Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School - March 2020

A Note from the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This school year is flying by! March is here and it is a busy month with lots of activities scheduled. Watch for information sent home to you by your child’s teacher or by our school office.

Report cards will be sent home on Friday, March 13th. This report card signifies that two-thirds of this school year is complete leaving us with one-third remaining. We have much to do and with your support I am confident that all our goals for the year will be met. Report card time is a good time to set specific goals with your child and to recognize their strengths and help them to build areas of weakness. The staff and I are always so proud of our students and recognize how hard they work. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher.

Following the report card distribution will be Parent Teacher Conferences. They are scheduled for March 19th and 20th. Scheduling information will be sent home within the first week in March and you will receive confirmation of date and time. The staff and I look forward to seeing you then.

Our Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Megan Bennett will present the school budget for the 2020-2021 school year on March 2nd at Shepaug at 6:30 p.m.There will a budget hearing on March 30th at 7 p.m. followed by the Annual District Meeting held on May 4th with a referendum the following day on May 5th. The administration worked hard to put forth a very thoughtful budget that is sensitive to the economic challenges facing us all. It is also a conscious commitment to the vision of Regional School District 12 and represents an effort to support the district goals and objectives.

As a reminder, students in grades 3-5 will take the Smarter Balanced Tests during the first two full weeks of May from May 4th – May 15th. The students in grades 3-5 will be tested in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics and it will once again be technology based. Grade 5 students will also be tested in the area of science on May 20th and May 21st. As is the Smarter Balanced, the science test will be technology based. Please keep the testing schedules in mind as you plan activities for your family. It is important to have all our students in school during this time.

Specials during the testing cycle may be rearranged to accommodate our testing schedule. Art, music, physical education, computer, and library will be placed into a schedule to ensure every child has their special classes. During this testing time, the teachers will also continue to instruct in all the areas of the curriculum to maintain students’ academic growth.

Lastly, the school community and I are continuing our celebration of reading this month in honor of Dr. Seuss and his contribution to children’s reading. Throughout the month we hope children will remember him by reading his many books and other good books of interest. Of course I can’t wait to read one of my favorites, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! There are many to choose from. I hope that through this month’s continued emphasis our students’ love for literature deepens. The poem above expresses particular significance especially in the month of March. Enjoy it and find time to read it with your child.


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for March

3/2 Dr. Seuss’s Birthday/NEA’s Read Across America Day

3/2 Readathon Begins

3/2 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

3/4 Grades Close

3/4 Spring Picture Day

3/4 Local Invention Convention

3/5 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

3/13 Report Cards Sent Home

3/19-3/20 Parent/ Teacher Conferences, 12:45 p.m. Dismissal for Students

3/27 Readathon Ends

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3-4-5 Multiplication Mountain

Fluency with multiplication facts is an essential life skill that our students in 3-4-5 know will serve them well. During personal goal setting sessions, many students expressed the desire to reach the top of Multiplication Mountain, thus achieving fast and accurate recall of their multiplication facts through twelve. After setting their goals, and making their plans, our students set to work. Each morning, groups of these motivated 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders tested themselves. During transitions or station time they squeezed in practicing, reciting, and calculating their multiplication facts. Some made riddles, others raced against timers to scribe their facts accurately. There was much collaboration and some friendly competition.

Our Multiplication Mountain is not a race or contest, but a representation of hard work and tracking personal progress. It is an opportunity to help our learners have a little fun while working on common goals with support and encouragement from their peers. When a classmate reaches the pinnacle, they are honored by wearing the coveted satin winner’s sash for the day. They get a “shout out” on morning announcements, and at lunch, they are congratulated with confetti and applause from their whole school. Recently, a flurry of goal directed hikers embarked on their journey, leaving the “campsite” on Mount Three, and climbing higher, some making it all the way to the top! We are proud to watch our students master multiplication with the support of their friends, and smiles on their faces.

Staying Fit in PE with Mr. Morgan

Physical Education class has been inside for the winter months. During this time all students have been introduced to skills/activities in floor hockey, gymnastics, scooters, bowling, jump roping, and badminton/volleyball. We also add a fitness component to every class as well. Every activity we do is scalable- so that students of different abilities all feel challenged. We hope to get outside to the fields once the weather allows.

Younger students (K-2) have been given extra opportunities in PE class to focus on sportsmanship/teamwork skills. The parachute has been a big hit as well as a “Star Wars” themed game where students got to be young Jedi’s and save the universe.

Grades 3-5 have finished participating in the “Connecticut Physical Fitness Assessment.” The assessment is required per the Department of Education for all 4th grade students. For the third grade its a chance to see what is coming next year and the 5th graders get the chance to beat last year's score.

Our fitness assessments use criterion-referenced standards. This means that a student can compare his/her scores with standards (age and gender based) that have been identified for good health. This type of system prevents students from being compared to other students participating in the assessment.

Don't forget that we are still welcoming any 3rd/4th/5th grade students that would like to participate in our weekly morning fitness class (also known as intramurals). Every Friday morning at Burnham, students arrive to school at 8:10. We head to the gym and take part in a ‘bonus class’ that incorporates movement, sport skills, cooperative games, and fitness challenges. This is the perfect way for students to start their day.


The Burnham School Community is excited to be participating in the second annual PTO sponsored Readathon during the next four weeks. This is a fundraiser for PTO and all proceeds will go directly to PTO programs that enrich our students and our school community. The Burnham School community is looking for 100% participation. The PTO is hoping that this event will be the last fundraiser of the 2019-2020 school year. The pledges are important! Thanks to the generous donations from community members, the PTO has met their commitments for tuition-in expenses, and all that remains is their operating expenses for the school community.

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Collaborative efforts between school staff and PTO has created excitement around reading. Students have been given appropriate grade level nightly reading goals and each week students will have a chance to entered into a raffle for a small incentive, and the chance to be Principal of the Day. Additionally, each Friday at the end of the day, all students will participate in a fun and exciting activity. At the conclusion of the Readathon, the entire school will be recognized with a group “Glow Night”.

This event is sure to be rewarding, fun, and exciting! Let’s all read together and enjoy the adventures stories and books can bring to us all.


Wear Red for Heart Day

On February 7, 2020, Burnham School joined thousands of hospitals, small businesses, multinational corporations, and many others to help raise crucial awareness and significant funds in the fight against heart disease and stroke in women. The staff participated in “Go Red” by giving a donation and wearing red to school. Most women don’t notice the symptoms of heart disease until it is too late and it is the number one killer of women. For more than a decade The American Heart Association has led the fight to protect women’s hearts through research and education. The more women who are aware the more lives can be saved. Kudos to staff for participating in this important fund raiser.

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Dental Visit

On February 19th, our school community was treated to a visit from Caceci Family Dentistry. Dr. Matt Caceci and dental hygienist, Wendy, spent time with each of our combined grade levels going over many important things about healthy teeth. With gooey green “germs” on a gloved hand (“teeth”) students got to practice brushing properly. They had a big surprise when the “germs” were still between the fingers (“teeth”) after brushing. Next a clear white shoe lace was a great hands on tool to demonstrate cleaning that goo between the teeth by flossing!! Students also reviewed how and when to brush your teeth, how to floss effectively, and which foods are bad for your teeth and which are good for them.

Our students were very engaged, involved, and excited about the things they were learning during the program. There were a lot of wonderful questions asked and answered. This was a fun interactive program for our students and they have learned positive dental hygiene habits to keep those smiles healthy!!

Visit us at our Website!

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

Student Council

Student Council ran a fund raising drive for our Ben's Bells Mural in February. They sold roses and raffled off a giant Valentine of chocolates. Congrats to Evan and Max! Look for our weeklong celebration of Dr. Seuss. Our flyer went home with all the fun events. We are all looking forward to the warm weather and Spring activites that will help us in our effort to raise money for our school mural.

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March Wind

March wind is a jolly fellow;
He likes to joke and play.
He turns umbrellas inside out
And blows men's hats away.

He calls the pussy willows
And whispers in each ear,
"Wake up you lazy little seeds;
Don't you know that spring is here?"

March is National Reading Month

This is a month-long celebration of reading! The National Education Association (NEA) has shifted the focus of Read Across America to encourage literacy every single day of the year. So, while this year’s official Read Across America Day is still March 2nd, the NEA Read Across America theme for the month of March is: Grow a Love of Reading. Hand in hand with National Reading month, the book of the month is The Book Tree by Paul Czajak.

To help students in grades 3-5 celebrate their love of reading, they can check out audiobooks and eBooks from Overdrive**. All they have to do is use their student ID number to access Region 12’s collection.


Celebrate Reading and Literacy

Read Across America Day is Monday, March 2nd. We will be celebrating at Burnham for the entire week of March 2nd. See the flyer above for fun themed dress up days, which allow students to show off their love of reading.

Burnham 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. PTO meetings will be held each month at 6:00 p.m. The November meeting will be held on March 5 at 6:00 PM. We hope you plan to attend!

Connecticut Association of Schools 21st Annual Elementary Celebration of the Arts

Region 12 Elementary Schools proudly recognized six students at the Connecticut Association of Schools Arts Festival on February 11th. Art teacher, Jane Manley, and Music teacher, Jennifer Doiron recommended students from the fifth grade who have excelled in the areas of visual or performing arts and who have exhibited high levels of citizenship and cooperative skills in their respective schools.

Breonna Lorentsen and Joseph Fontanilla from The Burnham School were recognized. Students and their guests enjoyed a fun-filled evening with caricaturists, balloon sculptors and face painting as well as a special performance from a New York professional performer, Holly O’Brien. One of Ms. O’Brien’s favorite roles include: Bell in Disney’s Beauty And The Beast. The room filled with young artists and musicians who shared a common connection to the arts was inspiring to all.

7th Annual Regional Elementary School Dance

On Friday, February 14th, elementary students and families gathered at Shepaug Valley School for a night of fun! The PTO’s of Booth Free, Burnham, and Washington Primary Schools invited all students in pre-K through fifth grade to dance the night away with DJ Austin Dailey! Students danced to great music and circled up while individuals and pairs showcased their special moves. Lots of cheers and smiles filled the cafeteria! Our students can really dance!

In addition to the dance, students and families were able to visit one of the many vendors who presented in the mall such as Pampered Chef, LuLaRoe, Organic Soaps, and Touchstone Crystal. Throughout the night families were able to stop by the gym and watch the SVS girls and boys varsity basketball teams in action! During intermission, a special performance by our elementary boys and girls showed their fancy basketball skills. Thank you to all the PTO volunteers for organizing such a successful event for our families and children at the elementary level. Activities that bring the elementary school communities together support connectedness and positive relationships.

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.

Burnham 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.


Now that we have begun to experience a taste of cold weather, it is a good time to review school closing procedures. When snow or ice creates unsafe driving conditions, school may need to be closed early, school opening may need to be delayed, or school may need to be closed for the day.

School closing information is available on our web site ( or may be heard over one of several radio or television stations. The Region-12 Notification System will also be activated for delayed openings and closings, and also when the decision to dismiss school early is made, so please be sure we have your correct telephone numbers.

The following stations broadcast our closing and delays:

WTIC AM 1080/WTIC 96.5 FM, WINE 940 AM/WINE 95.1 FM, WLAD 800 AM/WLAD 98.3 FM, WHCN 105.9 FM, WREF 850 AM, WKSS 95.7 FM, WZBG 97.3 FM, WVIT -TV 30, WTNH - TV 8, and WFSB –TV 3.

Delayed Opening Times for a 2 Hour Delay:

Please see our district website for additional scheduling information. For a delay, please be aware of the following:

  • Students should wait at their bus stop 2 hours later than the normal pick-up time.
  • Students in K through grade 5 may arrive at school at 10:40 a.m.
  • School will begin at 11:00 a.m

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 Tips

Please help keep our students safe. 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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