Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - June 2021

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is hard to believe that our school year is coming to an end! Friday, June 11, 2021 will be here before we know it! It has been an unprecedented year filled with new protocols and guidelines for all students and staff. Our Booth Free community worked hard to provide and promote a healthy and safe school environment. This year’s focus was not only on the academic programming but also of students’ social emotional growth, engagement, and emotional well-being. As a collective group our school community promoted a positive school culture through many creative activities throughout the year. Our staff and families have show an unwavering commitment to students and the community that has led to thriving and happy students. I am grateful for the support and dedication of all members of our community. Booth Free is truly a “shining Roxy star”!

Although summer is traditionally a time for rest, relaxation, vacationing and excitement, please continue to immerse your child in reading, writing, and math activities. Our demanding curriculum requires us to move forward as soon as the school year begins again on August 31, 2021. Your support of academics over the summer is very important in the retention of all the wonderful skills and growth your child has made this school year. Participating in the Governor’s Reading Challenge and reinforcing reading, writing and math in your own way, will keep your child actively engaged in the process of learning.

Reading can be supported in a variety of ways. Keep plenty of books and magazines around your home and in your car. Books on tape provide a wonderful way to pass the time on a long drive. Our Summer Reading list will be available on our website and at our public library. Please help your child to keep track of all the books read throughout the summer. This list must be sent to school or posted online at the onset of the 2021-2022 school year for the Governor’s Reading Challenge recognition. The staff and I are once again looking for 100% participation. This year’s Governor’s Reading Challenge theme is Tails & Tales Connecticut Reads, 2021.

Writing is also an important skill, so keep your child writing this summer. Postcards, grocery lists, diaries, vacation itineraries, reader response journals, letter writing to friends or relatives and/or a summer activity journal are all practical applications of written expression.

There are many ways to keep math on your child’s plate during the summer reprieve too. With this in mind, we will also be participating in the 2021 Commissioner’s Summer Math Challenge: The Power of Problem Solving. To assist students in retaining math learning during the summer, the Summer Math Challenge, sponsored by the CSDE in partnership with Metametrics is offering a free math skills maintenance program based on grade-level standards. The program is targeted to students who have just completed kindergarten through 8. Activities can be found in the Quantile Summer Math Challenge grades 1-8 and the Connecticut’s Summer Math Passport, K-8. It is designed to help students retain math skills learned during the school year. Families enroll online and receive daily emails from June 21st through July 30th, with fun activities and links to educational resources. To register your child, please visit the State Department of Education Website: Additionally, there are many other activities that can keep our mathematicians sharp. Keep those flash cards handy and using them in the car or at home can be helpful. Use measurement when building or making something new such as a garden, tree fort and/or adding a new deck to your home. When shopping, ask your child for help by asking him or her to total costs and then to determine the change they would receive back from the dollar amount given. The key is to create situations that show real application of the skills.

We all use reading, writing, and math skills on a regular basis. When children see a real use for those skills it becomes important and applicable to them, thus causing students to retain the knowledge.

I extend a thank you to the Booth Free School community for its support and guidance during the school year. It has been a great year, and I look forward to the 2021-2022 school year.

I wish the students, parents/guardians, and the staff a wonderful and pleasurable summer.


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for June

6/1-4 Blues & Beyond Program, Grades 4 & 5

6/7 ALOHA Celebration, Grade 5

6/9 A Day at the Races

6/10 Early Release Day, 12:45

6/11 Last Day of School, Early Release, 12:45

6/14 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00

Kindergarten Love of Learning

We are off to first grade! Though the beginning of this school year brought so much uncertainty, we can now breath a sigh and celebrate another amazing year of growth. Amongst our favorite moments are lunches in the courtyard, counting to 100, pretending to be baby goats, learning to read, running around the playscape, creating petitions, making new friends, and even singing about bananas! There is never a dull moment in kindergarten and as we look ahead to summer, we know we will remember this year not for social distancing, but for what brought us together: a love of learning.

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Congratulations Brianna Johnson!

Fifth grader, Brianna Johnson, was recognized at a Board of Education meeting held on Monday, May, 24, 2021 as Booth Free School’s Superintendent Award recipient. Brianna is a shining star at Booth Free School. She is a quiet leader whos positive attitude and steady determination inspire those around her. Brianna is a great friend to her classmates and is always willing to lend a hand. She gives her best effort and her dedication to learning is exemplary. She serves as a role model for our school community. Booth Free School is so very proud of Brianna Johnson. Congratulations!

Grade One - Making Memories

As the end of the school year approaches, first grade is busy thinking about all the memories we have made this year. Each student is making their own memory book so that they can remember all the fun they had this year. The memory book includes pages such as “My Top 10” where students wrote their top 10 favorites from this year. The most popular response was playing with my friends! Some said playing soccer at recess and others said playing noodle tag, but friends was the common theme. While this school year has been different than most, friendships remain so important and being together at school has helped us to be there for each other and handle all the COVID related changes. Over the remaining days, we will continue to talk about what a means to be a good friend so that these friendships can continue over the summer and for many years to come.

A Booth Free Inventor - Jade Santos

Congratulations to fifth grader, Jade Santos! Her invention, Mask-R-Aid, has been sent onto the 2021 Virtual Invention Convention US Nationals event, hosted by The Henry Ford Museum. Jade is one of 64 inventors invited and she represents Connecticut. A total of 6,000 students across the state participated in their local invention conventions and more than 500 advanced to the state final competition. The Connecticut Invention Convention recently held it’s virtual state finals award ceremony. The Invention Convention U.S. Nationals will take place virtual on June 24th. We are so very proud of Jade and wish her luck!

Grade Two - Growing as a Community

Second graders have grown as a community in many ways this year. We have loved being together in school. We grew as readers who can articulate deep insights into text using carefully selected evidence. We became mathematicians who can organize and explain thinking about fractions, multiplication, time and apply that thinking in a variety of problems. We became writers who can paint beautiful pictures with words and share our opinion and information about a wide variety of topics. Most importantly, we worked hard together to grow as a team and always used kindness to support each other during the great challenges and celebrations of the year. We look forward to being terrific third graders!

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Grade 3 - Superheroes!

What an amazing year! Our third grade superheroes have made impressive progress socially and academically. We have been fortunate to have in-person learning and welcomed our distance learners when needed.

As we wrap-up our year, students are still asking questions, making observations, and analyzing information. We are exploring the relationship between area and perimeter of rectangles in math! We are designing a settlement for 10 families making their way to the wilds of Connecticut in the 1600’s. We are creating a Reader’s Theater presentation of the fractured fairy tale, “Cinder ...really,” in language arts. The year may be winding down, but we are still wound-up and enjoying the balance of our time together.

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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 6:00 p.m. Our next virtual meeting will be held on June 3. Just a reminder, the PTO will be voting on new officers for the 2021-2011 school year.

Grade 4

Resilience, Perseverance, and Grit! Those are three of the best words to describe our fourth graders this school year. As an unprecedented year comes to a close, the 4th graders truly took on every new challenge with a smile in their eyes and a pencil in their hands!

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Grade 5 - A Great Year!

Fifth grade has truly had a great year. Despite the inherent challenges of the school year due to the pandemic, we were able to overcome them. In the beginning of the school year we all wondered how we would be able to learn with masks on and how we would work with each other in a classroom despite being socially distanced. I am proud to say we found functionality in our new normal and we even discovered some creative solutions. We took many mask breaks and even had some lessons outside to give our face a break. We realized learning can take place anywhere. We leveraged technology more than ever to keep distance learners up to speed with the classroom and we even collaborated digitally with each other, while still in the classroom. We found many socially distant ways to greet each other and play games, and we also learned how to project our voices through a mask to be heard and understood. Although it was a different year, we had fun, learned a lot, and found success this year in fifth grade!

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Round Three of Music with Mrs. Doiron!

Warmer weather has arrived and we are still finding ways to safely keep moving, singing, improvising, and playing whether we are at home or at school. It is so much easier when we can go outside!! We also had a special guest. Thank you to Mrs. Chung for showing us the violin and sharing her beautiful music!!

Kindergarten worked on songs and games and stories from different parts of Asia. They also learned about musical phrases. Most songs have 4 or 8 phrases but we also learned one that had 7! They also learned about the patterns of songs and found some that had AB patterns and some with ABACAD... Super cool!

First graders learned about jazz! They improvised and scat sang (outside). They listened to stories and songs. They learned about Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dizzy Gillespie. We have some pretty hip first graders!

Second graders built on their knowledge of chords to learn the blues! They learned the chord progression, improvised over the chord changes, and even wrote their own blues song! We rocked out on FlipGrid making recordings with their choice of background blues tracks in order to play our version of Masked Musician.

Third graders continued their hard work on recorders. They can play at least 3 songs with the melody and chord roots (and harmony parts on some songs too!). They also worked on learning to read and write with standard notation. Mostly they worked on being stronger players and preparing a song to be performance ready. They recorded it in FlipGrid for our version of "Masked Musician".

Fourth graders also learned about the blues! They learned the chord progression, improvised over the chord changes, and even wrote their own blues song! We rocked out on FlipGrid making recordings with their choice of background blues tracks in order to play our version of "Masked Musician".

Fifth graders continued their work on ukulele and also learned about composing. They spent time learning to identify notes in treble clef (and bass clef) and wrote rhythms in duple and triple meter. They also spent time choosing new tunes to work on and stretching their skills to accommodate the new chords needed. They wrapped up our month by creating their own "Masked Musician" video rocking out on their ukes!

This year has certainly presented challenges especially for making music together. Nevertheless our students have managed to grow their independence, creativity, and confidence as musicians. I am very proud of them and all the work they accomplished. Although we have had our last music classes I am already excited about next year!

Wishing everyone a safe, fun-filled, musical summer!

Mrs. Doiron

Notes and News from our School Nurse

Happy summer! As a school community we have had a very healthy school year and have had great success in our fight to keep COVID 19 at bay. Our protocols of handwashing, mask wearing, pods, social distancing and fresh air mask breaks, were seamlessly transitioned into from the start of school and have become a routine part of our school days. We are very grateful for your reinforcement of these concepts at home. Your vigilance in monitoring your child’s health and communicating with your school nurse has also been extremely helpful. We thank you for your quarantining, covid testing, obtaining doctor and lab notes, doctor visits and sick days you wouldn’t “normally” have had to adhere to so carefully. We have worked together as a community and as a result our children have been together in school and the benefits of that are immeasurable. Thank you Booth and Burnham Families!!!!


Ticks are abundant this spring and it is important to practice safeguards that will protect against ticks and tick-borne diseases. The following tips are important to follow during any outdoor play or adventures.

Wear appropriate clothing when hiking outdoors. Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks; light colored clothing helps to make ticks easier to spot. Wear longer socks to tuck pants into to prevent ticks from reaching the skin. Since ticks don’t jump or fly, they are most commonly picked up on your shoes and socks..

Tick checks, tick checks, tick checks! Take frequent opportunities to look for ticks while on trails or playing in woods or outdoors. Additional checks should be conducted after hikes/outdoor play and once children are home from school. Checking again at bath time is a great opportunity to spot ticks in hard to reach areas.

Check these parts of your child’s body:

1. Under the arms

2. In and around the ears

3. Inside the belly button

4. Back of the knees

5. In and around the hair

6. Between the legs

7. Around the waist

Stay calm! If you find a tick on your child, you should remove it as soon as possible with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible with fine-tipped tweezers, pull upward with steady, even pressure. If you are concerned, save the tick for testing and speak with your healthcare provider. Remember that infected ticks must generally be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. Watch for signs of illness such as rash or fever and call your healthcare provider if these occur.

A Slick Trick for Ticks- when you remove a tick with tweezers, sometimes the head breaks off and remains embedded in the skin. Here is a simple, painless method for removing ticks without leaving any parts behind: Moisten a cotton ball with a little water and rub it on a bar of soap. Cover the tick with the soapy cotton ball and rub gently counterclockwise. After one or two circles, sometimes more, you will find the tick intact on the cotton ball. Finish by washing the bite site with more soap and water and apply antiseptic.

Student Council

Can you believe the school year is already drawing to a close? Our students, staff, and families have accomplished so much this year! We have made academic growth, lots of wonderful memories, and embraced numerous opportunities to give back to our community.

The members of Student Council chose to finish out the year with a second collection of non-perishable donations for the Roxbury Food Bank. (We also held a food drive throughout the month of November.) In the past our classrooms have competed for a prize awarded to the class with the greatest number of donations. However, this time around our students declared that they wanted to donate simply because spreading kindness makes everyone happy! It has been a truly heartwarming show of generosity.

We are proud to report that we received over two hundred contributions! Each week we tracked our progress on a bulletin board in the foyer of the school. It was very exciting to see our food graph grow. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in this event!

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Booth Free School's 45th Annual Spelling Bee

Our 45th annual Booth Free School Spelling Bee took place on Wednesday, May 26th. Leading up to the event, each classroom in grades 3-5 held a preliminary spelling bee to determine who their classroom representatives would be. Two students from each grade were selected as contestants, as well as one alternate. The competitors were as follows: Jorge Barreto (3), Olivia Sarraf-Santos (3), Tyler Palumbo (4), William Hodge (4), Graydon Lonker (5), and Jade Santos (5).

The audience, composed of students and staff, gathered in the shade to watch the fierce competition unfold. Our six talented spellers battled it out over several rounds. Ultimately, William Hodge came out victorious. Although outside guests were not permitted, you can still catch all the action! The event was recorded and will be available for parents/families to view at their leisure...more information to come.

Mr. Hoskings’ second grade class also held a “just for fun” preliminary spelling bee in preparation for the coming years! Ashton May was the proud winner of their competition.

We look forward to continuing this wonderful tradition next year! All prospective contestants are encouraged to begin practicing their spelling skills early and often. Next year’s spelling bee is scheduled for November.

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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

Emma's Butterfly Path

Emma’s Butterfly Path is almost complete. In the past two weeks, staff painted butterflies on the sidewalk to our playground, our maintenance crew planted seven butterfly bushes and an adorable sign was erected. The path is in memory of second grader Emma Gorglione. Thank you to the Martinelli family, Donald O’Leary and Rustic Charm for their generous donations. More to come!

Words from the Library from Mrs. Gordon

And just like that, it’s June!

Congratulations! Booth Free School was recognized by Governor Lamont on Wednesday May 26 as a Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge 2020 Top-performing Elementary School!!! Way to go BFS stars! A special thank you to 4th graders Darya Abraham and Lexie Armbruster for helping represent our school at the virtual ceremony! Let’s continue to impress the Governor with a repeat performance this summer!

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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.

Booth Free 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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