Region In Review

March 29, 2019 | Shepaug Focus

CABE's Day On The Hill

Big picture

On Wednesday, March 20th, students attended CABE's Day On The Hill. The event is an opportunity for our students to meet legislators and discuss how legislative decisions impact them. Shepaug students Rebecca Racz, Isabel Eddy, Oscar Cespedes and Lily Schur, were accompanied by teacher Tara Mosier Flaherty and Board of Education Vice Chair Michelle Gorra.

The morning began with a legislative briefing held at the Bushnell by CABE officers and continued with a discussion on issues by Senator Douglas McCrory and Representative Robert Sanchez, co-chairs of the Education Committee as well as Representative Kathleen McCarty and Senator Eric Berthel, Ranking Members of the Education Committee.

Later, there was an opportunity to visit the state legislative building and visit Senator Eric Berthel in his office. Students asked him questions and engaged in civic leadership advocating for students and public education as well as the importance of small schools and educational outcomes. After that meeting, they were able to watch a few minutes of the transportation committee meeting and saw a debate on a bill concerning distracted walking. Students were able to see Roberts Rules in action! After the morning at the State Capitol, the students had a chance to visit The Connecticut Educational Association headquarters and see the Sandy Hook memorial.

Overall, the students learned about the debate process for proposed bills and got to see a lot of community involvement and advocacy in action. There was much discussion around regionalization and the small schools were out in force.

CABE Presents Region 12 With Bonnie B. Carney Awards of Excellence for Educational Communications

Big picture

At the Board of Education meeting held on March 18, CABE Area Director, Michelle Embree Ku, presented the Region 12 board with two Bonnie B. Carney Awards of Excellence for Educational Communications for the Spring 2018 District Newsletter and the Class of 2017 Report District Newsletter.

Entries had to meet specific criteria including clarity of message and consistency, and was evaluated for readability, graphics, presentation, design, and value of the expenditure.

In recognition of the good work that is being done on a daily basis, CABE, or the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, established the Awards of Excellence for Educational Communications in 1975. Effective communications with parents and taxpayers in a school district is a very significant part of the district's operation. It is important for the community to be aware of the exciting activities and events taking place in our schools each day.

A Look Inside the Classroom: Physics with Friso Hermans

Recently, we took a look inside the classroom of Friso Hermans, and got a chance to see how his Physics students are "learning science by doing science". This method gives students the opportunity to work together, ask questions, and think as scientists based on evidence they collect, which ties in to the Next Generation Science Standards. Watch the video below to take a look!

Congratulations to Shepaug Swim Team Freshman, Jessica Kisling!

Big picture

A big congratulations to Shepaug freshman Jessica Kisling, for an amazing swim season! Kisling finished State S Class CIAC Finals last week at Wesleyan University. During her season, she beat the 27 year old freshman record from 1992 for 100 Backstroke by almost a full second with a time of 1:03.17! Additionally, Jessica set two more freshman records, beating the 50 Free record of 25.95 with a 25.72, and the 100 Free record of 56.32 with a 55.95. We are so proud of Jessica and the Shepaug swim team for all their accomplishments this year! Go Spartans!

Additional Sports Highlights

The 2018-2019 winter athletics have ended. The season was a successful campaign for Shepaug. Some recent highlights include:

  • Senior swimmer Jack Pesce made it to the State Open where he finished 22nd in the State in the 100 yard Backstroke.
  • The boys' basketball team advanced to the CIAC Division V quarterfinals, which was their deepest tournament run since 2004.

Spring sports officially began their practice season on Saturday, March 16. With 137 high school students registered for one of our eight spring teams, the upcoming season looks to be busy and exciting.

84 Hour Film Challenge

Shepaug Valley School's Video Production Club participated in the Spring 84 Hour Film Challenge recently. For this challenge, students were charged with producing a film in 84 hours or less based on criteria released at the beginning of the production. The criteria changes each challenge, but includes a list of characters, camera shots, colors, and specific objects or events that must appear somewhere in the film.

Film submissions will be judged by the University of Connecticut Digital Media and Design Department, and the winning video will be announced at the Connecticut Student Film Festival. This year, Henry James, Alexa Kotas, Lydia Hagen, Emma VandenBosch, Kayleigh Hendy, Kaylee Martinez, Isabella Guzman, Kaylee Alexson, and Yasmin Mendanha participated in the film. Their film, titled The Fright Files, is a comical parody of popular ghost hunting television series.

Big picture
Shepaug students Kaylee Alexson and Ava Adiletti were featured on FOX 61 for their news report on the Shepaug Cares advisory event. This news feature was aired on March 15 and 16 on the morning and evening news. In case you missed it on FOX61, please click the link below to view the Shepaug Cares FOX61 news feature:

The 16th Annual World Affairs Forum

Big picture

Shepaug Valley School recently hosted the 16th annual World Affairs Forum on Saturday, March 9th. Our keynote speaker was Kevin Jennings, president of the Tenement Museum and a former assistant deputy secretary in the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama. Mr. Jennings delivered a talk about the history of immigration and how our history shapes our current views of immigration. Along with Mr. Jennings, seven student panelists engaged with the community about immigration history and current policy.

Our seven student panelists were Wilson King, Bridget Snyder, Oscar Cespedes, Isabel Eddy, Rebecca Racz, Lily Schur, and Elizabeth Neunzig. Each student panelist presented their research about a contemporary immigration issue.

Wilson explored how our legal and social definitions of “citizenship” are not concurrent and are in fact widening, which impacts how our policymakers and Americans, in general, see immigration. Bridget analyzed how barriers to immigration have exacerbated contemporary issues surrounding immigration. Lily and Isabel examined the economic consequences of immigration. They researched conservative and liberal think tanks and periodicals focused on the overall benefits of immigration to the economy. Elizabeth proposed policies to address the human element in policy and detention centers. Lastly, Rebecca and Oscar looked to the future of immigration by citing the United Nations estimate that close to 200 million people will be climate refugees in the coming century. They proposed policies that might work to deal with mass migration before it’s too late.

Our students were composed and thoughtful as they answered questions from the audience and Mr. Jennings. The student panel are amazing thinkers who embrace academic risk-taking and the challenge of public speaking. This is commendable when we consider the political divisiveness of this topic and they did an outstanding job removing the politics from an issue that has historically shaped our nation.

Special thanks to the Shepaug Student Project Foundation, Humanities Department and the administration for the financial support of the event. The panelists would also like to thank the United Nations Association of Northwest Connecticut for promoting the event. Last but not least, the attendance of so many community members brought dignity and respect to our students' analysis and we are grateful for your continued support.

Please click below to view the 16th World Affairs Forum:

2019 Career Fair at Shepaug

Big picture

On March 20th, Shepaug Valley School hosted an incredible Career Fair. With our inaugural Agriscience Program beginning in the fall, the Shepaug Valley School Counseling Department decided to incorporate careers within the field. In addition to our middle and high school students participating, the district’s fifth-graders from Burnham, Booth Free, and Washington Primary Schools were on hand to take part in the fair. Fifth-grade students were paired up with students from one of the two other elementary schools within our district, to share the experience with their soon to be classmates! Students interacted with 48 different presenters representing 35 different career fields. Students completed grade-level tasks to understand what certain careers entail and the educational background needed.

Careers were broken down by clusters to allow for easy access and to help students understand related career fields. Health Sciences, Human Services, Business and Finance, Agriscience, Engineering, Art, Hospitality, and Trades/Public Safety were all represented clusters in our fair! Whether students were learning about performing laparoscopic surgery or getting love from local therapy dogs, our Shepaug students were asking meaningful questions and were engaged throughout. Special thanks to all of our local professionals who took time in the middle of their work week to make this event possible! Thank you to our Career Center Coordinator, Michael McManus and the SVS School Counseling Department for organizing an extremely successful event. Please follow the link here to see local representatives who participated. For more information, or to sign up for this event in the future, please contact Michael McManus, College and Career Center Coordinator.

Moving the Rock!

Big picture

The rock is an iconic Shepaug image, and our contractors from O&G Industries understood that this type of tradition is one to treat with care. The rock, located outside the pool doors and painted annually by our senior students with their names and year of graduation, is an annual Spartan tradition. Our seniors look forward to painting their names on the rock, and visitors enjoy a visual reminder of Spartan pride.

When the time came to move the rock, our students were ready to make it a special occasion. Mrs. McMillan and Mrs. Pitt charged their photography and video students with memorializing the occasion, and Mr. Perachi and our construction superintendent from O&G, Ed Raymond, were on hand to make sure that the move happened smoothly.

As a large excavator gently moved the rock to its new location, student photographers Emma VandenBosch, Kaylee Martinez, Alexa Kotas, Emma-Jolie Fischetti, and Samantha Williams braved the cold and snapped pictures of the historic event.

We are happy to report that the rock is resting comfortably in its new location, approximately 20 feet from the original spot!

Pictured: Kaylee Martinez, Mr. Perachi, Alexa Kotas, Emma-Jolie Fischetti, and Samantha Williams. Missing from the photo is photographer Emma VandenBosch.

Shepaug Launches New Agriscience Facebook Page!

Make sure to give the brand new Shepaug Agriscience Facebook page a like! All updates and information regarding the Agriscience program will be posted here. Thank you for your support!

Shepaug to Stage "Big Fish" the Musical

Friday, April 5 at 7:30pm, Saturday, April 6 at 7:30pm, Sunday, April 7 at 2pm

Shepaug Dramatics is proud to bring Big Fish to the stage at Shepaug Valley School on Friday, April 5th through Sunday, April 7th. Big Fish is based on Daniel Wallace's 1998 novel Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions. The musical has been compared to The Wizard of Oz, The Odyssey and Music Man. The story which features flashbacks and tall tales that come to life, quickly caught the attention of American screenwriter John August who adapted the novel for the 2003 film Big Fish. In 2013, John August brought the story to Broadway with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. The Broadway production ran for more than 100 performances in 2013. gave the show a regional award for Best Musical. Variety called it "(A) wholly satisfying show: meaningful, emotional, tasteful, theatrically imaginative and engaging."

The all-student cast and crew will feature a combination of solo and ensemble performances with direction by Timothy DeRosa and choreography by Rebecca Rasmussen. “Big Fish is a moving, indelible story that recounts a father's fantastical and quirky tall tales he tells to his son, his wife, and anyone who is willing to listen. Rebecca and I are thrilled to be working with this dedicated group of students who have been recognized for excellence in High School Theatre at the annual Halo awards ceremony produced by Seven Angels Theatre,” says DeRosa, an alumnus of Shepaug Valley School.

Tickets can be purchased through the Box Office by calling 860-717-2444 or in person at the door. All performances will take place in the theatre at Shepaug Valley School, 159 South Street, Washington, CT 06793. Evening performances take place on Friday, April 5th at 7:30pm, Saturday, April 6th at 7:30pm. A matinee performance is scheduled for Sunday, April 7th at 2pm. General admission tickets are $10. Tickets for students, senior citizens and Veterans are $5. All proceeds will be used to support future productions of Shepaug Dramatics.

Digital Learning Day 2019: zSpace

In case you missed it, Region 12 participated in Digital Learning Day last month. Digital Learning Day is an annual celebration of the effective use of technology tools to enhance teaching and learning. We are very thankful to have a supportive community that has allowed our teachers and students to have access to these highly engaging tools. In this video, you will see zSpace featured at Shepaug, and how students are learning interactively about the body systems in science class! Click below to view:

Pizza, Cookies, and Cash Scholarship Event

Big picture

The School Counseling Department hosted our seniors at our annual Pizza, Cookies and Cash scholarship event. We had a record turnout as 50 of our graduating seniors attended the informational scholarship workshop. Based on recommendations from the School Counseling Advisory, members of the community joined us to share information regarding their scholarships! Students asked fantastic questions and were truly engaged throughout the program. Special thanks to the School Counseling team and guidance secretary, Cheryl Caridad, for her countless hours working with our local scholarship program.

A Message from the School Nurse

What Are The Dangers Of Energy Drinks?

Energy drinks are very popular and can cause a person to continue to crave more because of the high sugar and caffeine content. What are the health issues involved with not only energy drinks but soda as well? Excessive consumption of this liquid can cause high blood pressure, tremors, restlessness, dizziness, feeling faint, tingling/numbness of the body, insomnia, obesity, kidney, liver, and nervous system damage, seizures, fatigue, headaches stomachaches. Also, a high consumption of caffeine predisposes a person to Type 2 Diabetes because the insulin sensitivity is reduced. In relation to the heart, too much caffeine causes the heart cells to release calcium which can cause heart palpitations and vomiting. Caffeine and other ingredients in energy drinks can contribute to developing heart conditions.

Many studies have been done to explain the consequences of excess energy drink consumption and suggests restricting the sales of these drinks to children and adolescents. Most energy drinks consist of water, sugar, caffeine, some vitamins and minerals, along with some stimulants that do not contain any nutritive value. Some of the drinks contain 100mg of caffeine per fluid ounce. This is eight times more than a regular coffee at 12mg. There is little research on what levels of caffeine can be tolerated by adolescents and children. Therefore, the negative effects of high energy drinks are significant.

What are the negative effects of drinking a can of soda? The amount of sugar in one can of soda is equal to 10 packets of sugar. In addition, the phosphoric acid (weakens teeth and bones) that is added in soda, is to allow all this sugar to stay in the body. If this acid was not added, the person would vomit. The excessive artificial sweeteners make a person crave more soda. The high fructose corn syrup in soda increases body fat, cholesterol, triglycerides and also increases hunger. The food dyes in soda can affect the function of the brain, can cause hyperactive behavior, along with a lack of the ability to focus. There are other health concerns related to “diet” soda. The soda is sweetened with aspartame and this ingredient can cause headaches. Diet soda also causes dehydration, skin dryness and skin breakouts. A study done suggests that diet soda drinkers may develop Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Is there a lesson to be learned? Maybe the best fluid to drink is water. Not only does water remove toxins, but it also lubricates the body and helps to regulate the body temperature. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can also help with ”hunger pains”. Remember, it is important to hydrate because when a person realizes they are thirsty, they are already becoming dehydrated. There are many more benefits with drinking water, and it is important to maintain a healthy body to enhance our lives more positively. Think about it. Listen to your body and stay healthy.

Edith M. Poidomani, RN ,MS,NBCSN

Shepaug School Nurse

Note from Mrs. Gallo:

I asked Nurse Edi to submit this information because a number of our students are bringing energy drinks to class. Please discourage your student from this practice. Only water is allowed in the classroom unless otherwise prescribed by the physician. Thank you for working with us to keep our students safe and healthy!

Medication Authorization

Dear Shepaug Families,

Connecticut State Law and Regulations 10-212(a) require a written medication order by an authorized prescriber and written authorization by the parent/guardian for the school nurse to administer medication. Medications must be in the original properly labeled container dispensed by the pharmacy. Over the counter medications must be in the original, unopened container. Self-administration of medication must be authorized and approved by the authorized prescriber, parent/guardian and the school nurse. The start and termination dates of any medication is not to exceed a 12-month period.


Please contact the school nurse with any questions at (860) 868 6205 or

Thank you in advance for your cooperation,

Edith M. Poidomani,RN,MS,NBCSN

Shepaug School Nurse

It's not too late, but it will be soon! Order your yearbook today!

Seniors receive free yearbooks, so they don't need an order unless customization is required.

Fliers & Upcoming Events

Region 12 Calendar

Mar 29th - SVS Middle School Movie Night, 6:30pm

Mar 29th - SVS Spartan Night, 7pm

Apr 1st - SVS PTO Meeting, Room A4, 6pm

Apr 1st - BOE Education Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 6pm

Apr 1st - District Budget Hearing, SVS Library, 7pm

Apr 1st - BOE Special Meeting, SVS Library, 7:15pm (following Hearing)

Apr 1st - BOE Business Meeting, SVS Library, 7:30pm (following Special Meeting)

Apr 4th - BFS Kindergarten Meet & Greet, 9:30am

Apr 4th - BS Kindergarten Meet & Greet, 1:30pm

Apr 4th - BFS Grade 4-5 Play, 6pm

Apr 5th - WPS Family Bingo Night, 6pm

Apr 5th - SVS Big Fish Play, SVS Auditorium, 7:30pm

Apr 6th - SVS SAT Bootcamp, 9am

Apr 6th - WPS Easter Bunny Visit Photoshoot, River Walk Pavilion, 10am

Apr 6th - WPS Henna Workshop, 2:30pm

Apr 6th - SVS Big Fish Play, SVS Auditorium, 7:30pm

Apr 7th - SVS SAT Bootcamp, 9am

Apr 7th - SVS Big Fish Play Matinee, SVS Auditorium, 2pm

Apr 9th - SVS SAT Day, 7:30am

Apr 9th - WPS PTO Meeting, 6:30pm

Apr 10th - WPS Kindergarten Meet & Greet, 11am

Apr 10th - WPS Math Night, 6:30pm

Apr 11th - SVS Talent Show Class of 2021, 7pm

Apr 12th - SVS Ben's Bells Senior Project, SVS Cafeteria, 7pm

Apr 15th-19th - Spring Break, NO SCHOOL

Follow Region 12 on our social media channels for updates and information!

Instagram YouTube

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.

Big picture