Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School - March 2021

A Note from the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

March is the month when spring officially begins and Daylight Savings takes root! It is a dramatic month that marches in “like a lion, out like a lamb” or so the saying goes. Perhaps it is because Mother Nature is trying to shed her winter coat!

Our year is flying by and it is time once again to receive your child’s report cards. The report cards will be available on PowerSchool on Friday, March 12th. This report card signifies that two-thirds of this school year is complete leaving us with one-third remaining. We have much to do and with your support I am confident that all our goals for the year will be met. Report card time is a good time to set specific goals with your child and to recognize their strengths and help them to build areas of weakness. The staff and I are always so proud of our students and recognize how hard they work. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher.

Following the report card distribution will be our Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences. They are scheduled for March 18th and 19th. Scheduling information will be sent home within the first week in March and you will receive confirmation of date and time. Your child’s teacher looks forward to meeting with you.

Our Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Megan Bennett will present the school budget for the 2021-2022 school year on March 8th. There will be a district budget hearing on March 29th followed by the Annual District Meeting held on May 3rd. A referendum will take place the following day on May 4th. The administration worked hard to put forth a very thoughtful budget that is sensitive to the economic challenges facing us all. It is also a conscious commitment to the vision of Regional School District 12 and represents an effort to support the district goals and objectives.

As a reminder, students in grades 3-5 will take the Smarter Balanced Tests during the first two full weeks of May from May 3rd – May 14th. The students in grades 3-5 will be tested in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics and it will once again be technology based. Grade 5 students will also be tested in the area of science on May 26th and May 27th. As is the Smarter Balanced, the science test will be technology based. 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.

Specials during the testing cycle may be rearranged to accommodate our testing schedule. Art, music, or physical education, and library will be placed into a schedule to ensure every child has their special classes. During this testing time, the teachers will also continue to instruct in all the areas of the curriculum to maintain students’ academic growth.

Lastly, the school community and I are continuing our celebration of reading this month in honor of Dr. Seuss and his contribution to children’s reading. Throughout the month we hope children will remember him by reading his many books and other good books of interest. I hope that through this month’s continued emphasis on reading our students’ love for literature deepens. Remember to have your child read for our PTO sponsored Read-A-Thon. Our Read-A-Thon will run from March 1-March 26th. The poem above expresses particular significance especially in the month of March. Enjoy it and find time to read it with your child.

Dates to Remember for March

3/1-26 Read-A-Thon

3/2 Read Across America/Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

3/4 PTO Meeting, 6:00 PM

3/8 Board of Education Meeting-Superintendent’s Budget Presentation, 6:30 PM

3/3 Grades Close

3/10 12:45 PM Dismissal

3/12 Report Cards Distributed

3/18-19 Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:45 PM Dismissal

3/29 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

3/31 12:45 PM Dismissal

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3-4-5 Learning and Growing Through Reading

When there isn’t anywhere else to go, a good book can take you away! In 3-4-5, our students are spending quality time building their reading lives. During these cold, stormy weeks, a highlight has been meeting in our Book Clubs in person and online. Through these interactive read-alouds, our students are able to develop their expressive language skills, share interpretations, and grow their ideas. It’s a delight to see children and adults connecting through the pages of great books.

Because of Winn Dixie delighted our third graders. They explored complex themes of friendship, acceptance, and letting go, while being entertained by quirky characters, like librarian Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace, or Gloria Dump, who “sees” with her heart. It was an extra special treat to watch the movie during lunch!

Our 4-5 group chose to read Newbery Award winner, Number the Stars, a poignant, richly written historical fiction novel. Students followed a brave 10-year-old Danish girl who helps her family smuggle her Jewish friends to safety in Sweden. Students analyzed specific historical events and the geography of the novel’s setting, and examined the characters’ (and our own) responses to adversity.

A group of our 5th graders read the awesomely obscure Clive Barker novel, The Thief of Always. Teetering on the edge of fantasy, fable, and horror, readers explored classical elements of the fantasy world, symbolism, and the universal theme of good versus evil. With edgy writing and some British dialect, the club was able to “glean” some new vocabulary and explore amazing figurative language. With a first line like, “The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive,” our 5th graders were “hooked” from the start.

Music with Mrs. Doiron, Round Two!

It’s hard to believe but we are already wrapping up our second rotation of music. The cold weather has made some things a little tougher but we are finding ways to safely keep moving, singing, improvising, and playing whether we are at home or at school.

K/1 did a lot of rhythmic improvising and learned to read and write rhythms in duple and triple meter. They also learned the two most important tonal patterns in music; tonic and dominant! They can sing the patterns, label them, and even make up their own! They did this work to songs like Tideo, Polly Put the Kettle On, and Donkeys Love Carrots.

Second graders built on their knowledge of rhythms by learning to read and write rhythms in duple and triple meter. They even learned ‘enrhythms’, rhythms that sound the same but look different! Then they created, composed, and performed their own rhythms! They also deepened their understanding of chords (tonic, dominant, subdominant) and how they make up music. They did this using familiar songs from the first trimester like Dinosaur Diet and Sarasponda.

Third graders worked on reading rhythm patterns as well. They also started reading tonal patterns. Most exciting of all, they started playing recorder! This is a BIG part of being a third grader and they don’t take their responsibilities lightly. The recorder is s beautiful instrument, not a toy (or torture device)! If your 3rd grader is having a hard time keeping their sound in control, a piece of tape across the top hole changes the sound to a whisper (just leave a sliver of space above the tape).

In 4/5 we started ukuleles! Any school instruments that go home have to be signed out, so students began by filling out their instrument contract. Then we worked on learning different strumming patterns, a couple of chords, and soon could play along to songs like Lime in the Coconut and Best Day of My Life as well as songs like Kookaburra and You are My Sunshine. We also listened to a variety of songs from different American music genres like jazz and blues.

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The Burnham School Community is excited to be participating in our annual PTO sponsored Read-A-Thon during the next four weeks. This is a fundraiser for PTO and all proceeds will go directly towards activities that support our students and our school.

Collaborative efforts between school staff, PTO, and the Burnham Library has created excitement around reading. Students have been given appropriate grade level nightly reading goals and at the end of each week students will have a chance to enter into a raffle for a small incentive and each Friday at the end of the day, all students will participate in a fun and exciting activity. Burnham Library will offer a final summer prize to all participants. All participants will receive a certificate stating they have ten summer reading tickets that will count towards a summer prize at the library.

The Read-A-Thon is sure to be rewarding, fun, and exciting! Our community is looking for 100% participation. Thank you in advance for supporting your child, our school, and your PTO. Let’s all read together and enjoy the adventures stories and books can bring to us all. Happy reading!


Wear Red for Heart Day

On February 7, 2020, Burnham School joined thousands of hospitals, small businesses, multinational corporations, and many others to help raise crucial awareness and significant funds in the fight against heart disease and stroke in women. The staff participated in “Go Red” by giving a donation and wearing red to school. Most women don’t notice the symptoms of heart disease until it is too late and it is the number one killer of women. For more than a decade The American Heart Association has led the fight to protect women’s hearts through research and education. The more women who are aware the more lives can be saved. Kudos to staff for participating in this important fund raiser.

CT State Department of Education Professional Support Series for Families

Covid 19 has caused tremendous stress and grief within our community in numerous ways. The Connecticut State Department of Education offers a series of virtual conversations tailored for families as support on the many changes being faced with educating and supporting themselves and their children during COVID 19. The first session has passed but the others are upcoming and they are all offered for free. Click here to access the PDF Flyer with the current offerings: Support Series for Families

Contacting School Nurse

If your child is having any sign of illness and/or going to be absent from school, please contact your school nurse instead of the front desk to relay this information to the nurse directly. Feel free to leave a voicemail and the nurse will get back to you.

This is especially important during this time of pandemic since the nurse can advise you on how to proceed and for the important purpose of tracking illness.

Thank you,

Sandi DiBella: 860-355-0428 (Booth Free School)

Lisa McQueen: 860-354-9721 (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.

Student Council

We all needed a good distracter from all the snow we had this month. February was a sweet month for Burnham School. Student Council held their annual flower sale fundraiser. Our staff and students bought roses for their friends and family to celebrate the ones they love. We also ran a Giant Box full of Chocolates Raffle. Our lucky 5th grader, T.J., was the happy winner! Our fundraiser will go toward feeding our local community. The Student Council will add needed food items to our local food pantry for our neighbors and friends of Bridgewater.

We are looking forward to our Spring Spirit Week held in April. If you have any ideas that would be a good fit for our Student Council to participate in, please reach out. Stay safe from the snowy weather and healthy.

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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 6:00 p.m. Our next virtual meeting will be held on March 4th.


March Wind

March wind is a jolly fellow;
He likes to joke and play.
He turns umbrellas inside out
And blows men's hats away.

He calls the pussy willows
And whispers in each ear,
"Wake up you lazy little seeds;
Don't you know that spring is here?"

March is National Reading Month

This is a month-long celebration of reading! The National Education Association (NEA) has shifted the focus of Read Across America to encourage literacy every single day of the year. So, while this year’s official Read Across America Day is still March 2nd, the NEA Read Across America theme for the month of March is: Cultivate Compassion. Hand in hand with this theme, the elementary book of the month is Tiara’s Hat Parade by Kelly Starling Lyons. The middle grade book is Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya. Both of these books can be found in our small but mighty Burnham School Library. As March is also Women’s History Month, both of these book selections are an excellent way to foster discussions about the unique contributions that famous women have made throughout American history, and to celebrate the contributions that women will continue to make in the future.

Celebrate Reading and Literacy

Read Across America Day is Tuesday, March 2nd. To kick off National Reading Month and celebrate our love of reading, Burnham students will enjoy a special virtual read-aloud by Connecticut State Representative Cindy Harrison. Students in grades 3-5 will also be participating in a region-wide book share, where they will have the opportunity to discuss their favorite books, as well as hear from their peers about their favorite books.


As the winter season continues to progress, our schools may be impacted by inclement weather. In the event of a delayed opening or a school closure, a district phone call will be made through School Messenger by 5:30 a.m. to families. Announcements will also be posted on our district website, and with local news outlets. Delayed Opening/Early Dismissal Schedule

A reminder of what is new this year is the following. The Connecticut State Department of Education is permitting schools to use the option of remote learning snow days when possible. The remote learning snow day will allow schools to hold virtual learning classes when the weather conditions are unsafe for travel. Remote learning snow days will be counted as a regular school day within the school calendar. These remote learning days will not need to be added to the end of the school year as make-up days. The only reason for a traditional snow day cancellation of school (in-person or remotely) would be due to power outages. True snow day cancellations will need to be made up in June. The district announcement will indicate whether a delayed opening, a school closure or a remote learning snow day will be used. For remote snow days the following schedules will be used: Remote Snow Day Schedule.

Travel and Parking Safety Tips

Did you know that school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. They are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries and in every state, stop-arm laws exist to protect children from other motorists.

If you are driving, remember these simple rules:

  • Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean slow down because the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely students waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick up children.

  • Red flashing lights mean stop and wait at least 20 feet behind the bus because children are getting on or off the school bus. Stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.

  • Even when lights aren’t flashing, watch for children, particularly in the morning or afternoon, around school arrival and dismissal. Be alert as you back out of a driveway or drive through a neighborhood, school zone or bus stop.

Let’s all work together to keep our children safe!

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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.

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