Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - May 2022

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The sunny weather is finally here and students are enjoying their outdoor time. The school year is in its homestretch. We have a few things planned before we end our year on June 16th. Our fifth graders are planning their ALOHA, our students are getting our school garden planted. Mr. Morgan is planning a combined Field Day, Booth Free and Burnham students, for June 13, 2022 with a rain date for June 14, 2022. The school community looks forward to these events, and we enjoy ending the school year with a bang!

As a reminder, students in third, fourth, and fifth grade will take the Smarter Balanced Tests from May 3rd-May 13th. The students will be tested in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics. Students in fifth grade will also be tested in the area of science on May 25th and May 26th. 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.

National Teacher Appreciation Week will be held during the first full week in May. National Teacher Day will be held on May 3rd. It is a wonderful way to recognize Booth Free School’s staff. They make a difference in your child’s life every day. I feel fortunate to have such a caring and compassionate staff. They go beyond expectations in making personal connections, giving extra support when needed, and working to bring out the best in every child.

The staff and I will also be celebrating National School Nurse Day on Wednesday, May 4th. The day of recognition has been celebrated annually since 1972 to foster a better understanding of the role of the school nurse in the educational setting. The staff and I support and celebrate the contributions of our school nurse, Mrs. Sandi DiBella, who works diligently to improve the health and welfare of our students. She often serves as the first-line provider of health care for our students, addressing their physical and emotional health concerns. She promotes health and wellness by providing health education, direct treatment for acute and chronic conditions, emergency care for students and staff, and collaboration and support for our families.

This time of year, is also the time that the budget for next year is voted upon. I remind you that the Annual District Meeting will be held on May 2, 2022, and the Budget Referendum is scheduled to take place on May 3, 2022.

With a busy month ahead, please encourage your child(ren) to take time to relax with a good book. Sitting under a tree on a warm sunny day there is nothing like reading an adventure and sharing it with others!


Cathy Colella


Dates to remember for May and June


  • 5/2 BOE – Annual Budget Meeting, 7:00 PM
  • 5/3 Teacher Appreciation Day
  • 5/4 Rain Garden Ceremony, 9:45 AM
  • 5/2-13 Smarter Balanced Testing, Grades 3-5
  • 5/11 National School Nurse’s Day
  • 5/11 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM
  • 5/19 Elementary Art Display at Shepaug, 5:30 PM
  • 5/19 Elementary Unified Concert at Shepaug, 7:00 PM
  • 5/20 Spring AG Fair at Shepaug
  • 5/24 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM
  • 5/26-27 Grade 5 Science Assessment
  • 5/30 Memorial Day, School Closed
  • 5/31 Grade 4 Field Trip to Flanders Nature Center


  • 6/1-3 PTO Scholastic Book Fair
  • 6/2 BFS Celebration, 10:00
  • 6/2 Spelling Bee, 1:15
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Congratulations to Dr. Rhew!

Your new principal has been chosen and I am truly delighted! Dr. Rhew will begin her leadership role on July 1, 2022. Dr. Rhew is no stranger to our school communities as she has served both Booth Free and Burnham Schools during her tenure in the district.

It is with great pleasure that I hand over the reins at the end of this school year. Her commitment to the both schools, proven track record of success and her focus on building a strong school climate at Booth Free and Burnham Schools will lead her to success. I am confident that Dr. Emily Rhew will be able to carry the torch of excellence.

Kindergarteners Ready for 1st Grade!

The sign on the door may say still say kindergarten, but the students in room 202 are looking more like first graders! I’ve caught the kids doing all kinds of mature things, from getting out pencils without being told to grabbing extra challenge papers when they are finished.

Our confidence is growing as we recognize that there is much we can do “all by ourselves.” We can complete a familiar worksheet without help, restart our iPads, open a snack, and read with a partner. Clearly the children are ready for increased responsibility, so classroom jobs have taken a new importance. It’s wonderful to have help with passing out papers, organizing the schedule, leading the phonics drill, and especially picking up the floors at day’s end. If you are looking for help, just ask a kindergartener!

Frost, Dickinson…Second Graders!

April was National Poetry Month, and throughout this time, second graders were writing, reading and enjoying many types of poetry. They heard many types of poems during read alouds and break times. They used these poems as models for their own poetry. They wrote poems about topics they care about and shared their ideas in interesting forms and structures. They experienced how rhythm, rhyme and voice add to a poem, as they shared their writing with each other. They also shared their poems with the whole school community, posting them for all to read on the school’s poetry month bulletin board. One poem written collaboratively by the class, shows their love of this style of writing.

Poems, creative

The world in rhythm and rhyme

Like happy music

Grade 4 - "Model" Students

Fourth grade has been working hard and learning a lot. In math we have been studying fractions. From multiplying fractions, to adding and subtracting mixed numbers, we have covered a lot of ground. We love to discuss and show our thinking about math.

One way we show our thinking is by drawing models to represent word problems. This makes our thinking more visible and it allows us to discuss. The students have done a great job explaining their thinking and listening to each other’s strategies so as to learn from one another.

Student Council News!

This Spring is full of exciting activities for our Student Council members and school community as a whole. We concluded the month of April with the delivery of the items we collected for Better Days Rescue. The founder of this organization, a Roxbury resident and Booth Free alumna, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all of our donors.

As we look forward to May, our students decided to focus on kindness! Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” With this in mind, our representatives chose to create a Random Acts of Kindness bulletin board. The board will feature colorful notecards stating simple ways to be kind. Each person in our school is encouraged to take a card and carry out the act of kindness it describes. We cannot wait to see how these little actions create big smiles!

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Kindergarten Meet and Greet!

On Thursday, April 21, 2022, we welcomed our new families and students to our school community. Our incoming kindergarten students and parents visited to learn about the Kindergarten programming and to take a sneak peek of the classroom and playground. It was enjoyed by all!

booth free school students...

enjoying beautiful spring weather...

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 and take part in helping your child to grow academically. PTO meetings are held monthly at 6:30 p.m. Our next virtual meeting will be held on May 11, 2022. Also, on the evening of May 7th, the PTO's biggest fundraiser takes place -- Roxbury Under the Stars. Enjoy food, drinks, and live music while supporting the PTO. Contact bfspto14@gmail for details.

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

Seasonal Allergies

During this time of year, differentiating between allergies and illness is a very important consideration. If your child has a diagnosis of seasonal allergies please have your doctor write a diagnosis so that we have it on file in your child’s school medical record. If they have been immunized for Covid 19, please send in a copy of the card as well. This information is important to giving your child the best care and advising next steps.

If you do have seasonal allergies, they will respond to allergy medication. If your child is ill with a “cold” or other symptoms, contact your school nurse so that she can give you the most up to date advice on what steps to take to keep our community safe. Some symptoms warrant testing, others a doctor’s note, and some just a day of rest. Keep in mind, students should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness, and call your healthcare provider if you are concerned. As your school nurse we can talk you through these confusing times. We are here to help.

Booth Free School’s Community National Walking Day

National Walking Day is a day to encourage Americans of all ages to get out and stretch their legs and get their hearts pumping. The American Heart Association sponsors this day to remind people about the health benefits of taking a walk. April showers bring May flowers, but luckily on April 8th , the showers held off for our community walk.

Our walk is a health teaching moment for our students. The importance of living a healthy lifestyle which includes daily exercise and quality nutritional choices is emphasized to our students. And then we get to “walk the walk”, briskly getting our heart rates up.

A secondary benefit to this wonderful event is a sense of community, conversation, smiles and laughter. Booth Free School was joined by many parents and community members. We had a great showing of our community officers including our town Police Officer Bill Cario, Resident Trooper, Matt Cimelus, SRO Officer, Mike Epps, and Officer Jay DeSousa who joined us on this adventure!

The children were obviously energized and it was a wonderful way to start our morning.

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Hartford Yard Goats Most Improved Student

BFS students, Mark Maynard from Kindergarten, Tessa Johnson from grade 1, Lander Arn from grade 2, Luke Tignano from grade 3, Bryan Loja from grade 4, and Alden May from grade 5, were honored at a pre-game ceremony at a Hartford Yard Goats game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on April 20th. Our students along with other students from area schools were chosen by their teachers and honored as Most Improved Students of 2021-2022. We are very proud of our students and congratulate them for their very hard work. Along with their family and friends they enjoyed a fun night of baseball after their special ceremony.

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Your Elementary School Nurses:

Mary Clarke, R.N.

Burnham School

860- 354- 9721

Sandi Dibella, R.N.

Booth Free School


Terri Truczinskas, R.N.

Washington Primary School


Art with Mrs. Manley - Upcoming Art Show at SVS

All year, K-5 students have been honing their art skills and testing out new creative ideas despite having art in their classrooms and delivered from a cart. After two years without an elementary school art show, expect to be knocked over by this year’s special art show opening celebration event - How Can Art Help Us Tell a Story? This narrative art theme runs parallel to how students learn about writing - both their own and that of others. In the visual arts as well as in the language arts, there are author or artist tricks, styles, and techniques. Students have learned different ways to express themselves visually at each grade level.

Every K-5 student will be represented by a piece of their artwork that will be hung alongside middle school and high school student work in the mall at Shepaug Valley School. This unique venue will provide you with a view into the articulation through the grades of the Region 12 art curriculum. The artwork will be on display May 15 through May 21, 2022.

K-5 Art Show Opening Celebration

The Mall @ Shepaug Valley School

Thursday, May 19, 2022

5:30 - 7:30 pm

To make your evening even more complete, enjoy a musical interlude at 7 pm in the SVS Auditorium that features a concert by the Grade 4-5 Band and Chorus.

The Booth Free School Band Readies for Their First Concert!

The Booth Free School Band has been practicing very hard for their first concert. Please join us on May 19, 2022, at 7:00 PM at Shepaug School for a music filled evening. The students are very excited to show you what they have learned!!
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Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

Can anyone believe that it is already May?! The year is certainly flying by! Before you know it summer will be upon us and kids will be busy at play and filling out their summer reading lists. Region 12 Librarians are already hard at work putting together this year's summer reading program (I can’t wait to share it with everyone next month)!

Even with a restful Spring Break, April was a very busy library month. BFS students read lots of books and did a wonderful job exploring, reading and writing poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Kindergartners colored lobsters and sharks after reading Shark and Lobster’s Amazing Undersea Adventure, chameleons after reading A Color of My Own by Leo Leone and lots of different eggs after reading The Good Egg by Jory John.

1st graders learned about Homonymes and and Homophones by reading How Much can a Bare Bear Bear? They chose a color of their own for their Chemeleons after they read a Color of My Own and in honor of Earth Day they read about endangered species in Chelsea Clinton’s Don’t Let Them Disappear.

2nd graders did an amazing job writing poems for our Poem in Your Pocket Display. Additionally 2nd gradwers continued reading and sharing their thoughts and predictions about our class book, Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.

Grade 5 continued reading Refugee by Alan Gratz, Grade 4, Birthday Surprises by various authorsand Grade 3, is almost finished reading The Potato Chip Puzzles, Winston Breen by Eric Berlin. Maybe you can help them solve the final puzzle in the book. They are looking to make a 6 letter word with these clues, the words THRESH, ICARUS, QUASER, ACQUIT, and UNSURE and the clue “think square”. Hint: it involves this empty crossword box .

On a final note, thank you to everyone who has encouraged and helped students fill out and hand in any reading challenges I’ve handed out this year.

The month of May is Get Caught Reading Month. All month long I will be in search of a variety of readers and I could use some help catching them in the act. If you can, try to snap a picture of your kids reading. Send pictures in labled to Mrs. Gordon or email them to me at

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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.

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