Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School, November 2020

A Note From the Principal:

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.

Picture Day was recently held and even with COVID we were able to have a successful event. Students were kept at a safe distance from one another with only one student at a time entering the location. One cohort was photographed at a time allowing for additional time in between each cohort. The staff and I were thrilled to see this tradition continue especially during this time.

On October 20th our Superintendent, Megan Bennett hosted a Zoom Parent Conversation. It was well attended and provided an opportunity for questions to be answered and to receive updates. Mrs. Bennett and I thank the BFS school community for attending.

Unity Day was recognized on October 21st. 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 939 books read. I am proud of our students efforts. 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 reopening 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 on November 24th. Report card distribution will take place on December 11th. 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.

Dates to Remember for November

11/2 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00

11/3 Election Day – Professional Development for Staff/School Closed

11/11 Veteran’s Day – School Closed

11/16 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00

11/18 Early Dismissal for Students, 12:45

11/18 PTO Meeting, 6:30

11/24 Lyman Pie Pick-up, 2:00

11/25-27 Thanksgiving Recess
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When the weather turns cold and grey, is there anything better than snuggling up with a good book? We have been revisiting old favorites with the fresh eyes of readers, no longer satisfied to simply look at the pictures. From Go Away, Big Green Monster to The Three Billy Goats Gruff, passersby have surely wondered if there really was a monster appearing in room 202, or maybe a troll in the classroom! This is because we have been hard at work, using the exact language and feelings of each character. After all, shouldn’t reading be fun?

Booth Free School PTO

Parents are our partners in the important job of educating all our children. I urge you to attend and support the PTO, become a member, volunteer, and take part in helping your child to grow academically. PTO virtual meetings will be held each month at 6:30 p.m. The next virtual meeting will be on November 18 at 6:30 pm. We hope you plan to attend!

Second Grade Writers Collaborate to Create this Personal Narrative

Can you believe we have a fish tank with no water? Earlier this month, the second graders in Mr. Hosking’s class worked together to create a fish tank.

The class looked at the board for today’s challenge. It read “design a fish tank”. Maddie thought hard about what she could draw and realized, “I should draw a sea urchin!” Hamilton planned an umbrella waste sucker in his plan. In fact, every student planned a new part of the tank.

As the students shared their ideas and each idea was added to the tank, Maeson realized that it was missing a shipwreck. We decided to add a Titanic wreck at the bottom of the tank.

The tank came together and included Luke’s filter, Owen’s plants, Celeste’s background, Ashton’s pineapple house, Landon’s u-boat, Harper’s rocks, Emma’s bubbles, and Sammy’s squid. “Ohh Nooo! There isn’t any fish.” Hailey let us know that we were missing fish!

We can now sit and admire the colorful pineapple and rocks and enjoy our paper fish tank. We are so happy and excited to share our creation!

Visit Our Website!

Our web address is Once you are at the district’s home page you can visit Booth Free School’s website. The staff will be adding information regularly. Please use it as an additional resource for information gathering

Grade 4 and the "New Normal"

The fourth graders have done an amazing job adjusting to our “new normal.” With safety protocols well-established, they are learning a tremendous amount, especially in math. Our first unit has come to a close and students have become quite adept at rounding, comparing, adding, and subtracting numbers up to a million. They are now able to apply those skills to solve multi-step problems using tape diagrams and estimation to check answers for reasonableness. It is so wonderful to see the engagement and participation each and every day!

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

Symptoms and guidelines related to school attendance and COVID-19 symptoms:

While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, they still can be infected, get sick, and spread the virus. They can have no symptoms, mild symptoms, or get severely ill. Along with wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing, vigilance in monitoring your children each day is an imperative part of keeping our school community safe.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in adults and children and can look like other common illnesses, like colds, strep throat, or allergies. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children are fever and cough, although there can be many others.

The CDC recommends monitoring your child for the following each day:

  • Fever (Temperature 100.4 or higher)

  • Sore throat

  • New uncontrolled cough (for a child with chronic asthma/allergic cough, look for a change from their usual cough) and/or trouble breathing

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, stomachache

  • New onset of severe headache, especially with fever

  • Loss of smell or taste

With any change in your child’s health resembling those symptoms mentioned above, contact your healthcare provider. Since it is not possible to differentiate between a cold/flu and COVID19, our medical director recommends seeing your pediatrician for testing or an alternate diagnosis. A note is necessary to return to school when these symptoms occur.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that a flu vaccine be given to any child over 6 months of age, this season more than ever.

Contact your school nurse with any questions or concerns regarding symptoms your child may be exhibiting.

Sandi DiBella, R.N.

Booth Free School


The Women's Center of Greater Danbury Visits Booth Free 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.

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.

Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

Happy Autumn from the Booth Free School Library!

Library Happenings

The first 2 months of library have been jam packed with informative lessons and books! Every challenge faced is a blessing in disguise… this remains true of our adaptive mobile library. I am thrilled by the level of enthusiasm and engagement booth free star readers are demonstrating with regard to our new library procedures. Overall, students are engaging with the library catalogue with greater frequency and are borrowing and returning books with increased frequency!

As you may already know, Booth Free School has once again had 100% participation in the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge, that’s ten years in a row!!!!! Way to go BFS Stars!!!! While the overall, cumulative number of books was down from previous years, the number of well thought out reading responses provided by students was more than triple of prior years! I am so impressed by our thoughtful readers and could not be any prouder!


We have discussed the differences between fiction and non-fiction, identified parts of a book, learned what authors and illustrators do and discussed finding just right books. I’m encouraging students to check out books that reinforce budding reading skills. These are books they should attempt to read to YOU! Look for the books that fit the “I Pick” or “Just Right Books”.

Some Books We’ve Read

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, Not A box by Antoinette Portis, and I Just Ate my Friend by Heidi McKinnon

Grade One

First graders reviewed fiction vs. non- fiction, parts of a book, and started learning about story elements such as characters, theme and setting.

We’ve Read My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook, The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade and A Fine Fine School by Sharon Creech.

Grade 2

We have dedicated our first several classes to learning how to search for books and reserve them on the computer. 2nd Graders are now experts at online library navigation!!! Some Books we read areThe Empty Pot by Demi, Willow by Denise Brennan-Wilson and Last House on Market Street. Next month we will begin reading our first chapter book together as a Library class!

Grade 3

The 3rd graders are true Booth Free Stars demonstrating responsibility and perseverance. The entire class has mastered the online reservation system! We continued puzzling and reading Winston Breen and the Potato Chip Puzzle by Eric Berlin.

Grade 4

Through genre exploration, 4th graders are challenging themselves to read and think out of the box. The entire grade has an open door and unlimited library access, some students reserve and borrow books several times a week. We will continue to work on expanding our book interests and challenging ourselves to read increasingly difficult texts. We continued our puzzling adventure by reading The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.

Grade 5

Fifth graders are super excited to finish reading The City of Ember. I am happy to report that we will finish the book before Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your books with some apple pie and pumpkin spice!

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.

Good Character Traits:

(Referenced in Board of Education Policy #0210.3)

Region 12 is dedicated to strengthening the character of our students by encouraging a consistent set of ethical values that direct and guide behavioral choices. These universal values, which transcend political, religious, cultural, and the Golden Rule encompasses economic differences, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Therefore, good Character Traits are essential to the learning process. We work throughout the year in developing the following:

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Respect
  3. Responsibility
  4. Fairness
  5. Caring
  6. Citizenship

Good conduct is synonymous with good citizenship. Students are expected to exercise good citizenship at all times while in school, attending school-related activities and after school activities conducted at the school. This includes showing respect for the rights of others and regard for personal and school property. Students should strive to contribute to the climate of the school by being courteous and well mannered.

Booth Free School also utilizes The Second Step Program to promote social skills necessary to be a caring community. Additionally, grades three through five have access to a second program, Steps to Respect when needed.

It is our hope that the power and influence of the school-family partnership will provide consistent messages to our students regarding the development of positive student behaviors and thus, improve student learning.

Travel and Parking Safety

Please help keep our students safe. Please remember that it is a state law for all vehicles to STOP whenever a school bus has its red SOS lights activated. When the SOS lights are flashing, cars cannot pass the school bus. This means when picking up or dropping off students at their residence and even in the school parking lot. Violators are subject to a fine for each bus that a car passes.

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