Region In Review

December 13, 2019

A Year In Review

End of the Year

As 2019 comes to a close we would like to share some of the special moments in Region 12 that helped make the beginning of the school year memorable.

Governor’s Reading Challenge Recognition

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Booth Free School, Burnham School and Washington Primary School were among the top eighteen schools from across the state who were honored on November 21st at the Connecticut State Library for the 2018 and 2019 Summer Reading Challenges. Schools with the highest percentage of participation and the highest number of books read were celebrated. Several students and staff represented each school. Special remarks from the State Librarian, Kendall Wiggin, and Governor Ned Lamont were made followed by a presentation of awards.

Congratulations to all the elementary students for their accomplishments and special thanks to all our families and local libraries for making reading a priority.

Middle School Spanish Field Trip

On November 12, thirty-six seventh and eighth grade Spanish students from Shepaug boarded a coach bus to attend a dance and music exhibition by the Hispanic Flamenco Ballet Company in Tarrytown, New York. Students were exposed to the many styles of Latin American dance, and learned about the origins of those dance genres. Additionally, a portion of the performance focused on Iberian Flamenco music and dance, complete with singing, foot-stomping, guitar-playing and hand-clapping.

Performers from this Miami based dance company entertained a full house of middle and high school students with professional musicianship and movement artistry. Some of our Shepaug students were invited to join the troupe on stage to perform dance numbers for “Despacito” and “La Macarena”. The day was capped off with a lunch stop at Puerto Vallarta Restaurant in Danbury, where students enjoyed a full Mexican meal before returning to campus.

French Field Trips

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The middle school French class students made a recent trip to the Hill-stead Museum in Farmington to tour the historic house and view up close the wonderful collection of French Impressionist paintings housed there. Equally enjoyable was the follow-up lunch (à la française) at John's cafe in Woodbury. Both events were in honor of National French Week.

After reading an excerpt of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, students in Madame Edel's advanced French class went to see an amazing performance of the musical at the Palace Theater in Waterbury. Special thanks to our parent chaperones!

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Elementary Schools Celebrate the Fall Season

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Fall is a time to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. It is also a time to appreciate togetherness. During November, Region 12 elementary schools celebrated the fall season in their traditional way, including the communities at large. At Booth Free School, the students and the community celebrated the season with their 44th Annual Spelling Bee and Pie Feast.

The students, staff, parents and community members enjoyed the thrill of the Spelling Bee, judged by local and district folks and concluded by feasting on delicious pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. Beautiful table decorations made by the first and second graders and a wonderful musical presentation by K-2 students enhanced the spirit of the season. At Burnham School, students, staff, parents, school bus drivers, and our local senior citizens enjoyed a morning of song, story, and craft at their annual Harvest Gathering. The audience enjoyed listening to a story presentation of “Who will carve the turkey?” and three wonderful songs: One Day, Thanksgiving, and Turkey Time.

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Following the performances, the Town of Bridgewater was presented with gift cards for those in need and the Bridgewater Food Pantry was given food donations collected by the students. The honored guests participated in a fun craft activity with the students while enjoying delicious treats.

At Washington Primary School, students, staff, parents, and community organizations prepared a special turkey luncheon to honor local senior citizens. Students and parents transformed the cafeteria into a festive dining hall with handmade decorations and special gifts to express their gratitude for all the positivity and support received throughout the year. Along with the delicious meal, songs, poems, and orchestral music were enjoyed by all. Creating opportunities for our schools to connect with the community in meaningful ways helps our students see how their acts of kindness can have a positive impact on others.

Senior Project Spotlight

Simply Smiles

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens

can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

— Margaret Mead

The quote that a visitor to the Simply Smiles website first sees, was Maya’s inspiration for her senior project. Last summer students and staff from Shepaug once again returned to Oaxaca, Mexico under the supervision of experienced facilitator - Michael Nolan, a Spanish teacher at Shepaug.

Senior Project Spotlight: Simply Smiles

Volunteering to help children who are less fortunate and being able to witness the appreciative smiles and gratitude felt by the children of Oaxaca deeply impacted Maya. Her trip to Oaxaca opened her eyes to the possibilities of how to inspire more Shepaug students to reach out again this summer and reap the beautiful rewards that can be experienced in either Mexico or the Simply Smiles endeavor in South Dakota.

Lego Learn & Play

On Tuesday, November 19th, Gianluca LeClerc, a senior at Shepaug, held his first session of Lego building with students at Washington Primary School. Gianluca coordinated with Ken Schultz of the afterschool Learn and Play program to give students a chance to extend their creativity and problem-solving.

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Ten students attended this first session, and Gianluca plans to hold several more. Reach out to or for more information on the Learn and Play classes. In addition, Gianluca will also be building a model of Shepaug Valley School made of Legos.

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“Green” Gift for Holidays

Need a holiday gift that combines beautiful art and a great cause? Help preserve the Amazon with a gorgeous calendar featuring original drawings of endangered species. Isabel Eddy’s senior project, “Acres of Awareness”, is exploring the intersection between the climate crisis and policy-making at the local, national, and global levels. All proceeds go to purchasing acreage in the Amazon forest, preserving the land from development.

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To purchase a calendar, click here. To learn more about the World Land Trust by an acre program, click here

Caring for the Environment

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Reese Peck's senior project has focused on strategies to create awareness and strategies concerning elimination and reutilizing of environmental waste in Region #12. Reese has met with the facilities director at The Hotchkiss School to collect data on improvements they've made in the past few years. Reese has reusable bags for sale to help with the initiative that Litchfield County is embracing for all types of shopping endeavors and is also working to set up composting in conjunction with our cafeteria and AgScience food programs.

Parent Visitation Day

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To honor American Education Week, parents from Burnham School, Booth Free School, and Washington Primary School were invited to visit their child’s classroom on Parent Visitation Day on November 20th. Parents were welcomed with smiles as they participated in a variety of activities throughout the day, learning first hand about their child’s school program.

Parents became scientists, mathematicians, writers, makers and artists. This opportunity provides a lens into the classroom environment and also strengthens the home/school partnership.

Shepaug’s Celebrate STEAM: Technology Assembly

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Written by Sienna Moore and Reese Peck

On October 30th, 2019, high school students at Shepaug joined in the auditorium to listen to panelists speak about their careers in technology and STEAM education. The first of this year’s STEAM assemblies was emceed by Sienna Moore, Reese Peck, and Mrs. Maher. The esteemed panelists featured in our STEAM - Technology assembly were: Bryan Bishop, Caroline Hermans, Peter Lawler, Michele Manafy, Jon Oakley, Phoebe Szarek, and Jason Wild.

Celebrate STEAM! Assemblies are student-led events that cater to students’ demonstrated interests in STEAM careers. This year’s careers in technology panel presented a variety of careers, including: ESPN digital editor, UX engineer at Google, environmental scientist, editorial director at Digital Content Next, computer engineer, biomedical engineer, and senior vice president of Strategic Innovation at Salesforce. The questions presented to our panelists were written by Shepaug students and responses were geared toward educating students on careers in technology.

The panelists emphasized fueling creativity, being open to challenges, and nurturing a constant desire to learn. As the presenters discussed our ever-growing dependence on technology, they left us with this piece of advice: “be a maker, not just a consumer.”

Health & Wellness

To Parent(s)/Guardians: Reminder

From: Health Office at Shepaug Valley School

All sixth and tenth-grade students are required to have an updated complete physical exam for the school year. If your child is participating in sports, a yearly physical is required before he or she participates.

All physicals (including sports) are now documented on the Health Assessment Record Form. All forms are located on the Shepaug Valley School website, If you have any questions, please contact the nurse’s office. Thank You.

Edith M. Poidomani, RN- Shepaug School Nurse

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Wellness Tip of the day!

Cranberries are fruits native to North America and especially popular in the United States. Cranberries offer health benefits when they are a food staple in a person’s diet. Cranberries are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber and contain nutrients that aid in maintaining urinary tract health. This tasty fruit is a wonderful addition in salads, pastas, whole grain breads and cereals, chicken, and pork.

Drinking 100% cranberry juice has the highest “antioxidant” (prevents cell damage from organisms) capacity. An 8 oz. glass of cranberry juice contains 116 calories. A cup of cranberries is only 45 calories per cup. Cranberries also boost the immune system, help with skin moisture to decrease wrinkles in the skin, improve digestion, reduce “BAD” cholesterol(LDL), and prevent gum disease.

In conclusion, cranberries are the perfect food for any time of day with any meal. Cranberries are convenient to use and can be found fresh, dried, or frozen year-round. Enjoy this tasty economical food and stay healthy!

Edith M. Poidomani, RN, Shepaug School Nurse


Please consider supporting our students with a donation to the Shepaug Student Project Foundation. SSPF provides Financial support to Shepaug students to assist with Senior Projects, world language and travel programs, Model UN participation and World Affairs Forum events. SSPF relies on the generosity of individuals and businesses.

Three ways to donate: Online at OR via US mail to SSPF 159 South Street, Washington, CT 06793 OR link to us at (Shepaug Student Project Foundation)


Flyers & Upcoming Events

Region 12 Calendar

Dec 16: BOE/Building Committee Meeting, SVS, 4:30pm

Dec 18: PTO Meeting, BFS, 6:30pm

Dec 18: Senior Portraits, SVS, 8:30am - 2pm

Dec 23 - Jan 1: Holiday Recess

Jan 2: PTO Meeting, BS, 6pm

Follow Region 12 on our social media channels for updates and information!

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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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