Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School, November 2019

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The teachers have just completed their Parent-Teacher Conferences. I am pleased to report that 100% participation took place. The staff and I are fortunate to have you as our partners in the learning process. These conferences have given the teachers an opportunity to share the progress of your child(ren) and to help you gain an understanding of the expectations for future learning and improvements. It was also a time for teachers to gain assistance from you in establishing goals for home and for school.

The teachers look forward to seeing you again on November 20th. On that day, parents and guardians are invited to attend our Visitation Day event. This will give you an opportunity to see your child(ren) engaged in the academic setting. Please try to find time in your day to visit with us. It is a wonderful opportunity to see our curriculum in action!

Our Intramural/Morning Fitness Program is up and running for our grades 4 and 5 students. Physical Education teacher, Mr. Morgan has reported that students are excited and buzzing about this program. The Intramural Program will run throughout the year on Wednesday mornings from 8:10-8:45 a.m. Students will participate in floor hockey, basketball, aerobics, volleyball, movement games, and soccer. Each session has a fitness component. Overall health and wellness can improve with participation in the Booth Free Intramural/Morning Fitness Program. It is a great opportunity for our students to develop and to strengthen friendships, cooperation skills, and sport specific skills.

Although last month’s newsletter announced our 100% participation in the Governor’s Reading Challenge, I now have additional information to share. I am pleased to inform the school community that we had impressive results with a total of 1,254 books read. This is an increase of 112 books from the previous year. I am proud of our students efforts. Thank you parents and guardians for all of your efforts in encouraging our young readers to read during the summer months. It is a wonderful and worthwhile activity to engage in, not only in the summer but all year long. The staff and I are looking for 100% participation rate which I am confident we can reach again next summer.

As I look ahead, I want to remind parents and guardians that the marking period will end on November 26th. Report card distribution will take place on December 6th. Your efforts at home are so helpful. Keep reading to and with your child(ren). Review papers that come home and remember to contact your child’s teacher should you have a question or concern. Working together will result in your child(ren) becoming successful learners.


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for November

  • 11/1 Fire Prevention Day
  • 11/5 Election Day – Professional Development for Staff/School Closed
  • 11/11 Veteran’s Day – School Closed
  • 11/12 World Peace Flag Ceremony
  • 11/18-22 American Education Week
  • 11/20 Parent/Guardian Visitation Day, 9:30-11:30; 1:30-2:30
  • 11/20 PTO Meeting, 6:30
  • 11/26 Lyman Pie Pick-up
  • 11/26 Spelling Bee and Pie Feast, 1:15
  • 11/26 School Picture Re-takes
  • 11/27-29 Thanksgiving Recess
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When the weather turns cold and grey, is there anything better than snuggling up with a good book? Well, maybe sharing it with a friend! The kindergarteners have been doing just this, enjoying old favorites. From The Carrot Seed to The Three Billy Goats Gruff, passersby have surely wondered if there really was a giant carrot growing in room 202, or maybe a troll in the classroom! This is because we have been hard at work, using the exact language and feelings of each character. After all, shouldn’t reading be fun?

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 November 20 at 6:30 pm. We hope you plan to attend!

Grade 2 - What Would YOU Do?

What would you do if you were on a deserted island without anything except items which you had in your lunch box? Second graders were given a scenario that they were stuck on a deserted island and had to shield themselves from the sun. They learned about the different properties of the materials which they had been given ranging from being absorbent to flexible to soft. Students used these supplies to create a hat. While each hat was unique, students chose to solve a particular problem such as sweat absorbency or reflecting the sun. The creativity and scientific thinking of these second graders was amazing.

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

This new year has started off with a bang!! With routines and procedures already established, we were able to dive right into new learning. During Reader’s Workshop, students analyzed nonfiction text using “close reading” strategies, helping them make inferences and summarize complex text. We jumped right into large numbers in math, understanding the value of digits up into the millions. They are becoming expert problem-solvers, breaking apart complex multi-step word problems. It is an exciting time, observing how information is not only retained but then applied to new learning.

November: A Time for Tradition

The annual Booth Free Spelling Bee/Pie Feast will be held on November 20th. The students and staff look forward to a fun afternoon of competition and scrumptious pies, which are provided by many of our dedicated volunteers. Our students are preparing for this event. This is a great way to kick off the Thanksgiving season.

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

Attendance and Tardiness

Our district policy (#5113) makes reference to the need by law to have all children attend school regularly during the hours of our school day. Time lost from class tends to be irretrievable in terms of opportunity for instructional interaction. The Board of Education requires that accurate records be kept of the attendance and tardiness of each child. Your child’s teacher takes attendance daily at the onset of the school day.

Aside from illness, it is important that your child attends school regularly and on time. Arriving on time to school helps your child develop the important life skill of being punctual for commitments. Learning experiences that occur in the classroom are considered to be meaningful and essential components of the learning process.


Kids think healthy at Booth Free School! October brings us all back together sharing pencils, balls, computer keys, and door knobs!!! Each class at Booth Free School took part in a hand washing review. The white boards came in handy for a fun segment on “Germie the Germ” for the lower grades and rapping to “Squirmie Germie” for the upper grades. Students reviewed how and when to wash their hands, proper use of hand sanitizer, and proper cough/sneeze etiquette. The upper grades did a fun experiment with fake germs and a fluorescent light to show the importance of thorough hand washing. There are a lot of good soap suds working hard at Booth Free School and plans to STAY HEALTHY!!!

Reporting Illness

If your child is displaying signs of illness, for example: fever greater than 100 degrees F, severe congestion, sore throat, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, unexplained rashes and/or eye drainage, they must stay home from school. Please report your child absent as soon as possible and report symptoms to the school nurse for monitoring purposes. Thank you for you diligence with these important matters. Feel free to contact staff with any concerns regarding your child’s health or school experience.

International Walk to School Day

On October 2, 2018, Booth Free School took part in International Walk to School Day. This is a global event which takes place every October. There are many wonderful benefits to being involved in walk to school. First, it’s FUN! Walking together brings a sense of joy and invigoration. Walking is a chance for children (and adults!) to get the physical activity they need.

Replacing car trips to school with walking reminds everyone how we can reduce air-polluting emissions. Walking to school is a way to provide education on safety, reminding children how to walk safely, and reminding motorists to be alert. Lastly, walking to school together boosts a sense of community. We were lucky to have a beautiful crisp fall morning for this event. Students, staff, our School Resource Officer as well as parents, grandparents and many community members joined together and enjoyed a brisk, fun-filled walk to school.

Board of Education "Artist of the Month"

Each month the Board of Education and the Region 12 art staff will recognize one student from each school for their excellence in the visual arts. This month’s recipient is first grader Owen Light.

His beautiful artwork will hang in the Board of Education office for the month. He was also recognized at the October 21, 2019 Board of Education meeting and will be featured in our district’s Region In Review. We are proud of Owen and congratulate him for his hard work and dedication to the Arts.

PE With Mr. Morgan!

All students have been taking part in our October “Planktober” strength challenge. We started at 30 seconds and every class following have added 30 seconds to our plank holds. By the end of the month, our strongest students will be holding a five minute plank. A plank is an isometric full body workout that strengthens all your major muscle groups with specific emphasis on your core/abdominals. Have your child demo a plank at home- they have become experts.

Our fifth graders recently met at the Shepaug track for an opportunity to interact with their future classmates from the our other Region 12 elementary schools. This friendly competition provided students an opportunity to apply skills learned during physical education. They were responsible for signing up for the events they participated in. We also had a member of the high school track track team discuss sports they could play at Shepaug and also lead the students in a warmup. Parents, teachers, and peers were present to cheer on the athletes at each event. We hope friendships were formed that will carry on into middle school and beyond.

While the 5th graders were practicing for the track meet, other students were working on the skills of kicking. We kicked for accuracy, distance, and in small group games. We will begin fitness testing for grades 3-4-5 and throwing skills for grades K-1-2 in the upcoming weeks.

Just a reminder that we have begun our intramurals program. Booth students meet at 8:10 every Wednesday morning and Burnham students meet on Fridays at 8:10. This is open to any 4th/5th grader. It's a great way to start the day.

The Women's Center of Greater Danbury Visits Booth Free School

The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury visited our classrooms. They offered a variety of programs to our students. Each program was presented with age appropriate language and materials. Kindergarten and grade 1 students learned about care, kindness, and respectful boundaries of self and others. In grade 2 students learned about empathy and identifying others feelings. Grade 3 focused on bullying and mean behaviors and grades 4 and 5 learned about personal boundaries, empathy awareness, and taking care of oneself.

Our partnership with the Women’s Center has been long standing. Their presentations were informative and provided our students with facts and strategies that promote the development of positive relationships.

Student Council

October has been an exciting month for our Booth Free School Student Council. We have concluded our fundraiser to support the victims of Hurricane Dorian as of Friday, October 18, 2019. We would like to thank each of our donors for their heartfelt generosity!

Our Student Council members are currently making Autumn cards for the members of the Roxbury Senior Center. We hope to spread some seasonal joy to those in our community.

In addition, Student Council has been brainstorming numerous ideas for our upcoming school spirit days. Friday, November 15 is the spirit day for this month. Notices will be sent home prior to each spirit day to notify families. Each month, one student exemplifying Booth Free School pride, will be selected from each grade to win a coupon to the school store. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in their favorite blue and yellow!

Cold Weather Reminders

As the cold weather is upon us, the staff and I wish to remind everyone about the need for jackets, mittens, and hats. Unless it is too wet, the students will go out at recess. When the snow arrives, students will also need snow pants and boots so that they can enjoy the snowy outdoors.

Ben’s Bells Assembly - Strengthening Our Kind Campus

On Friday, October 18th, Jeannette Maré, Founder and Chief Kindness Officer of Ben’s Bells Project, visited Booth Free School. Students from Booth Free and Burnham School participated in an assembly focused on our kind minds and emotional intelligence. Jeannette talked about how emotional awareness is the foundation of empathy and compassion that leads to kindness.

This emotional intelligence allows us to draw upon the courage and careful thought required to practice intentional kindness and effect positive change in our schools, families, and communities. Ben’s Bells has become nationally recognized and symbolizes kindness and its power in healing. Lastly, Jeannette Maré, was delighted to see our kindness tree. It certainly provided great closure to a very memorable morning.

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Thank you to the PTO for our fabulous Book Fair!

Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

Happy Autumn from the Booth Free School Library!

If you haven’t already, make sure to stop by the school library to check out the fall book display. When you stop by make sure to check out the library incentives, author and genre spotlights, and any flyers I have set out for parents!

Library Happenings

The first two months of library have been jam packed with informative lessons and books!


We have discussed the differences between fiction and non-fiction, identified parts of a book, learned what authors and illustrators do and discussed finding just right books. I’m encouraging students to check out at least one book per week that will help reinforce budding reading skills. These are books they should attempt to read to YOU! Look for the books that fit the “I Pick” or “Just Right Books”

Some Books We’ve Read

The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak

Grade 1

First graders reviewed fiction vs. non- fiction, parts of a book, “I pick”, and author and illustrators. Additionally, first graders are learning story elements such as characters, theme and setting.

Some Books We’ve Read

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

The Most Terrible of All by Muon Thi Van

Grade 2

We have dedicated our first several classes to reviewing library expectations, the parts of a book and story elements, we spent the last month exploring dewey and the OPAC system.

Some Books We’ve Read

Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische

The Empty Pot by Demi

Willow by Denise Brennan-Wilson

Grade 3

Third graders are learning library independence with self check-out, dewey decimal and OPAC. The 3rd graders are true Booth Free Stars demonstrating responsibility and perseverance. The entire class has earned the privilege to utilize the library’s self check-out and check-in system. Way to go 3rd grade!

Book We Are Reading

The One and Only Ivan By Kate Applegate

This Book is Red by Beck & Matt Stanton

Did you Take the B from My _ook? By Beck & Matt Stanton

The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill

Goldilocks and the Three Martians by Stu Smith

Grade 4

BFS 4th graders are super library helpers and readers. We have spent some time exploring dewey and familiarizing ourselves with the many sections of the library. Through genre exploration, 4th graders are challenging themselves to read and think out of the box. The entire grade has an open door and unlimited library access, some students visiting several times a day. We will continue to work on expanding our book interests and challenging ourselves to read increasingly difficult texts.

Book We are Reading

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Grade 5

Fifth graders are becoming library officiates by learning to successfully navigate the dewey decimal system and the self check-out and in computer. Right now we are determined to finish reading Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper. The students began this amazing novel at the end of last year and remained so invested in Melody’s story over the summer that they demanded we finish book this year. I am happy to report that we will finish the book before Thanksgiving!

Things to look forward to:

*I will be introducing students to Book Talks and Book Tastings over the next several months.

*A new Library Bingo will be available for students to play in November.

*A new “choose your own adventure” section will be making its library debut.

Until next month…

Keep reading!

Mrs. Gordon

Lions Kidsight USA - Community Eye Screening For Children

Good vision is vital to a student’s success at school. Fall vision screening helps identify vision problems early, before they interfere with a child’s school performance. A child’s vision can also change at any point as they grow so annual screening is a wonderful tool. Our school community was happy to have the Washington’s Lions Club come in to screen our K to 5th grade students with their PediaVision equipment.This equipment has been evaluated by the American Association of Pediatrics and is more sophisticated than the old Snellen Charts. The equipment operates like a camera and is very easy for the participating students. ents ensuring their vision health.

It takes only a couple minutes to screen each child for a whole list of eye abnormalities. We are very thankful to the Washington Lions Club for making our school a part of The Lions KidSight USA initiative and volunteering their time to offer this state of the art screening method to our students.

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.

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.

Travel and Parking Safety

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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