Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School-December 2021

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.

There is nothing quite like a school spirit day to boost excitement and encourage unity among our students. Every Monday the Burnham staff and students celebrates school spirit. Giving students the chance to show their school colors, spirit, is always a fun way to engage and involve all of our students. It was also a wonderful way to kick off each week! Way to go Burnham!

Your child's report card will be available electronically on December 17th. 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, healthy, 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

12/3 Grades Close

12/6 Picture Re-Take Day

12/6 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

12/8 Early Dismissal for Students, 12:45 p.m.

12/10 PJ Day for the Kids

12/10 PTO Wreath Making Fundraiser

12/13 PTO Meeting, 3:30 p.m.

12/17 Report Cards Accessible to Parents Electronically

12/21 Cultures Around the World

12/22 Cultures Around the World Snow Date

12/23 Early Dismissal, 12:45 p.m.

12/24-12/31 Holiday Recess

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K/1/2 - Computer Science

The K-1-2 boys and girls are loving Computer Science. Mrs. Betsy Minton has been guiding us through lessons once per month to introduce activities to the students that allow them to apply their learning to computer science.

They are using an app called ScratchJr. to create an interactive "All About Me" collage. Students were able to pick icons, change colors, and draw pictures to create the page. They programmed the objects to talk by saying things like “Hi, I am Luke.” If a student drew an object like a soccer ball, they could program the ball to say, “I like soccer.” Students were able to select a background that interested them like a ballet studio or a forest.

Students also got a chance to explore creating simple algorithms by sequencing steps to create a program using Bee-Bots. Bee-Bot helps students see the directions from the robots point of view. They programmed the bee to do a series of steps/directions to follow a path on a grid.

The boys and girls also explored to learn how to drag and drop, sequence, and program characters to move to a desired location. Through fun, interactive characters, such as Angry Birds, the students learn to manipulate a character to move in different directions using programming blocks.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Spells Hip Hop!

Hip Hop dance star, Reggie Williams used his dance instruction combined with strategically placed discussion about the importance of being kind and good to each other in his unique virtual school assembly program. He focused on such characteristics of responsibility, fairness, trustworthiness, caring, and respect. Students learned to work together to help each other flourish, to respect their peers, teachers, parent and most importantly, self. The students participated in the presentation through movement and dance and giving 100%, while trying something new. This presentation was energizing and exciting. Our school community thanks the PTO for supporting this memorable virtual program.



The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in adults and children and can look like other common illnesses, like colds, strep throat, or allergies. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children are fever and cough, although there can be many others.

The CDC recommends monitoring your child for the following each day:

  • Fever (Temperature 100.4 or higher)

  • Chills

  • Sore throat

  • Frequent coughing

  • Trouble breathing

  • Runny nose/congestion

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Headache

  • Loss of smell or taste

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

With any change in your child’s health resembling those symptoms mentioned above, contact your healthcare provider and school nurse. Since it is not possible to differentiate between a cold/flu and COVID19, our medical director recommends seeing your pediatrician for testing or an alternate diagnosis. A note is necessary to return to school when these symptoms occur.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that a flu vaccine be given to any child over 6 months of age, this season more than ever.

Contact your school nurse with any questions or concerns regarding symptoms your child may be exhibiting.


There are a lot of fun things to do outside in the winter. However, it is important to consider safety and it's a good time to review the American Academy of Pediatrics winter health and safety tips.

The students go outside frequently throughout the day unless it’s raining or there is some unusual circumstance. Please be sure to send your child with the appropriate outdoor clothing for the weather. They must have snow pants and snow boots to put on in order to play in the snow to prevent being wet for the remainder of the school day.

Nosebleeds: If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try using a cold air humidifier in the child’s room at night. Saline nose drops or petroleum jelly may also help. If severe, consult your pediatrician.

Hypothermia/Frostbite: When (or if) it gets cold outside, remember to set a reasonable time limit on outdoor play and have children come inside periodically to warm up. Dressing in layers is best.

Outdoor Winter Activities: Ice skating and sledding are great ways to get exercise on a cold winter day. Children should be supervised. Advise your child to sled feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first. Sled on slopes free of obstructions (like trees or fences), not too steep, that ends with a flat runoff. Skate only on approved surfaces. Skate in one direction with the crowd. Never skate alone. Do not chew gum or eat candy. Wear a helmet. Stay away from crowded areas.

Sandi DiBella, R.N.

Booth Free School/Burnham 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.

Physical Education with Mr. Morgan

We have a new rotation schedule, and our students receive Physical Education every third day. I have enjoyed having this rotation and think the students do as well. Over the first two months of school, we have established classroom/gym routines and expectations. We have completed our icebreaker games and spent time challenging ourselves in a variety of cooperative games.

All students finished taking part in our October “Planktober” strength challenge. We started at 1 minute and added an additional 30 seconds to each subsequent class. The end of October produced some incredibly long plank holds. 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 younger students have spent time exploring how to move their bodies. Motor skills and movement patterns are the foundation for all future sports they might play. We do this in a manner that is encouraging and fun. There is not an emphasis on keeping score/winning. Students also have learned some new tag games that they have enjoyed.

Our older students have completed their kicking/soccer unit. They got to enjoy some time outside working on dribbling, passing, striking, and punting. Lead up games and small sided games allowed for all students to touch the ball during game play. We have most recently been taking part in our physical fitness unit. Students put forth great efforts completing their PACER run, curl ups, pushups, and flexibility exercises. Further discussion and challenges will help students develop a deeper understanding of how their fitness level can improve with hard work.

Students in grades 4 and 5 have started their weekly intramural/morning activities program. It is a great way to start the day. If any students in grades 4 and 5 are still interested in joining, please have them speak with Mr. Morgan

HRRA Trash Talk

On November 5, 2021, the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) provided our students in grades 3-5 with a virutal program called “Trash Talk”. The content was developed to meet CT state curriculum standards. The goal of this program was to equip students with accurate, local information on waste management and recycling while having a bit of fun! The students learned about the importance of recycling, where our trash goes, what items are recyclable, how to prepare recycling for collection, what happens to our recyclables, and lastly what products can be made from the items we recycle. This was a perfect time of year to participate in this program as November 15th was America Recycles Day! Remember to Recycle!

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 and take part in helping your child to grow academically. PTO meetings are held monthly at 3:30 p.m. Our next meeting will be held on December 13th.


Winter Break is just around the corner, and I 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, as always, seasonal classics such as The Polar Express and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are available for them to check out and enjoy. Fantasy lovers...have you checked out the Keeper of the Lost Cities series yet? If not, why not see what the hype is all about!

Kindergarten~ Our Kindergarten students are still enjoying a new read-aloud each week. In addition to some of the silly fiction titles we’ve been enjoying, I am also adding some exciting nonfiction titles to the mix of read-alouds.

First and Second Grade~ We are leaving behind the world of fantasy for this next read aloud, (though many of our first and second graders can’t get enough of the Magic Tree House series) and have just begun a realistic fiction book about a lively young girl whose big imagination gets her in all manner of trouble. The first and second graders are enjoying the antics of Clementine.

Third Grade~ Our third graders are still fully immersed in the world of Rump. Armed with only his strange knack for spinning straw into gold and accompanied only by a useless donkey named Nothing, Rump is off to find his destiny and save the miller’s daughter.

Fourth and Fifth Grade~ Fourth and fifth grade students are still enjoying Gary Paulsen’s survival novel, Hatchet. Brian has just figured out how to build a fire, but he has many trials ahead of him.

Read Across America

For December, the National Education Association has chosen books that encourage students to Lend a Hand. For primary grades, the featured book is The Lost Package by Richard Ho. For middle grades, the book is Thanks a lot, Universe, by Chad Lucas.

Do you or your child have a book request? Please feel free to email me at

Burnham School Student Council

During the month of November, our Burnham School Student Council held their annual food drive. All donations were presented to the Bridgewater Food Bank. The generous contributions of our school’s students, families, and staff members filled several boxes of needed foods. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone for their participation and thoughtfulness!

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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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