Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School, June 2021

A Note from the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is hard to believe that our school year is coming to an end! Friday, June 11, 2021 will be here before we know it! It has been an unprecedented year filled with new protocols and guidelines for all students and staff. Our Burnham community worked hard to provide and promote a healthy and safe school environment. This year’s focus was not only on the academic programming but also of students’ social emotional growth, engagement, and emotional well-being. As a collective group our school community promoted a positive school culture through many creative activities throughout the year. Our staff and families have show an unwavering commitment to students and the community that has led to thriving and happy students. I am grateful for the support and dedication of all members of our community.

Although summer is traditionally a time for rest, relaxation, vacationing and excitement, please continue to immerse your child in reading, writing, and math activities. Our demanding curriculum requires us to move forward as soon as the school year begins again on August 31, 2021. Your support of academics over the summer is very important in the retention of all the wonderful skills and growth your child has made this school year. Participating in the Governor’s Reading Challenge and reinforcing reading, writing and math in your own way, will keep your child actively engaged in the process of learning.

Reading can be supported in a variety of ways. Keep plenty of books and magazines around your home and in your car. Books on tape provide a wonderful way to pass the time on a long drive. Our Summer Reading list will be available on our website and at our public library. Please help your child to keep track of all the books read throughout the summer. This list must be sent to school or posted online at the onset of the 2021-2022 school year for the Governor’s Reading Challenge recognition. The staff and I are once again looking for 100% participation. This year’s Governor’s Reading Challenge theme is Tails & Tales Connecticut Reads, 2021.

Writing is also an important skill, so keep your child writing this summer. Postcards, grocery lists, diaries, vacation itineraries, reader response journals, letter writing to friends or relatives and/or a summer activity journal are all practical applications of written expression.

There are many ways to keep math on your child’s plate during the summer reprieve too. With this in mind, we will also be participating in the 2021 Commissioner’s Summer Math Challenge: The Power of Problem Solving. To assist students in retaining math learning during the summer, the Summer Math Challenge, sponsored by the CSDE in partnership with Metametrics is offering a free math skills maintenance program based on grade-level standards. The program is targeted to students who have just completed kindergarten through 8. Activities can be found in the Quantile Summer Math Challenge grades 1-8 and the Connecticut’s Summer Math Passport, K-8. It is designed to help students retain math skills learned during the school year. Families enroll online and receive daily emails from June 21st through July 30th, with fun activities and links to educational resources. To register your child, please visit the State Department of Education Website: Additionally, there are many other activities that can keep our mathematicians sharp. Keep those flash cards handy and using them in the car or at home can be helpful. Use measurement when building or making something new such as a garden, tree fort and/or adding a new deck to your home. When shopping, ask your child for help by asking him or her to total costs and then to determine the change they would receive back from the dollar amount given. The key is to create situations that show real application of the skills.

We all use reading, writing, and math skills on a regular basis. When children see a real use for those skills it becomes important and applicable to them, thus causing students to retain the knowledge.

I extend a thank you to the Burnham School community for its support and guidance during the school year. It has been a great year, and I look forward to the 2021-2022 school year.

I wish the students, parents/guardians, and the staff a wonderful and pleasurable summer.


Cathy Colella,


Dates to Remember for June

6/1-6/4 Blues and Beyond Program for Grades 4 & 5

6/2 MyFace Wonder Project - Virtual Program for Grade 3-5

6/2 Grades K-2 Penguin's Up Close - Virtual Field Trip

6/3 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

6/8 A Day at the Races

6/9 5th Grade Aloha

6/10 Early Dismissal, 12:45 p.m.

6/11 Last Day of School – Early Dismissal, 12:45 p.m.

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K-1-2 Wrapping up an Extraordinary Year

K-1-2 is wrapping up an amazing year! We are so proud of the perseverance and flexibility with all of the changes this year. We are celebrating reading in a variety of ways. Based on favorite fiction books, students or groups of students are creating puppets to reenact the stories. We will also be performing readers’ theater plays based on the following fairy tales: The Three Little Pigs, Rumplestiltskin, The Gingerbread Man, and The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Students build fluency by reading scripts and create simple props to present to classmates.

As we end the year, we are excited to celebrate with field day and a virtual field trip. We will be “visiting” the penguins at the Mystic Aquarium on a virtual field trip on June 2nd. We are so eager to learn more about the penguins and how they are trained there. We are also looking forward to “A Day at the Races” with Mr. Morgan for field day.

We are so thankful for all of the support from our wonderful families. We are excited for next year with our new Kindergarteners and wish our second graders luck in third grade. We will miss you! Have a fantastic summer.

3-4-5 A Year Like no Other!

Our 3-4-5 had a year like no other. Split into cohorts, learning behind masks, through the screen, on a grassy hillside, or at home; here, there...where?

We couldn’t be more proud of our flexible, fabulous team. Our upper elementary students have emerged as self-directed, emotionally aware, resilient students. They are readers, builders, artists, and wonderers. They have worked so hard making up for lost time in their studies and social lives.

Though we spent the last month of school with state and district testing, our students found time to dive into satisfying self-chosen activities. Some wrote myths, others finished that novel that they’ve been eyeing. Mathematicians climbed their way to the top of our Multiplication Mountain and analyzed their Stock Market purchases. Others learned to code video games, dance parties, or design stop motion animation videos.

Our 5th graders are thrilled to celebrate their Aloha and move on to middle school, while our 3rds and 4ths are looking forward to the days when we come back together as one big team.

As we head to the last day of this extraordinary school year, we wish all of our students the treasure of time with their friends and families. Their presence and persistence at school was a gift to all of us. We will be forever proud of this remarkable group of people.

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Burnham Library Read-A-Thon Prize Winner

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Notes and News from our School Nurse!

Happy summer! As a school community we have had a very healthy school year and have had great success in our fight to keep COVID 19 at bay. Our protocols of handwashing, mask wearing, pods, social distancing and fresh air mask breaks, were seamlessly transitioned into from the start of school and have become a routine part of our school days. We are very grateful for your reinforcement of these concepts at home.

Your vigilance in monitoring your child’s health and communicating with your school nurse has also been extremely helpful. We thank you for your quarantining, covid testing, obtaining doctor and lab notes, doctor visits and sick days you wouldn’t “normally” have had to adhere to so carefully. We have worked together as a community, and as a result our children have been together in school and the benefits of that are immeasurable. Thank you Booth and Burnham Families!!


Ticks are abundant this spring and it is important to practice safeguards that will protect against ticks and tick-borne diseases. The following tips are important to follow during any outdoor play or adventures:

Wear appropriate clothing when hiking outdoors. Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks; light colored clothing helps to make ticks easier to spot. Wear longer socks to tuck pants into to prevent ticks from reaching the skin. Since ticks don’t jump or fly, they are most commonly picked up on your shoes and socks.

Tick checks, tick checks, tick checks! Take frequent opportunities to look for ticks while on trails or playing in woods or outdoors. Additional checks should be conducted after hikes/outdoor play and once children are home from school. Checking again at bath time is a great opportunity to spot ticks in hard to reach areas.

Check these parts of your child’s body:

1. Under the arms

2. In and around the ears

3. Inside the belly button

4. Back of the knees

5. In and around the hair

6. Between the legs

7. Around the waist

Stay calm! If you find a tick on your child, you should remove it as soon as possible with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible with fine-tipped tweezers, pull upward with steady, even pressure. If you are concerned, save the tick for testing and speak with your healthcare provider. Remember that infected ticks must generally be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. Watch for signs of illness such as rash or fever and call your healthcare provider if these occur.

A Slick Trick for Ticks- when you remove a tick with tweezers, sometimes the head breaks off and remains embedded in the skin. Here is a simple, painless method for removing ticks without leaving any parts behind: Moisten a cotton ball with a little water and rub it on a bar of soap. Cover the tick with the soapy cotton ball and rub gently counterclockwise. After one or two circles, sometimes more, you will find the tick intact on the cotton ball. Finish by washing the bite site with more soap and water and apply antiseptic.

Congratulations to Natalie Orletski!

Fifth grader, Natalie Orletski, was recognized at a Board of Education meeting held on Monday, May, 24, 2021 as Burnham School’s Superintendent Award recipient. Natalie is an outstanding student at Brunham School. She exemplifies leadership and demonstrates kindness and creativity. Natalie has volunteered for Student Council and has assisted in fundraising for our Kindness Campaign. She is a strong student, avid reader, and is helpful to her fellow classmates. Natalie has been a contributing member of Burnham’s Invention Convention and Shepaug soccer. She values her friends, family, and nature. Burnham School commends Natalie for her determination and positive citizenship. We are so very proud of Natalie. Congratulations!

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PE with Mr. Morgan - The Final Round

Students at Burnham had their last rotation of Physical Education this May. We were fortunate to have some sunny days that allowed us to get outside and enjoy the field area. We took part in wiffle ball, lacrosse, invasion games and net games (volleyball/badminton). Our older students spent time challenging themselves in fitness stations that focused on muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and aerobic endurance. Our younger students used that time to play a variety of tag/chase games that teach acceleration, agility, balance, and coordination.

With an emphasis on safety, we are not following our traditional field day schedule. So we have come up with the next best thing. We are looking forward to our “Day at the Races.” We will be physically distant from other cohorts and will use minimal equipment that will be sanitized prior to another cohort using it. We will still focus on FUN and aim to provide an end of year celebration for students to enjoy. We hope in the near future we can return to our normal field days that welcome parent/guardians to be part of the day.

Student Council

Burnham Garden is Blooming with Veggies

The Student Council teamed up to plant our garden for the 2021 summer season. The K-1-2 was also invited to help plant radishes, carrots and beets this year. In addition, we added some pest control plants to keep out the pesky insects that could harm our plants. The children wanted some flowers in our garden, so we planted sunflowers and zinnias. The children learned about adding compost from last year's garden to nourish the seedlings and how important a daily dowsing of water is necessary for a healthy garden. We expect an early harvest of lettuce and radishes within the next month. Everyone is welcome to stop by and help themselves to our Burnham produce. Volunteers are also welcome to stop by and help out with the weeding throughout the summer. Have a wonderful summer break and we will see you next year.

Burnham School Student Council

Music with Mrs. Doiron - Round Three

Warmer weather has arrived and we are still finding ways to safely keep moving, singing, improvising, and playing whether we are at home or at school. It is so much easier when we can go outside!!

K/1 students learned about jazz! They improvised and scat sang (outside). They listened to stories and songs. They learned about Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dizzy Gillespie. We have some pretty hip jazzers in K/1! We also had a special guest. Thank you to Mrs. Chung for showing us the violin and sharing her beautiful music!!

Second graders built on their knowledge of chords to learn the blues! They learned the chord progression, improvised over the chord changes, and even wrote their own blues song! We rocked out on flipgrid making recordings with their choice of background blues tracks in order to play our version of Masked Musician. In the quest to achieve all of the second grade hopes and dreams for music this year, we also took the opportunity to share some of our music with the K/1 class during snack time. We were all outside, safely spaced, and happy to make music!

Third graders continued their hard work on recorders. They can play at least 3 songs with the melody and chord roots (and harmony parts on some songs too!). They also worked on learning to read and write with standard notation. Mostly they worked on being stronger players and preparing a song to be performance ready. They recorded it in flipgrid for our version of Masked Musician.

Fourth and fifth graders continued their work on ukulele and learned about composing. They spent time working to identify notes in treble clef and wrote rhythms in duple and triple meter. They also spent time choosing new tunes to work on with their ukes and stretching their skills to accommodate the new chords needed. They wrapped up our month by creating their own Masked Musician video rocking out on their uke!

This year has certainly presented challenges especially for making music together. Nevertheless our students have managed to grow their independence, creativity, and confidence as musicians. I am very proud of them and all the work they accomplished. Although we have had our last music classes I am already excited about next year!

Wishing everyone a safe, fun-filled, musical summer!

Mrs. Doiron

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Words from the Library with Miss Turney

Summer Reading 2021

What are you going to do with your summer? The Governor of Connecticut thinks that everyone should READ, and I agree! The theme for this year’s summer reading challenge is TAILS AND TALES! To prepare for summer reading, students were able to share some of their favorite animal tales, which are displayed on a summer reading bulletin board. Since we want to be a top performing school in this year’s summer reading challenge, I want to encourage everyone in the school to spend their summer reading.

I will be sending home the official Summer Reading Journals this month so that students can keep track of their reading over the summer months. Also, be sure to look for a Summertime Learning newsletter with links to all sorts of resources for summer reading, such as the State Department of Education’s lists of suggested summer reading for each grade level and the winners of the 2021 Nutmeg Award. With these resources, as well as access to Overdrive/SORA and the town library, students will have plenty to read over the summer.

Don’t Forget!

As the school year winds down to a close, please make an effort to return all overdue books. I will continue to send home notices about overdue books in the upcoming weeks. Thank you for returning our books to their home.

Thank you for another wonderful school year! It has been a joy to watch our readers stretch their imaginations this year. Have an incredible summer!


Miss Turney

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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 June 3. Just a reminder, the PTO will be voting on new officers for the 2021-2011 school year.

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.

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