Region In Review

January 17, 2020

Shepaug Athletics Heating Up

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The boys' basketball team is currently 5-2, having played Mt. Everett (Massachusetts) once at home and once on the road in December to open the season. In January, Shepaug has beaten their first three Berkshire League opponents, with the highlight being an exciting come-from-behind victory at home against perennial league powers Northwestern Regional and Gilbert High School.

The girls' basketball team is currently 6-2, having beaten two larger non-league opponents, New Milford and Rockville, in December. Victories against Berkshire League opponents Litchfield, Housatonic, Gilbert and Wamogo set the stage for the team to be in the hunt for the league championship.

The ice hockey team lost a heartbreaker to Masuk High School in sudden-death overtime during the holiday vacation. In their first big game against Berkshire League rival Housatonic (the only ice hockey program in the Berkshire League besides Shepaug's) at Gunnery on January 8th, the Spartans were defeated but look to even the score in the February 23rd rematch.

The indoor track team began their competitive schedule at the Wintergreen Invitational, the Northeast Challenge, and the Yale Invitational. The Spartans will continue their season on January 24th at the Haddam Killingworth Invitational. Individual team members will have the opportunity to qualify for the CIAC State Championships with their performances at these invitational meets.

The swim team beat rival Nonnewaug before the holiday vacation and lost tough matchups to Litchfield and Northwestern. The Spartans have several more Berkshire League meets to go before competing in the March 7th championship.

The cheerleaders have been working hard preparing for the season by participating in a clinic at Shepaug with Western Connecticut State University's coach and cheerleaders. Their presence on the sideline of Shepaug's basketball games has a great impact on the atmosphere in the Ted Alex Gymnasium.

Elementary Spanish Literacy

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Are you under the impression that the focus of elementary school Spanish is all about learning colors and numbers? Our students do learn the words for colors and numbers, but their learning goes above and beyond this.

K-2 students develop listening and speaking skills early during their language journey, and while this is happening, they are also exposed to the printed language. The rhymes and songs they perform are viewable on charts so that they can follow along and get used to seeing written Spanish. Students in Grades 3-5 start to recognize words that look similar to English, making literacy connections.

There is a term called “cognates,” which are words that look very similar or identical in English and Spanish (also in other languages) and have the same meaning (example: music/música). These cognates make reading in Spanish so much easier for the students to understand. Students in Grades 3-5 are reading short, engaging, cultural, fiction novels that use these cognates, high-frequency vocabulary, and some unique words to make language learning interesting and fun.

So if you hear our students talking about capibaras (capybaras), iguanas (iguanas), monos (monkeys), perezosas (sloths), armadillos (armadillos), cabras (goats), these are some of the vocabulary our students are embracing during Spanish literacy activities.

Shepaug's Sheep

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This past week Shepaug welcomed four newcomers to our Agriscience program. Dottie, Mystique, Westin and our yet-to-be-named lamb were greeted with plenty of onlookers and curious students looking to be the first to feed the new additions to the Shepaug family.

Shepaug Cares

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Shepaug Valley School students recently participated in the annual "Shepaug Cares" community service project during Advisory. Each Advisory class developed a community service project to be completed during Advisory on December 20. All high school advisories carried out a project with the intent to benefit our surrounding communities.

Community service projects included making sandwiches for shelters, creating blankets for animal shelters, organizing care packages for animal shelters, writing letters to service members, and creating holiday cards for surrounding community centers, among many other worthy projects. Students were wholeheartedly engaged in projects that will make the world around them a better place.

Making Math Meaningful

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In today’s world, it is important for our students to develop a repertoire of mathematical skills and strategies that they may apply to a variety of contexts in our everyday lives. This requires a focus on making sense of situations, reasoning, and making connections. It requires students to communicate their ideas, clarify and justify their thinking, and represent it with mathematical models. Our goal as teachers is to make this process meaningful and as close to real-life problems as possible.

Real-life problems may not include the question to be answered nor all of the information to solve it. For this reason, we veer away from traditional word problems that tend to be predictable. Instead, our word problems may begin with no numbers. Students are encouraged to determine what they need to know and the teacher supplies the information as needed. This process supports students in understanding the meaning of the context before trying to solve it. Other problems may have no questions. This encourages students to determine the kinds of questions one might ask with the given situation. Or there may only be a question. Students must then determine what information they would need to find the answer. These types of word problems allow for multiple ways to approach a problem as well as multiple ways to represent one’s thinking.

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This kind of problem-solving can be tricky, but productive struggle is okay. Struggling is an important part of learning, although not to the point of frustration. Students need to develop critical thinking skills and perseverance to embrace challenges. It is okay to not know the answer, and to learn from one’s mistakes. In today’s world, our students must be curious, creative problem-solvers and risk-takers.

“In mathematics, the art of proposing a question must be

held of higher value than solving it” - Georg Cantor

Alumni Return Day

The Shepaug Valley School Counseling Department welcomed back a group of 2019 alumni for Alumni Return Day on Monday, January 6th, during Advisory. Current Shepaug students in Grade 11 and Grade 12 attended the assembly.

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Alumni discussed their experience thus far and how Shepaug helped prepare them for life beyond high school. Shepaug students had the opportunity to ask specific questions at the end of the assembly.

Alumni included:

Mallory Noone - Freshman at Naugatuck Valley Community College

Abigail Gorra - Freshman at Cornell University

Wilson King - Freshman at London School of Economics

Erin McGrath - Freshman at Eastern Connecticut State University

Bailey Pote - Freshman at Salve Regina University

Thomas Bachelier - Freshman at Champlain College

Each student offered unique insight about specific adjustments they made to adapt to the college setting and also offered words of encouragement to our Shepaug students.

Visit from Cybersecurity Expert Scott Fitch

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Scott Fitch, cybersecurity architect and programmer for Lockheed Martin, delivers a lesson to sixth-grade PLTW (Project Lead the Way) students about algorithms. Students were required to write accurate instructions for a computer to blow up a balloon, order balloons by color, and place balloons in specific locations. Students learned that very precise instructions are required to make computers behave the way they want.

Mr. Fitch also spoke about procedures and routines in programming and how they can save programmers time with reusable code. Students had a lot of fun! This was the perfect end to Computer Science Education Week and a great lesson to participate in following Hour of Code!

Elementary Schools Celebrate Cultures Around the World

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During the month of December, Region 12’s elementary schools celebrated Cultures Around the World. This was a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about a new culture and to work with students from all grades in a group setting.

Burnham School celebrated Poland at this year’s Cultures Around the World. Students rotated through stations as they learned about various aspects of the Polish culture. The students learned about the traditional Christmas meal which is not enjoyed until the first star appears in the night sky. Students made a star representing the first star, called the gwiazdka. Students also engaged in an interactive memory game, listened to a gingerbread story and made a gingerbread man, and played games such as Zoska. It was a spectacular school event enjoyed by all.

Booth Free School celebrated Hanukkah. This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about Hanukkah while also participating in multi-age groups. Students rotated through stations as they learned about various aspects of the celebration of Hanukkah.

In one station they played the Dreidel game and in other stations they learned about “gelt” the gifts of money, about the menorah, and also had an opportunity to dance. The day’s events culminated with a whole-school activity. Learning about the Jewish Festival of Lights was a memorable and rewarding event.

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Washington Primary School “traveled” to Argentina and Morocco. PreK through fifth-grade students explored cultures and traditional holidays of the two countries as they rotated through several learning activities. In Argentina, the students learned about the story of the three kings, danced the tango, and created ornate paper llama blankets. Henna and lantern making were explored in Morocco. All enjoyed the game Dinifri, a Moroccan game with building blocks similar to Jenga but a bit more complex. Through these experiences, students broaden their understanding and appreciation of the rich diversity that our world offers to all of us. Special thanks to the staff and volunteers whose creativity and support made learning about new cultures possible for our elementary students.

2020 Scholastic Art Awards

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by Maya Missana

Congratulations to Shepaug's seven Scholastic Art winners who will have their work shown at The CT Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition at The Hartford Art School. Their specific awards will be announced at the January 26th awards presentation.

Three Kings Day

Students in French III celebrate Three Kings Day by eating a "Galette des rois." The youngest students distributed the pieces, one of which had a hidden ceramic figurine. The student whose piece had the figurine became King or Queen!

Shepaug Valley School Hosts Western Connecticut State University for On-Site Decision Day

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Monday, January 13th, the Shepaug Valley School Counseling Department welcomed Western Connecticut State University Admissions Representative, Kaleigh Cragan, to On-Site Decision Day. Seven Shepaug students signed up to take part in the inaugural event. To participate, students must have completed applications and submitted all supplemental materials prior to January 6th. Students were interviewed in 15-minute segments, and a decision was rendered during that time. All seven of our students who participated were accepted into the university!

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Please join me in congratulating Sarah Caprilozzi, Michael Granata, Rhiannon Luna, Gavin McCabe, Gwenavere Noto, Devon O’Dwyer, and Dardan Racaj on their acceptances to WCSU. The Shepaug Valley School Counseling Department plans to invite WCSU back next year and explore additional opportunities for On-Site Decision Day!

Health & Wellness

To Parent(s)/Guardian(s): Reminder

From: Health Office at Shepaug Valley School

Please be aware that Connecticut State Law and Regulation 10-212(a) requires a written medication order by an authorized prescriber (physician, dentist, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant) AND parent/guardian written authorization for the school nurse to administer medication.

The authorization/approval for Self Administration of Medication allows a responsible student to carry and self-administer medication with the approval and authorization of the licensed provider, the parent/guardian and the school nurse in accordance with Region 12 Board Policy.

No student is to bring any medication (including over the counter medication) to school unless the health office is notified and the above procedures are followed. The completed medication form must be kept on file in the nurse’s office. Please contact the health office with any questions or concerns.

In addition, the Emergency Contact Form must be completed yearly and on file in the nurse’s office. Recent calls have been made to parents of students who have not returned his/her form. Please return this form (posted on the school website) to the school nurse at your earliest convenience. This form is important as it contains your child’s most recent health information should he or she need medical attention. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Edith M. Poidomani, RN

Shepaug Valley School Nurse


Vaping - An Unhealthy Message

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What is Vaping?

Vaping has unfortunately become a very popular pastime among teenagers. Electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes), a battery-powered device, is one way that a person inhales the vapor. E-cigarettes have also been called “juuling” and can resemble common items such as pens, flashlights, and flash drives. The cartridges contain a liquid filled with nicotine, flavorings, metals (ex. lead, nickel), and volatile compounds, all of which can be cancer-causing. A Health Advisory has been issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) due to the harm that nicotine and other substances can bring to the lungs of a person who vapes. Lung diseases/illnesses, teenage lung transplants, and deaths have been reported by the CDC. E-cigarettes have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and a proposal is being considered to remove flavored E-cigarettes from the market. Vaping has increased among middle and high school students to include the use of E-cigarettes to vape marijuana, THC – containing products, and cannabinoid (CBD) oils. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the mind-altering compound in marijuana. Many vaping products on the market contain THC. Even more frightening is the fact that heroin-laced vape pens have recently led to 2 overdoses. Students are becoming addicted and vaping has become an epidemic. A student’s grades and lifestyle are affected with the popularity of this growing addiction. Vaping devices are difficult to detect in schools because the devices are small and odorless, yet, one Juul Pod is equivalent to the amount of nicotine found in a 20-pack of cigarettes.

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It appears that the effect of vaping is just as harmful, and perhaps more immediate than cigarette smoking. When smoking a cigarette, the tobacco mixes with oxygen. A Juul heats a potent liquid of nicotine salts, glycerine, and propylene glycol to create a vapor that is inhaled. Since August 2019, symptoms reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to vaping were: cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, fever, elevated heart rate, and weight loss. In some patients, hospitalization has been required because of the person’s admission status and the need to begin treatment.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) reported as of December 18, 2019, 46 Connecticut residents were hospitalized with lung injuries related to e-cigarettes/vaping since August, 2019. Supplemental oxygen, assisted ventilation, intubation, antimicrobial and/or corticosteroid therapy are some of the measures that hospitals have used for patients with lung injuries associated with vaping. Some patients hospitalized with lung injuries have been diagnosed with lipoid (fatty acid) pneumonia. The lipoid oil component of vaping, when inhaled, can cause this type of pneumonia, resulting in irreversible lung damage along with decreased lung capacity.

The DPH recommends vaping and e-cigarettes users to access the state Quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW or for people who wish to get assistance to quit smoking.

Teens may text DITCHJUUL to 88-709.

If someone has been vaping regularly, and then decides to refrain, there are vaping withdrawal signs to be aware of. Some of the symptoms reported are: headache, hunger, fatigue, unexplained anger, depression, difficulty concentrating, and restlessness.

For more information on e-cigarettes and similar devices, go to

For ongoing information from the CDC, go to

Edith M. Poidomani, RN, MS, NBCSN

Shepaug Valley School Nurse



Please consider supporting our students with a donation to the Shepaug Student Project Foundation (SSPF). SSPF provides financial support to Shepaug students to assist with senior projects, world language and travel programs, Model UN participation and World Affairs Forum events. SSPF relies on the generosity of individuals and businesses.

Three ways to donate: Online at OR via US mail to SSPF, 159 South Street, Washington, CT 06793 OR link to us at (Shepaug Student Project Foundation)


Flyers & Upcoming Events

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Region 12 Calendar

Jan 20: Martin Luther King Day, No School

Jan 24: Long Range Planning Committee Workshop, CO, 11am

Jan 27: Building Committee Meeting, SVS, 3pm

Jan 27: Finance & Operations Committee Meeting, SVS, 6pm

Jan 27: Board of Education Meeting, SVS, 7pm

Jan 27 - 31: Kindergarten Registration Week

Jan 30: Roxbury Community Meeting, BFS, 7pm

Follow Region 12 on our social media channels for updates and information!

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The Region 12 community educates, challenges, and inspires all learners to become compassionate, creative, and courageous individuals who are empowered by the knowledge, character, and perseverance to achieve their greatest potential within the global society.

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