Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - March 2020

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This school year is flying by! March is here and it is a busy month with lots of activities scheduled. Watch for information sent home to you by your child’s teacher or by our school office.

Report cards will be sent home on Friday, March 13th. This report card signifies that two-thirds of this school year is complete leaving us with one-third remaining. We have much to do and with your support I am confident that all our goals for the year will be met. Report card time is a good time to set specific goals with your child and to recognize their strengths and help them to build areas of weakness. The staff and I are always so proud of our students and recognize how hard they work. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher.

Following the report card distribution will be Parent Teacher Conferences. They are scheduled for March 19th and 20th. Scheduling information will be sent home within the first week in March and you will receive confirmation of date and time. The staff and I look forward to seeing you then.

Our Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Megan Bennett will present the school budget for the 2020-2021 school year on March 2nd at Shepaug at 6:30 p.m. There will be a budget hearing on March 30th at 7 p.m. followed by the Annual District Meeting held on May 4th with a referendum the following day on May 5th. The administration worked hard to put forth a very thoughtful budget that is sensitive to the economic challenges facing us all. It is also a conscious commitment to the vision of Regional School District 12 and represents an effort to support the district goals and objectives.

As a reminder, students in grades 3-5 will take the Smarter Balanced Tests during the first two full weeks of May from May 4th – May 15th. The students in grades 3-5 will be tested in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics and it will once again be technology based. Grade 5 students will also be tested in the area of science on May 20th and May 21st. As is the Smarter Balanced, the science test will be technology based. Please keep the testing schedules in mind as you plan activities for your family. It is important to have all our students in school during this time.

Specials during the testing cycle may be rearranged to accommodate our testing schedule. Art, music, physical education, computer, and library will be placed into a schedule to ensure every child has their special classes. During this testing time, the teachers will also continue to instruct in all the areas of the curriculum to maintain students’ academic growth.

Lastly, the school community and I are continuing our celebration of reading this month in honor of Dr. Seuss and his contribution to children’s reading. Throughout the month we hope children will remember him by reading his many books and other good books of interest. Of course I can’t wait to read one of my favorites, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! There are many to choose from. I hope that through this month’s continued emphasis our students’ love for literature deepens. The poem above expresses particular significance especially in the month of March. Enjoy it and find time to read it with your child.


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for March

3/2 Read Across America/Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

3/2 Board of Education Meeting-Superintendent’s Budget Presentation, 6:30 PM

3/4 Invention Convention at Burnham School, 6:00 PM

3/4 Grades Close

3/12 Multiage Community Conversation, 5:00 PM

3/13 Report Cards Sent Home

3/16 Multiage Community Conversation, 7:00 PM

3/18 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

3/19-20 Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:45 PM Dismissal

3/26 Talent Show Performance, 6:00 PM

3/26 Spring School Photo Day

3/30 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

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Kindergarten - 100th Day of School and Valentine's Day

As luck would have it, the 100th day of school and Valentine’s Day were one in the same this year. It was meant to be: after all, we do love to count! The kindergarteners brought in creative projects to showcase their growing numeracy. There were LEGOs and lights, buttons and bricks, and everything in between. When afternoon came we shifted to crafts, stories, and games to highlight the fun of Valentine’s Day. We were lucky to have so many parents lend their talents and time for the class party. It was a “lovely” day for all!

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Grade 2 - Learning About Other Countries

Recently, second graders have been working with a partner to research a country. Students were able to choose areas of interest to research ranging from sports, to food, to holidays. In each section, students are required to include an opening sentence, write at least three facts, and finish with a concluding sentence. They are then creating a final copy using Google Presentation. Students will be adding maps, diagrams, labels, the country’s flag, a glossary, and pictures to support each section. Some students were even able to add slide animation to their presentation. What a fantastic job done by all!

Grade 4 - Learning in Many Ways

The fourth graders continue expanding their knowledge and expertise in many different areas. For example, we have been studying the different perspectives of the American Revolution and why it’s important to respect the opinions of others. In math, they have become experts at prime and composite numbers and can complete long division problems with ease! Our fraction unit is well underway with students learning to decompose fractions as a sum of unit fractions. With all of this challenging work, each and every fourth-grade student continues to persevere and has truly adopted a growth mindset.

Student Council News

Our fabulous Student Council continuously endeavors to promote kindness and a strong sense of community at Booth Free School. Throughout February and March we have asked students and staff members to share suggestions for a new Booth Free School Song! Our goal is to create a song that promotes the positive attributes of our school community members. We look forward to hearing everyone’s suggestions, celebrating our school spirit, and ending the month of March with Booth Free’s very own ballad.

In addition, Student Council is inviting everyone to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday in style! Each week day from March 2nd - March 6th has been given a dress-up theme in honor of Dr. Seuss’s beloved literature.

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Staying Fit in PE with Mr. Morgan

Physical Education class has been inside for the winter months. During this time all students have been introduced to skills/activities in floor hockey, gymnastics, scooters, bowling, jump roping, and badminton/volleyball. We also add a fitness component to every class. Every activity we do is scalable- so that students of different abilities all feel challenged. We hope to get outside to the fields once the weather allows.

Younger students (K-2) have been given extra opportunities in PE class to focus on sportsmanship/teamwork skills. The parachute has been a big hit as well as a “Star Wars” themed game where students got to be young Jedi’s and save the universe.

Grades 3-5 have finished participating in the “Connecticut Physical Fitness Assessment.” The assessment is required per the Department of Education for all 4th grade students. For the third grade its a chance to see what is coming next year and the 5th graders get the chance to beat last year's score.

Our fitness assessments use criterion-referenced standards. This means that a student can compare his/her scores with standards (age and gender based) that have been identified for good health. This type of system prevents students from being compared to other students participating in the assessment.

Students are encouraged to be self-aware of their health related fitness and to take responsibility by setting personal fitness goals. When students focus on continually improving their fitness level, a positive lifelong impact can be achieved. A healthy student is better prepared to learn and perform in all aspects of life.

Don't forget that we are still welcoming any 4th and 5th grade students that would like to participate in our weekly morning fitness class (also known as intramurals). Every Wednesday morning at Booth, students arrive to school at 8:10. We head to the gym and take part in a ‘bonus class’ that incorporates movement, sport skills, cooperative games, and fitness challenges. This is the perfect way for students to start their day.

Connecticut Association of Schools 21st Annual Elementary Celebration of the Arts

Region 12 Elementary Schools proudly recognized six students at the Connecticut Association of Schools Arts Festival on February 11th. Art teacher, Jane Manley, and Music teacher, Monique Oppel, recommended students from the fifth grade who have excelled in the areas of visual or performing arts and who have exhibited high levels of citizenship and cooperative skills in their respective schools.

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Jacob McCauley and Julianna Quaranta were recognized.Students and their guests enjoyed a fun-filled evening with caricaturists, balloon sculptors and face painting as well as a special performance from a New York professional performer, Holly O’Brien. One of Ms. O’Brien’s favorite roles include: Bell in Disney’s Beauty And The Beast. The room filled with young artists and musicians who shared a common connection to the arts was inspiring to all.

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

Wear Red for Heart Day

On February 7, 2020, Booth Free School joined thousands of hospitals, small businesses, multinational corporations, and many others to help raise crucial awareness and significant funds in the fight against heart disease and stroke in women. The staff participated in “Go Red” by giving a donation and wearing red to school. Most women don’t notice the symptoms of heart disease until it is too late and it is the number one killer of women. For more than a decade the American Heart Association has led the fight to protect women’s hearts through research and education. The more women who are aware the more lives can be saved. Kudos to staff for participating in this important fundraiser.

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Dental Visit

On February 26th, our school community was treated to a visit from Caceci Family Dentistry. Dr. Matt Caceci and dental hygienist, Wendy, spent time with each of our classes going over many important things about healthy teeth. With gooey green “germs” on a gloved hand (“teeth”) students got to practice brushing properly. They had a big surprise when the “germs” were still between the fingers (“teeth”) after brushing. Next a clear white shoe lace was a great hands on tool to demonstrate cleaning that goo between the teeth by flossing!! Students also reviewed how and when to brush your teeth, how to floss effectively, and which foods are bad for your teeth and which are good for them.

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 meetings will be held each month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will be on March 18 at 6:30 pm. We hope you plan to attend!

Music with a Latin Beat

Booth Free School and Washington Primary School students experienced a blend of traditional and original Latin American music with a multicultural enrichment program, Surcari, sponsored by school PTOs. Performers led students on a musical journey through Spanish-speaking countries showing different rhythmic styles of music and instruments.The experience was engaging and interactive while promoting a greater appreciation of the role music plays in the lives of people from different regions of our world. We thank our PTOs for their generosity and commitment to our students.

Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

What We’ve Been Doing:

February has flown by so very quickly. We have had a lot of fun in the library learning more about different genres and identifying our reader profiles.

What We’re Reading:

Grade 5 The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende

Grade 4 The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Grade 3 The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Grade 2 The Little Prince By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Grade 1 Look Up! By Jung Jin-Ho, Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard and Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Kindergarten Have you Filled a Bucket by Carol McCloud, Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson and Be Kind by Pat Miller

A Look Ahead: We begin March with a celebration-

Read Across America Week (March 2- March 6) we will hold a week long celebration honoring Dr. Suess’s March 2nd birthday (See flyer above in Student Council News)!

Freedom of Information Day - March 16, the birthday of James Madison, who is widely regarded as the Father of the Constitution and as the foremost advocate for openness in government. Each year, we championed, protected, and promoted public access to government information and the public's right to know.

7th Annual Regional Elementary School Dance

On Friday, February 14th, elementary students and families gathered at Shepaug Valley School for a night of fun! The PTO’s of Booth Free, Burnham, and Washington Primary Schools invited all students in pre-K through fifth grade to dance the night away with DJ Austin Dailey! Students danced to great music and circled up while individuals and pairs showcased their special moves. Lots of cheers and smiles filled the cafeteria! Our students can really dance!

In addition to the dance, students and families were able to visit one of the many vendors who presented in the mall such as Pampered Chef, LuLaRoe, Organic Soaps, and Touchstone Crystal. Throughout the night families were able to stop by the gym and watch the SVS girls and boys varsity basketball teams in action! During intermission, a special performance by our elementary boys and girls showed their fancy basketball skills.Thank you to all the PTO volunteers for organizing such a successful event for our families and children at the elementary level. Activities that bring the elementary school communities together support connectedness and positive relationships.

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.

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.

School Closing Reminders:

Now that we have begun to experience a taste of cold weather, it is a good time to review school closing procedures. When snow or ice creates unsafe driving conditions, school may need to be closed early, school opening may need to be delayed, or school may need to be closed for the day.

School closing information is available on our web site ( or may be heard over one of several radio or television stations. The Region-12 Notification System will also be activated for delayed openings and closings, and also when the decision to dismiss school early is made, so please be sure we have your correct telephone numbers.

The following stations broadcast our closing and delays:

WTIC AM 1080/WTIC 96.5 FM, WINE 940 AM/WINE 95.1 FM, WLAD 800 AM/WLAD 98.3 FM, WHCN 105.9 FM, WREF 850 AM, WKSS 95.7 FM, WZBG 97.3 FM, WVIT -TV 30, WTNH - TV 8, and WFSB –TV 3.

Delayed Opening Times for a 2 Hour Delay:

Please see our district website for additional scheduling information. For a delay, please be aware of the following:

  • Students should wait at their bus stop 2 hours later than the normal pick-up time.
  • Students in K through grade 5 may arrive at school at 10:40 a.m.
  • School will begin at 11:00 a.m.

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.

Travel and Parking Safety

Please help keep our students safe. 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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