Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free 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. Each month the school community has been sponsoring school spirit days. Giving students the chance to show their school colors, spirit, is always a fun way to engage and involve all of our students. Our next Spirit Day takes place on December 17. It is also a wonderful way to find time to celebrate our school spirit monthly!!

Once again this year, our Spelling Bee will take place in the Spring. With the continued restrictions due to COVID 19 the staff and I felt that moving it to later in the year might allow for an in-person event enjoyed by our entire school community. We very much look forward to the 46th Annual Spelling Bee.

Your child's report card will be available electronically on December 17th. This report card is an important part of 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 Booth Free 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

12/6 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

12/8 Early Dismissal for Students, 12:45 PM

12/8 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

12/10 CT Children’s Hospital PJ Day for the Kids

12/17 Spirit Day

12/17 Report Cards Accessible to Parents Electronically

12/21 Cultures Around the World, 1:15 PM (Snow Date 12/22)

12/23 Early Dismissal Day, 12:45

12/24-12/31 Winter Recess

1/3/2022 School Resumes

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Booth Free 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 6:30 p.m. Our next virtual meeting will be held on December 8th.

Grade 3 - Accountable Talk

The third graders are really starting to blossom. During book talks and math forums, our focus on “accountable talk” has led to some amazing class discussions. The students are learning to truly listen to one another, support or respectfully disagree, and provide supporting evidence to back their claims. We will continue to build our academic discourse as the year progresses.

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Visit Our Website!

Our web address is Once you are at the district’s home page you can visit Booth Free School’s website. The staff will be adding information regularly. Please use it as an additional resource for information gathering.

Grade 5 -The CT Kid Governor Program

The fifth graders have completed their CT Kid Governor program. After researching the roles of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches and becoming 'experts' on the responsibilities of each, we met with First Selectman Barbara Henry in October to learn about local government in Roxbury. Finally, we held an in-class primary and created a campaign video for Daphnee-Rose to run for Connecticut's Kid Governor. While Daphnee-Rose did not make it to the final election, she did a fantastic job setting up her platform and directing her video.

On November 8, our class participated in the state-wide election for CT Kid Governor. Students had to check-in at their polling place, carefully complete their ballot, and turn it into the ballot box. Students who participated received a sticker and button in celebration of exercising their right to vote. Finally, we watched the live election results as a class when it was announced that Makhi Ettienne-Modeste won on his platform of preventing animal cruelty. We genuinely enjoyed our time exploring government and learning about civics. This was the first year the BFS 5th graders participated in the program, but it certainly won't be the last!

Notes and News from the Nurse.....


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


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.

Soak Up the Rain Booth Free School: Rain Garden

Booth Free School wishes to recognize and thank the Northwest Conservation District Executive Director, Cynthia Rabinowitz, for designing, and creating a beautiful rain garden at our school. The garden was planted with many species that attract pollinator insects, other beneficial insects, and birds. As the students watch it thrive they will learn how the runoff will infiltrate into the planted shallow depression on the side of our school. The soil and plant roots will help to clean any toxic elements coming off the roof and help to protect the quality of groundwater. Rain gardens are an easy fix to clean and slow down runoff. NWCD will help to train our students how to weed and and care for our new garden will provide supervision during the first season. We hope you enjoy our new garden as much as we do!

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Booth Free School Student Council

During the month of November, our Booth Free School Student Council held their annual food drive. All donations were presented to the Roxbury Food Bank at the Christ Church. 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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Physical Education with Mr. Morgan

Welcome to the "moving" world of PE! 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 10, 2021, the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) provided our students in grades 3 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!

Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

Season’s Readings!

As the end of the year rapidly approaches I can’t help but look back in amazement at all that we have accomplished in a few short months in the library!

Kindergarteners enjoyed listening to The Good Egg by Jory John, The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee, Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgl and Unicorn and Horse by David Miles. First Graders read several wonderful stories including the charmingly illustrated book This is a Good Story by Adam Lehrhaupt, The Dot by Peter Reynolds, and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

Second Graders spent the month adventuring with a rather impolite little girl named Lulu while listening to the book Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst. Third graders are fully entranced by By Winsten Breen and The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin. This month they solved some pretty complicated puzzles including a word maze puzzle, a sudoku puzzle and a word find with a picture twist.

Fourth are invested in the dystopian novel, the City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and have begun discussing their predictions and theories about where the story will go. And the 5th graders are settled into their own puzzling adventure, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.

Regardless of their grade, every week, I’m blessed with students who are equally ready to listen, participate and explore books. So, with the holiday season upon, allow me to thank you all for the opportunity to share my joy of reading and books with your children. I look forward to sharing many more exciting and wondrous book adventures with each of them this year!

Finally, let me share with you all the no-fail gift lists I use for my children every year… Simply, something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read!

Eat, Read and Be Merry!

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

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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