Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School-January 2020

A Note from the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Another holiday season has come and gone. The season is always magical and with the picturesque snowfall this time of year, it is a delight to us all and especially for the boys and girls. Playing in the snow, whether building a snowman, skiing, snowboarding, and making snow angels, is invigorating and brings a sense of joy to us all. It is my hope that the holiday season brought peace and joy to you all as we are certainly blessed to have such giving loved ones. I wish each family only good things – today, tomorrow, and always in this new year.

As with any new year, it brings much excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead in the academic programming in grades K-5. Teachers are looking closely at the curriculum and are planning accordingly. They will be using mid-year assessments as well as their students’ daily work performance to gage where students are in their academic skill development. We are in full swing and moving ahead!

In grades 3-5 students will be given the Smarter Balanced Assessments during the first two full weeks of May starting the week of May 4th. Students will be assessed in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics. This assessment will be provided through computer adaptive testing technologies to the greatest extent possible to provide meaningful feedback and actionable data that our teachers can use to help students succeed. Students in grade 5 will also be given an assessment in science. That assessment will take place on May 20th. Our students are well prepared to take these assessments as they have access to so much technology through computer and Chromebook use. They are ready to tackle their assessment tasks with much confidence.

Should you have any questions or concerns about the testing as we get closer to the testing period, please feel free to contact either your child’s teachers or me to discuss expectations. You may also visit the State of Connecticut Educational website for further information. The web address is The assessment link will lead you to information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or you can visit the Smarter Balanced website directly at

In closing, learning is so important and experts say that any learning must be a joint venture between school, parents, and children. Research indicates that children do better in school if parents place a high value on educating and reinforcing on-going learning. I thank you for your continued support and commitment to your child’s education. Together we make the greatest impact!


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for January

1/2 School Resumes

1/2 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

1/6 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

1/8 Leadership Conference

1/9 Snow Date for Leadership Conference

1/16 Unified Concert at Shepaug, 7 p.m.

1/20 No School Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

1/23 Snow Date for Unified Concert at Shepaug

1/27 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

1/27-1/31 Kindergarten Registration

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3/4/5 - Indigenous Cultures of North America

Throughout the weeks before break, the 3-4-5s were immersed in their studies of the indigenous cultures of North America. They analyzed (and experienced) how, where and when you live affects how you live. They participated in some engaging, rigorous lessons to help them appreciate the human spirit and culture, which allowed the Native Americans to live and thrive for hundreds of years in what is now the United States.

Our students also dug deep to analyze the impact of settlement on indigenous people. From harvesting crops and researching various tribes, to designing replicas of homes and tools of various indigenous cultures, this inter-disciplinary unit was an impactful and inspiring learning experience for the group. All of our students’ final presentations sparkled with new learning, excitement, and visual appeal. Many can be seen in our classrooms or even outside on the recess field! As a special gift, our last day before break was spent exploring the Institute for American Indian Studies. We were filled with gratitude, understanding, and awe as we spent time together examining artifacts and exploring the ingenuities of indigenous people. Our day was complete when we all enjoyed a fire outside, in a bark-covered wigwam, on the frostiest day in December.


Welcome Back!

As winter approaches, illnesses increase and potential child to child transfer of viruses and bacteria rises. Here are some tips to keep your child healthy this winter:

The CDC recommends that each child receives a seasonal flu vaccine. It is not too late to do this.

  • It is also recommended that you teach and encourage your children to take everyday preventative actions against germs such as: cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol based rub, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and try to avoid contact with sick people.
  • Keep your child home when they are sick for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone (without fever reducing medicine).
  • Please call the school and notify the nurse of your child’s symptoms so that disease tracking can be monitored.
  • Avoid crowds when sick.
  • Your child needs good nutrition, plenty of fluids, and rest to keep a strong healthy immune system.
  • Exercise and activity are also important for a healthy immune system. As cold weather approaches, please send your child with appropriate clothing to continue to get a nice dose of fun and fresh air at recess during the school day. Inappropriate outdoor weather gear can put unnecessary stress on body systems.

    Please call your school’s Health Office @ 860-354-9721 if you have questions.

Cold Weather Fun

Children spend a lot of time outside during the winter months. Whether your child is waiting for the bus or building a snowman, be careful when sending him/her outside. Cold temperatures can be especially harsh on children. Children should be dressed in several layers of clothing to keep them dry and warm. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing young children in one more layer of clothing than you yourself would wear. Make sure you send your child out with a hat that covers the ears (50% of body heat is lost through the head), and wearing waterproof boots with enough room to wiggle the toes. Here at school unless it is too wet or less than 20 degrees, your child will go outside at recess time and will need snow pants and boots to enjoy the snowy outdoors.

Childhood Vaccines

Preventing a disease is always better than treating it after it has occurred. There are many diseases that used to be common in the United States that can now be prevented by vaccine. Some of these include: polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, rotavirus, and Haemophilus influenza type b (HIB). A healthy immune system immediately begins to protect the body when exposed to anything it recognizes as a “foreign invader” (antigen), like germs, bacteria and viruses. The first time the body is exposed to an antigen it begins to produce antibodies to fight against it and immunity to that antigen is then there to protect for next time, but usually some sign of sickness starts faster. Vaccines are a way to give children immunity to diseases without them actually getting sick. A vaccine contains antigen that is either weakened or killed so it does not cause disease but does cause immunity. By following a recommended vaccination schedule, countless cases of diseases are prevented and millions of lives saved. For more information, go to

Non-Food Celebrations and Events

As there are a growing number of students with obesity issues and life threatening food allergies in this country and our community, we would like to remind parents of our Region 12 food policy. As we continue to celebrate important events at school we will find ways to recognize these occasions through non-food ideas. You can find suggestions on the school nurse website( or contact your child’s teacher for assistance. Feel free to contact me, Lisa McQueen, school nurse at 860-354-9721, with any questions or concerns.

You may access the policy #6142.101 through the district website at, go to Board of Education, Board Policies, on the left side go to Instruction - Series 6000, go to 6142.101 Non-sold Foods and Beverages.

Visit us at our Website!

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


Each month the Board of Education and the Region #12 art staff recognizes one student from each school for their excellence in the visual arts. The student's artwork is put on display in the Board of Education office, is shown in the Region in Review, and is recognized at a Board of Education meeting. At Burnham School, third grader Liam Hill was nominated for November’s Artist of the Month.

What is the criteria for becoming Artist of the Month? At the elementary level, art teacher Jane Manley considers how students demonstrate the various Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM), of which there are 8 coequal behaviors: Develop Craft, Engage & Persist, Envision, Express, Observe, Reflect, Stretch & Explore, and Understand Art Worlds. Liam demonstrated Develop Craft in his project. Develop Craft is when an artist is learning how to use and care for tools and materials, practicing a technique, and/or organizing and caring for a workspace. Liam used four different painting media in his project - watercolors, tempera paints, water-soluble oil pastels, and watercolor pencils - focusing on how each is applied. He also demonstrated the SHoM of Stretch & Explore by familiarizing himself with the qualities of each medium - noticing the transparency of watercolors and the opaque quality of tempera paint, for example. By exploring each media, Liam is now aware of and may choose from these options available for his future painting projects. Congratulations, Liam!

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Burnham School’s Cultures Around the World, Discovering Poland

On Tuesday, December 17th, Burnham School celebrated Poland at this year’s Cultures Around the World. This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about a new culture and to work with students from all grades in a group setting. Students rotated through stations as they learned about various aspects of the Polish culture. The students learned about the traditional Christmas meal which is not enjoyed until the first star appears in the night sky. Students made a star representing the first star, called the gwiazdka. Students also engaged in an interactive memory game, listened to a gingerbread story and made a gingerbread man, and played games such as Zoska. It was a spectacular school event enjoyed by all.

Happy New Year - Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku


New Year…New Books! Burnham’s school library just keeps on growing. We have dozens of new books to start off a new year of reading. Some exciting new books include a few of the Connecticut’s Nutmeg Book Award winners, the classic Chronicles of Narnia series, the instant classic A Wolf Called Wander, new Minecraft guidebooks, and many interesting nonfiction books on varying topics. Students should stop by the library to find their next favorite book!

Genre Passports- They’re Back! My goal is for our Burnham students to try out different book genres and expand their reading horizons, so we will be starting our Genre Passport Program. The Genre Passport Program rewards students with awesome prizes for receiving passport stamps. All they have to do to receive a passport stamp for each genre is to read a book of each genre and write a review of what they read. I can’t wait to see what the students discover by expanding their reading scope.

Read Your World

January 31, 2020 is the 7th Annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day

To that end, in library classes for the month of January, we will be focusing on books with multicultural themes. I encourage students to read books that widen their perspectives, celebrate diversity, and showcase the beauty of other cultures.

Author Spotlight

This month’s featured author is Raina Telgemeier, author of the highly popular graphic novels Sisters, Smile, Guts, and Drama. Raina Telgemeier is a master of reaching students with emotional, relatable, and age-appropriate problems, presenting them in an appealing graphic format. Her graphic novels are also an excellent stepping stone to launch students into full-fledged novels.

The Town of Bridgewater Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

On Friday, December 6, 2019, the Town of Bridgewater held their annual Christmas Tree Lighting. A concert of holiday music, which included the Burnham School chorus, under the direction of Mrs. Doiron, helped set the stage for a very festive event. Following the tree lighting cookies and hot chocolate were available at the Congregational Church as well as a bedtime story reading at the Burnham Library. It was a wonderful way to promote the holiday season!

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Kindergarten Registration 2020-2021

Registration for Kindergarten will take place the week of January 27th to January 31st. Children turning five years of age before January 1, 2021 are eligible. When you receive a registration packet, please fill out all forms and deliver them to the school office. Packets are also available in the office should you need one. A copy of your child’s Birth Certificate and proof of residency should be included. A Kindergarten Readiness Program will take place in the Spring. Should you need or desire further information please contact the school office at (860) 354-5559.


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

Burnham 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 6:00 p.m. The November meeting will be held on January 2 at 6:00 PM. We hope you plan to attend!

PTO Sponsored Enrichment Program - Musical Sign Language Performance

Our school community thanks the PTO for sponsoring the December 12th enrichment program, Musical Sign Language. The presenter, Janine LaMendola, provided an interactive program engaging students in song while teaching students a variety of words and phrases in sign language. With her guitar and vocals Janine created a musical program that was relevant for all of Burnham’s students. Students were thoroughly engaged and enjoyed the program.

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.

Burnham 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.

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 Tips

As the opening of school is upon us, I am asking you to 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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