Booth Hill School

A 2022 National Blue-Ribbon School

Congratulations to Booth Hill Elementary School!

If you thought last week was a fantastic week for our students and staff, this week we reached national heights. On Friday, at 10 a.m. Dr. Miguel Cardona, the United States Secretary of Education, announced that Booth Hill became a 2022 National Blue-Ribbon School. We were acknowledged as a High Exemplary Performance School based on state and national assessments over the past few years. To kick-off our morning our staff gathered in the Media Center with white and blue balloons filling the room courtesy of our PTA. Once we all arrived, we were treated with a breakfast from the Father's Club. Our Bobcats entered school at 8:20 a.m. wearing white and blue. As we greeted them, more then a few wondered what the spirit day and assembly were all about. With a little more of an hour left of school, we called all students and staff to the gym. Mrs. Tesoro, Dr. Semmel, Board of Education members, as well as town and state officials were all ready for our '"Big Reveal." With students drum rolling and our Board of Education chairman, Mrs. Timpanelli leading students in a Booth Hill cheer, I exclaimed to students that the news about our school was so incredible, that Dr. Semmel had to read the information I received from Washington D.C. With national news in hand, Dr. Semmel proudly stepped to the podium to share that Booth Hill was named a National Blue Ribbon School. If you heard a huge scream at 2:20 p.m., it was all of us who were so ecstatic to earn this honor. During our assembly, I shared with your children that we wrote how all of them try their best every day, and how all our guests support not only our Bobcats, but all of our students in town. We shared how our Bobcats are not only strong learners, but they are there for each other when they need a hug or someone to pick them up. I shared how important it is that they have the parents they do, who help them at home and support our staff. The folks who read our application in Washington D.C., knew that our staff loves all of our students. We also know that our students love us right back. It was certainly an emotional ceremony.

I'm not surprised that we earned this great honor on behalf of Connecticut and the town of Trumbull. We've quietly built a high-performing school, student by student, staff by staff, parent by parent, every year. So many folks have asked me, what makes your school so special, Dana? This is a short question with so many long answers and people involved. Our town, and every adult in town, wants the best for our students K-12. We fund our schools to provide this. And, if you walk into any of our schools you'll know that they are all exemplary schools in their own right. At Booth Hill when your children walk through our doors, they become our children. We take time to know their interests, their needs, their hopes and dreams, their fears. Our staff creates the strongest bonds possible with them and creates environments that are safe, supportive, free of judgements from peers, and adapt daily to their needs-academically, socially and emotionally. I paraphrase one of Marc Brackett's messages from his great book, Permission to Feel. We have to be emotional scientists as staff members. If we don't create these environments and relationships, not much learning can happen. This comes from every staff member who interacts with you and your children.

We have high expectations. We want our students to do well and we have high expectations of ourselves. No one holds themselves to higher standards than the Booth Hill Staff. The positive culture we've created at Booth Hill, and continue to revisit, extends to our staff. We've made our teaching visible to each other. Teaching can be a lonely walk Monday thru Friday. Our staff continues to learn from each other by opening up their classrooms for others to see and to discuss all the fantastic instructional practices they never have time to see. We're highly collaborative and trust each other. There isn't one voice in the school, there are multiple ones on behalf of your children. We haven't chased numbers or marched on regardless of our learners; we've used information to guide our decisions with the students work right in front of us every day. We listen to them carefully, watch their work and adjust.

We've also created a student-led school. We stand on the shoulders of a lot of great staff members who have left their legacies and impacted our culture in immeasurable ways. Lisa Beers, Fran Pechtol, BetteSue George, Sylvia LeMoine, Ann Mercurio, Deb Semenza, Kim Lombardi (still in district-yes!) and Judy Holtz are just some of the staff I can list. All of them focused on having a student-led school and making decisions on what's best for our Bobcats.

At assemblies we want students leading and speaking, when we think of ideas for Spirit Days we turn to our student council for input. It's their school and students need to know at the earliest of ages that their ideas not only matter, but are sometimes better than ours.

When we gathered a few weeks ago for Back to School Night, I asked parents to envision what it would be like to lead a school that was indifferent to education or didn't deeply value the importance of learning. What would Booth Hill be like if parents didn't volunteer their time and efforts to host over 700 people at our annual Back to School Barbeque? With no parent support we do not have extra library books for our students, after school enrichment, book fairs, guest speakers, and Halloween Spooktacular. Nope. Nothing. Students come in at 8:20 and leave at 3:30 with just their academic learning in hand as they step onto busses or jump into vehicles. What can I say about the parent community? I've led Booth Hill for 15 years. I've developed relationships with students and families that I'll never forget. They helped shape the leader I am and strive to be. When we've needed the Booth Hill Community to support us it's never been no. Instead, the response is always: how can we help? We have been together for the great moments in our community and for the hard ones too. I think of the parents we lost too soon, and staff members we recently said goodbye to, going through the pandemic and now coming out of it. The years when I had a healthy back and told students they could blitz me as the steady quarterback after counting to 5; they now have to count to 500. It's certainly been a labor of love for our staff and me to work with your children and everyone within the Booth Hill community.

As we plan our Blue-Ribbon schedule to celebrate our students, staff, and community, we'll certainly keep you informed and ask for your support and participation. Our week long celebration will occur from October 17-22. When I travel down to Washington D.C. with another staff member for a two day conference on November 3 and 4, we will be accepting this honor for our town, your children, the staff and all of you! You'll be with me every step of the way in Washington D.C.

Sincerely, Dana

News and Updates

  • Many thanks to our PTA and Father's Club for assisting with food, flowers and balloons for our assembly. Our Spirit Wear store closes tonight. Click this link for all your Bobcat Spirit Wear

  • Picture Day September 21

Booth Hill Elementary School