Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School, November 2021

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am so very proud of our recent recognition. US News ranked Booth Free School #1 Elementary School in Connecticut. While we celebrate our school, it is the educators and students who are the true cause for celebration. Congratulations to our school community for empowering our students to learn and to achieve and to our students for their diligence in persevering and achieving!

The teachers have just completed their virtual 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.

Unity Day was recognized on October 20th. Unity Day is typically held during National Bullying Prevention Month in October. The goal of the day was to bring together youth, parents, educators, and community members to emphasize the message that bullying is not acceptable and that all students need to be safe in their school and in their community. Our school community wore and shared the color orange - as a visible representation of the supportive, universal message that our society wants to prevent bullying and that we are together against bullying, and united for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

Thank you PTO for the wonderful after-school opportunities. Students have been enjoying the many activities throughout the month of October. Learning Basketball Basics, Creative Movement & Theatre Games, Halloween Crafts, and a reading program sponsored by the Minor Memorial have afforded students wonderful outdoor experiences. Our community recognizes all of the volunteers that have made these events possible.

The Governor’s Reading Challenge are now in! I am pleased to inform the school community that we had impressive results with a total of 1,582 books read. 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 the colder weather approaches us, I want to remind you that windows will continue to be open and we will utilize outdoor learning as much as possible. As noted in our opening plan, ventilation in the schools is an important part of maintaining a healthy building. Students should be dressed in layers to accommodate the colder temperatures.

As I look ahead, I want to remind parents and guardians that the marking period will end on December 3rd. Report card distribution will take place on December 17th. 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 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00

11/2 Election Day – Professional Development for Staff/School Closed

11/4 PTO Enrichment Program, Stand Up! Step In! Bullying Program.

11/10 PTO Meeting, 6:30

11/11 Veteran’s Day – School Closed

11/15 School Picture Re-takes

11/15 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00

11/16 Lyman Pie Pick-up, 2:30

11/24-26 Thanksgiving Recess

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Is there anything more powerful than learning to read? The kindergartners have been honing their skills, much like super heroes, but to become “super readers.” Remembering to point, look at the picture, and think about first sounds are the foundation for figuring out exactly what the words will say. Of course, we do not need to know every word to enjoy a book. Indeed, our “old favorites” have not been abandoned and remain a popular choice, especially when it comes time to partner read. Some of the most popular titles this fall are Leaf Man, Go Away, Big Green Monster, and Five Little Pumpkins. What a great time to be a kindergartner!

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 and take part in helping your child to grow academically. PTO meetings are held monthly at 6:30 p.m. Our next virtual meeting will be held on November 10th.

Grade 2 - Community

Second graders are working hard to grow as learners in a community. They are focused on two key ideas. Students are making sure to work hard and challenge themselves while being willing to share ideas and listen to each other in a thoughtful way. Hard work is one of the class rules. This means not only putting full effort into their assignments, but reflecting often on how they can look, act, and think like someone who is putting maximum effort into their work. Additionally, facing challenges with excitement and full commitment is continually reinforced. Second graders also are sharing ideas to grow our community. This looks like taking risks by sharing ideas to help grow understanding and reacting to each other in a supportive manner. We are excited to see how far we can grow together, with effort!

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

Grade 4 - How We Learn

Fourth grade has enjoyed being back in school and building our knowledge. We have been working on not only adding and subtracting very large numbers, but being able to model it, and efficiently do so in real world contexts. Additionally, we have been studying brain science and the mechanics of learning. We recognize the importance of developing a growth mindset, so on a daily basis we discuss our process as learners. We embrace challenges as opportunities for learning.

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Notes and News from the Nurse.....

Only 1 in 4 children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Being physically active means moving enough to breathe heavily and sweat. For children, physical activity helps to maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. It can keep a child at a healthy weight thus reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease later in life. Physical activity can help children fall asleep quicker and sleep better. Being active has proven to have very beneficial effects on a child’s mental health and behavior as well. It can reduce anxiety and increase enthusiasm and optimism. With group sports, exercise can help with attention and behavior while fostering teamwork and friendship all at the same time.

Here are some simple ways to make physical activity part of your child’s daily routine:

  • Help your child find a sport or activity that she enjoys. Emphasize the fun. Get the whole family involved and spend active fun time together.

  • Be certain to choose activities that are developmentally appropriate for your child’s age. This will prevent unnecessary frustration.

  • Plan ahead so that a time and place to exercise are scheduled into a convenient slot in your schedule. Make time for this!

  • Provide a safe environment for their practice or play. Provide safe comfortable clothing and be sure all equipment is appropriate and in good working order.

  • Having easy access to active toys like balls and jump ropes helps promote active choices.

  • Role modelling is a very helpful tool. Children who see their parents regularly engaging in physical activity are likely to do so themselves.

  • Help your children learn a new sport or active game. Engage them in a walk, hike, or bike ride.

  • Limiting screen time can free up more time for physical activity choices.

  • Monitor that your child doesn’t overdo an activity. Balance makes any physical activity or sport more of a fun event and not a negative.

Connecticut’s Kid Governor Program

Booth Free School fifth graders have been learning about state government as they participate in Connecticut’s Kid Governor Program. They have learned about the rules and the responsibilities of the executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch. After discussing the checks and balances that each part of government has over the others, students were interested to learn how local government works in Roxbury.

Barbara Henry, Roxbury‘s First Selectman, visited the fifth grade class to talk about her role in our local government. Students were shocked to find out that she has held the position for 24 years, and is the first woman in the role. Additionally, she explained that in Roxbury, the board of selectmen take office two weeks after the election. So as she’s not seeking reelection this year, her last day in office will be November 15.

Mrs. Henry spoke to the students about what it’s like to create a platform and design a campaign. That information was particularly helpful as that is what the fifth graders are working on designing in their quest to become the next kid governor of Connecticut.

Celebrating Unity Day: Unity For Kindness, Acceptance And Inclusion

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Art with Mrs. Manley

Art is on a roll again this year! Upstairs and downstairs, Mrs. Manley pushed her cart into all the classrooms, kindergarten through fifth. Lessons began with drawing projects with a focus on personal interests and getting to know ourselves and each other. Activities included personalizing sketchbook covers, creating heart-maps, designing about me one-pagers, and learning lettering techniques. Drawing techniques and drawing challenges provided opportunities for students to practice new skills and to discover creative ways to solve artistic problems, i.e., how can 10 dots turn into an interesting abstract work of art?

Students have also been practicing being “art buddies” to one another by giving meaningful feedback that informs each artist of things he/she did well and suggestions where the work could be improved. It also provides opportunities for students to ask questions, talk about the meaning of their work and their inspiration for it.

Fire Prevention Day

Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety

Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, our Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department visited our school to teach our students how to stay safe in case of a fire. A special thanks to Mr. Mark “Poppy” Maynard for organizing this very important event.

This year’s Fire Prevention campaign, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!” works to educate everyone about the different sounds the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make. Knowing what to do when an alarm sounds will keep families safe. In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy.

Our local program really makes a difference in teaching our students about fire safety. In addition to this year’s theme, our firefighters talk to our students about practicing home escape plans, crawling low under smoke and much much more. Students are also always excited to see the fire engines and to talk with our volunteer firefighters.

Through this program our local fire fighters hope that our students will carry the fire safety message home and that parents discuss fire safety with their children. Fires can happen anywhere and there are important steps we can all take to remain safe.

Happy 100th Birthday to Mrs. Jean Tierney!

Our Booth Free School Community participated in the birthday celebration of Roxbury’s oldest resident, Mrs. Jean Tierney, on October 29th. The students wished her a happy birthday in song, showered her with cards and messages of congratulations. We hope it was a joyful occasion in celebration of a very special Roxbury resident.

We wish Mrs. Tierney many more years of good health, overwhelming happiness, amazing grace, and perfect peace of mind. Happy 100th birthday!

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

During the month of October, the Women''s Center of Greater Danbury held Zoom visits with each classroom. They offered a variety of programs and each program was presented with age appropriate language and materials. Kindergarten and first graders learned about care, kindness and respectful boundaries of self and others. Second graders learned about empathy and identifying others feelings. Grade 3 focused on bullying and mean behaviors. Fourth and fifth graders 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 strategies to promote the development of positive relationships.

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.

Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

Happy Autumn from the Booth Free School Library!

The first two months of library have been jam packed with informative lessons and books! Every challenge faced is a blessing in disguise… this remains true of our adaptive mobile library. I am thrilled by the level of enthusiasm and engagement Booth Free Star Readers are demonstrating with regard to our library procedures. Overall, students are engaging with the library catalogue with genuine zeal and are borrowing and returning books with increased frequency!

As you may already know, Booth Free School has once again had 100% participation in the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, that’s eleven years in a row!!!!! Way to go BFS Stars!!!! I am so impressed by our readers and could not be any prouder!


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 books that 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

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, Not A box by Antoinette Portis, and I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon

Grade One

First graders reviewed fiction vs. non- fiction, parts of a book, and started learning about story elements such as characters and setting.

Some Books We’ve Read

The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien, Not Quite a Narwhal by Jessie Sima, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and A Fine Fine School by Sharon Creech.

Grade 2

Most of our classes have been dedicated to learning how to search for books and reserve them on the computer. Second Graders are almost experts at online library navigation!!!

Some Books We've Read

The Empty Pot by Demi, Willow by Denise Brennan-Wilson and Last House on Market Street. Next month we will begin reading our first chapter book together as a Library class!

Grade 3

The third graders are true Booth Free Stars demonstrating responsibility and perseverance. The entire class has mastered the online reservation system!

What We are Reading

We continued puzzling and reading Winston Breen and the Potato Chip Puzzle by Eric Berlin

Grade 4

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 reserve and borrow books several times a week. We will continue to work on expanding our book interests and challenging ourselves to read increasingly difficult texts.

What We are Reading

We continued reading The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Grade 5

What We are Reading

Fifth graders are super excited to finally finish reading The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewert. I am happy to report that we should finish the book before Thanksgiving!

Keep Reading and enjoy your books with some apple pie and pumpkin spice!

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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