Region In Review

October 4th, 2019

Schools On the Move

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Burnham, Booth Free & Washington Primary Schools

Walking is a great way to practice healthy habits and build connections with others. On October 2nd, Booth Free School, Burnham School, and Washington Primary School students, staff, and families started their day with a brisk walk to celebrate International Walk to School Day. This fun event is part of an international effort to encourage more families to enjoy the many benefits of safely walking to school.
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends daily activity of one or more hours per day for children and teens. Walking develops a greater appreciation for the outdoors, its views and sounds, and promotes healthy habits. Walking also builds strong bones, muscles, and endurance, and supports a positive mindset. Staff members, students, and families showed enthusiasm as they exercised and shared conversation with one another. Everyone was feeling energized and ready for a productive day at school or work.
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National Merit Award Winners

We are pleased and proud to announce two award winners at Shepaug!

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Isabel Eddy & Nadia Ostrosky

Isabel Eddy and Nadia Ostrosky have been named Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Approximately 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized. Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of 1.6 million students who entered the 2019 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Thank you, Isabel and Nadia, for representing Shepaug with scholarly distinction!

Fox Student News

Congratulations to Madison Douskey and Eilish Foy!

FOX61 Student News aired their news story, " Local Community Donates Time to Horse Rehabilitation Center" on the 27th and 28th of September.

The story is posted at and on Facebook.

Congratulations to Taylor Giroux and Janelle Frankland!

FOX61 Student News aired their news story, " Community dance project works with Pilobolus to create spectacular performance" on the 27th and 28th of September.

Check out their story now at

Agriscience Pathways

Students in the agriscience program have been busy pioneering their path toward great initiatives this fall.

Ms. Murray and Mr. Lawler’s seventh and eighth graders have been learning about sustainability in our environment, animal systems, and leadership skills. The sustainability initiatives have students forging new knowledge in sustainability, the green revolution, regenerative agriculture and what organic agriculture truly is. Students have been researching agriscience changemakers, such as Rachel Carson, well known for her book Silent Spring that focuses on environmental impacts of pesticide use. Students are also investigating technology in agriculture in order to develop conceptual ideas for their own change-making prototypes.

Mr. Lawler’s ninth-grade agriscience students are pioneering their own visions with regard to technology in the power, structure and technical unit. Math skills are being developed further with the application of the Pythagorean Theorem as the students develop skills needed for authentic power, structural and technical projects. Students are also learning from their environment, connecting the lessons in the classroom to the equipment and construction currently going on outside.

Ms. Trovato's ninth-grade students have been working on plant science standards with real-world application, through a National FFA environmental Living to Serve grant. Students have been learning anatomy and physiology, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) control methods in an applied setting by scouting the forest edge, collecting data, researching source articles and pressing specimens to engage in authentic changemaking on our school campus. The content allows for students to learn research skills utilized at the university level during land-lab research. This land-lab learning is designed to prepare students to lay the foundation for their own research and development of special agriscience experiments. Students are utilizing the information they gather to prepare for community outreach.

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In August, student FFA officers attended COLT (Chapter Officer Leadership Training) with Mr. Lawler and Ms. Trovato in Lebanon, CT. They met with state FFA officers and chapter officers from the other 19 agriscience schools statewide. The training included agriscience support from Harold Mackin, Career Technical Education Director, Dr. Patricia Jepson from UCONN and State FFA Advisor Milton Natush.

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The agriscience students and teachers have been busy with events such as the Bridgewater Fair and Bridgewater Tractor Parade. Ms. Trovato had 10 students compete at the Eastern States Exposition in floral display with a tailgate theme. Our students had only two weeks to prepare, learning technical principles of floral design skills. The competition was open to students from Maine to Virginia. We are proud to announce that Peyton Nash placed 3rd, Lauren Hope placed 5th, Zoe Gruendig placed 12th and Ellie Williams placed 14th, all winning cash prizes and rosettes. Sandra LeClerc, Annabelle Kuck, Elaina Stumpf, Anika Stump, Gabriella Velasquez and Savannah Falzone also compete and received honorable mention ribbons for their designs. All arrangements were showcased for the duration of the Eastern States Exposition at the Big E.

International Dot Day: Celebrating Creativity, Courage & Collaboration

The students at Booth Free, Burnham and Washington Primary 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 year around September 15th, is a day of creativity, courage, and collaboration.

Following Reynolds' edict 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 could be seen from the first marks to the final masterpieces.

Senior Project Update

All seniors finish their projects with a public presentation and defend their work. Final presentations give students a chance to showcase their accomplishments, teach the community, and answer challenging questions from the audience. To build skill and confidence, Senior Project classes engage in mini public-speaking exercises throughout the year.

This week, students were selected at random to answer prompts about their proposals, budgets, resources, and other facets of the first month’s work. Senior Nate Douskey explains, “I’m not really that worried about the public speaking part, but the practice lets me get better at certain parts. I can focus on the areas I need, such as maintaining eye contact, giving clear examples, and thinking on the spot.” Russ Dirienzo adds, “Plus, the practice is fun."

What's It Like To Be Back?

I get this question all the time from friends, acquaintances, colleagues, parents, and even the occasional student. The answer is that it is wonderful to be back at Shepaug Valley School! Fun and curious students, inspiring and generous teachers, conscientious and diligent staff members, supportive parents, and mountains of school spirit make Shepaug a special place to learn and Region 12 a special place to live. The school is abuzz with energy and there is tons of excitement surrounding our Agriscience program.

For my part, I am learning names, feeling out my role, and trying not to get lost in the new and renovated parts of the school. I am also joyfully reconnecting with former colleagues, getting to know new ones, and, above all, getting to know our students. I am grateful to all of the colleagues, students, parents, and community members who have given me such a warm welcome back to 159 South Street. Thank you!

Spartan Night

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The first Spartan Night of the year was held on Friday, September 27th. Thirty-eight high school students attended to play dodgeball and to have a good time.

Spartan Nights are open to all Shepaug Valley High School Students. We are looking forward to the next one on October 11, 2019, where will be playing indoor soccer!

Booth Free and Burnham Schools’ Garden Harvest

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Thanks to the students of Booth Free and Burnham Schools and the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club members, especially Joe and Adrienne Caruso, a huge shipment of assorted lettuce and peas were brought to New Milford Hospital for use in the cafeteria for patients and staff. Food Director, Kerry Gold, was extremely delighted with the donation. Beautiful heads of lettuce and peas were artfully arranged in large boxes and they looked so healthy and appetizing. This year’s raised beds were filled with good soil and organic matter and made for an impressive yield. It is wonderful to see the students’ hard work paying off in such a good way.

The students also 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 schools to harvest our growing potatoes. Each school did yield over 100 potatoes, an impressive amount. Our students could be heard squealing with 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 farmers at Booth Free and Burnham Schools were quite successful this year. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club and hope that next year’s crop will yield the same or better results.

Hello Week

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Start with Hello Week was created by the Sandy Hook Promise as an initiative to create inclusive and welcoming cultures in schools. Starting the day with a hello to friends, teachers, and someone new every day creates a welcoming environment where everyone can feel as though they belong. Our goal is to have students not only say hello to their peers but also to students they may not know, to create new bonds and friendships throughout the building. Our week started off with "Hey Day" where everyone was encouraged to wear a "Hello my name is" name tag to allow for students and faculty to learn names school-wide.

On Tuesday, September 24th, we celebrated "Random Acts of Kindness." Students contributed to our Start with Hello Wall, where they were encouraged to come up with different ways or sayings to say hello. Wednesday, September 25th, was "Wear Green Day" in support of the Sandy Hook Foundation's chosen color. Thursday was "Super Hero Day" because sometimes a simple hello can save someone's day. To end the week, we celebrated "We are Shepaug" day where everyone was encouraged to wear school colors or spirit wear. The week was a huge success where student and staff participation was maximized and important connections were made.

Washington Primary School Summer Reading Celebration

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Washington Primary School students and families accomplished another summer of great reading!

Students returned to school re-energized with new favorite authors such as Robert Hogue for his memoire Ugly, and captivating series titles such as the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull.

To celebrate their effort in prioritizing reading during non-school days, students took their favorite books outside to the sprawling green lawn for some special reading time. From Harry Potter to Civil War Reader, students enjoyed books of all sorts while stretching out under our Sycamore tree and blue skies.


The human papillomavirus is a common virus that can infect both males and females throughout their lives. This virus can also lead to certain types of cancers, and can be spread by intimate skin-to-skin contact. There are many different types of HPV. One type is HPV-1 (foot warts), and another is HPV-2 (hand warts).

The CDC recommends that both males and females receive two doses (6-12 months apart) of the HPV vaccination between the ages of 11 or 12 and to complete the series before 15 years of age. If a child receives the first dose on or after their 15th birthday or is immunocompromised then three doses will be needed (second dose administered 1-2 months after the first dose, the third dose administered six months after the first dose). This vaccine is not recommended for anyone 26 years of age or older. Anyone requesting the vaccine from the ages of 27-45 needs to speak with their physician, as receiving the vaccine may not provide a benefit due to years of exposure to HPV.

The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and provides long-lasting protection against cancer-causing infections and precancers. The side effects (pain at the site of injection, nausea, headache) are minimal. The benefits of this vaccine far outweigh the risk of side effects. In conclusion, this vaccine is recommended to avoid treating HPV cancer later in life. It is important to discuss this with your pediatrician if your child has not yet received this vaccine and is of the age to do so.

Edith M. Poidomani, RN, MS, NBCSN

Shepaug School Nurse

Picture Day

  • Picture Day Grades 6-8 10/25
  • Picture Day Grades 9-12 10/28
  • Senior Portraits - SVS Mall 10/2 9-2

Please email Ms. Gambino at gambinos@region-12.orgfor details.

Parent Volunteer Opportunities:

Please email any photos of school events throughout the year to (the higher the resolution, the better!)

Picture day volunteers are needed (first come first serve - two needed for each picture day) Earn a free photo package!

Help Tech Clubs sell Pies and Cookie Dough! 10/1 - 10/18


To order a yearbook from last school year, please email

  • Grades 6 - 8 $25.00
  • Grades 9 - 12 $75.00

We accept cash or checks made out to SVS Fund.

Eighth Grade Yearbook Info:

Yearbook Ad Letter for Parents (Due 3/15)

Eighth Grade Bios Form (Due 10/15)

Yearbook News for Seniors:

1. Make sure your child checks their email consistently.

2. Keep your Lifetouch Senior Portrait appointment or see Ms. Gambino to change it. Photos taken outside of Lifetouch are not accepted for the main photo in the yearbook but can be used as one of the four other photos shown in student bio areas.

3. Send 3 - 4 pictures to Ms. Gambino for your individual senior bio area.

4. Write a paragraph in first person for your senior bio. Examples here:

If you are stuck, here are some ideas to write about: hobbies and interests, special thanks to family, teachers, siblings, pets, or people who inspire you, activities and clubs, thing you are most proud of while in high school, places traveled, favorite memory in high school, what you hope to accomplish in the future, favorite quote (BIOS DUE NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 1ST).

5. Send sports/club team info (captains, special games, highlights, awards, pictures) to Ms. Gambino throughout the year.

Yearbook Ad Letter for Parents is due 3/15

Fliers & Upcoming Events:

The Glebe House Museum announces

ALL HOLLOW’S EVE – Cemetery Tours & Haunted Museum

planned for Saturday, October 19th (Rain Date: October 26)

This one night only event is sure to bring out the ghost, goblins and other scary creatures that go bump in the night, and is guaranteed to cause nightmares in even the bravest souls.

Led by lantern light through a trail of luminaries, attendees will tour the ancient cemetery with their spirit guide visiting the final resting places of some of Woodbury’s notable and not-so notable residents.

The 275 year old Glebe House has a history of hauntings and for this event is professionally staged to create a unique experience and the themes are designed to be different each year to delight visitors again and again. Dare to walk through the frightful rooms filled with special effects and creepy things that are guaranteed to be hair-raising.

Linda Barr-Gale will bring the “Witch of Woodbury”, Moll Cramer, to life in a special presentation in the museum cottage and free refreshments will be available.

Cemetery tours will leave the grounds of the Museum every ten minutes beginning at 5:30PM. The final tour will be at 8:30. To ensure your participation, reservations are strongly suggested for specific time slots. Book your reservations early by calling 203-263-2855 or email at .

Tickets are $10 per person, children 5-12 years old $5 and children under 5 years of age are free.

See our website for more information.

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Region 12 Calendar

Oct 7th - Building Committee Meeting at SVS 4:30p

Oct 7th - Finance & Operations Committee at SVS 6:30p

Oct 7th - Model United Nations Meeting at SVS 2:27p - 4p

Oct 8th - WPS PTO Meeting 6:30p

Oct 8th - Cross Country Senior Day Celebration at SVS 5:30p - 7p

Oct 10th - Burnham PTO 6p

Oct 11th - Professional Development Day - NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS

Oct 11th - Homecoming Dance at SVS 7p

Oct 14th - Columbus Day - NO SCHOOL

Oct 16th - BFS PTO 6:30p

Oct 18th - Homecoming Pep Rally at SVS 1:30p - 2:30p

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.