Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham 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 Burnham School community was quite busy during the month of December. The Student Council continued their food drive throughout the month for our local pantry and they also 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. Our community also supported a Shepaug senior, Hailey Lasky, by 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. To show our appreciation to our community, our students made winter and holiday cards for our local senior citizens. We hope these cards brought them warm winter wishes. Lastly, what would the winter season be without celebrating cultures! This year our students studied eleven 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 School Resumes

1/4-1/29 Online Kindergarten Registration

1/6 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

1/11 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

1/13 Early Dismissal for Students, 12:45 p.m.

1/18 No School - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

2/1 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

2/4 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

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3/4/5 - Winter Wonderland

In the spirit of the holidays, Grades 3-4-5 dove into the challenge of decorating their hallway and doors. The result was a magical, Winter Wonderland.

The kids decorated cocoa mugs to sip around their campfire, and “transported themselves” into winterscapes; visiting a ski

lodge, taking a run on the slopes and having a friendly snowball fight. Inspired by the Arctic tundra and the beauty of winter in Connecticut, students created an enchanted winter forest where they could “interact” with the animals.

The 3-4-5 practiced their poetry skills and created original winter writing to deck the halls. They honored their winter traditions with a Christmas tree and a Menorah and even learned to make master snowflakes. It was a joyful time together creating and enjoying winter memories at school.


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 handwashing 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.


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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.


Burnham Student Council was busy at work raising donations for our annual food drive. We decided to accept donations through the month of December for families in need over the holiday season. Our wrapping paper fundraiser for the 5th grade Aloha was a heaping success. Thanks to all the Burnham families that helped us raise over $500 for the end of year 5th grade graduation. The Burnham Student Council wishes all our Burnham friends a happy and safe holiday break.

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PE With Mr. Morgan

Burnham Elementary school will be starting our second round of Physical Education during the month of February. Students will take part in a variety of activities commonly done during the winter months. Lessons are designed so that students will not share the same equipment and each class will follow a separate activity plan each day.

We start each class 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 and keeps students safely spaced. I have enjoyed finding the latest and greatest warmup/workout video’s to share with our students.

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

I'm looking forward to being back in February. After that, the next PE go around will be the month of May. I will be hoping for some great weather that allows us to get outside then. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact via email at


Monday - Favorite Holiday Sweater, Hat, Scarf Tuesday - Favorite Holiday SOcks

Wednesday - PJ Day for Kids Fundraiser Thursday - Snow day

Friday- Favorite Holiday Colors

Burnham School’s Cultures Around the World

Our Burnham students grabbed their suitcases, passports, and plane tickets and were off to learn about other holidays around the world. The students visited the Netherlands, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Germany, England, Australia, Sweden, India, Canada, and America. At each stop, they learned about the country and its holiday customs through stories and videos.

Students played games or made crafts to represent each country. They decorated wooden shoes and hoped to receive treats in the Netherlands. They played the dreidel game in Israel, made a broomstick in Italy, made shaving cream poinsettias in Mexico, and decorated a gingerbread man in Germany.

Following these activities, the boys and girls decorated a stocking in England, made a koala in Australia, wore a crown in Sweden, made a red, black, and green Kwanzaa bracelet in America, constructed a lantern in India, and last by not least made a reindeer in Canada. After each country, they colored the country’s flag represented in their passports. For the boys and girls, this was an impactful event. Learning about how the world celebrates special occasions gives students the opportunity to reach out and understand the world they live in just a little better.


New Year…New Books! Burnham’s school library just keeps on growing. We have dozens of new books to start off a new year of reading. Some exciting new titles include The Bad Seed, The Good Egg, and The Couch Potato. These books are sure to start a case of the giggles for our K-2 students, while teaching valuable lessons about how to grow and change as a person, as well as how to be open-minded and change your perspective about others. We also have much-anticipated sequels to beloved series, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End and Dog Man: Grime and Punishment. There are also fun nonfiction titles about cooking and baking, sure to thrill the children who love to be adventurous in the kitchen. Students should stop by the library to find their next favorite book!

Read Your World

January 29, 2021 is the 8th Annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Never before in history has it been more important for us to understand and learn about diverse cultures and customs.

To that end, in library classes for the month of January, we will be focusing on books with multicultural themes. I encourage students to read books that widen their perspectives, celebrate diversity, and showcase the beauty of other cultures.

Read Across America

For January, the National Education Association has chosen books that encourage us to Explore Families and History.

This time of year is very much about family and togetherness, so it is very appropriate to read titles that emphasize that theme. The titles that were selected this month also tie in nicely with our exploration of cultures and diversity. For primary grades, the featured book is Freedom Soup by Tami Charles. For middle grades, the book is Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia.

Do you or your child have a book request? Please feel free to email me at

Kindergarten Registration 2021-2022

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.

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 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 January 7th.

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.


As the winter season progresses, schools may be impacted by inclement weather. In the event of a delayed opening or 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.

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.

Travel and Parking Safety Tips

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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