Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School-December 2019

A Note from the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The holiday season is here once again! It is a time when teachers work hard keeping students focused on their classroom instruction as students are often preoccupied with family holiday traditions and festivities. However, as I visit the classrooms and observe the activities I am quite pleased with the performance of the professional staff and their receptiveness of our students. Your children are engaged in wonderful learning experiences and their successes are recognized. I encourage you to continue to promote the importance of school especially during this time of year.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the many family members that visited during Parent Visitation Day held on November 20th. It certainly was a wonderful opportunity for all visitors to see the Burnham School community in action.

The third graders wish to recognize and thank the Bridgewater Grange for their upcoming donations of dictionaries. Each student was given a dictionary of their own, a very useful tool to be used in the classroom. These dictionaries will be given to the students to take home at the end of the school year. The Grange is so generous and their yearly donation of dictionaries to the district’s students is much appreciated.

You will receive your child’s report card on December 13th. This report card is an important part of the Regional School District 12’s commitment to fostering effective communication between home and school. Grading is a tool for all to use in pinpointing strengths and weaknesses in your child’s understanding of the grade level standards. It can help to clarify expectations and will provide a shared language for discussing your child’s learning. Most importantly, it can help us improve student performance over time and provide for the ongoing conversation between teacher, student, and their family. This communication between home and school is essential in supporting the progress that students make toward demonstrating their academic ability with the curriculum taught in our district.

In closing, I wish the students and families of the Burnham School community a wonderful holiday season. It is my hope that it is a safe and joyous one shared with family and friends. As always, happiness and good health in the new year!


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for December

12/4 Picture Re-Take Day

12/5 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

12/6 Bridgewater Tree Lighting, 7 p.m.

12/9 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

12/12 PTO Enrichment Program – Musical Sign Language Performance

12/13 Report Cards Sent Home

12/17 Cultures Around the World

12/18 Holiday Sing Along, 2:30 p.m.

12/20 Cultures Around the World Snow Date

12/23-1/1 Holiday Recess

1/2 School Resumes

1/2 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

Big picture

K/1/2 - Our Burnham Community

Kindergarten, first, and second grade students have learned more about our Burnham School community. After we formed our hopes and dreams for the year, we developed our classroom rules and school rules. Then students interviewed Burnham School staff members (Officer Rich, Mrs. Colella, Mrs. Cavalea, Mrs. McQueen, Mrs. Rybos, Mrs. Gallagher, Mrs. Meyer, Mrs. Leslie, and Mrs. Rourke) to learn about their roles in our school community. Each staff member also gave advice about how to be a good student.

Next, students developed a list of class community concerns that citizens could try to solve. Some of their concerns were the lunchroom being too loud, not picking up materials correctly, not recycling correctly, and messy closets. Groups then came up with ideas to fix with concern. After discussing each idea with the group, the students created one agreed upon solution and designed an action plan. Action plans included creating a poster, video, or having an expert come in. Our next steps will be to carry out the action plans.



This is a reminder that lice are ever present among children. It is a good idea to check your child once a week for any signs of lice. There is no need to panic if you discover lice. There is helpful information on this website from the CDC: Please call the school nurse office with any questions or concerns at 860-354-9721.


According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, “the available research suggests that recess may play an important role in the learning, social, development, and health of children in elementary school”. The students at Burnham School go out for recess every day unless it is raining or there is some unusual circumstance. Please be sure to send your child with the appropriate outdoor clothing for the weather. A warm jacket is important with gloves or mittens in the pocket to use as needed. When the ground is snow covered children LOVE to play in the snow. They must have snow pants and snow boots to put on to play in the snow to prevent being wet for the remainder of the school day. Thank you for your attention to appropriate outdoor gear, they truly love being outside in free play and they need to be prepared to do that.


The holidays are all about sharing, but germs are not for sharing. People can be contagious before they know they are sick so avoid sharing forks, spoons and drinking utensils. Family gatherings, airports and travel stops, shopping malls, are all places germs like to mingle. To protect yourself make sure to wash your hands often and get a flu vaccine.

Eat healthy and be merry. Holiday foods can be high in calories and low in nutrition. You need to battle germs and boost energy. Eat a rainbow…eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day and choose whole fruit instead of juice to feel full longer and avoid added sugar. Don’t give your exercise routine a holiday! Exercise gives you energy and burns calories.

Get some ZZZs…getting 8 1/2 to 9 hours of sleep a night can help strengthen your immune system and give you more energy.

Have a healthy, safe, and wonderful holiday season!!!

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.

Music with Mrs. Doiron

Students at Burnham School have been making huge strides as musicians! Kindergarten students have been moving, listening, singing, and chanting songs in a variety of tonalities and meters! They have been playing with different ways to move through space using flow (loose or stuck), pathways (straight or curvy) and beat (big or little). The students in grades 1 & 2 have also been moving and singing. They know that the small beat and large beat have names (microbeat and macrobeat), they are finding and singing the resting tone to the tunes they learn (‘DO’ in major tonality and ‘LA’ in minor), and they are working on building a vocabulary of different rhythm patterns in duple and triple meter.

Additionally, our upper grade students in 3rd & 4th grade are learning to sing and play songs we know on recorders and glockenspiels. 5th graders have been listening to music from composers representing different time periods. A popular piece was “In the Hall of The Mountain King” when they figured out what tempo means just by listening.

This has also been an exciting year for our performance groups. Burnham School Band and Chorus are both growing! We have several performances coming up soon and we hope to see you there!

Dates to Remember:

December 6: Bridgewater Tree Lighting (Chorus)

7:00 pm performance

December 18: Sing Along (whole school)


January 16: Unified Concert (Band & Chorus)

7:00 pm performance

For more information and recordings check out our webpage!

Parent Visitation Day at Burnham School

To honor American Education Week, parents from Burnham School were invited to visit their child’s classroom on Parent Visitation Day, November 21st. Parents were welcomed with smiles as they participated in a variety of activities throughout the day learning first hand about their child’s school program. Parents became scientists, mathematicians, writers, makers and artists. This opportunity provides a lens into the classroom environment and also strengthens the home/school partnership.


Winter Break is just around the corner, and we hope that Burnham students will spend some cozy nights by the fire reading with their families. We have brand new books and series arriving just in time for the break, and we have also featured seasonal classics for them to check out and enjoy over the break. We also encourage them to check out December Starbooks and earn some book rewards points over the break.

Kindergarten~ Our K students are still enjoying a new read-aloud each week. For the month of December, our goal is to engage their imaginations. The wonderful world of fantasy will do just that. In library classes, therefore, we will be focusing on fantasy read-alouds.

First and Second~ As we wrap up our November read-aloud, we will be enjoying a fantasy book as a class. We’ll be exploring the miniature world of the Littles with the first book in the series, and we hope that it will inspire our students to explore the series further.

Third and Fourth~ Our third and fourth graders will be continuing their exploration of A Wrinkle in Time. This fantastical world of Madeleine L’Engle’s invention continues to engage their imaginations.

Fifth Grade~ Our fifth graders have finished A Long Walk to Water and will now be venturing into Alan Gratz’s historical epic, Refugee. Students will see the world through the eyes of three children who have one mission in common: escape.

Rick Riordan is our featured author for the months of December. You will see a few of his books on our featured Starbooks for this month.

On Thursday, November 21, two student representatives visited the Connecticut State Library to accept Burnham School’s award for being among the top-performing schools in the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge. We are honored to receive recognition as a school of motivated readers.

Governor's Reading Challenge Recognition

Burnham School was among the top eighteen schools from across the state who were honored on November 21st at the Connecticut State Library for the 2018 and 2019 Summer Reading Challenges. Schools with the highest percentage of participation and highest number of books read were celebrated. Several students and staff represented each school. Special remarks from the State Librarian, Kendall Wiggin, and Governor Ned Lamont were made followed by a presentation of awards. Congratulations to all our students for their accomplishments and special thanks to all our families and local libraries for making reading a priority.

Shepaug’s Spartan Club Visits Burnham School

Members of Shepaug Valley School’s Spartan Club visited Burnham School recently. This was an especially exciting experience for these particular Spartan Club members as they were once Burnham students.

Returning to their elementary school to eat lunch and to participate in recess activities was fun for all. Spartan Club members shared their experiences with Burnham students and answered many questions about Shepaug.

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 December 5 at 6:00 PM. We hope you plan to attend!

Burnham School Student Council

Student Council and Grades 3-4-5 put their entrepreneur caps on to make cards, ornaments, and slime to sell at the Fall Festival this past month. Their efforts were well received and along with collecting donations this past October and November, we are happy to report that we have collected $2,400.00 toward our Ben’s Bells Kindness Tree. Thank you to everyone that supports our initiative.

December 13th is Pajama Day. DONATE $1 OR MORE IN EXCHANGE FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF WEARING PJS FOR THE DAY! All proceeds benefit the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at Connecticut Children’s. We hope for 100% participation.

Have a wonderful holiday,

Burnham School Student Council

PTO Sponsored Walk-A-Thon

The Burnham School Walk-A-Thon sponsored by PTO was a success. Our wonderful school community raised $5,382.00. The boys and girls enjoyed both physically walking with their peers, and also the culminating event, the Fall Festival. The staff and students thank the PTO for their hard work and dedication to our community.

A Celebration of Giving Thanks!

Our 11th Annual Harvest Gathering took place on Monday, November 25th. The students sang songs, shared poetry, and spent time making a special craft, a colorful turkey, with our special guests.

The school community in collaboration with the Burnham PTO presented Big Y gift cards to the Town of Bridgewater. Student Council also sponsored a food derive and the food collected was presented to the local food pantry. Our dedicated bus drivers were given beautiful gift baskets as a thanks for keeping our students safe each and every day.

It was a very thankful and heartwarming event.

Diversity in American Music

The PTO sponsored enrichment music program filled the room with enthusiasm and fun. Fuzz, also known as James Lombard, entertained the boys and girls with a variety of music ranging from rock and roll to reggae to bluegrass. The students clapped, danced, and sang along with the lively tunes. Fuzz, a national musician, certainly brought excitement and musical joy to our school.

PTO Sponsored Fall Festival

On Sunday, November 3rd the PTO sponsored their 3rd Annual Fall Festival. This was a fun filled day. This year’s event was also a culminating event celebrating our students participation in our first Walk-a-Thon. A special thanks to Megan Romanoff and Laura Rissolo who chaired this event and their volunteers for making our Fall Festival a grand success!

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.

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.

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.

Big picture
Big picture