Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School, October 2019

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The students have settled in and I am pleased to let everyone know that our start to the new year was a fantastic one! The teachers have commented on how the students have embraced their academic expectations in a positive way. It is amazing to see our hard-working students in action.

There is a sense of pride throughout the building. In an effort to strengthen our school community, a school-wide Morning Meeting took place. The purpose of the Morning Meeting was to develop our school-wide rules. The meeting began with a greeting, recognizing the entire school community with a “hello” and handshake. Each class shared their specific classroom rules. After the sharing, students and teachers identified common themes which were recorded on large chart paper. Ideas were clustered and three school rules were developed. To further build students’ sense of belonging, the Morning Meeting ended with a special message about working together to create a respectful, happy school. “The sense of belonging and the skills of attention, listening, expression, and cooperative interaction developed in Morning Meeting are a foundation for every lesson, every transition time, every lining-up, every upset and conflict, all day and all year long. Morning Meeting is a microcosm of the way we wish our schools to be – communities full of learning, safe and respectful and challenging for all.” (Morning Meeting Book, Kriete 2002). It is so powerful in such a productive way.

Now that we have completed the first month of school, all teachers have had the opportunity to assess the students’ performance level to ensure instruction meets their needs. They have completed the assessments for language arts, which provide detailed results as to their phonics, comprehension and written expression skills. In mathematics students were given a baseline assessment that has provided teachers with areas of strengths and weaknesses to target focused instruction. Teachers will be able to share this information as well as daily performance during the upcoming conferences. These conferences will be held on October 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Teachers have begun scheduling these conferences and will continue to work with all parents and guardians to be sure we achieve 100% participation.

The teachers and I look forward to the month ahead. Watching a child master a new concept is so exciting and we celebrate milestones every day. Mark your calendar as November 20th, Visitation Day, will be another opportunity to see things in action. It can be an amazing opportunity!

Our PTO is up and running. Last month’s Ice Cream Social was well attended as well as our Open House. This is a direct reflection of our supportive school community. These activities as well as others that will happen throughout the school year will certainly help to strengthen our home and school connection. As always, I believe that close communication helps to ensure our children’s success.

Lastly, I thank all parents and guardians for your compliance with all procedures. Your cooperation and support are greatly appreciated and recognized.


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for October

10/2 Walk to School Day (Rain date 10/7)

10/8 &10 Danbury Women’s Center Programs

10/11 Professional Development-School Closed

10/14 Columbus Day-School Closed

10/15 Grade 5 Track Meet at Shepaug

10/16 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

10/18 Ben’s Bells Kindness Assembly, 11:30 AM

10/21 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

10/22 School Picture Day

10/23-24 PTO Scholastic Book Fair

10/23-24 Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:45 Dismissal for Students

10/29 Audubon Programs

10/31 PTO Halloween Party, 5:00 PM

11/1 Fire Prevention Day

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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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Grade 1 In Action!

Welcome Back!

First Grade is off to a terrific start! September is a busy time for our class! Children have been learning and adapting to the routines and procedures of being in first grade. In just a few weeks, it is amazing to see the progress that has already taken place. Keep up the awesome work kiddos and families! Take a look at first graders is action! Click on the link below to see our awesome video!

Welcome to Grade 3!

Welcome to third grade! We are off to an excellent start as our sixteen students commence the year. Our students are working on developing personal narratives and have generated a group of ideas from which to draw. In mathematics, we have jumped right in to multiplication and division using array models. We are just about to start one of the greatest reads in third grade, Stone Fox. Engineering designs are the hot topic in science. Students are developing knowledge about forces and how to use that information to design a method to “rescue” a “tiger” from a moat. Students also are establishing personal goals for the year ahead. We are guaranteed an exciting year!

Robitics in Grade 5!

5th graders have been learning about the world of robotics with Mr. Hosking. Students researched the different types of robots that exist and chose one of interest to them to become an expert on. The class is now learning the basics of robotics building and coding with the end goal of designing a robot to help clean up a toxic waste spill. We look forward to seeing what the 5th graders will create!

Notes and News from the Nurse.....


Moving past the summer months brings us all together in our school community which increases the prevalence of illnesses. Viruses are common among children and are transmitted through the coughing or sneezing of people infected with them. People may also become infected by touching something with viral particles on it and then touching their mouths, noses, or eyes. Review basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices such as:

  • Wash your hands multiple times a day for at least 20 seconds
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow
  • Do not share drinks or food

The following will help to develop a strong immune system to fight off illness:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise regularly

Be assured that school staff are carefully tracking illnesses, keeping the environment clean, promoting good health habits, and staying informed to keep your children healthy.


  • A child must be free of fever (<100. 0 F. ) for 24 hours (without medication to reduce the fever) before returning to school.
  • Children with Strep infection must be on antibiotics for a full 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Children with conjunctivitis or “pink eye” must be on antibiotics for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Children must be free of nausea and/or vomiting for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Children with a persistent cough, runny nose, and/or watery eyes should remain out of school even if there is not a fever.

Please remember to call the school in the morning if your child will be absent. Discuss with your health care provider whether you and your child should receive a flu vaccine.


All students who are injured, whether at home, school or during athletic events, require written medical clearance from a physician when returning to school. The student must bring this paperwork to the health office prior to going to the classroom. Students with any temporary disability due to an injury who return to school with a cast, air/soft cast, splint, ace bandage wrap, arm sling, wheelchair, walker, crutches, cane or immobilizer or other assistive devices require a written note from the physician. This note should include:

  • Student’s ability to return/attend school.
  • Any restrictions related to sports, PE, lunch, classroom, recess, passing time to/from class, carrying backpack/books, or other related school activities.
  • Confirmation from physician that the student has been properly instructed in the use of devices such as crutches, walkers, canes, wheelchairs, etc.
  • The date the student can resume full activity.

A physician’s note (stating any limitations/accommodations) is also required for the following: Surgery, Concussion, Hospitalization, and Fracture/Sprain.

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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

Booth Free School's Potato Harvest!

The students enjoyed the fruit of their labor with a “Potato Palooza” event. Their barrel potatoes had been growing all summer. During the third week of September the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club returned to our school to harvest our growing potatoes. Our school did yield over 100 potatoes, an impressive amount. The students could be heard squealing in delight. All of the potatoes were brought to the New Milford Hospital and The Chef/Food Service Director, Kerry Gold, transformed them into delicious mashed potatoes enjoyed by all our students. This garden project was a winner going full circle from planting, harvesting, sharing, and finally to the enjoyment of savoring the potatoes!

Our school community thanks the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club and the New Milford Hospital for supporting our students.

International DOT Day - Celebrating Creativity, Courage & Collaboration

The students at Booth Free School joined 16 million people around the world to celebrate “Dot Day,” an event inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book, titled simply The Dot. In this story, a young artist discovers the power of beginning with an idea and watching it grow into something truly unique. Held every September 15-ish, it is a day of creativity, courage, and collaboration. Directed by Reynolds to, ”Make your mark and see where it takes you,” children joyfully explored projects such as making 3-dimensional dots out of paper and rubber bands, creating cardboard dot spinners, creating machines to push and pull dots, and even using brightly-colored dot artwork to represent their hopes and dreams for the school year. Smiles were seen from the first marks to the final masterpieces.

¿Qué Pasa en Español? BFS Spanish News from Señora Granka

¡Hola! I’m so happy to say that all our students, from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade, have been awesome during Spanish time! Our students have been so brave and confident using target language phrases. Our K-2 students are using important language phrase like “¿Dónde está…?” (Where is…?), “Está en…” (It is in…), “Me gusta...” (I like…), “Yo tengo…” (I have…). Our 3, 4, 5 students just started reading a short novel together! Third graders are reading about a nervous capybara (capibara), while fourth and fifth graders are reading about a very impatient sloth (perezosa)! Both novels are reader-friendly and have lots of repetitive language so that our students are comfortable with the vocabulary.

Booth Free School 100% Participation in the Governor's Reading Challenge Again!

Congratulations to all of Booth Free School for participating in the Governor's Reading Challenge!

News from Student Council!

Student Council Kick-off!

During the month of September the Booth Free School Student Council met for the first time. Several students from Grades 3-5 were selected by their teachers as the first round members of Student Council for the 2019-2020 school year. As the year continues, the current members will “retire” and new members will be given the opportunity to participate.

Our mission is to spread kindness and make a positive impact on our school, community, and world. In accordance with this mission, we decided to kick-off the year with a fundraiser to aide the victims of Hurricane Dorian. We are collecting funds to send to two organizations; Save the Children and the Briland Animal Rescue. An informational flyer has gone home with each child and can be located on the school’s PTO website in the Student Council section. If you have further questions regarding the fundraiser, please contact the school.

In addition to our fundraiser the grand opening of our BFS School Store was on Friday, September 20th. The store will be open on Friday mornings during arrival. Items in the store, on average, range from 50¢ to $2.00. The money we acquire through sales goes to the Student Council Treasury and is used to support our activities, initiatives, and store restocking. We look forward to doing business with you!

Finally, the Student Council is continuing to collect Box Tops for Education. You may send them in with your child, or deposit them in the front office.

Wellness Policy

A change took place in the past few years regarding Region 12’s policy #6142.101 which can be accessed through the district website, under food celebrations. Celebrations are special times in all our lives and we recognize that it is important to celebrate important events with children.

There are a growing number of students with obesity issues and life threatening food allergies in this country and in our community. Prepared foods as well as home-cooked foods may include ingredients that could be directly or indirectly harmful to some children. These realities are reflected in a new statement within the Region 12 Wellness Policy. It has been decided that the use of non-food rewards is a healthier and safer alternative for students.

We will continue to celebrate important events, including birthdays at school, but will find ways to recognize these occasions through non-food ideas. Regarding birthdays, we request families find ways to recognize these occasions through nonfood ideas. Suggestions for non-food celebration ideas have been sent home in our summer mailing. If you would like an additional copy, please contact our school nurse, Sandi DiBella, R.N.

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. PTO meetings will be held each month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will be on October 16 at 6:30 pm. We hope you plan to attend!

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.

Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

The school year is off to a tremendous start and our library and reading accomplishments are already piling up. Booth Free Students read over 1200 books this summer, averaging 18 books each! Everyone should feel proud to be a star as we celebrate our 9th consecutive year 100% participation in the Governor’s summer reading challenge!!! A special shout out to Mrs. Brooks’s 4th graders who read almost 400 books, averaging 34 books each! Also a special congratulations to first grader Emma Gorglione for being our top summer reader.

September Library Rewards

Summer Reading-

Overall A Top Readers: Emma Gorglione, Sage Wilson, Frank Mariano and Grady Hughes. Kindergarten: Cameron Smith and Michela Badger. First Grade: Emma Gorglione and Nora Kolnick. 2nd Grade: Mabel Mariano and Olivia Sarrof Santos. 3rd Grade:Lexie Armbruster, Dayanna Daly and Brody Martinelli. 4th Grade: Sage Wilson, Frank Mariano and Grady Hughes. 5th Grade Diandra Daly and Anders Someroff.

Congratulations on a book filled summer!!!

In addition to top summer reading rewards over half of the students participated in the Library’s Summer Bingo Challenge. Harper Chin, Diandra & Dayanna Daly,Emma Gorglione and Nora Kolnick each earned prizes for turning in their blackout book Bingo sheets!

All students earned entries into the Library’s kickoff off the year Reading raffle by returning their reading logs and earning bingos. The raffle winners are Anders Someroff and Lyla Conway. And finally students were asked to guess how many books the school read over the summer. The winner for grades K-2, guessing 1000 books is Maddy Krettt and the 3-5 grade winner, off by a mere 22 books, guessing 1232 books read is Grady Hughes!

Current Library Incentives

Every month BFS star readers will have the chance to participate in several ongoing incentives. Each month students will be offered themed Bingo Cards they can play and return for rewards and entries to win the year long Book Bingo raffle. Back to School Bingo cards are due October 11th. Students are also encouraged to participate in the weekly Dewey of the Week challenge. Finally, the Library will be hosting a year long book review incentive with a prize basket going to the best contributor. Congrats to Paige Palumbo for her win last year.

What’s in Store

We will continue to review library expectations while expanding our overall library and media knowledge. Younger students will explore fiction and non-fiction while expanding their library vocabulary and skills. Older students will make strides to become more self reliant and confident learners utilizing the self checkout and OPAC systems.

Until next month…

Keep reading!

Mrs. Gordon

Parent Conferences, October 23, 24 and 25!

You will soon be invited to one of the most important occasions of the school year – a parent-teacher conference. This conference gives you an opportunity to meet 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 a note 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 discipline 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 for 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 any 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 event for you as well as for your child. Together we can help your child to be a confident and successful student.


Patriot Day Celebration!

On Wednesday, September 11, students K through 5 recognized and celebrated Patriot Day. The students began their day with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Students in all grade participated in an additional grade appropriate activity in honor of this day, recognizing and remembering all those heroes and patriots who defend our many freedoms.

Important Procedures to Follow!

The following procedures further insure the safety of your child. You are kindly asked to assist us with the following:

  1. Please send your child to school with a note if he/she is not going home in their usual fashion. It is imperative that you include your child’s full name, grade, date, phone number where you can be reached during the day, and whether your child needs to take a different bus or is being picked up. If your child must take a different bus, please indicate the number of the bus and where your child is getting off on that route. Due to the number of students on some of our buses, prior approval must be made before allowing students access to a different bus.
  2. If it becomes necessary to phone in dismissal information for your child, please call by 11:00 a.m. In order to protect your child’s instructional time, we will deliver messages and all other deliveries to students and teachers at lunchtime.
  3. Parking is extremely limited a Booth Free School. The town has requested that parents refrain from parking along the circle. During the day the circle is reserved for bus drop-off and pick-up. Having a vehicle in this location will restrict traffic flow. Additionally, during night activities the Fire Department has asked that parents look for areas that they have designated as restricted and avoid parking in those areas. They fear that if cars were in their way during an emergency, fire trucks and emergency vehicles would have difficulty exiting the premise.
  4. If you are driving your child to school in the morning, please walk your child into the school while buses and other forms of transportation are visible. This will help to prevent children from walking in the path of vehicles. No child is to be dropped off before 8:40 a.m. as supervision begins at that time.
  5. If it becomes necessary to pick up your child early from school, please report to the Main Office and our school’s secretary, Mrs. Laura Horrigan, will call for your child. You must sign him/her out at the time of dismissal. If you’re picking your child up at dismissal time, parents are asked to meet their child in the school foyer. All pick-ups must be signed out. Dismissal is at 3:15 p.m. for all students in grades K-5. However, please remember to check for early dismissal days!
  6. All volunteers and visitors must sign in at the office. All visitors must bring a photo ID and have a badge printed to be worn while in the building. Again this is a safety issue and must be followed at all times.

Please feel free to contact the school should you have any questions or concerns about school procedures.

Booth Free School, A Caring Community!

Booth Free School is a caring community who is here to assist families in any way we can. If you are experiencing a hardship and would like to discuss the possibility of receiving assistance through town funds, contact School Nurse, Sandi DiBella, RN, or School Principal, Cathy Colella. Both can be reached at Booth Free School at 860-354-9391. The town of Roxbury may have resources available for families in need which can be accessed through the town social worker, Jerrilyn Tiso. You can reach Jerrilyn through the town hall at 860-210-0201.

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.

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