of the school year - a parent-teacher conference. We will once again hold them virtually unless you wish to have an in-person conference. If a parent wishes to request an in-person conference, please contact the classroom teacher to make the necessary arrangements.

This conference gives you an opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss your child’s progress and to bring up any concerns or issues you may have. More importantly, you can talk about ways to work together to make this year as rewarding as it can be for your child.

You will receive notification from your child’s teacher regarding the scheduling of the conference. If for any reason you have difficulty making the scheduled appointment, we will try our best to make arrangements for a conference convenient to your schedule.

Here are some helpful times for a successful conference with your child’s teacher:

  • Before the conference, talk with your child about school: likes, dislikes, and feelings. Write down your concerns: academic progress, problems at home, behavior, peer relations, and questions about the teacher’s behavior plan and/or homework policy.

  • During the conference discuss the concerns you have written down. Listen carefully to everything the teacher says and take notes for future reference. If you do not understand something, ask to have it explained. Ask for suggestions for things you can do at home to help your child. Assure the teacher of your continued support.

  • After the conference, talk with your child about the conference. Share all positive comments the teacher made about him or her and let your child know you are proud. Follow up with any suggestions you and the teacher agreed upon. Be sure to call the teacher any time you have a question or concern.

This year, make the parent-teacher conference time a worthwhile experience for you as well as for your child. Together we can help your child to be a confident and successful student.

Reminder: Student dismissal time for Parent Conferences is 12:45 p.m.

School Arrival Reminder

School Arrival time is between 8:40-8:55 a.m.

Bus drop off: Bus drop off will be at the front door within the circle at approximately 8:40 a.m. Buses will unload one at a time. Students will enter the front door using social distancing and reporting to their assigned classroom.

In person drop off: A parent who wishes to drop off their student in person is asked to park and then walk the student to the front door. A staff member will greet and receive your child. The student is then directed to the classroom.

Car drop off: A parent who wishes to drop off only without walking their student to the door can do so no earlier than 8:50 a.m. following the bus drop off. The student must exit the passenger side of the car and will be greeted by a staff member. The student will be directed to their classroom. Only one car at a time will be permitted to unload passengers. For safety reasons, please wait in the car line allowing for only one car at a time to depart.

Travel and Parking Safety Tips

As the opening of school is upon us, I am asking you to help keep our students safe. Please 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.

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National School Lunch Program Reminder

For the school year 2021-22, the Region 12 Schools - Ed Advance Food Services has opted to participate in the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the National School Lunch Program. This means that all students enrolled in the Region 12 Schools will receive lunch free of charge. Parents may order milk or lunch through the Nutrislice App.

Visit us at our Website

The website for Regional School District is From there you can access the district page as well as each school's websites. The link for The Burnham School website is The staff will be adding information regularly. Please use it as an additional resource for information gathering.

K/1/2 OFF WE GO!

K-1-2 is off to a wonderful start as we work to grow our classroom community. It is amazing to loop with the first and second grade friends. They have made the kindergarteners feel welcome and included as they show/teach the ropes in our community. They are working hard to follow all of the safety protocols such as social distancing, wearing masks, and frequent handwashing. The boys and girls created personal goals. Some of the goals were to learn to read, read 100 books, make new friends, and learn rainbow words. We also worked as a team to create our classroom rules.

Our rules are the following:

Be a Good Friend and Be Kind

Try Your Best and Don’t Give Up

Be Your Best Self and Show Self-Control

Be Responsible and Respectful

We look forward to a wonderful year of growth, fun, and new friendships.

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Meet the New Staff at Burnham School

A Note from the Nurse

We are off to a great start to the school year! It is wonderful to see our students back together again. The children are doing an awesome job with wearing masks, washing their hands, and social distancing. The adjustment to these health safety measures throughout the school day has been smooth. Every grade level has gotten a review on hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, mask wearing, and social distancing by their school nurse. Here are some pointers to assist in discussions and plans with mask wearing and care:

  • The mask should fit snugly over their nose and mouth so they don’t have to adjust throughout the day.

  • Please provide a spare mask for your child in their backpack.

  • Your child must keep their mask on during their bus ride to and from school.

  • If using cloth masks, remember to wash them daily

PLEASE call your school nurse office if your child is showing any signs of illness. The symptoms of COVID19 can vary greatly. If your child has any of the following symptoms, discuss with your school nurse or pediatrician:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle aches

  • Nasal congestion or runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

The most common COVID symptom in children is cough and fever. If your child has COVID 19 symptoms, they will need a negative PCR test and doctor note or alternate diagnosis written by a medical provider to return to school.

Region 12 is following the CDC guidelines for domestic and international travel. Please review these before traveling and contact your school nurse for any questions. The guidelines can be found at:

International Travel During COVID-19

Thank you for your vigilance in keeping our school community safe.

Lisa McQueen, School Nurse, Burnham School: 860-354-9721

Sandi DiBella, School Nurse, Booth Free School: 860-350-6563

Terri Truczinskas, School Nurse, Washington Primary: 860-868-6879

Recognizing Burnham School's 2021-2022 PTO Board

President - Diana Kelly

Vice President - Tabitha Potok

Secretary - Krystle Toczylowski

Co-Treasurers - Joy Ruppert and Rhei Gordon

Burnham 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. The 2021-2022 scheduled PTO meetings are as follows: October 4, November 8, December 13, January 10, February 14, March 14, April 4, May 9 and June 13. We hope you plan to attend!

Burnham School's Ice Cream Social

A Note from the Library from Ms. Turney!

We’re FALLing for new books!

Welcome back! The new school year brings new additions to our library. There are many exciting new books to check out, as well as tons of new audio and eBooks on Overdrive/SORA! Do you have a request for something you’d like your child to read? Feel free to send me an email and I may just be able to add it to our next library order.

Check it Out!

Library visits are in full swing, but similarly to last year, library visits are taking place in the classroom. Our number one priority is to keep our students safe and healthy. As it was last year, rather than the students visiting the library, I am bringing the books to them. Students will continue to browse the Burnham School Library online catalog (KidZviZ or OPAC) to find and reserve books for checkout. Once returned, books remain in a special section of the library for a period of quarantine.

What is Overdrive/SORA?

Overdrive is the online database for Region 12’s digital resources- including audiobooks, eBooks, and even read-alongs. While most of our older students are already familiar with Overdrive and have the webpage bookmarked on their Chromebooks, this is new to our younger students. To make checkout of digital material even simpler for our younger students, Overdrive released an app called SORA. There, students can easily browse reading material at their age and interest level. The SORA app also makes checkout of digital materials easier. Students will be learning how to make the best use of this incredible app in the month of October.

Update on the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge

Once again, we are aiming for 100% participation in the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge. To those of you who have already filled out the Google Form to document your child’s summer reading or have submitted a written record of your child’s reading, thank you! If you have not done so already, please fill out the Google Form or submit a written record by Friday, October 15. Students and parents will be receiving an additional email with the link to the form.

Read Across America

The National Education Association has a brand new lineup of books for the 2021-2022 school year. Each month will feature books that highlight a specific focus. To that end, October’s books focus on Creating Change. The books selected for this month are designed to help students envision the kind of world they want to create and recognize the power they have to make a difference. For primary grades, the book is Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman. For middle grades, the book is The Magic in Changing Your Stars by Leah Henderson.

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Burnham School's Student Council

Burnham Student Council is in full gear with ideas for our 2021-22 year. In the month of October, you may see kindness and inspirational rocks painted by the students of Burnham School scattered around Bridgewater. Our mission to spread "Caring for our Community" a number One priority. October is also WEAR AND SHARE ORANGE to show unity for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion and to send a visible message that no child should ever experience bullying. We hope everyone joins us on October 20th and wear orange.


General Music with Mrs. Doiron!

Hey, do you make music?? We want to know!! Please take a moment to fill out the survey below to answer a few questions about how you, as an adult, continue to make music. Thanks!! Family Musician Survey

What a whirlwind! Thank you to everyone for your patience and flexibility as we continue to figure out how to make music safely within changing parameters. We hum and chant together in class and sing when we can spread further apart outside or in the gym. We move our bodies while sitting in our seats or standing behind our chairs. We use the materials at our desks to create sounds like percussion instruments. Last but not least we audiate like crazy!!

(Click here for the definition of audiation.)

Here is what we are doing in music during our first trimester!

K students sing unfamiliar and familiar songs like Going to the Zoo and Down by the Station. They move to the beat and with flow in lots of different ways. They play with music by audiating and creating rhythms.

First and Second graders work on reviewing patterns. Music is made of patterns!! We work on songs in major tonality (Sarasponda) and minor tonality (Dinosaur Diet) that are made of tonic patterns, dominant patterns, and an as yet unnamed third type of pattern! We also work on rhythms in duple and triple meter.

Third graders review these patterns as well. They are the building blocks of almost every song! They learn about dynamics and incorporate them into a poem. Plus we learn a few new songs that will easily transfer onto the recorders like Major Duple and Peirrot/Au Clair de la Lune.

Fourth and Fifth graders learn American folk songs like Erie Canal and Sweet Betsy from Pike while also learning drumming warm ups. We start by using our hands and pencils to tap on the desks but we are prepping for bucket drumming in trimester 2

Instruments with Mrs. Oppel

Band is back!

There is excitement in the air. Band class has begun. Classes at Burnham school meet on Friday afternoon.The students are having fun learning and making music.

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Good Character Traits

Burnham School encourages opportunities for students to develop positive character traits that promote respectful behavioral choices. We value self-regulation, leadership skills, kind and caring behaviors, and collaboration.

The teachers utilize The Second Step Program to promote social skills necessary for a caring community. When needed, grades three through five have access to a supplemental program, Steps to Respect. Additionally, our school integrates key character traits of cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control (C.A.R.E.S), by using the tenets of the Responsive Classroom Approach to teach social skills through academic learning.

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.

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.
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