Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School-November 2021

A Note from the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The teachers have just completed their virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences. I am pleased to report that 100% participation took place. The staff and I are fortunate to have you as our partners in the learning process. These conferences have given the teachers an opportunity to share the progress of your child(ren) and to help you gain an understanding of the expectations for future learning and improvements. It was also a time for teachers to gain assistance from you in establishing goals for home and for school.

Unity Day was recognized on October 20th. Unity Day is typically held during National Bullying Prevention Month in October. The goal of the day was to bring together youth, parents, educators, and community members to emphasize the message that bullying is not acceptable and that all students need to be safe in their school and in their community. Our school community wore and shared the color orange - as a visible representation of the supportive, universal message that our society wants to prevent bullying and that we are together against bullying, and united for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

The Governor’s Reading Challenge are now in! I am pleased to inform the school community that we had impressive results with a total of 1,062 books read. Thank you parents and guardians for all of your efforts in encouraging our young readers to read during the summer months. It is a wonderful and worthwhile activity to engage in, not only in the summer but all year long. The staff and I are looking for 100% participation rate which I am confident we can reach again next summer.

As the colder weather approaches us, I want to remind you that windows will continue to be open and we will utilize outdoor learning as much as possible. As noted in our opening plan, ventilation in the schools is an important part of maintaining a healthy building. Students should be dressed in layers to accommodate the colder temperatures.

As I look ahead, I want to remind parents and guardians that the marking period will end December 3rd. Report card distribution will take place on December 17th. Your efforts at home are so helpful. Keep reading to and with your child(ren). Review papers that come home and remember to contact your child’s teacher should you have a question or concern. Working together will result in your child(ren) becoming successful learners.


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for November

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

11/2 Professional Development Day – No School for Students

11/3 School Picture Day

11/6 PTO’s Fall Festival

11/8 PTO Meeting, 3:30 p.m.

11/11 Veteran’s Day – No School

11/14 PTO Enrichment Program, Stand Up! Step In! Bullying Program

11/15 BOE Meeting, 7 p.m.

11/24-11/26 Thanksgiving Recess

12/13 PTO Meeting, 3:30 p.m.

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Farewell to Mrs. McQueen!

On Thursday, October 28th the Burnham School Community said goodbye to our school nurse, Lisa McQueen. For the past fifteen years she has provided wonderful health care and support to all our students, families, and staff. Although we will miss her dearly, we wish her well in her new position. Thoughts of her will always warm our hearts.

Very Best Wishes Mrs. McQueen!!

3-4-5 Engaged Learners

The 3-4-5 has spent this fall season becoming more engaged learners who wonder about the world around them. Social and academic learning have gone hand and hand as our students develop the routines and habits of mind that will help them become more self- directed, happier learners. They are all working on the Power of Yet and developing their ability to “self talk.” Our students spend their days creating visual representations for their math learning and presenting it to their peers. They are immersed in grade specific interactive novel studies, Shiloh, Stone Fox, Esperanza Rising, and Edward Tulane, have been our mentor texts, while we establish and enhance all of our “reading lives.” Our classrooms are abuzz with purposeful, relevant, (and kind) interactions. From collecting acts of kindness to choosing strategies to achieve personal goals, it is clear our 3-4-5s are heading into November ready to self direct, engage their curiosities, and have fun learning and growing.


Only 1 in 4 children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Being physically active means moving enough to breathe heavily and sweat. For children, physical activity helps to maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. It can keep a child at a healthy weight thus reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease later in life. Physical activity can help children fall asleep quicker and sleep better. Being active has proven to have very beneficial effects on a child’s mental health and behavior as well. It can reduce anxiety and increase enthusiasm and optimism. With group sports, exercise can help with attention and behavior while fostering teamwork and friendship all at the same time.

Here are some simple ways to make physical activity part of your child’s daily routine:

  • Help your child find a sport or activity that she enjoys. Emphasize the fun. Get the whole family involved and spend active fun time together.

  • Be certain to choose activities that are developmentally appropriate for your child’s age. This will prevent unnecessary frustration.

  • Plan ahead so that a time and place to exercise are scheduled into a convenient slot in your schedule. Make time for this!

  • Provide a safe environment for their practice or play. Provide safe comfortable clothing and be sure all equipment is appropriate and in good working order.

  • Having easy access to active toys like balls and jump ropes helps promote active choices.

  • Role modelling is a very helpful tool. Children who see their parents regularly engaging in physical activity are likely to do so themselves.

  • Help your children learn a new sport or active game. Engage them in a walk, hike, or bike ride.

  • Limiting screen time can free up more time for physical activity choices.

  • Monitor that your child doesn’t overdo an activity. Balance makes any physical activity or sport more of a fun event and not a negative.

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.

Art with Mrs. Manley

Art is on a roll again this year! Upstairs and downstairs, Mrs. Manley pushed her cart into all the classrooms, kindergarten through fifth. Lessons began with drawing projects with a focus on personal interests and getting to know ourselves and each other. Activities included personalizing sketchbook covers, creating heart-maps, designing about me one-pagers, and learning lettering techniques. Drawing techniques and drawing challenges provided opportunities for students to practice new skills and discover creative ways to solve artistic problems, i.e., how can 10 dots turn into an interesting abstract work of art?

Students have also been practicing being “art buddies” to one another by giving meaningful feedback that informs each artist of things he/she did well and suggestions where the work could be improved. It also provides opportunities for students to ask questions, talk about the meaning of their work and their inspiration for it.

Fire Prevention Day at Burnham School

Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety

Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, our Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department visited our school to teach our students how to stay safe in case of a fire. A special thanks to Mr. Jim Lillis for organizing this very important event.

This year’s Fire Prevention campaign, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!” works to educate everyone about the different sounds the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make. Knowing what to do when an alarm sounds will keep families safe. In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy.

Our local program really makes a difference in teaching our students about fire safety. In addition to this year’s theme, our firefighters talk to our students about practicing home escape plans, crawling low under smoke and much much more. Students are also always excited to see the fire engines and to talk with our volunteer firefighters.

Through this program our local fire fighters hope that our students will carry the fire safety message home and that parents discuss fire safety with their children. Fires can happen anywhere and there are important steps we can all take to remain safe.


Happy November!

“November comes

And November goes,

With the last red berries

And the first white snows.”

~ Clyde Watson

Crisp fall days and cozy fall nights are perfect for reading. The seasonal books are out for the students to enjoy.

Kindergarten~ Our kindergarteners enjoy a new read aloud each week. For the month of November, we are focusing on kindness in our read aloud books. We will be reading books that build character, encourage children to be kind, and teach them the results of every kind act that they perform for someone else. We are also delving into seasonal nonfiction titles, expanding their knowledge of earth science, weather, and much more!

First and Second~ Our first and second graders are joining Jack and Annie on their very first adventure in the Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark. With Jack’s trepidation and curiosity mixed with Annie’s fearlessness, our second grade read-aloud time has never been so interesting.

Third Grade~ Our third graders are reading Rump, Liesel Shurtliff’s comical twist on the classic fairytale Rumplestiltskin. We have all been enjoying this read aloud immensely, with plenty of class discussion, laughter, and predictions about what’s coming next.

Fourth and Fifth Grade~ Our fourth and fifth graders are joining Brian Robeson on his journey to self-discovery as he learns how to survive the Canadian wilderness in Gary Paulsen’s classic survival novel, Hatchet. Students have found themselves on the edge of their seats as important plot points are revealed and they attempt to predict what will happen next.

Update on the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge: I am thrilled to announce that we once again enjoyed 100% participation in the program. Our students are to be commended for all of the amazing reading that they did over the summer months. Thank you, parents, for supporting them in this endeavor.

Read Across America

November’s Read Across America books encourage us to Explore Ancestry and Identity. For primary grades, the book is All Around Us by Xelena González. For middle grades, the book is Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

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 3:30 p.m. Our next meeting will be held on November 8th.

Celebrating Unity Day: Unity For Kindness, Acceptance And Inclusion

Student Council held a Pumpkin Decorating Contest to celebrate the holiday spirit of Halloween. Each grade decorated their pumpkin to a particular theme. We had a cat, and other cute animals, a popcorn bucket, an ice cream cone, and the third grade Creeper! The students had the opportunity to vote for their favorite with a $1.00 donation. The money raised will go to the 5th Grade Aloha, our Ben's Bells mural, and other enriching activities for all to share. It was a Spook-tac-ular competition! The winner was Grade 5.

We hope everyone received our Holiday Fundraising catalog, Perfect Presents, to get early start in holiday shopping. Fill out the order form and send it back to school or buy online. Orders must be in no later than November 12th. We are hoping for it to be a blockbuster success. Coming up....Our annual Holiday Food Drive for our local food pantry. Please think about donating some non perishables to help our community.

Thanks for all your support.

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Connecticut’s Kid Governor Program

Burnham School fifth graders have been learning about state government as they participate in Connecticut’s Kid Governor Program. They have learned about the rules and the responsibilities of the executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch. After discussing the checks and balances that each part of government has over the others, students explored their local government.

ACE "Aftercare Enrichment Program"

The Aftercare Enrichment Program (ACE), run by the Bridgewater Parks and Recreation department in conjunction with the Burnham School PTO has returned. We are happy to be back and serving students from both the Burnham and Booth Free Schools. The program offers before and after school care, as well as homework help and enrichment activities to students who attend. Children who attend the program enjoy extended playtime on the playground, coloring, games, and sometimes special crafts.

The ACE Program is staffed by highly qualified adults, many of whom work in the Region 12 schools. All of our staff are active members of the Bridgewater community and look forward to meeting and working with the students and their families.

Cold Weather Reminders

As the cold weather is upon us, the staff and I wish to remind everyone about the need for jackets, mittens, and hats. Unless it is too wet, the students will go out at recess. When the snow arrives, students will also need snow pants and boots so that they can enjoy the snowy outdoors.

The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury Visited Burnham School

Durning the month of October, the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury held Zoom visits with each classroom. They offered a variety of programs and each program was presented with age appropriate language and materials. Kindergarten and first graders learned about care, kindness, and respectful boundaries of self and others. Second graders learned about empathy and identifying others feelings. Grade 3 focused on bullying and mean behaviors. Fourth and fifth graders learned about personal boundaries, empathy awareness, and taking care of oneself.

Our partnership with the Women’s Center has been long standing. Their presentations were informative and provided our students with strategies to promote the development of positive relationships.

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.
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