Region In Review

January 31, 2020

Newborn Lambs

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The Agriscience Academy now has two new beautiful baby lambs! The students are currently voting on what to name them, and in the meantime, they are being carefully watched over and protected by their mothers Dotty and Westin.

Lego Club

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Several second and third graders continue to build their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in Booth Free School’s very own FIRST LEGO League Jr. team, Roxy’s Stars. In this before school club, the students build models using LEGO components and program the robotic parts they have built using a simple coding language. They work together using the FIRST (an international robotics competition with programs for students in elementary school through high school) core values, including discovery, exploring new skills and ideas; innovation, using creativity and persistence to solve problems; impact, applying what they learn to improve our world; inclusion, respecting each other and embracing differences; teamwork and fun. Guided by Mr. Hosking and Mrs. Palumbo, a parent volunteer, students build a mix of creative and planned models and create Show Me posters to present what they have learned.

Lego Club

The club focuses on building interest in STEM through a real-world challenge; this year's project is entitled Boomtown Builds. In the Boomtown Builds challenge, the students are presented with various problems that two community members of Boomtown face as they strive to make their city more accessible, environmentally responsible, easier to live in, happier, and more connected. During this challenge, thus far, Roxy’s Stars have researched and modeled Roxbury’s community buildings. They have also continuously used critical thinking skills and imagination to solve weekly mini problems.

As the club’s work progresses, they will continue to use all of these important skills and may even have an opportunity to share their hard work and creative problem solving to other teams at a local convention! The club members and advisors look forward to continuing to grow as Roxy’s Stars!

Quebec Trip Fundraiser

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Students braved the rain and cold last weekend to raise funds for their upcoming trip to Quebec City. Twenty-five students will be going to Quebec City on February 6-9. They will stay with host families and partake in many exciting activities. Stay tuned for pictures!

Washington Gives

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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, seniors from Shepaug joined volunteers from the Student Project Foundation, the Spartan Club, ASAP, and the ice hockey team to host activities related to their senior projects. They also served the community during Washington Gives at The Judy Black Memorial Park & Gardens in Washington Depot.

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The Shepaug ice hockey team participated in the "Hearts of Hope" and the Letter Writing to Service Members campaign during the day at the Judy Black Memorial and the Washington Art Association in Washington Depot.
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Leaders of Tomorrow!

Region 12 had an impressive group of elementary students attend the Connecticut Association of Schools Leadership Conference on January 8, 2020, held at Naugatuck Valley Community College. Wilson Benner, Grady Hughes, Frank Mariano, Rose Baker, Liam McGuire, and Cameron Schell represented the fourth and fifth-grade students from Booth Free School. Burnham School was represented by Victoria Bargellini, Natalie Orletski, and Liam Riendeau. Washington Primary School students Addison Rickmers, Brooke Leahey, Agnes Schiesel, Jonathon Croft, and Samuel Benyair were all in attendance.

The conference focused on developing such skills as “productive thinking”, decision making, creative problem solving, team building and communication. Students participated in break-out sessions which were centered around 21st century leadership skills. The day culminated with an interactive, large group presentation/discussion about bullying in schools. Students and presenters alike shared strategies for dealing with mean behavior, demonstrating direct and effective methods for improving our school environments. The conference left the students filled with enthusiasm and an eagerness to share their new learning with their school communities.

Unified Concert

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Elementary music in Region 12 is where students grow to become independent, creative, and confident musicians. This was evident on Thursday, January 16, when Shepaug Valley School hosted our Unified Concert! The event featured the combined choruses and bands from all three elementary schools. As a special treat, the eighth-grade chorus and band also performed and then they joined the elementary ensembles for their finales.

Regional Concert

The students worked hard to prepare for the performance, with only one brief pre-concert rehearsal combined to make beautiful music! It was an incredible opportunity to prepare our students for a successful transition into middle school music. The elementary students were able to experience performing as a full ensemble, meet future classmates and teachers, and get an idea of what the music ensembles are like at Shepaug. The elementary students were also inspired as they listened to the eighth graders perform, knowing that someday they too will reach that skill level. Thank you to everyone who helped make the evening a success and bravo to all our students who participated!

Agriscience In Action

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Food Science Class

The above photo is the ninth grade Food Science Class. Students developed multicultural foods in which they were the innovators. In the process, students implemented the State of CT FFA career practice readiness standards, part of the three-circle agriscience model. It was an awesome hands-on educational experience. The process involved creating and implementation of novel strategies to engage team members in the food science setting.

SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience): Shepaug's sense of education extends past rote data. In the images below, one of Ms. Trovato’s plant science SAE students is in the greenhouse designing his plan for a microgreen area. His growing experiment will involve him transforming his skills into future entrepreneurship.

We can’t wait to taste his microgreens!

Seventh Grade

Agriscience students finished the quarter this week by creating and testing wind turbine blades. Students had been exploring the impacts of energy generation and how sustainability plays a role in our future of energy. They cut blades from inexpensive PVC pipes and surplus wood stock to demonstrate how sustainable energy can be found from everyday items. These blades were mounted to a DC motor, saved from a broken treadmill, and proven to generate electricity by the students.

Eighth Grade

The eighth-grade Final Exam was to utilize the skills and knowledge they learned this quarter in Food Science. They successfully executed pizza from scratch! They implemented their food preservation skills by making homemade mozzarella and their understanding of ingredients to make a fresh pizza sauce. All of the toppings were cooked in house using bacon and sausage from local farms!

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Ninth Grade

Animal Science students have been assisting with care in both small animal lab, and our newly growing farm. We currently have four ewes, two lambs, and are still awaiting the arrival of our last lamb(s). We recently added alpacas, a mother and daughter named Reina and Abby. Students have learned basic barn maintenance, along with the care and handling of these animals. Most recently students experienced the lamb's initial health shots and the practice of docking tails for their health and sanitation.

Senior Project Spotlight

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Owen Moore’s senior project, Life with Stripes: Awareness for Ehlers Danlos, is focused around raising awareness about the rare genetic connective tissue syndromes. This past weekend, Owen held an Ehlers Danlos awareness ride to raise money for the Ehlers Danlos society in honor of his cousin Jamie (2005 Shepaug graduate), who passed away from vascular Ehlers Danlos in 2019. The event was held at the New Milford Fitness & Aquatics club in New Milford. Owen raised $2,279, and all proceeds will go towards more research, patient support, and advocacy.

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Thank you to Sue Pereira for donating her time and New Milford Fitness & Aquatics for donating the space.

Physics 9

Region 12 is in the process of phasing in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Students in Friso Hermans' Physics 9 class are doing computational modeling as part of their study of motion for the first time. Mr. Hermans shares some of his students' work in various representations. Students asked, “Does a cart pick up speed consistently as it rolls down a ramp?” In an experiment, they collected the graphs to the right, and they answered the question in a lab report.

On the whiteboard to the left, students used six different ways to represent the motion of two objects moving at different constant velocities.

Students are using computer code to simulate the motion of objects. The image illustrates some of the codes students wrote to stop a self-driving car immediately before a stop-sign. The code uses the equation for stopping distance, and the simulation tests whether the car will, in fact, stop in time.

He is very proud of the scientific thinking of our Physics 9 students.

Shepaug Students are selected for the Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

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Adriana Barile

Best in Painting - Gold Key

The Scholastic Art Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 visual arts and literary organizations across the country to bring the Scholastic Awards to local communities. Art teachers submit student work from grades 7–12 to their local Art Education Association chapters. Local submissions are then juried by art professionals. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Last year more than 330,000 works of art were submitted nationally.

Gold Key Winners

Silver Key Winners

Selected works receive either Gold Keys, Silver Keys, or Honorable Mentions and are celebrated within their communities through local exhibitions and ceremonies. This year’s exhibit was in the Silpe Gallery at The University of Hartford Art School We are proud to announce this year’s Shepaug winners:

Adriana Barile for her Gold Key and Best in Painting Scholarship Award

Grace Coutu for her Gold Key photograph

Sydnie Vidal for her Gold Key photograph

Julia Sinatra for her Gold Key painting

Kyle Mieczkowski for his Silver Key drawing

Lane Faison for his Silver Key photograph

Maya Missana for her Silver Key drawing

Shepaug is very proud of our students' artistic accomplishments.

Wellness Committee

The Region 12 Wellness Committee has a website for Parents, Students, and Staff that provides information on health, nutrition, and activity. Please visit this Region 12 website to learn more about positive health choices that help to promote a healthy lifestyle. To access the wellness website, go to and then scroll down to “PARENTS & STUDENTS”.

Teens Care What Parents Think About Drinking

Studies Suggest Mom & Dad Be Vocal About Alcohol Danger

What a teenager believes his parents’ think about drinking alcohol has a major effect on that child’s behavior, Yale researchers reported last week. The protective effect of a parent’s attitudes about drinking alcohol – and teen awareness of those attitudes – lasted as much as four years after leaving high school.

“If you are a youth and you believe your mom or dad would say ‘I really would not like you to drink alcohol, it’s really not good,’ that has protective effects that last four years or more,” said lead author Dr. Federico Vaca, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Yale Developmental Neurocognitive Driving Simulation Research Center.

Those protective effects go beyond alcohol use, researchers said. Binge drinking by teenagers in their senior year of high school is a strong predictor of dangerous behaviors later in life, including driving while impaired and riding with an impaired driver, according to the Yale-led study. According to the findings, if teens in 12th grade knew that parents disapproved of drinking, it decreased the odds of their driving while impaired by 30% four years later, and of riding with an impaired driver by 20% one year later. Parental support for not using alcohol also reduced later odds of blackout by 20%.

Alcohol remains the most widely abused substance among America’s youth, with one-third of 15-year-olds having consumed at least one drink, a number that jumps to 60 percent by age 18. Although teens drink less often than adults do - when they do drink, they drink more, reports the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. That’s because young people consume more than 90 percent of their alcohol through binge drinking – which is 5 or more drinks for males and four or more drinks for females within a few hours. Last year, 5.1 million young people reported binge drinking at least once in the past month.

Binge drinking is associated with a variety of injuries such as car crashes, falls, burns, and alcohol poisoning. It increases the risk of homicide, suicide, intimate partner violence and sexual assault, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. On American campuses, at least 50% of student sexual assaults involve alcohol. About 43% of sexual assault events involve alcohol use by the victim; 69% involve alcohol use by the perpetrator, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Studies have found that women are slower to pick up on risk cues when drinking alcohol and men are slower to pick up on rejection cues,” said Rory Newlands, a researcher at the University of Nevada-Reno. “Research has also found that binge drinking increases the risk of college women being sexually assaulted by approximately 19 times.”

Vaca’s research found that a teen’s perception of what his or her parents think has “enduring protective effects,” even into the senior year of high school when many parents tend to step back from monitoring their child’s activities.

“If the youth is out with friends, what’s probably going to be most important to them is what their friends think,” he said. “However, when you are confronted with a situation where you are out with friends that you know…drink, that doesn’t pull away from what you think your parents think,” he said. “If you are looking at trying to predict if a youth is going to DWI, RWI or blackout, what their parents think matters. The youth perception of how much the parents will react matters too.”

Adolescents are less likely to drink heavily if they live in homes where parents have specific rules against drinking at a young age and also drink responsibly themselves, according to a study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents start talking to their children about alcohol at age 9.

“As kids get older, we tend to step away from them,” Vaca said. “We think: ‘They’ve got this.’ But if kids think we approve or disapprove of them drinking, that can have a powerful effect…. A key take-home message here is: Just because kids are getting older, it doesn’t mean parents should stop inquiring about where they are going, who they will be with, and how they are spending their money,” said Vaca.

“Parents should continue to be intentional about their relationships with their teens, staying connected and mindful about how their teen spends his or her free time. This could make all the difference,” he said.

Eighty percent of teenagers say that their parents are the biggest influence on their decision to drink, according to the Journal of Pediatrics.

“The longer you can keep your youth from using alcohol, the less likely they are to end up with an alcohol-use disorder later on,” Vaca said.

Researchers analyzed data from the NEXT Generation Health Study, a national longitudinal study of high schoolers run by the NIH and others that followed 2,785 young people over the course of seven years. Conducted with researchers from the National Institutes of Health and Colorado State University, the study appeared in the Journal Pediatrics.

by Tracey O'Shaughnessy of the REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Fliers & Upcoming Events

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Region 12 Calendar

Feb 3: BOE/Finance & Operations Committee, CO, 4:30pm

Feb 4: BOE/Finance & Operations Committee, CO, 9am

Feb 6: Multiage Classroom Discussion-Parent Small Group, BFS, 5pm

Feb 6: PTO Meeting, BS, 6pm

Feb 10: REACH open house, WPS, 2:30pm

Feb 10: BOE/Long Range Planning Committee, SVS, 6pm

Feb 10: Board of Education Meeting, SVS, 7pm

Feb 11: Bring A Friend To Music, WPS, 9:15am

Feb 11: PTO Meeting, WPS, 6:30pm

Feb 12: Multiage Classroom Discussion-Parent Presentation for Survey Results, BFS, 6pm

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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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