Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School, October 2021

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The students have settled in and I am pleased to let everyone know that our school community is a happy and thriving one! In an effort to continue to strengthen our school community, our school continues to use the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning to foster safe, challenging, and joyful classrooms and school. Morning Meeting, one of the practices of Responsive Classroom, takes place each morning in every classroom. Teachers and students crave a certain amount of predictability and routine in the school day, especially at the start. The format of Morning Meeting is predictable, but there is plenty of room for variation and change. Meetings reflect the style of individual teachers and groups, sets the tone for respectful learning and establishes a climate of trust. It also motivates students by addressing two human needs: the need to feel a sense of significance and belonging and the need to have fun. It merges social, emotional, and intellectual learning.

Morning Meeting is made up of four, sequential components that intentionally provide opportunities for children to practice the skills of greeting, listening and responding, group problem solving, and noticing and anticipating. The daily practice of these four components are developed through the following activities: a greeting such as an air high five, student or teacher sharing of some news of interest or ideas, group activity through active participation and lastly a a daily message. Morning Meeting is so powerful in such a productive way.

In addition to the classroom morning ritual, students and teachers have developed their classroom rules and identified students’ hopes and dreams for the year. These two important exercises help to build an understanding of expectations and to set a tone for the classroom and the year.

Now that we have completed the first month of school, teachers have had the opportunity to get to know their students on a personal level as well as on an academic level. Teachers have begun to assess their students’ performance level to ensure instruction meets their needs. Our beginning year assessments in the areas of language arts and mathematics should all be completed by the first two weeks of October. In addition to the assessments given, teachers have been working with the students closely and are using observation to further gain understanding of how each child performs. This information is valuable.

The after school PTO sponsored programs have begun. Students in grades K-2 are participating in a program called, “Learn Basketball Basics” with Julie Martinelli. Students in grades 3-5 are participating in a program called “Creative Movement & Theatre Games” with Kimiye Liebman. Thank you Julie and Kimiye!

Our Virtual Open House was recently held and it was a success. The staff and I thank the families that attended. If you were unable to attend, please contact your child’s teacher for a recording of the event. I applaud my staff for their efforts in showcasing their classrooms and sharing of important information.

Lastly, I thank all parents and guardians for your compliance with all procedures. Your cooperation and support are greatly appreciated and recognized. I also thank our PTO for supporting our Ice Cream Social. It too was a wonderful success and enjoyed by all.


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for October

10/4 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

10/8 Professional Development-School Closed

10/12 Columbus Day-School Closed

10/13 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

10/14 School Picture Day

10/15 PTO Lyman Pie Orders Due

10/20-22 Parent-Teacher Conferences/12:45 Dismissal for Students

10/27 Danbury Women’s Center Programs

11/2 Professional Development Day-School Closed

School Arrival Reminder!

School Arrival time is between 8:40-8:55 a.m.

Bus drop off: Bus drop off is at the front door within the circle at approximately 8:40 a.m. Buses will unload one at a time. Students will enter the front door using social distancing and reporting to their assigned classroom.

In person drop off: A parent who wishes to drop off their student in person is asked to park across the street at the Senior Center and walk the student to the front door and a staff member will greet and receive them. The student is then directed to the classroom.

Car drop off: A parent who wishes to drop off only without walking their student to the door can do so no earlier than 8:50 a.m. following the bus drop off. The student must exit the passenger side of the car and will be greeted by a staff member. The student will be directed to their classroom. Only one car at a time will be permitted to unload passengers. For safety reasons, please wait in the car line allowing for only one car at a time to depart.

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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Visit Our Website!

Our Region 12 District web address is Once you are at the district’s home page you can visit Booth Free School’s website or you can go there directly at this address: The staff will be adding information regularly. Please use it as an additional resource for information gathering.

Welcome to Our New Staff Members!

Virtual Parent Conferences, October 20, 21 and 22!

You will soon be invited to one of the most important occasions of the school year - a parent-teacher conference. We will once again hold them virtually unless you wish to have an in-person conference. If a parent wishes to request an in-person conference, please contact the classroom teacher to make the necessary arrangements.

This conference gives you an opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss your child’s progress and to bring up any concerns or issues you may have. More importantly, you can talk about ways to work together to make this year as rewarding as it can be for your child.

You will receive notification from your child’s teacher regarding the scheduling of the conference. If for any reason you have difficulty making the scheduled appointment, we will try our best to make arrangements for a conference convenient to your schedule.

Here are some helpful tips for a successful conference with your child’s teacher:

  • Before the conference, talk with your child about school: likes, dislikes, and feelings. Write down your concerns: academic progress, problems at home, behavior, peer relations, and questions about the teacher’s behavior plan and/or homework policy.

  • During the conference discuss the concerns you have written down. Listen carefully to everything the teacher says and take notes for future reference. If you do not understand something, ask to have it explained. Ask sor suggestions for things you can do at home to help your child. Assure the teacher of your continued support.

  • After the conference, talk with your child about the conference. Share all positive comments the teacher made about him or her and let your child know you are proud. Follow up with any suggestions you and the teacher agreed upon. Be sure to call the teacher any time you have a question or concern.

This year, make the parent-teacher conference time a worthwhile experience for you as well as for your child. Together we can help your child to be a confident and successful student.

Reminder: Student dismissal time for Parent Conferences is 12:45 p.m.

Grade 1 -- The Terrific Ten!

First graders hit the ground running, eager to be amazing readers, writers, mathematicians, and scientists! They were excited to get their eyes on text and show what they know. Because we have a small group of 10 fine minds, there is time for extended discourse about topics including important habits of good readers, developing number fluency within 10, and realizing that mistakes are just a part of learning. We are destined for a great year as we build our strategies, knowledge, and community.

Grade 3 Earning "Brooks Bucks"!

This new year has started off with a bang!! Routines and procedures have been mastered and the third graders are working hard to earn those “Brooks Bucks!” During Reader’s Workshop, we have been paying close attention to text details, creating mental images, and making both personal and worldly connections to help deepen our understanding. These important reading skills will then transfer to our writing skills as students are beginning to bring their own stories to life.

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Grade 5 - Using Nature to Enhance Writing

BFS 5th graders have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather! We have been working on reading and writing outside and allowing the fresh air to spark inspiration for our work. Most recently, fifth graders have been working on adding more detail to their written pieces by taking notice of nature around them. Would you believe that some students were able to write entire paragraphs just about the grass on the field? It has been a fun challenge to describe things we see every day in great detail.

Ice Cream Social!


General Music with Mrs. Doiron!

Hey, do you make music?? We want to know!! Please take a moment to fill out the survey below to answer a few questions about how you, as an adult, continue to make music. Thanks!!

Family Musician Survey

What a whirlwind! Thank you to everyone for your patience and flexibility as we continue to figure out how to make music safely within changing parameters. We hum and chant together in class and sing when we can spread further apart outside or in the gym. We move our bodies while sitting in our seats or standing behind our chairs. We use the materials at our desks to create sounds like percussion instruments. Last but not least we audiate like crazy!!

(Click here for the definition of audiation.)

Here is what we are doing in music during our first trimester!

K students sing unfamiliar and familiar songs like Going to the Zoo and Down by the Station. They move to the beat and with flow in lots of different ways. They play with music by audiating and creating rhythms.

First graders sing Old Joe Clark and Hop Old Squirrel while differentiating macrobeat and microbeat and singing the resting tone. They will figure out how to add instruments to the story “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” using only what they have in their desks!

Second graders work on reviewing patterns. Music is made of patterns!! We work 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 work on rhythms in duple and triple meter.

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

Fourth graders learn some American folk songs like Erie Canal and Sweet Betsy from Pike while also learning drumming warm ups. We start by using our hands and pencils to tap on the desks but we are prepping for bucket drumming in trimester 2.

In fifth grade we really dig into music terminology to describe the music we listen to, and we listen to a lot! We hear music from different composers and different time periods. My favorite part is learning what music our students love best. From Bob Dylan to Green Day, we have an eclectic group of musical tastes!

Instrumental Music with Mrs. Oppel

Band is Back!!

There is excitement in the air. Band class has begun! Classes at Booth Free meet on Friday mornings. The students are having fun making music.

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

We are off to a great start to the school year! It is wonderful to see our students back together again. The children are doing an awesome job with wearing masks, washing their hands, and social distancing. The adjustment to these health safety measures throughout the school day has been smooth. Every grade level has gotten a review on hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, mask wearing, and social distancing by their school nurse. Here are some pointers to assist in discussions and plans with mask wearing and care:

  • The mask should fit snugly over their nose and mouth so they don’t have to adjust throughout the day.

  • Please provide a spare mask for your child in their backpack.

  • Your child must keep their mask on during their bus ride to and from school.

  • If using cloth masks, remember to wash them daily.

PLEASE call your school nurse office if your child is showing any signs of illness. The symptoms of COVID19 can vary greatly. If your child has any of the following symptoms, discuss with your school nurse or pediatrician:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle aches

  • Nasal congestion or runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

The most common COVID symptom in children is cough and fever. If your child has COVID 19 symptoms, they will need a negative PCR test and doctor note or alternate diagnosis written by a medical provider to return to school. Region 12 is following the CDC guidelines for domestic and international travel. Please review these before traveling and contact your school nurse for any questions. The guidelines can be found at:

International Travel During COVID-19

Thank you for your vigilance in keeping our school community safe.

Lisa McQueen, School Nurse, Burnham School: 860-354-9721

Sandi DiBella, School Nurse, Booth Free School: 860-350-6563

Terri Truczinskas, School Nurse, Washington Primary: 860-868-6879

Booth Free School Student Council

Welcome back for the 2021-2022 school year! We hope this Fall is off to a wonderful start for you and your family. The Booth Free School Student Council is excited to host a myriad of events between now and June. In late September we kicked off with our first of many Spirit Weeks. Each day’s theme was decided upon by our 5th Gr. members. It is always a joy to see the students and staff participate in community building activities. As the year goes on, we look forward to spreading joy, kindness, and care to all of Roxbury (and beyond!)

Recognizing Booth Free School's 2021-2022 PTO Board

Co-President - Ciara Gorglione and Megan Hodge

Vice President - Emily Rhew

Secretary - Kim Schramm

Treasurer - Millie Johnson

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, become a member, volunteer, and take part in helping your child to grow academically. The 2021-2022 scheduled PTO meetings are as follows: October 13, November 10, December 8, January 12, February 9, March 9, April 20, May 11, and June 8. We hope you plan to attend!

National School Lunch Program Reminder

For the school year 2021-22, the Region 12 Schools - Ed Advance Food Services has opted to participate in the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the National School Lunch Program. This means that all students enrolled in the Region 12 Schools will receive lunch free of charge. Parents may order milk or lunch through the Nutrislice App.

The Tent is Up At Booth Free!!

The tent is fantastic!

An immense thank you to the following families for their assistance in securing the tent and putting it up. They are the Gorglione family, the Hodge family, the Liebman family, and the Martinelli family.

Library Happenings with Ms. Gordon!

Welcome Back everyone! I am delighted to be back working in Booth Free School’s magnificent library and even happier to be able to deliver books to all Booth Free Star Students!

Despite some challenges, changes and precautions, students still have access to their mighty tiny library. By now, all families should have received instructions from me on how to explore and reserve books from the school library. For a refresher or if you haven’t received instructions click on the following link:

I have been hard at work delivering books to students every morning. As always, I am dedicated to ensuring that every student continues to have access to reading material that will help them nourish a life-long love of reading. I encourage all students and parents to reach out with requests, questions and suggestions.

In addition to checking books out to our students, I have the privilege of visiting each class at least once a week. And since the students are now free to reserve books to borrow anytime they are free to access the online library catalogue, we have had the chance to explore more library topics, delve deeper into our reading and even play games relevant to what we are reading.

In Kindergarten we have read several wonderful books such as the Splat! by John Burgerman, Mr. Wiggles Book by Paula Craig and Carol Thompson, This Book is Red by Beck and Matt Stanton, Not a Box by Antoinette Portis and Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins. Also, a huge shoutout to our newest Booth Free Stars for 100% return of their practice library book! I truly hope our youngest stars are enjoying their books! Next Month we will continue to explore some halloween/fall themed silly books and in anticipation of Election day, some books about what it means to be a good citizen.

First graders proved that they are a super bright class by remembering everything I had taught them about books, authors and illustrators! We read several delightful books, What did you Do Today by Toby Forward, Tell Me More by Crosby Bonsell, I Can’t Do That, YET and It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr. Next month we will continue to explore books about growth mindset, and friendship.

Second graders spent their first month of library flexing their big kid computer skills, learning how to independently navigate the library site, learning about genres, exploring the power of search words and learning to recognize just right books to read based on the information they are given in OPAC. I am proud to announce that all the second graders have been able to independently search for and reserve books! Next month we will read several picture books before we transition into our first chapter book!

Third graders began exploring different types of puzzles such as crosswords, cryptograms, rebuses, jumbles and searches while reading the great mystery book, The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin. I am so impressed by third graders' ability to think out of the box! I can’t wait to see their puzzle solving skills evolve as we delve further into the book next month! Additionally, 3rd graders did an excellent job utilizing their chrome books to reserve books from the library.

Fourth graders had no problem using the reserve system to borrow (and return) books like pros! We voted on and began reading a brand new book, The City of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau, a wonderful introduction to the dystopian genre. The class hopes to read the book and then watch the movie in order to compare and contrast the two.

And last but not least, the flourishing Fifth graders, have set the bar, reserving new books, exploring different genres and ferociously reading a plethora of books. In just one month we doubled the amount of progress we made in our library read aloud, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. We should , finally, finish the book in October. The students and I look forward to reading the exciting conclusion over the next several weeks.

Finally, if you haven’t already, please fill out the summer reading form, you can do so by clicking on the Tails and Tales image. We are aiming for another year of 100% participation!

Finally as a reminder library days are as follows:

  • Kindergarten Monday and Thursday
  • 1st Grade Monday and Friday
  • 2nd Grade Thursday
  • 3rd Grade Wednesday
  • 4th Grade Wednesday
  • 5th Grade Tuesday

Please remind children to bring their books back on their assigned library days! Kindergarteners should return books on Thursday and 1st Graders on Friday. Thank You!

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Ms. Patricia Gordon

Library/Media Clerk

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.

Good Character Traits:

(Referenced in Board of Education Policy #0210.3)

Booth Free School encourages opportunities for students to develop positive character traits that promote respectful behavioral choices. We value self-regulation, leadership skills, kind and caring behaviors, and collaboration.

The teachers utilize The Second Step Program to promote social skills necessary for a caring community. When needed,

grades three through five have access to a supplemental program, Steps to Respect. Additionally, our school integrates key character traits of cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control (C.A.R.E.S), by using the tenets of the Responsive Classroom Approach to teach social skills through academic learning.

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.

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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