Region In Review

September 20, 2019

The First Day of School

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On Tuesday, September 3rd, Shepaug Valley School, Booth Free School, Burnham School, and Washington Primary School opened their doors to returning and new students. Teachers waited at the entrances to celebrate the first day and cheered on children as they headed to their first classes of the 2019-2020 year.

1st Day of School Slideshow

Award Winning Author of "Hey, Kiddo", Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Visits Shepaug

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New York Times Best-Selling Author/Illustrator Wows Shepaug Students

Shepaug students were mesmerized by "Hey, Kiddo" author Jarrett Krosoczka when he took the Shepaug stage and shared his life story on September 12th. The world-renowned author/illustrator focused on our one-school summer read, “Hey, Kiddo,” a graphic memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction and finding the art that helps one to survive. Eighteen lucky students enjoyed lunch with the author, then Mr. Krosoczka headed to a middle school language arts classroom for a question and answer session. The day culminated with a visit to the art room where students learned about illustration and the creative process.

Shepaug’s summer reading program helps students develop a sense of shared experience and cultivates empathy regarding the backgrounds, circumstances, and needs of others. Jarrett Krosoczka taught us about the power of resilience, the generosity that comes from forgiveness, and the success that follows nurturing a passion. Our students will long remember Mr. Krosoczka's visit and his message of hope.

Shepaug Athletics

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The fall athletic season is upon us, and the Shepaug Spartans competitive schedules are now in full swing. Led by seniors Gwen Noto, Devon O’Dwyer, and Skylar Soletsky, the girls' soccer team earned a victory at Gilbert earlier in the week, with a 5-0 win in Winsted.

On the same day, the field hockey team, led by seniors Francesca Amato, Bailey Herron, and Rhiannon Luna, earned a hard-fought 2-1 road victory against Lewis Mills High School.

Led by seniors Drew Doerwald, Cole Donaghey, Nate Douskey, Noah Levine, Gavin McCabe, and Gabe Taranto, the boys' soccer team has had two very close games against Berkshire League rivals Litchfield and Gilbert.

The girls' cross country team, behind the efforts of seniors Isabel Eddy, Tiffany Horton, Nadia Ostrosky, Lucy Puskas, and Lily Schur, has competed against Litchfield, Wamogo, and Gilbert in their first meets of the season.

Seniors Jayden Cornwall and Owen Moore led the boys' cross country team to wins over both Litchfield and Wamogo so far this season.

For access to up-to-date Shepaug's high school athletic schedules, please visit the Team Pages website at

Governor's Reading Challenge - A Universe of Readers

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Students at Booth Free School, Burnham School, and Washington Primary school spent the summer months opening up their minds to "A Universe of Stories." Every year, Region 12 students participate in Connecticut Reads, The Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge. The challenge features a different theme each year, and for 2019 the theme was “A Universe of Stories.”

As the 2018-2019 school year neared its end, teachers, librarians, and staff members encouraged students to participate in the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge. To participate, students were required to read over the summer, log the books they read and return their logs to their school. Students read a variety of books, all of varying genres and difficulty levels. Among the list of books students read were beloved classics such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hardy Boys mysteries, The Diary of Anne Frank, and A Wrinkle in Time. Some students spent their summer reading popular series such as Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. Town libraries across the state organized activities and programs to encourage summer reading, and many of our students participated in events that were held at their local library.

This year, we are happy to celebrate that Booth Free School, Burnham School, and Washington Primary School had 100% participation in the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge. It is truly inspiring when we see the students of Region 12 evolve into a community of readers.

Senior Project Update

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Senior Project is underway for the Class of 2020! Students spent the first two weeks of school refining their ideas, learning about the logistics and protocols of Senior Project, and securing their technical advisors. True to the spirit of Senior Project, a wide variety of ambitions emerged. Some students, such as Rebecca Racz, have long known the intent of their projects, while others are still searching for the right fit. As seen here, Rebecca’s project involves getting her pilot’s license. She and classmate Mark Desrochers reviewed the results of a brainstorming activity in which students and staff contributed questions and suggestions to fledgling project ideas. This activity built on one of Shepaug’s Learner Outcomes: Engaging in the Creative Process, specifically the capacity to think divergently. Michael Iannucci knows he would like to incorporate his love of drawing into a project. He is currently considering several angles of how to sustain his interest for the year, develop his skill level, and bring a component of originality to his work. Project proposals are due next week, and students are knuckling down to deliver drafts of their complete vision, including projected budgets and timetables. Group Room West buzzes with a strong spirit of community. If you’d like to know more about Senior Project or how you can support student work, email Wendy Youngblood at Be sure to check in next month for updates!

Building Connections

Booth Free School, Burnham School, & Washington Primary School

The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning fosters safe, challenging, and joyful classrooms in our schools. This approach brings together social and academic learning throughout the day.

Morning Meeting, a core practice of the Responsive Classroom approach, is a 15-20 minute daily routine used to begin the school day in each classroom. All classroom members gather in a circle to greet one another, to listen and respond to each other’s news, to engage in a team-building activity, and to look forward to the events in the day ahead. The purpose of the Morning Meeting serves as a transition from home to school and helps children to feel welcome. It sets the tone for the day, creates a climate of trust, encourages cooperation, and improves children’s communication skills. While the format is intentionally predictable, there is plenty of room for variation reflecting the classroom climate.

Enlisting children in the process of generating rules is an essential part of our work at the beginning of the school year. Children are more apt to understand and respect rules they help make, and it allows for everyone to have a voice. The process begins with students and adults articulating their hopes and dreams for the school year. These hopes and dreams are then incorporated into a vision and the classroom rules grow directly from these hopes and dreams. From classroom rules, school-wide rules are articulated and practiced.

Ice Cream Social

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To open the 2019-2020 year, Booth Free, Burnham and Washington Primary Schools celebrated with their annual Ice Cream Socials sponsored by the PTOs. Families gathered together and enjoyed delicious ice cream with all the toppings and reconnected after a long summer. Warm, beautiful evenings and smiles created positive energy for all the possibilities a new school year will bring.

Simply Smiles

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This past summer, a group of 13 Shepaug high school students traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, to volunteer at a children’s home with Simply Smiles, a non-profit dedicated to serving children in poverty. Taryn Crossley, Isabella Guzman, Bailey Herron, Maya Jacob, Henry James, Erik Lindblom, Luis Missana, Maya Missana, Sofía Missana, Kyle Mieczkowski, Joanna Pardo, Samuel Quigley, Trinity Williamson, and Madame Edel, and Señor Nolan spent the week of June 28th to July 6th reading, playing, and creating arts and crafts projects with the children. Our students also worked painting bedrooms, gates, and laying tile in the children’s home. Finally, they experienced the culture of Oaxaca by eating authentic Mexican food, visiting the Zapotec pyramids at Monte Albán, exploring the city of Oaxaca, and of course speaking Spanish.

On Sunday, September 15th, the students gathered with their families and Superintendent Megan Bennett to celebrate their trip, view a slideshow and reflect on their experience. The Pardo family generously catered the event with delicious tacos and refreshing agua de jamaica. The students shared their big takeaways from the trip. Many of our students expressed a renewed sense of gratitude and a different perspective on the world after seeing both the poverty and the beauty of Oaxaca, Mexico. Señor Nolan and Madame Edel wish to recognize the students for their sense of adventure and flexibility during a challenging and impactful week.

The Cup Challenge

Sixth-grade PLTW (Project Lead The Way) students learn about collaboration and teamwork as they complete the Cup Challenge before they head into an introduction in engineering
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Game Design

Seventh-grade PLTW (Project Lead The Way) students work through the design process to create games about alternative energy.
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Eighth-grade students create fun presentations to introduce a category of robots to the class. They test out medical DaVinci Robot end effectors used to conduct brain surgery.

Digital Media Communications

Following the study of structure of How-To videos, students in Digital Media Communications classes produce storyboards and experiment with camera angles as they create their own engaging content.

College Planning Night

The School Counseling Department hosted College Planning Night on Thursday, September 5th, in the library at Shepaug Valley School. Students and families were introduced to the college planning process, available research tools, information on standardized testing, and the college application process itself. The event was well attended. The slide presentation is available under the counseling section on the Shepaug Valley School website. Any further questions can be directed to Director of School Counseling, Michael Boucher at

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that can harm the liver. One way this disease can spread from person to person is by direct contact with the feces (stool) of an infected person. It can also be transmitted through exposure to the blood of a person who is infected, contaminated food, water, or objects that carry this virus. The Hepatitis A virus is able to survive up to a month at room temperature. This virus is easily spread in unsanitary conditions. Poor personal hygiene is also a factor that can contribute to contracting Hepatitis A. Therefore, it is important in all circumstances, to follow proper hand hygiene measures during the course of the day.

Some of the symptoms of Hepatitis A are fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, joint pain, and jaundice (yellow skin, eyes, dark urine, clay-like bowel movements). These symptoms usually start to appear 2-6 weeks after exposure and can linger for 2-6 months. Unlike adults, children six years or younger may not show symptoms. The virus can spread even if a person is not exhibiting symptoms. Hepatitis A causes an acute (recently acquired) infection. Hepatitis B and C viruses cause chronic (long term) infections. There is no treatment for Hepatitis A. Rest and fluids are important until a person recovers from Hepatitis A.

The Hepatitis A vaccine (inactivated/killed) has been available since 1996 and can be given at the same time with other vaccines. This vaccine requires two doses which are given six months apart. Children are vaccinated between the first and second birthdays. Children in preschool through sixth grade are required to receive the vaccine. Older children, adolescents, and adults can also receive the vaccine. The Hepatitis A vaccine is an effective vaccine and considered to be safe with minimal side effects. Long term protection (full two-dose series) for adults is approximately 25 years and for children approximately 14-20 years. If there are any questions/concerns related to this vaccine, please consult with the pediatrician/ primary care doctor for further discussion.

Edith M. Poidomani, RN MS, NBCSN

Shepaug Valley School Nurse

To Parent(s)/Guardians Reminder

From: Health Office

All sixth and tenth-grade students are required to have an updated complete physical exam for the school year. If your child is participating in sports, a yearly physical is required. All physicals can be documented on the Health Assessment Record Form. The Shepaug Valley School Website has all the required forms. If you have any questions, please contact the nurse’s office.

Thank You,

Edith M. Poidomani, RN

Shepaug Valley School Nurse

Fliers & Upcoming Events

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Region 12 Calendar

Sept 23rd - Building Committee Meeting at SVS Library 4:30p

Sept 23rd - Finance & Operations Committee Meeting at SVS Library 6p

Sept 25th - WPS School Portraits

Sept 27th - Summer Reading Celebration at WPS 2:45p

Sept 30th - Long Range Planning Committee Meeting at SVS Library 6p

Sept 30th - Board of Education Meeting at SVS Library 7p

Oct 2nd - National Walk to School Day

Oct 2nd - SVS Financial Aid Night 7p

Oct 3rd - Burnham School PTO Meeting 6p

Oct 7th - Building Committee Meeting at SVS 5p

Oct 8th - WPS PTO Meeting 6:30p

Oct 11th - Professional Development Day - NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS

Oct 14th - Columbus Day - NO SCHOOL

Follow Region 12 on our social media channels for updates and information!

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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.