on New Milford Schools
March 2023, Volume 13, Issue 8
Welcome from Dr. Parlato!
Hello, New Milford Public Schools Families, Faculty and Staff! Thank you again to everyone for such a warm welcome to the district. In the past month that I have been here, I have been working to meet as many community members as possible with many more opportunities from now until the end of the school year. As I get settled into the district, I am also beginning to develop ideas to continue our progress as a district, and I can’t wait to collaborate with our students, families, faculty, staff, and community members on our next steps moving forward. Please consider following the social media accounts for my office on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and you will find those links below at the end of the newsletter. Thank you again for your support of our students and our schools, and I hope that you enjoy the upcoming Spring days.
Important Dates 📆
New Milford Public Schools
25 Sunny Valley Road, Suite A
New Milford, CT 06776
What is Neurodiversity?
"Like a person’s fingerprints, no two brains — not even those of identical twins — are exactly the same. Because of that, there’s no definition of “normal” capabilities for the human brain."
Neurodiversity Week was celebrated in the NMPS the week of March 13-18th. The district offered a variety of resources and even a speaker in honor of celebrating our differences.
Neurodiversity is a non medical term that describes people whose brains develop or work differently for some reason. This means the person has different strengths and struggles from people whose brains develop or work more typically. 15-20% of the population has a neurological difference. Neurodiversity takes a balanced view of an individual’s unique strengths and challenges.
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
"Don't confuse your path with your destination. Just because it's stormy now doesn't mean you aren't headed for sunshine."
~ Mike Krzyzewski
NMHS Junior, Brianna Usher, was interviewed by News12 CT on her inspiring first basket for the Junior Varsity team! Click on the link below to watch Brianna's interview with News12 reporter, Justin DeVellis.
NMHS Brag Sheet
The New Milford Wrestling Team won the 2023 SWC Championship with Alex Oberc, Braden Olmstead, Khalil Bourjeili and Tynan Lim all earning 1st Team All Conference. Khalil was also both the Class L State Champion and the State Open Champion in his weight class. Also, Khalil Bourjeili was voted GameTime CT Athlete of the Week!
The Girls Basketball Team won their 1st ever SWC Championship defeating Immaculate 49-32 in the Championship Game! Maddy Gaudio and Sydney Scalzo made the All Tournament Team along with Jade Wallace who was named the tournament MVP. Jade Wallace also made All-State!
Bravo Mamma Mia!
Bravo to the cast and crew of Mamma Mia for an outstanding production!
Green Heat Winter Percussion placed 1st in the prelims and finals at the WGI Trumbull Regionals and is currently ranked highest scoring percussion unit in America this season!
Congratulations to all our music students who were accepted into the 2023 CMEA All-State Festival! We’re so proud of our NMHS vocal and instrumental honorees!
Sunshine Cart from SADD!
SADD students delivered complimentary treats and drinks to all faculty and staff in appreciation of all their hard work! SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) is a student-led club that empowers and mobilizes students and adult allies to engage in positive change through leadership and smart decision-making. We are always accepting new members! See Mrs. Schlicher in Room 1305 during Activity Period to join!
Over 70 students in four 9th grade English classes served as the pilot group for the iReady computer-based assessment in reading during the week of February 6. iReady is an adaptive test that measures student reading skills in several categories. The testing went smoothly and many of the students were already familiar with the program from taking the iReady math assessment.
The next step in the pilot process is to analyze the data from this pilot group and determine ways to drive instructional strategies. The long-term plan is to roll out this iReady reading assessment to the entire 9th grade class in the fall.
NMHS National Honor Society (NHS) Update
The New Milford High School National Honor Society (NHS) has had a busy school year. In December we collected hundreds of items for a "Stuff a Stocking" donation, filled Christmas boxes for Camilla's Cupboard, and designed and delivered handmade holiday cards for seniors. In January, NHS students collected hundreds of non-perishable items for a food drive. In February, NHS conducted a Valentine's Day rose sale fundraiser and in March, NHS is selling floral bouquets as a fundraiser at all the performances of the NMHS musical. In addition, NHS members serve as tutors daily in the Library Learning Commons. NHS members actively serve in many other capacities throughout the school and community throughout the school year.
During the Month of February SMS Celebrated Kindness Month. During this month, all of our Advisory lessons and activities focused on the theme of kindness. Our lessons and activities highlighted kindness through respect, self-care, gratitude, empathy, being an upstander, and different ways of communicating. As a culminating activity, homerooms made posters and banners to encourage kindness. The posters and banners were hung in the hallways at SMS. During the following Advisory periods, homeroom groups went on gallery walks together to look at the different posters and vote on their favorites.
During the month of March SMS was excited to host our friends from Booster! Not only was this program a fundraiser for the SMS PTO but it brought character education, games and trivia, and the SMS Dance Bash to our school. Each morning, students and staff were greeted in the front of the school by Uwa, music, and dancing. Uwa then joined morning announcements each day to provide an update on how the fundraiser was going and announce prize winners. During homeroom Uwa also did some work with students on character education, with the character traits selected continuing our emphasis on kindness. During our SMS Dance Bash fundraiser we talked about kindness, empathy, compassion, respect, and the responsibility we all have to be kin. Next, Uwa was in the cafeteria during lunch waves to play music, games, and trivia with students. Finally, on Friday, March 17th, we hosted the SMS Dance Bash. Each grade got to spend a period at the dance bash participating in dancing, minute to win it challenges, and more trivia. Thanks so much to the SMS PTO for working so hard to bring the Booster program to SMS!
On March 10th and 11th, sixteen of our most talented singers and instrumentalists from SMS participated in the Northern Region Music Festival at Simsbury High School. This was the culmination of months of preparation and a rigorous audition. These students were chosen to participate in the Band, Chorus, and Orchestra to perform with the top students in the northern region of Connecticut. They took what usually takes three months of rehearsals and put it all together in about 6 hours. We at SMS could not be more proud of the enthusiasm and musicianship that these students embody.
On Thursday, March 2, 2023 students and staff at SMS held an Open House Event for our rising 6th graders. This event was our first opportunity to welcome new friends to the SMS community. During the open house, students and families had the opportunity to talk to students and staff, visit a student activities fair, practice opening a lock, and sign up for classes for next year. The event was a huge success thanks to our student and staff volunteers!
The students tapped the trees to learn about fractions. The ratio of sap to syrup is 40:1. Mr. McKay's class has been calculating how much syrup we will produce given a specific amount of sap. 1/40 of what is collected will become syrup. The students get to see a very concrete and practical application of what they are learning in math class.
SNIS Family Math Night
This year we had our third annual SNIS Math Week planned by Math Coach, Mrs. Muir and STEM teacher, Mrs. Bonnell. The days started with a silly Math joke on the announcements. In the classrooms, students worked on challenging math problems of the day On Wednesday, we hosted our Family Math Night. The Family Math Night was packed with more than 100 families attending and it was an amazing, fun night for all.
SNIS Yoga Club
Yoga Club celebrates its fifth year at SNIS. Currently, fifth graders are enjoying morning sessions of yoga. The yoga club incorporates breathing, stretching, and mindfulness. Favorite poses include crow, headstand, and double down dog. Yogis also enjoy partner poses, chair yoga poses, and games such as "Yogi Says". Mrs. Bonnell ends every session with "savasana'', a relaxation pose that allows for rejuvenation and a present mind. Spring sessions are coming soon for third and fourth graders.
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
John Quincy Adams
Students and staff at Hill and Plain have been busy in and out of the classroom. Last month, we held a schoolwide assembly celebrating the many examples of perseverance we had seen from our students. We were able to identify many students who reached a variety of goals due to their hard work and perseverance. At the assembly we also celebrated the success of our schoolwide Kids Heart Challenge. Students raised money for the American Heart Association through being active and kind. Thank you to our PE teacher, Ms. Stratman for organizing the event. Recently, we have transitioned from our school wide focus on perseverance to a focus on respect. Thanks to our PTO we were able to welcome Mr. C, who led our students in songs about respect and treating others with kindness. The topic of respect will continue to be a school wide focus moving forward and reinforced in our guidance classes, morning announcements and with other special guests.
Students were involved in a variety activities in their classrooms during Read Across America week that helped to promote the importance and fun of reading. Our PTO also helped promote the importance of reading by sponsoring our annual read-a-thon and holding the spring Book Fair during this time as well. We also look forward to an upcoming visit from an author whose message aligns to our school wide focus on respect.
The children enjoyed a “dance hallway” on Friday, March 24th as a reward for all of their participation and hard work with the Read-A-Thon!
In early spring, we welcomed Mrs. Pat Colello back to NES as Interim Assistant Principal. Mrs. Colello filled in last year right around the same time and is familiar with the school, the routines, the students, and families. Mrs. Surreira will be a full-time AP at SMS until the end of the school year.
Kindergarten registration is in full bloom! Families of children who turn 5 years old before December 31st, 2023 are welcome to fill out registration paperwork. Registration information is found in the link just below.
The Mini K experience is being held on Wednesday mornings in May. Registered Kindergartners come to NES to do activities, get acclimated and check out the school while the parents and care-givers attend an informational meeting. The day culminates with a quick bus ridee and a goodie bag!
We also had an author visit! Melissa Shapiro presented “Piglet Mindset” which is an assembly encouraging students to accept, learn about, and understand all types of people and their many differences. “Piglet” is the name of a deaf and blind dog that is cared for by Ms. Shapiro. “Piglet Comes Home: How a Deaf Blind Pink Puppy Found His Family” is a book by Ms. Shapiro that tells the story of her dog who faced many challenges.
When registering a student, you must provide: 1) the child's birth certificate. Age of Entrance (2) proof of residency or homelessness ( See policy 5111) See regulation 5118.1) All children living in the in the US have the right to a free K-12 public education.
Teacher of the Year Nominations
We are pleased to announce the third year of our revised Teacher of the Year program celebrating the excellence of our districts’ teachers.
This program has allowed the opportunity for more teachers to be honored for their exemplary work and dedication to students, families, and colleagues. This year’s program will again include naming a Teacher of the Year at each of the district’s five schools, then selecting the district Teacher of the Year from those candidates. The program continues to be an overwhelming success. We congratulate the Teachers of the Year who were announced at each school last June. They are Cheryl Reiner at NMHS, Daniel Savo at SMS, Tara Gee at SNIS, Katie Ciperelli at HPS. The district Teacher of the Year, representing NES, Jenna Giudice, was announced during convocation in August. The Committee has decided that it will again follow this format for the current school year.
According to the CT Department of Education’s website, “The Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors teacher excellence. It does not attempt to select the "best" teacher; rather, to identify, from among many outstanding teachers of the year, one teacher to serve as a visible and vocal representative of what is best in the profession. The program celebrates excellence in teaching by recognizing teachers who have inspired a love for learning in their students and who have distinguished themselves in the profession.”
Beginning on Thursday, March 23rd and continuing until Thursday, April 6th, staff, parents, and students will again be invited to nominate educators that they believe show excellence in teaching. After the nomination process has concluded, a list of eligible candidates will be announced. Staff at each school will then vote for their school’s Teacher of the Year. Announcements will be made in mid-May as our superintendent, Dr. Janet Parlato, along with members of the committee and this year’s Teachers of the Year will surprise each school’s new Teacher of the Year with the official announcement. Each Teacher of the Year from all 5 schools will then be given an opportunity to move forward as a nominee for the district title. The full district committee will convene to follow the same process they have followed in the past to choose our district’s Teacher of the Year. This educator will then be eligible to submit an application to the State Department of Education for consideration as Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year. The teachers’ application packet includes biographical and professional information, essays on topics ranging from personal teaching philosophy to the issues facing public education, and letters of endorsement. As was the case in the past, we will continue to expect and encourage our nominees to submit their application to the state after accepting the nomination at our district level.
We encourage you to participate in this process by nominating a colleague that has inspired you and has inspired students. We are excited to celebrate all of our talented and dedicated educators!
Connie Williams & Roxanne Kraft
Co-Chairpersons, Teacher of the Year Committee