Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - January 2021

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is that time of year again, when the weather turns cold and our hearts begin to fill with warmth. Although the holiday season has come and gone, it’s magic lingers and with it brings a new year with brighter hopes for a healthy, happy 2021!

The winter season is always magical with the picturesque snowfall this time of year. Playing in the snow, whether building a snowman, skiing, snowboarding, or making snow angels, is invigorating and fun for all. Reading together can also be such a soothing activity for the whole family. Capture the feeling of the winter season by snuggling up to a good book with a warm cozy blanket. There are so many wonderful things we can do with our immediate family members that bring us joy, laughter, and sense of belonging. This is particularly important as we continue to battle the pandemic.

The Booth Free School community was quite busy during the month of December. The Student Council sponsored PJ Day for the Kids. PJ Day for the Kids’ proceeds were sent to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to support children battling cancer. In addition, the Student Council kicked off Ben’s Bells Project, “Be KInd”. Our community also supported two Shepaug seniors with their senior projects. Shepaug senior, Hailey Lasky, has been collecting baby blankets, a project raising awareness for Gastroshcisis, a rare birth defect. These blankets will be given to Avery’s Angels to keep newborns warm in the NICU. We also supported Jillian Cody with her senior project. She has been planning activities with the residents at Bernhardt Meadows in Roxbury. To help support and show our appreciation to our community, our students made winter and holiday cards for our local senior citizens as well as decorated small Christmas trees. Jillian was able to take some of our cards and trees to give to the seniors living at Bernhardt Meadows. The remainder of the cards were distributed through our local Senior Center. We hope these cards and trees brought them warm winter wishes. Lastly, what would the winter season be without celebrating cultures! This year our students studied several countries. For the boys and girls this was an impactful and fun-filled month.

As with any new year, it brings much excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead in the academic programming in grades K-5. Teachers are looking closely at the curriculum and are planning accordingly. They will be using mid-year assessments as well as their students’ daily work performance to gage where students are in their academic skill development. We are in full swing and moving ahead!

In closing, learning is so important and experts say that any learning must be a joint venture between school, parents, and children. Research indicates that children do better in school if parents place a high value on educating and reinforcing on-going learning. I thank you for your continued support and commitment to your child’s education. Together we make the greatest impact!


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for January

1/4 Winter Recess Ends, School Resumes

1/4 -1/29 Online Kindergarten Registration

1/11 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

1/13 Early Dismissal Day – 12:45

1/18 Martin Luther King Day-School Closed

1/20 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

2/1 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

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Kindergarten - Becoming Writers!

We have been writing up a storm in kindergarten! Our latest unit has focused on “Show and Tell” writing, a new twist on an age-old tradition. Children have been learning that writers make a plan before they put pencil to paper, taking time to look closely and focus on just what they want to say. Like the students themselves, our writing is growing and changing: we are using more words, more details, and challenged to fill up a whole page with our work. It is always a delight when children show and tell all about the things that are most important in their life and I enjoy the window into their world.

Booth Free School's Winter Door Decorating

Grade 2 Writers

Second grade writers recently concluded their narrative writing unit. The authors used mentor texts to improve their writing through the use of engaging beginnings, the inclusion of strong sense details, realistic dialogue, and exciting endings. They used good transition words while sharing the wants and obstacles of their main character.

These skills were used successfully in the creation of gingerbread “person” stories based on the traditional tale. Students planned multiple problems for their ginger-character to face and creative solutions to those problems. They created audiobook versions of their tales and shared them with the kindergarten class as a holiday gift. The students are proud of their hard work throughout this unit, and look forward to sharing their stories with you!

Student Council


With the holidays upon us, Booth Free School’s Student Council chose to honor the season by launching school-wide participation in the Ben’s Bells #BeKindChallenge. The Be Kind initiative is focused on the idea that spreading kindness not only brings joy, but often inspires additional acts of kindness! The beautiful ripple effects of a simple kind act make our world a better place.

To kick-off the challenge our Booth Free Student Council hosted a whole school morning meeting through Zoom. During that meeting, we talked about the ways all members of our school community can participate in the challenge. Students (whether in-person or online) and staff members are invited to fill out a paper chain link when they see or do something kind. The links are being joined together and displayed in our school as a festive reminder of the powerful impact kindness can have.

If you would like to access the chain link template at home, please see Mrs. Curren’s staff website. A link to the Ben’s Bells “Tools for Kindness” webpage can be found in the Student Council tab or you can use this tab to link directly to Mrs. Curren's Student Council Page:

Grade 4 Happenings

The fourth graders have been working incredibly hard these past few months. Not only did they learn the standard algorithm for multiplication, but can solve long division problems in a variety of ways. Additionally, they are recognizing which operations to apply in multi-step problems.

We have started our informational unit in both reading and writing and students will begin researching a topic of their choice, becoming an “expert” on that subject. I can’t wait to watch the progress continue as we enter the new year!

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 January 20th.

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

Welcome Back!


We thank you for your continued vigilance with stopping the spread of COVID 19 and allowing us to keep our school open and safe.

Please keep your child home if your child has one or more of the following symptoms:

· Fever (temp of 100.4F or higher)

· Sore throat or nasal congestion

· Cough

· Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

· Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

· Fatigue, muscle or body aches

· Headache

· Loss of taste or smell

Please contact your pediatrician with the above symptoms for guidance. In order to return to school, we require a doctor’s note indicating a negative COVID 19 PCR Test with a documented alternate diagnosis.

If your child is out for quarantining or waiting for results of a PCR test, they can join in remote learning with their class.

Please notify your school nurse if your child has any signs of illness and/or exposure to someone positive with COVID 19.

We appreciate your periodic review of the need for masks, social distancing, and hand washing with your child at home.


According to a recent survey included in a CDC report, more than 40% of Americans are struggling with mental health conditions as a result of the COVID 19 crisis.

There is a new national campaign called COPING-19 that is aimed at raising awareness of mental health challenges and providing some tips and resources to help people. This campaign is supported by the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, and the CDC Foundation. offers resources on many areas of struggle, like: anxiety, depression, isolation, and financial uncertainty. The web site also has resources on self-care for these issues, like: comfort, exercise, and perspective


Coping-19 is a user friendly web site that provides resources, self-care, and coping tips to assist with the struggles many are facing.


Children enjoy spending time outside in the snow. We do our best to continue outdoor recess all winter, especially this year. It is so much fun when the entire cohort can play in the snow together. Please remember to send snow pants, snow boots, mitten/gloves, a hat, and a warm coat.

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.

PE with Mr. Morgan

Booth Free School just recently completed our second round of Physical Education during the month of December. Students took part in a variety of activities commonly done during the winter months. Lessons were designed so that students would not share the same equipment and each grade level was following a separate activity plan each day. Students continue to take part in P.E. with full compliance to the mask expectations.

Each class would start the day with a video warmup. We use the projector/large screen located on the gym stage. This allows our distance learners to take part with us as well as easily keeps students safely spaced. I have enjoyed finding the latest and greatest warmup/workout video’s to share with our students.

All students took part in jump rope skills, long stick handling (floor hockey), gymnastic mat challenges, and basketball skills/drills. The older students in grades 3-5 spent additional time preparing for the Connecticut Physical Fitness Test and taking part in outdoor cooperative games (with our jackets on). The younger students got to take part in parachute games as well as an introduction to becoming a circus clown. Spinning plates, balancing peacock feathers, and juggling with scarves were all on tap. Lots of fun was had.

Our next PE go around will be during the month of March. I will be hoping for some great weather that allows us to get outside. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact via email at

PJ's for the Kids Day

because cancer wasn't cancelled...

Proceeds benefitted the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders...

at Connecticut Children’s Hospital


Registration for Kindergarten will take place from January 4th through January 29th. Parents of children turning five years of age before January 1, 2022 are eligible and are encouraged to register. Please go to the Admissions/Enrollment portal at to register your child. Families will need to provide an official birth certificate and proof of residency as part of the registration process. Our school will contact families to complete the registration requirements.

Booth Free School’s Cultures Around the World

Booth Free students took a virtual “journey” around the globe on their Cultures Around the World Celebration! From Australia to Germany, Israel to the Philippines, and France to Iceland, they learned how different countries celebrate holidays. Crafts were made, stories were read, and videos were shared.

Kindergarteners learned to play the dreidel game, first graders made advent wreaths, second graders made paper lanterns, third graders created French postcards to give to their families, fourth graders listened to an Australian read-aloud, Christmas Wombat, and fifth graders learned about the thirteen Yule lads, Iceland’s own mischievous Santa Clauses.

To culminate their journey, the whole school “zoomed” in, with each class sharing interesting facts learned about their country. Everyone even had a “stamped passport” and suitcase! It was a fabulous experience, exploring and learning about fascinating places and their traditions.

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.

School Closing Reminders:

As the winter season progresses, schools may be impacted by inclement weather. In the event of a delayed opening or a school closure, a district phone call will be made through School Messenger by 5:30 AM to families. Announcements will also be posted on our district website, and with local news outlets.

New this year, the Connecticut State Department of Education is permitting schools to use the option of remote learning snow days when possible. The remote learning snow day will allow schools to hold virtual learning classes when the weather conditions are unsafe for travel. Remote learning snow days will be counted as a regular school day within the school calendar. These remote learning days will not need to be added to the end of the school year as make-up days. The only reason for a traditional snow day cancellation of school (in-person or remotely) would be due to power outages. True snow day cancellations will need to be made up in June. The district announcement will indicate whether a delayed opening, a school closure or a remote learning snow day will be used. For remote snow days the following schedules will be used: Remote Snow Day Schedule.

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.

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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