Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - April 2022

A Note From the Principal:

Happy April, Happy Spring! The most recent warmer weather has allowed us to see our grass again and a few tips of crocus and daffodils beginning to peek through. With our opened windows the smell of spring air is indeed inviting. Keeping our students’ minds on the academics will be challenging as they too want to get outside and run around. The staff will use their wonderful creative talents to keep them focused on the tasks presented to them. With such dedicated and talented staff, I am certain that this challenge will be conquered.

Booth Free students have participated in the 15th Annual Recycling Billboard Contest sponsored by HRRA, Take 2 Secure Electronics Recycling Oak Ridge Waste & Recycling, Union Savings Bank, Bay State Textiles, MXI Environmental Services, Curbside Compost, and Quantum Biopower. The 2021-2022 contest theme: Recycle Your Food Scraps! Compost! prompted students to create a billboard that would help educate and convince the public to recycle only the items that are acceptable. There were many very thoughtful and creative entries. Local judging has been completed and each grade level’s first place winners have been submitted to the Regional Judging. We hope to have some Regional winners!

Budget season is upon us. The budget for next school year has been presented to the Board of Education and is available to the taxpayers. It can be located on the district’s website. The District Budget Hearing was held on Monday, March 28, 2022. The Annual District Meeting will be held on May 2, 2022, and the Budget Referendum is scheduled to take place on May 3, 2022.

On April 21, 2022 incoming kindergarten parents/guardians and students are invited to attend a Meet and Greet Kindergarten Readiness Program. It will be held at Booth Free School at 1:30 p.m. A parent presentation will kick off the program, followed by a visitation to the kindergarten classroom by students and a bit of outdoor play (weather permitting). The visit will focus on how to prepare incoming kindergarteners for school and for a successful first year. The staff and I look forward to welcoming our new students to the Booth Free community.

As a reminder, students in grades 3-5 will take the Smarter Balanced Tests during the first two weeks of May, from May 3rd - May 13th. Grade 5 students will also be tested in the area of Science on May 25th and 26th. Please keep the testing schedules in mind as you plan activities for your family. It is important to have all our students in school during this time.

Finally, as we move into warmer weather and longer hours of daylight, please continue to stress the importance of homework and time management. Homework continues throughout the year, and at times a child may need a bit more guidance in planning a busy afternoon or evening schedule. Your support is greatly appreciated.


Cathy Colella


Dates to remember for April

4/4 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

4/6 Early Dismissal, 12:45 PM

4/7 National Walk Day, Walk-9:10 AM

4/8 Schoolwide Jam Session, 2:00 PM

4/11-14 Spring Recess, School Closed

4/15 Good Friday, School Closed

4/20 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

4/21 Kindergarten Meet & Greet, 1:30 PM

4/25 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

4/28 Booth Free School Celebration, 10:00 AM

5/8 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

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Celebrating Booth Free School’s Administrative Professional, Laura Horrigan!

Mrs. Horrigan is our shining star! She brightens our days with her warm, gentle, and caring greetings. She is recognized for her hard work, tireless effort, and every day enthusiasm. Let’s all wish Mrs. Horrigan a wonderful day on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Thank you, Mrs. Horrigan, for the tremendous job you do for us!

“Happy Administrative Professionals Day!”

The 23rd Annual Elementary Celebration of the Arts

On March 15, 2022, six outstanding fifth grade students from Region 12 received recognition for their excellence in the arts during the 23rd Annual Elementary Celebration of the Arts. Despite being a virtual event for the second year in a row, it was a great cause for celebration!

The Connecticut Association of Schools, through its Elementary Arts Recognition Festival, annually honors students who have excelled in areas of visual or performing arts, and who exhibit high levels of citizenship and cooperative skills. Every year, two award recipients are chosen from the highest grade level of each elementary school of our state - one for excellence in the visual arts and one for excellence in the performing arts. The program’s entertainment highlights were video presentations featuring State Story Tellers, Carol Glenn and Tom Callinan, who performed entertaining vignettes about colorful moments in Connecticut’s interesting history.

Congratulations to the following fifth grade students who were this year’s recipients from Region 12:

Booth Free School: Lyla Conway, Mackenzie Schramm

Burnham School: Libby Planz, & Natalia Cyr-Moyers

Washington Primary School: Neely Gritti & Finn Nettleton

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Grade 3 Fractions!

The third graders continue to amaze me with their tenacity and drive to learn. Our fraction unit is showcasing their skills at finding equivalencies, making comparisons, and creating fractions greater than one whole. The students then work quite well in small groups solving fractional word problems, justifying their answers along the way. These advanced skills are pushing them to high-level learning, and they will find great success as the fraction concepts increase in difficulty.

Fifth Grade Alchemists

Did you know that there were once people, known as Alchemists, who looked for potions that could turn things into gold? Booth Free Fifth Graders have been experimenting with chemistry in our latest science unit in which students have been searching for their own 'magic' concoctions by mixing acids, bases, solids, liquids, and powders and making observations of the results. Students have worked in pairs to systematically test the reactions that happen between different substances to make inferences about their properties. The next time you see a Booth Free 5th grader, be sure to ask them what they've learned!

Student Council News!

Our dedicated Student Council members have been very busy over the last month! One of the endeavors we are most proud of is our partnership with the PTO’s cookie sale for Ukraine. Our students have displayed a deep desire to help the families impacted by the war. We are doing our part to raise money for relief efforts by designing and coloring recipe/thank you tags that will be attached to each carefully crafted kit. It is truly inspiring to see the children in our school take action as global citizens.

In addition to aiding Ukraine, the Student Council has also been hard at work, supporting a local organization - Better Days Rescue. Initially, we aimed to collect items for this shelter through the 25th of March. However, we are extending this collection for an additional two weeks to Friday, April 8th. An updated flyer will be posted to the Refrigerator Door! Each representative has also created a cat toy/box for play that will be sent to Better Days Rescue (pictured below,) along with the items received from the collection.

Last, but not least, the School Store is officially back and as well loved as ever! The 5th Gr. members of Student Council have done an outstanding job making change, assisting younger shoppers, and taking part in the ordering/restocking process. We are delighted to have the store back up and running after it’s temporary hiatus.

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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 April 20th.

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

With spring allergy season upon us, your doctor may recommend using allergy medications to prevent or manage symptoms. Symptoms of allergies should respond to allergy medications. During COVID-19 differentiating between allergies and illness is a very important consideration. Of course children with seasonal allergies can still get sick. It is more likely the school nurse will request a call to the pediatrician with the related symptoms, especially those not responding to allergy medication.

Here are some suggestions to manage seasonal allergies at home:

  • If your child has experienced seasonal allergies in the past, discuss the option of giving your child prophylactic allergy medication with your doctor rather than waiting for symptoms to arise.

  • Have your child wear a hat and sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting into their eyes.

  • Have your child remove their clothes as soon as they come indoors and wash them to remove pollen.

  • Leave shoes at the door so your family doesn’t track allergens through your home.

  • Have your child wash their hands and face as soon as they come in from the outdoors.

It is important during this pandemic to be vigilant about any symptoms of illness in your child and communicating with your health care provider and school nurse. Please keep in mind, students should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider.

If you have any questions at any time you can email or call your school nurse for advice.

Sandi DiBella, R.N. School Nurse Booth Free School


Mary Clarke, R.N. School Nurse Burnham School


Terri Truczinskas, R.N. School Nurse Washington Primary School


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.

Music Trimester 2 with Mrs. Doiron

Thank you to everyone who participated in our virtual “Bring a Friend to Music” Day! The students were so excited and so proud to show what they know. If you were unable to join us there is good news. You have a music expert who can tell you all about what we do in class and can demonstrate some of our songs and games! Check in with your student if you have more questions! :)

K students got to play instruments!! They learned to identify and safely play several including tambourines, sand blocks, and finger cymbals. We also continued moving in different pathways (space) while moving loose and stuck (flow), or heavy and light (weight). These movement activities help students successfully develop beat competence (time) as they continue to grow as musicians.

First graders learned about jazz! They improvised and scat sang. They listened to stories and songs. They learned about Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dizzy Gillespie. We have some pretty hip first graders!

Second graders built on their knowledge of chords to learn the blues! They learned the chord progression, improvised over the chord changes, and even wrote their own blues song! We recorded ourselves improvising our own melodies for our lyrics!

Third graders continued their hard work on recorders. They can play at least 3 songs with the melody and chord roots (and harmony parts on some songs too!). They improvised endings to a song and learned to play familiar tunes in more than one key! Mostly they worked on being stronger musicians.

Fourth graders were rocking out on bucket drums! They learned grooves to play with fun songs (anyone familiar with We Don’t Talk about Bruno?) and then created grooves of their own! The tough part was putting multiple grooves together with other musicians.

Fifth graders continued their work on ukulele. They chose new tunes to work on and stretched their skills to accommodate the new chords they needed. Next they will learn to identify notes in treble clef (and bass clef) and write rhythms in duple and triple meter.

Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

March was such an exciting month for BFS STAR readers! Our Read-a-Thon celebrating Read Across America was a wonderful success.

Each week students in every grade handed in their Read-a-Thon sheets, tracking the minutes they had read. Every Friday

students celebrated their reading accomplishments by engaging in class activities. Additionally, each week students received prizes for their participation and enthusiasm for reading and lucky students won prize bags filled with educational goodies. A big thank you and congratulations to everyone who participated in the event! Keep Reading!!!

This coming up month we will be exploring poetry in all of our library classes in celebration of National Poetry Month. Additionally, Grade 5 will start reading Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Grade 4 finished reading the dystopian book, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. For families interested, there is a movie version of the book that you might want to watch so your child can compare and contrast the book and the movie. Also in 4th grade, the students voted to read the book Birthday Surprises, a collection of short stories by well known children’s authors.

In Grade 3 we will continue reading The Potato Chip Puzzles, Winston Breen by Eric Berlin. In class every week we solve puzzles from the book as well as other puzzles I provide. The students have become quite savvy at puzzle solving. See if you can match wits by solving this puzzle from the book. What do these 8 words have in common?

In 2nd Grade we will continue reading the award winning novel Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. This book was recently made into a delightful family film. First Grade read a variety of awesome books this month like The Proudest Blue:A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school--and two sisters on one's first day of hijab. They also read the non-fiction book, The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien and Pete the Cat The Great Leprechaun Chase by James Dean, Finally they read the book This is Me by Jamie Lee Curtis. Most students made adorable "This is Me" ringlets which we are proudly displaying on the library cart.

Kindergartners had a dragon themed month and read a variety of books about dragons like How to Catch a Dragon, Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon, The Egg, Gramps and the Fire Dragon and How to Draw a Dragon. The entire class worked together and built a dragon that is on display.

Happy Spring and Happy Reading!!!

Supporting UKRAINE!

Thank you families and friends of Booth Free School for your very generous monetary support for Ukraine. Our school raised $902! Tremendous results!!! Your generous support has been given to the Ukrainian Red Cross.

The Invention Convention

Our Booth Free inventors showcased many talents at our Annual Invention Convention. After eight weeks of problem-solving, experimenting, and working through the Engineering Design Process, students created unique and masterful inventions. During the week of March 7th twenty two students showcased their inventions and judging took place. It was a week full of ingenuity and innovation. After the difficult task of choosing three winners, the judges chose the following winners: Ashton

May, No FreeZy Feet, Dayanna Daly, Bee Cozie, and Tyler Palumbo, The Awesamatic Feeder. The three winners are heading virtually to the final state competition.

We are so very proud of every inventor’s perseverance and creativity and know that next year will bring forth just as much, if not more excitement and inspiration!

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