Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - March 2021

A Note From the Principal:

March is the month when spring officially begins and Daylight Savings takes root! It is a dramatic month that marches in “like a lion, out like a lamb” or so the saying goes. Perhaps it is because Mother Nature is trying to shed her winter coat!

Our year is flying by and it is time once again to receive your child’s report cards. The report cards will be available on PowerSchool on Friday, March 12th. 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 our Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences. They are scheduled for March 18th and 19th. Scheduling information will be sent home within the first week in March and you will receive confirmation of date and time. Your child’s teacher looks forward to meeting with you.

Our Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Megan Bennett will present the school budget for the 2021-2022 school year on March 8th. There will be a district budget hearing on March 29th followed by the Annual District Meeting held on May 3rd. A referendum will take place the following day on May 4th. 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 3rd – May 14th. 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 26th and May 27th. 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, or physical education, 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. I hope that through this month’s continued emphasis on reading our students’ love for literature deepens. Remember to have your child read for our PTO sponsored Read-A-Thon. Our Read-A-Thon will run from March 1-March 26th. The poem above expresses particular significance especially in the month of March. Enjoy it and find time to read it with your child.

Dates to remember for march

3/1-26 Read-A-Thon

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

3/8 Board of Education Meeting-Superintendent’s Budget Presentation, 6:30 PM

3/3 Grades Close

3/10 12:45 Dismissal

3/12 Report Cards Distributed

3/17 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

3/18-19 Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:45 PM Dismissal

3/29 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

3/31 12:45 Dismissal

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100 Days of Kindergarten

The number 100 is always a big deal, but in kindergarten, we like to celebrate it with style! Inspired by the book Miss Bindergarten’s 100th Day of Kindergarten, each child shared something to represent this important milestone. There were necklaces with 100 beads, a birdhouse made of 100 popsicle sticks, and even a dinosaur covered with 100 pompoms! Look out Booth Free: we’re 100 days smarter now and more than halfway to first grade.

Grade 2 Engineers!

During Science, second graders designed and evaluated a tool to spread seeds across a large area. They focused on the engineering design process as they worked to develop a solution to the problem. First, they learned about nature inspired design and the function of various forms. Next, our engineers brainstormed and sketched possible solutions and evaluated those solutions and determined how well each one met the criteria of the problem and constraints in time and materials. This process allowed for students to make informed decisions on the prototypes they created. Lastly, they evaluated the prototype and made recommendations for future improvements. Check out the engineers hard at work!

The Amazing Grade 4

The fourth graders continue to amaze me with their tenacity and internal drive to learn. We have delved deep into fractions, adding unit fractions as well as decomposing and composing fractions to find equivalences. Students are now proficient with using a tape diagram, area model, and number line to show all the ways fractions are equal. We are also finalizing our Informational Writing unit by creating personal slideshows. They are quite a tech-savvy group, showcasing abilities to add backgrounds, text features, and text structure to “teach” their topics to others.

Student Council News!

It feels as though the month of February was over in the blink of an eye! As we all know, love is a common theme this time of year, so the Student Council made it their mission to ensure that our Roxbury seniors and the brave veterans at the VA Hospital in West Haven, Connecticut received Valentine treats. Members of the Student Council and several classrooms designed beautiful, heartfelt cards that were sent to the veterans. In addition, the students let their creativity shine through the construction of orante Valentine wreaths. The wreaths were donated to the Roxbury Senior Center for distribution to local residents. As always, the caring students of Booth Free School have made us proud by dedicating their time and artistic talents to the community!

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 March 17th.

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

Wear Red for Women

On February 5, 2021 Booth Free and Burnham 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 fund raiser.

CT State Department of Education Professional Support Series for Families

Covid 19 has caused tremendous stress and grief within our community in numerous ways. The Connecticut State Department of Education offers a series of virtual conversations tailored for families as support on the many changes being faced with educating and supporting themselves and their children during COVID 19. The first session has passed but the others are upcoming and they are all offered for free. Access the flyer here: CSDE Professional Support Series for Families

Contacting School Nurse

If your child is having any sign of illness and/or going to be absent from school, please contact your school nurse instead of the front desk to relay this information to the nurse directly. Feel free to leave a voicemail and the nurse will get back to you.

This is especially important during this time of pandemic since the nurse can advise you on how to proceed and for the important purpose of tracking illness.

Thank you,

Sandi DiBella: 860-355-0428 (Booth Free School)

Lisa McQueen: 860-354-9721(Burnham School)

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The Booth Free School Community is excited to be participating in the PTO sponsored Read-A-Thon during the next four weeks. This is a fundraiser for PTO and all proceeds will go directly towards activities that support our students and our school.

Collaborative efforts between school staff and PTO has created excitement around reading. Students have been given appropriate grade level nightly reading goals and at the end of each week students will have a chance to enter into a raffle for a small incentive. Additionally, each Friday at the end of the day, all students will participate in a fun and exciting activity.

The Read-A-Thon is sure to be rewarding, fun, and exciting! Our community is looking for 100% participation. Thank you in advance for supporting your child, our school, and your PTO. Let’s all read together and enjoy the adventures stories and books can bring to us all. Happy reading!

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.

Music Round Two with Mrs. Doiron!

It’s hard to believe but we have already wrapping up our second rotation of music. The cold weather has made some things a little tougher but we are finding ways to safely keep moving, singing, improvising, and playing whether we are at home or at school.

K finished a listening unit on the Carnival of the Animals. They learned how to sing the resting tone to new songs like Bim Bam. They sang patterns in different tonalities and improvised rhythms while learning songs and chants like One Little Elephant, The Turtle, Bluebird, and Five Little Muffins.

First graders did a lot of rhythmic improvising and learned to read and write rhythms in duple and triple meter. They also learned the two most important tonal patterns in music; tonic and dominant! They can sing the patterns, label them, and even make up their own! They did this work to songs like Tideo, Polly Put the Kettle On, and Donkeys Love Carrots.

Second graders built on their knowledge of rhythms by learning to read and write rhythms in duple and triple meter. They even learned ‘enrhythms’, rhythms that sound the same but look different! Then they created, composed, and performed their own rhythms! They also deepened their understanding of chords (tonic, dominant, subdominant) and how they make up music. They did this using familiar songs from the first trimester like Dinosaur Diet and Sarasponda.

Third graders worked on reading rhythm patterns as well. They also started reading tonal patterns. Most exciting of all, they started playing recorder! This is a BIG part of being a third grader and they don’t take their responsibilities lightly. The recorder is s beautiful instrument, not a toy (or torture device)! If your 3rd grader is having a hard time keeping their sound in control, a piece of tape across the top hole changes the sound to a whisper (just leave a sliver of space above the tape).

Fourth graders started bucket drumming! This is a first for me but the students are doing great work. They learned how to hold the sticks and play using different parts of the drum (bucket). They also played rhythms from notation (duple and triple meter), learned a few “grooves”, and rocked out to some favorite popular tunes. If your student is working from home and is having trouble keeping their sound in control, a thick towel stuffed into the bucket or placed on top will help to dampen the sound.

In fifth grade we started ukuleles! Any school instruments that go home have to be signed out, so students began by filling out their instrument contract. Then we worked on learning different strumming patterns, a couple of chords, and soon could play along to songs like Lime in the Coconut and Best Day of My Life as well as songs like Kookaburra and You are My Sunshine. We also listened to a variety of songs from different American music genres like jazz and blues.

Library Happenings with Mrs. Gordon!

A Note on Diversity and Inclusion

By now I hope you have read about the region's initiative to promote diversity and inclusion. I just wanted to take a moment and share how the library is doing its part to promote diversity, unity and inclusion. In addition to promoting Black History Month and in March, Women’s History, I am committed to diversifying our collection and promoting diversity and acceptance among our students. We have already read a number of books that are age appropriate and stress acceptance and inclusion. Books like Oglivy by Deborah Underwood and The Smallest Girl (read to Kindergarteners) and The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts (read to grade 1) are fantastic books that get our youngest students thinking and talking about differences and acceptance. From now on I will be making a concerted effort in the library to put an emphasis on titles that highlight the importance of acceptance and expose children to the truly majestic, colorful and diverse world they live in. It is my goal that every child in our school has the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the stories we read.

Over the next month each grade will be participating in the quote challenge and reading and discussing the specially chosen grade appropriate books:


The Colors of Us by Karen Katz A positive and affirming look at skin color, from an artist's perspective.

First Grade

The Proudest Blue:A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school--and two sisters on one's first day of hijab.

Second Grade

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o The story of a young girl who wishes for her dark skin to be lighter.

Third Grade

Just Ask: Be Different Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomoyor In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have.

Fourth Grade

A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story by Sharon Langley & Amy Nathan

A Ride to Remember tells how a community came together—both black and white—to make a change.

Fifth Grade

Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

Almost a decade before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Méndez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only school.” Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.

In Other News...

Wow, February was a very snowy month! When we were in school classes cuddled up with some of these awesome titles…

Kindergarten- There’s a Bird on your Head by Mo Willems, Pig the Tourist by Aaron Blabey

Grade 1- The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien

Grade 2 continued reading The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. We also started drawing all the mysterious creatures we believe are living at Booth Free School. Our hope is to start our own book of Amazing Booth Free SchoolCreatures to share with future classes. Take a look at some of the amazing creatures we’ve chronicled.

3rd Grade Continued reading and solving puzzles with Winston Breen in The Potato Chip Puzzles, Winston Breen by Eric Berlin

4th Grade stayed warm and on the edge of their seats reading The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton lee Stewart

5th Grade finished Coraline by Neil Gaiman and began talking about their diversity book, Separate is Never Equal.

Finally, everyone is participating in this month's Read-a-thon and I am so excited to see how many books/hours our students read! Good Luck to everyone!


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.

Travel and Parking Safety

Did you know that school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. They are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries and in every state, stop-arm laws exist to protect children from other motorists.

If you are driving, remember these simple rules:

  • Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean slow down because the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely students waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick up children.

  • Red flashing lights mean stop and wait at least 20 feet behind the bus because children are getting on or off the school bus. Stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.

  • Even when lights aren’t flashing, watch for children, particularly in the morning or afternoon, around school arrival and dismissal. Be alert as you back out of a driveway or drive through a neighborhood, school zone or bus stop.

Let’s all work together to keep our children safe!

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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.

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