Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham 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 nearly 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!

Physical Education teacher, Mr. Morgan, began the Intramural/Fitness Club on October 18th for grades 3, 4 and 5 students. Students are excited and buzzing about this program. The intramural program will run throughout the year on Friday mornings from 8:10-8:45 am. 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 1,211 books read. This is an increase of 101 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 Walk-a-Thon

11/3 Fall Festival, 12-3 p.m.

11/5 Professional Development Day – No School for Students

11/7 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

11/11 Veteran’s Day - School Closed

11/13 PTO Enrichment Program, “Fuzz” - Diversity in American Music

11/18 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

11/20 Parent Visitation Day

11/25 Harvest Gathering, 9:30 a.m.

11/26 Grades Close

11/27-11/29 Thanksgiving Recess – No School

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3/4/5 - Grammerly Speaking

Students in 3-4-5 have been pondering the question, how does our grammar help us communicate effectively? From prepositional phrases to subordinating conjunctions, our students are learning rules, practicing application, and having fun being immersed in the vast and facsinating English language. Using our rigorous Common Core expectations as a guide, 5th graders developed and presented parts of speech tutorials for the 3s and 4s, including original songs, poems, and stories. 4th graders designed an Imovie showcasing their understanding of prepositional phrases.

Check ourt our region’s website to view their dazzling work. 3rd Graders got into the spirit and created a, “Haunted House of Grammar.” They created visual representations and sentences using irregular plural nouns. It was such fun that they implored the rest of their class to join in by adding their own finishing touches! Our 3-4-5s are enjoying language, and growing their grammar like gurus.



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.


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.


We are starting off with healthy habits here at Burnham School. Since we are all back together sharing pencils, balls, computer keys, door knobs, etc., a handwashing review was just what the doctor ordered. Our K-2 students were treated to a book from The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library called Oh, the Things You Can Do That Are Good for You! By Tish Rabe. This book had a lot of healthy tips presented with wonderful characters and rhymes that engaged our students. 3-5 students watched a video of a student interviewer who was interviewing a public health nurse and demonstrated effective handwashing technique. All Burnham Students were able to demonstrate cough/sneeze etiquette and know how and when to wash their hands! There are a lot of good soap suds working hard at Burnham School and plans for a HEALTHY school year!!


On October 2, 2019, Burnham 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 a 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, parents, and many community members joined together and enjoyed a brisk, fun-filled walk to school.

Visit us at our Website!

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

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 other regional 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. Upcoming we will begin fitness testing for grades 3-4-5 and throwing skills for grades K-1-2.

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 3/4/5 grader. It's a great way to start the day.

Fire Prevention Week - “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!”

Fire is everyone’s fight! It is a national effort led by the U.S. Fire Administration to lower the number of home fires and home injuries in America. Along with USFA, each fire community is speaking out with a unified message of fire prevention and safety to the public. A great way to assist in accomplishing this goal is to teach our youngsters how to stay safe and prevent fires happening in their homes.

Across the country firefighters conduct fire prevention programs for elementary school children. Region 12 is no different. Our school recently participated in a fire prevention program sponsored by our local fire department. This year’s theme, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” provided our students with a powerful message that is designed to make children safer at home and at school.

This year’s theme also focused on what a home escape plan entails and the value of practicing it. The students learned that a home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place that is a safe distance from the home. Home escape plans should be practiced twice a year by all members of the household.

This message is more important than ever, particularly because today’s homes burn faster than ever. Synthetic fibers used in home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, are contributing factors to the increased burn rate.

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 and create appropriate actions in the case of fire. “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” reminds us all that fires can happen anywhere and that there are important steps we can all take to remain safe.


Happy November!

“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.”

~ Clyde Watson

Crisp fall days and cozy fall nights are perfect for reading. The seasonal books are out for the students to enjoy. Students can also enjoy an assortment of new graphic novels, new nonfiction collections, and new series.

Kindergarten~ Our kindergarteners enjoy a new read aloud each week. For the month of November, we are focusing on kindness in our read aloud books. We will be reading books that build character, encourage children to be kind, and teach them the results of every kind act that they perform for someone else.

First~ Our first graders are enjoying the silly antics of Arnie the Doughnut and the Bowling Alley Bandit. This emergent reader chapter book is sure to bring out the laughs and encourage our first graders to expand their horizons into the world of easy reader chapter books.

Our second graders have just begun to read the beloved classic novel Charlotte’s Web. This book will teach them all about the merits of friendship and loyalty, and it’s sure to bring on a few tears as well.

Third and Fourth~ Our third and fourth graders have been enjoying the world from Auggie’s perspective in Wonder. Auggie’s unique outlook on life, friends, and school is sure to give our Burnham students pause and make them think about the true meaning of friendship and kindness. They will continue this book in the month of November.

Fifth Grade~ Our fifth graders are reading Alan Gratz’s Refugee. Gratz presents a very realistic portrayal of what it is like to be a refugee. He presents these insights through the eyes of three different children from three different countries and time periods: Josef (Germany, 1939), Isabel (Cuba, 1994), and Mahmoud (Syria, 2015). As a group, we have been enjoying enlightening discussions about the book, opening up students’ minds to the realities of children their age and the different struggles they have faced. We will continue this book in the month of November.

Burnham Library Dedication

Burnham Library, our beloved town library, has just finished a remodel of the children’s section. To honor the opening of the Susan M. Beris MD Youth Learning Center, our Burnham students were asked to compose a poem expressing what their library means to them. The students very much enjoyed writing these poems, and the library staff will be taking lines from their poems to design a special bookmark for the opening. We are proud to support our town library as a school.

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. PTO meetings will be held each month at 6:00 p.m. The November meeting will be held on November 7 at 6:00 PM. We hope you plan to attend!

Student Council

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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. 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 ensuring their vision health.

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 fifth grader Elizabeth Brown. Her beautiful artwork will hang in the Board of Education office for the month. She 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 Elizabeth and congratulate her for her hard work and dedication to the Arts.

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.

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.

The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury Visited Burnham 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.

A Time for Tradition - The Harvest Gathering

Our Thanksgiving celebration is fast approaching. This year’s celebration will be held on November 25th. The staff, students, and the PTO members have been planning for a wonderful collaborative community gathering. There will be a focus once again on community building, service, and citizenship. The Student Council and the student body will conduct a food drive and PTO will ask for monetary donations to provide funding for Big Y gift certificates for local families in need. The students will celebrate by offering their seeds of kindness to the seniors in our community and to our bus drivers with a performance and a craft activity. The Burnham School community looks forward to this very special event.

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.

Burnham 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 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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