Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School-December 2020

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. On November 24th the Student Council sponsored their first spirit day of the year. 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 the Thanksgiving holiday!

Your child's report card will be available electronically on December 11th. 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

12/2 Early Dismissal, 12:45 p.m.

12/3 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

12/7 Picture Re-Take Day

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

12/11 Report Cards

12/18 Cultures Around the World

12/21 Cultures Around the World Snow Date

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

12/24-1/1 Holiday Recess

1/4 School Resumes

1/7 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

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Burnham School Spirit Day!

We've Got the Spirit!

K/1/2 - Feelings

Kindergarten, first, and second students are learning about different feelings, how your body feels if you feel a certain way, what your face may look like if you feel a certain way. The boys and girls were able to identify a time that they have felt that way. We have already talked about the feelings of happy, angry, and excited. Other feelings will include sad, silly, scared, frustrated, and lonely. We want students to know that feelings can change and it’s okay to have and talk about any of those feelings. The following stories have helped with being mindful about feelings, breathing, and focus.

In keeping a positive mindset, we read the story, Positive Ninja. In this book, the ninja turned her negative thoughts into positive ones. For example, when she stepped in a puddle, she was glad that it rained to water the plants. Students learned to “catch” their negative thoughts in a balloon and release them to make room for more positive thoughts. We have also read the story, Alphabreaths, which teaches students different kinds of breathing techniques to calm themselves. Some examples are hugging breath (hug yourself as you breathe in and out) and alligator breath (open your arms wide like an alligator mouth when you breathe in and snap your arms closed when you breathe out). Finally, we have read Puppy Mind, a book that teaches students that they may get puppy mind (not focused, daydreaming) and how to refocus on the task at hand through belly breathing.



Good vision is vital to a student’s success at school. Fall vision screening helps identify vision problems early, before they interfere with a child’s school performance. A child’s vision can also change at any point as they grow so annual screening is a wonderful tool. Our school community was happy to have the Washington’s Lions Club come in to screen our students with their PediaVision equipment. This equipment has been evaluated by the American Association of Pediatrics and is more sophisticated than the Snellen Charts of the past. The equipment operates like a camera and is very easy for the participating students. It takes only a couple minutes to screen each child for a whole list of eye concerns. We are very thankful to the Washington Lions Club for making our school a part of the Lions KidSight USA initiative and volunteering their time to offer this state of the art screening method to our students ensuring their vision health.


According to The American 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 Booth Free School go outside frequently throughout the 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. Layers are recommended as we have fresh air ventilating in the classroom as well. Thank you for your attention to appropriate gear, especially during this pandemic when fresh air is so helpful in ensuring health.


So far this school year, we are so impressed with the vigilance of our families during this time of COVID 19. As we approach the winter months and being inside more, we must keep up this effort to reduce the spread of illnesses.

If your child has evidence of illness, such as runny nose, congestions, cough, sore throat, or fever it is important that you contact your pediatrician to discuss the situation and call the school nurse to notify her of the situation.

During the holidays, the CDC is recommending very small gatherings.

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

What a whirlwind! Four weeks really seems to fly by but we are finding ways to safely keep moving, singing, improvising, and playing whether we are at home or at school. We spent some time getting comfortable with our technology then we got down to making music!

K/1 students sang Old Joe Clark and Hop Old Squirrel while differentiating macrobeat and microbeat and singing the resting tone. They moved to the beat and with flow in lots of different ways. They played with audiating and creating rhythms. They even figured out how to add instruments to the story “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” using only what they had in their desks!

Second graders worked on reviewing patterns. Music is made of patterns!! We worked on songs in major tonality (Sarasponda) and minor tonality (Dinosaur Diet) that are made of tonic patterns, dominant patterns, and an as yet unnamed third type of pattern! We also worked on rhythms in duple and triple meter.

Third graders reviewed these patterns as well. They are the building blocks of almost every song! They learned about dynamics and incorporated them into a poem. Plus we learned a few new songs that will easily transfer onto the recorders like Major Duple and Peirrot/Au Clair de la Lune.

In grades 4&5 we started off by singing patriotic songs. Then we really dug into music terminology to describe the music we listened to, and we listened to a lot! We heard music from different composers and different time periods. My favorite was seeing what the students wrote about their own choice of music. From Bob Dylan to Green Day, we have an eclectic group of musical tastes!

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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.

Kindergarten and First Grade~ Our Kindergarten and first grade 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.

Second Grade~ We have just begun another realistic fiction book about a lively young girl whose big imagination gets her in all manner of trouble. The second graders are enjoying the antics of Clementine.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade~ Our third through fifth graders are still fully immersed in the world of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. The competition is heating up, and they’re enjoying making predictions about how events will unfold. We are also enjoying a comparison and contrasting with the movie.

Read Across America

For December, the National Education Association has chosen books that encourage us to Explore Identity. We live in a very culturally diverse country, and it is important for children to have access to books that provide access to culturally diverse characters. For primary grades, the featured book is Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow. For middle grades, the book is Not Your All-American Girl by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg.

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

Burnham School PTO

Parents are our partners in the important job of educating all our children. I urge you to attend our Zoom meetings and support the PTO by becoming a member, volunteering, and taking part in helping your child to grow academically. PTO meetings are held each month at 6:00 p.m. The December meeting will be held on December 3rd at 6:00 p.m. We hope you plan to attend!

Burnham School Student Council

The Burnham School Student Council and5th Grade Aloha is Sponsoring our First Ever Fundraiser

Our Charleston Wrap fundraiser has kicked off!

With over 2,500 gift ideas there is something for everyone on your holiday gift list! Be sure to register for our fundraiser online today and send 10 email invitations to friends & family. Please, please, please start sharing our fundraiser to help us reach our goal. Sharing is caring!

Simply Go to to register. Our School Group # 21617

Start ordering today to raise money for our Burnham School Community.

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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.

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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