Region In Review

April 12, 2019 | K-5 Focus

Elementary Dental Visit

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Our school community was treated to a visit from Caceci Family Dentistry for National Dental Month. Dr. Matt Caceci and dental hygienists, Wendy Bonomonte, and Jenna Tedesco spent time at Booth Free School, Burnham School, and Washington Primary School going over many important things about healthy teeth.

Our students played an interactive “true/false” game as a fun way to explore many great facts about teeth and keeping them healthy. The team went over when to brush your teeth, how to brush, and the importance of flossing and nutrition. They had a large model of teeth and toothbrush for hands-on practice on proper brushing. Dr. Caceci, Wendy, and Jenna had a teddy bear who demonstrated how long to brush your teeth! 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 program for our students, and they have learned positive dental hygiene habits to keep those smiles healthy!!

Inventors in Region 12

Students across the district showcased their original inventions this past month at their school-run Invention Convention. They presented their inventions to their classmates and community, as well as judges, explaining the problem they were trying to solve and the purpose of their invention.

Over ten weeks prior to the convention, students explored how to become problem-finders and problem-solvers. They learned to research and diagram prototypes of their inventions. Testing materials and exploring different ways to create their inventions were part of the process. Once satisfied, they created their inventions and presentation boards to illustrate their process.

At their Invention Convention, they were judged on originality, inventing process, invention effectiveness, practicality of invention, and need for the invention. Winners from each school will continue onto the state level competition at UConn in Storrs.

The WPS winners going to the CT Invention Convention on May 4th are Lexi Thomas and Isaac Fitch. Other winners were Most Practical, James Dowling-Ukers; Most Original, Pierce Johnson; Best Presentation Skills, Eva Matthis; and Best Visual Display, David Low. We would like to extend special thanks to our parent volunteers, Scott Fitch and Don Ukers, for their support.

Booth Free School and Burnham School held their convention together on March 26th. Booth Free School's winner was Isla Beckstrom with the “Cat Caller” and the runner-up was Aiva Gamelin with her “Pony Sippy.” Burnham School’s winner was Lily Bialack with her “Fast Ears” and the runner-up was John Knox with his “Paws and Rest Dog Bed.” A sincere thank you to our judges Mr. Hosking and Stephanie Kolnick.

Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club Visits Booth Free and Burnham Schools

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Each year the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club partners with our schools to provide enrichment opportunities. This year’s focus is on gardening, stimulating our students’ knowledge and love of growing things. Master Gardener, Mrs. Adrienne Caruso, of the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club, began this year’s program with a visit to Booth Free School and Burnham School to guest-teach botanical watercolor painting to K-5 students during their scheduled art classes. Also assisting Mrs. Caruso were her husband, Mr. Joe Caruso, Mrs. Nina Shimer, and Mr. Rudy Simari. Each student completed a beautiful painting of lettuce or radishes. These works will be framed and later exhibited at each town’s library during the month of June. The Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club will be returning to the schools later in the spring to help students plant potatoes for a late-summer harvest, and to oversee the planting of lettuce and radish seeds. Being early crop vegetables, the lettuce and radishes should be ready for a mid-June harvest before the end of the school year.

Booth Free School Has Talent!

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Booth Free School’s Sixth Annual Talent Show was held on March 15, 2019, featuring singing, dancing, gymnastics, a pianist, and plenty of fun. It was an absolutely amazing hit-filled journey! The Booth Free School PTO served as organizers and directed the presentations to a delighted group of parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. The gym was packed!

There were 22 students performing in an array of acts. Some students teamed up while others participated in a solo act. The show also included two family acts. Sixteen acts were presented to the audience. Some students performed fresh arrangements of their favorite popular songs. One student played a Beatles tune on the piano while others sang and danced to radio song versions. The show ended with a dance to “Baby Shark” which the audience and the students especially enjoyed.

The Booth Free School community recognizes and thanks our talent show coordinators, Liz Kearney, Tracy Palumbo, and Stephanie Kolnick as well as our sound technician, Mike Palumbo. A special thanks to the Palumbo family for their generous donation towards the talent show gifts and to the Woodbury Music Shop who provided their sound system for this production.

A talent show is a great way to showcase students, to build their confidence, and to bring our community together.

STEM Based Enrichment Programs at Burnham

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Burnham students recently participated in STEM-based enrichment programs sponsored by the Burnham PTO. Experiential educators of Connecticut provided grade-specific programs that support our Connecticut Common Core State Standards. Each lesson was designed to stimulate student interest in STEM through inquiry-based hands-on activities that concentrate on the scientific method and the 5E model of instruction: engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate.

Kindergarteners learned about light. During the program, they learned how light is made, the properties of light, and how it travels. Students used flashlights and different papers to experiment with translucent, transparent, and opaque properties. Using models, they discovered that lights can reflect and refract into the colors of the rainbow. By mixing colored lenses, students investigated how different color combinations made new colors. At the end, they learned that if all of the colors overlap, it returns to white light.

First graders explored sound. They learned about how sound is made, properties of sound, how sound travels, frequency, and pitch. Through the use of multiple models such a thunderbox, our young scientists discovered that longer objects make higher pitched sounds while shorter objects make lower pitched sounds. Students had the opportunity to make sounds using tuning forks. Once activating the tuning forks, they were able to see, feel, and hear the vibrations causing the sound.

Second and third graders learned about the three types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Students got to observe the natural minerals that make up the different types of rocks and where these rocks were found in our state of Connecticut. They also learned how rocks originated through erosion, weathering, or heat and had the opportunity to touch, smell, and feel the many varieties of rocks on display during the program.

Fourth graders participated in a program about waves. They learned about sound, water, and airwaves through demonstrations and hands-on activities. Students used tuning forks to listen to the pitch of different sound waves. With the help of a radio wave machine, the children observed waves in the water as the vibrations increased and decreased.

Finally, the fifth graders learned about optics. They built the lens of a camera and observed images in the light reflecting mirror images. Fifth graders explored the different parts of an eye and their functions that allow us to see light and images. As a final hands-on activity, the students dissected a cow’s eye and peer partners observed the different parts of the eye. Examining a real eye was truly amazing!

Go-Slow-Whoa: A New Look at Healthy Eating at WPS

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March was National Nutrition Month. The students at Washington Primary School were provided with a presentation on nutritious food choices and the concept of healthy eating by Carla H. Angevine MS, RD, CDN from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. Food groups were explained and placed into categories GO-SLOW-WHOA. GO foods being the most nutritious, SLOW foods representing the in-between healthy but in moderation, and WHOA foods being those which are high in sugars and carbohydrates and should be consumed only once in a while.

A school-wide healthy snack competition was once again a follow up to this presentation. Students, using a set of ingredient and food group guidelines, created a healthy snack and presented it to a panel of taste testers who judged the snack. The winner from each classroom demonstrated how to construct their snack while fourth and fifth-grade videography teams captured it on film. Students are currently editing the video footage to turn it into a WPS cooking show that will be shared with the whole school.

Booth Free School’s Campaign of Caring

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In conjunction with Roxbury Town Hall, Booth Free School Student Council supported the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter. This shelter hosts a large number of young families and is in great need of diapers and wipes. The Student Council jumped into action and organized a drive to assist the shelter. Beginning Monday, February 4, 2019, the Booth Free School families sent in diapers and/or wipes for these families. The drive ended Wednesday, February 27th and shortly thereafter a representative of the shelter gratefully accepted their donation. Once again, our wonderful students and families reached out to aid our greater community

Burnham Student Shines in the Arts!

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Burnham student, Fiona MacKessy, has a talent for ceramics. She was one of 15 entries submitted by students at the Village Center for the Arts in New Milford and one of two selected to be included in the National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition. Fiona’s “A Hotdog Dressed as a Hotdog” will be featured on a national stage at the annual conference of The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) March 27-29. This entry was chosen from over 1,000 submissions nationwide. Fiona’s masterpiece was sent to Minneapolis, MN for the exhibition to showcase the best K-12 ceramic work made in the country. The exhibition takes place in a different city each year in conjunction with the annual conference of The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Congratulations and best wishes for our shining artist, Fiona MacKessy!

WPS Protecting our Environment

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One of the main areas of focus for the REACH preschool program is the protection of our environment. Throughout the year, students at Washington Primary School learn about reducing, reusing, recycling and conserving resources. Students participate in activities such as school-wide recycling, environmental science lessons/experiments, recycled art units in collaboration with fourth and fifth-grade students, planting and gardening, insect science, taking a field trip to our school’s compost bin and vermicomposting.

These lessons and activities establish a foundation for future learning and an appreciation of the importance of protecting our Earth. Keeping the world clean for animals and people shows students the importance of taking care of our world.

35th Annual Connecticut Fire Prevention Poster Recognition Program

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The Booth Free School community is very proud of fifth grader, Bruna Libanio, whose 2018-2019 Connecticut Fire Prevention poster has been recognized as a County Winner. This year’s theme was, “Fire Prevention - Everyone/Everyday.” In recognition of this achievement, an Award Presentation Luncheon at the Chowder Pot in Hartford was held on March 28th. Bruna and her family attended along with school representation and our Fire Marshall, Janet Morgan. Bruna’s framed poster will be hung in Hartford at the State Capital along with all other County winners. Booth Free School and her community congratulate Bruna!

Published Authors at Burnham School

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Burnham School’s third, fourth, and fifth graders are officially published authors! Their original pieces are now in an anthology called, Spooky Sagas.

Back in October, while writing some festive and frightful narratives, students were encouraged to enter the Young Writers 'Spooky Saga' Challenge.

Young Writers is a publishing company which offers writing contests and rewards to students while encouraging them to explore their imaginations and write for a purpose.

Our students were intrigued by the challenge of using their writing powers to create spine-tingling tales that created atmosphere and suspense. They worked hard and had fun brainstorming, editing, and revising to complete their spooky tales. The biggest challenge was limiting their pieces to exactly 100 words!

Months later, students and teachers were thrilled to receive word that sixteen of their sagas had been chosen for publication! Our students were even more delighted to see the box of glossy new books, containing their work, delivered to our school!

Having their work published boosted our writers’ confidence, showcased their creativity, and made them proud. Burnham’s authors are currently awaiting news on their latest challenge, “Fantasy Poetry”. We congratulate our creative young writers and will be able to enjoy their written work for years to come.

Memo From The School Nurse: Illness/Injury Absences

To Parents and Guardians,

The school nurse assesses each student’s health needs to include any illness or injury that may occur during the school day, along with addressing the prevention and control of any communicable disease. Because the health needs of each student are of utmost importance, parent cooperation is requested in the following situations:

  • Call the NURSE’S OFFICE in the morning if your child will be absent for any illness or injury. Please give your child’s full name and grade, the reason for the absence, your name, the day’s date, and a phone number that you can be reached at.
  • If your child has contracted any communicable disease such as flu, strep throat, pink eye, fifth’s disease, etc. a physician’s note is required to return to school.
  • A physician’s note is required for the student to return to school after any surgery or hospitalization along with any restrictions/accommodations necessary during the school day.
  • If your child has a fever, is vomiting or has diarrhea, he/she should remain home and not return until symptom-free or for at least 24 hours.
  • If your child develops a medical condition, or if there are any changes in your child’s present medical condition, or any recent medical procedures or medication updates, please contact the school nurse to inform the office of any medical information. This information will aid to coordinate your child’s care during the school day and discuss with teachers as appropriate.
  • If your child has been injured whether at home, school, or during athletic events, a physician’s note is required either with a medical clearance or restrictions/accommodations necessary during the school day. Your child needs to bring the medical paperwork to the school nurse upon arrival to school, PRIOR to going to the classroom. If your child returns to school with a cast, splint, arm sling, ace bandage wrap, crutches, immobilizer, or any other assistive device, documentation from the physician must be given to the school nurse in order for your child to attend school.

Please know that your child’s health and safety during the school day is important to us. If you have any questions, please contact the school nurse at (860) 868-6205 or email: (

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Edith Poidomani, RN, MS, NBCSN

Shepaug School Nurse

Fliers & Upcoming Events

Region 12 Calendar

Apr 12th - SVS Ben's Bells Senior Project, SVS Cafeteria, 7pm

Apr 15th - Apr 19th - Spring Break, NO SCHOOL

April 22nd - Building Committee, SVS, 4pm

April 22nd - BOE Facilities Committee, SVS Library, 6pm

April 22nd - BOE Policies & Bylaws Committee, SVS Library, 6pm

April 22nd - Board of Education Meeting, SVS Library, 7pm

Apr 25th - SVS College Admission Panel, Auditorium, 10:30am

Apr 26th - WPS PJ Day, Student Council Fundraiser

Apr 29th - Building Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 5pm

May 1st - WPS All Children Exercise Simultaneously (ACES)

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The Region 12 community educates, challenges, and inspires all learners to become compassionate, creative, and courageous individuals who are empowered by the knowledge, character, and perseverance to achieve their greatest potential within the global society.

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