Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - January 2022

A Note From the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is that time of year again, when the weather turns cold and our hearts begin to fill with warmth. Although the holiday season has come and gone, its magic lingers and with it brings a new year with brighter hopes for a healthy, happy 2022!

The winter season is always magical with the picturesque snowfall this time of year. Playing in the snow, whether building a snowman, skiing, snowboarding, or making snow angels, is invigorating and fun for all. Reading together can also be such a soothing activity for the whole family. Capture the feeling of the winter season by snuggling up to a good book with a warm cozy blanket. There are so many wonderful things we can do with our immediate family members that bring us joy, laughter, and sense of belonging. This is particularly important as we continue to battle the pandemic.

The Booth Free School community was quite busy during the month of December. The Student Council sponsored PJ Day for the Kids. PJ Day for the Kids’ proceeds were sent to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to support children battling cancer. To help support and show our appreciation to our community, our students made winter and holiday cards for our local senior citizens and they decorated small Christmas trees. Some of our cards and trees were given to the seniors living at Bernhardt Meadows. The remainder of the cards were distributed through our local Senior Center. We hope these cards and trees brought them warm winter wishes. Our students also contributed to decorating the town hall tree. Lastly, what would the winter season be without celebrating cultures! This year our students studied Ecuador. For the boys and girls this was an impactful and fun-filled month.

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 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


Notes and News from the Nurse.....


The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in adults and children and can look like other common illnesses, like colds, strep throat, or allergies. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children are fever and cough, although there can be many others.

The CDC recommends monitoring your child for the following each day:

  • Fever (Temperature 100.4 or higher)

  • Chills

  • Cough

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath

  • Loss of smell or taste

  • Sore throat

With any change in your child’s health resembling the symptoms mentioned above, contact your healthcare provider and school nurse. Since it is not possible to differentiate between a cold/flu and COVID19, we are following our medical directors recommendations to contact your doctor for advice for testing and/or an alternate diagnosis. If it is an alternate diagnosis even with a negative COVID test, a note from a doctor is necessary to return to school when these symptoms occur. Your doctor will decide if a COVID test is needed.

Contact your school nurse with any questions or concerns regarding symptoms your child may be exhibiting.

Sandi DiBella, R.N.

Booth Free School

BFS 860-355-0428

Mary Clarke, R.N.

Burnham School


Terri Truczinskas, R.N.

Washington Primary School

WPS- 860-868-6879

Dates to Remember for January

1/3 Winter Recess Ends, School Resumes

1/3 -31 Kindergarten Registration

1/10 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

1/12 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

1/17 Martin Luther King Day-School Closed

1/26 Early Dismissal Day – 12:45

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Kindergarten - Being "Force"ful

The kindergarteners have been using the force. No, not THAT force: pushes and pulls! We began by contemplating an important question: how can we move heavy things? Whether it be moving rocks to make way for a swing set, or lifting presents in a sleigh, there is lots to think about.

Should I use a strong force, or a gentle one? How will speed or weight affect my movement? What happens when something pushes back and there is a collision? And how does friction play a part? Finally, we published our findings using the Seesaw app on our iPads. If you want to know more, ask a kindergartner!

Grade 2 - Budding Scientists

Second grade scientists routinely notice and wonder. Each lesson begins with an unexplained phenomenon that the students use their senses to observe. They notice as much as possible, and then create investigation questions about what they wonder about these observations. In our current plant structures unit, they observed plants growing in unexpected places, and have gathered evidence of seed dispersal, plant needs, and functions of plant parts to help answer many questions about plants and their growing habits. Students will later take this background knowledge to design and create a tool to use to make seed dispersal easier. This science routine helps them not only grow as scientific observers, but noticing and wondering build their natural curiosity and support the thinking they do in all school experiences. I hope you notice these wonder-ful second graders’ great thinking!

Grade 4 Deeper Reading

Fourth grade has continued to have a great year. We have been growing our knowledge and we are excelling as learners. We are challenging ourselves as readers to deepen our understanding of the books we read through close readings and interactive discussions with classmates. One novel we have read recently, Out of My Mind, was an awesome book that really allowed us to consider a different perspective. We enjoyed analyzing the characters in this book and comparing our interpretations with each other, further recognizing how diverse our perspectives can be. Fourth grade looks forward to continuing our great work in the new year.

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Congratulations, Lyla Conway and Bryan Loja!

Each year, our students participate in Connecticut Fire Prevention Poster Contest. The contest is open to fourth and fifth graders. This year’s theme is “Fire Prevention - Everyone Everyday”. Our students worked with our art teacher, Mrs. Manley, to create an original poster with their own fire prevention message. Lyla and Bryan are our local winners and their posters will be moving forward to be judged at the county level. The winners at that level will then go to the state level for a chance at the grand prize.

The Joy of the Season Brought to Our Community and Local Senior Citizens


Hey, do you make music?? We want to know!! Please take a moment to fill out the survey below to answer a few questions about how you, as an adult, continue to make music. Thanks!!

Family Musician Survey

The Booth Free School Chorus is BACK!! Congratulations to the chorus for a fabulous first performance in more than a year at the Roxbury Tree Lighting! The students prepared two songs and then led the crowd in a festive sing along. Well done, chorus! (Photo credit: Bethany Krett)

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It’s hard to believe but we are already wrapping up our second trimester 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.

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

First graders do a lot of rhythmic improvising and learn to read and write rhythms in duple and triple meter. They also learn 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 do this work to songs like Tideo, Polly Put the Kettle On, and Donkeys Love Carrots.

Second graders build on their knowledge of rhythms by learning to read and write rhythms in duple and triple meter. They learn ‘enrhythms’, rhythms that sound the same but look different! Next they will create, compose, and perform their own rhythms! They will also deepen their understanding of chords (tonic, dominant, subdominant) and how they make up music. They do this using familiar songs from the first trimester like Dinosaur Diet and Sarasponda.

Third graders work on reading rhythm patterns as well. They also start reading tonal patterns. Most exciting of all, they are 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)! We have moved to playing inside with extra precautions in place. We all have a special mask for our face and one for our recorder (bell cover). We are spaced out 8 or more feet apart. Best of all, the 3rd graders are sounding great!

Fourth graders start bucket drumming! The students are doing great work. They learn how to hold the sticks and play using different parts of the drum (bucket). They play rhythms from notation (duple and triple meter), learn a few “grooves”, and rock out to some favorite popular tunes. If your student is working at 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 start ukuleles! We work on learning different strumming patterns, a couple of chords, and soon 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 listen to a variety of songs from different American music genres like jazz and blues.

PJ's for the Kids Day!

Proceeds benefitted the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at Connecticut Children’s Hospital
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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 January 12th.


Registration for Kindergarten will take place from January 3rd through January 31st. Parents of children turning five years of age before January 1, 2023, are eligible and are encouraged to register. Please go to the Admissions/Enrollment portal at to register your child. Families will need to provide an official birth certificate and proof of residency as part of the registration process. Our school will contact families to complete the registration requirements.

Booth Free School’s Cultures Around the World

Booth Free Students took a virtual tour to Ecuador to celebrate our annual Cultures Around the World. Students learned about the many fascinating traditions and celebrations practiced in and throughout the Ecuadorian country. Crafts were made, stories were read, and videos were shared.

First, the kindergartners and first graders created a craft replicating the Ecuadorian tradition of leaving a list of wishes in an old shoe for Papa Noel to take. In return, he would leave a new pair of shoes in its place.

Then, the second graders imitated a tradition called Año Viejo and Monigote, where students wrote down their worries. They could then be ripped up, thrown away or as the Ecuadorians do, burned as a signal of moving forward and leaving their worries behind.

Next, the third graders shared a slideshow sharing many of Ecuador's established traditions like popular foods, customs and celebrations during the holiday season. The fourth graders were having a “ball” teaching us all about some fun and engaging Ecuadorian games and activities. Our 5th graders shared some songs for everyone to enjoy that are popular in Ecuador during the holiday season.

To conclude our cultural experience, the whole school took part in a snowman decorating activity. This is something children in Ecuador and in Roxbury enjoy! Each class shared their snowman with the other classes on zoom. It was a wonderful experience exploring all the unique traditions and finding similarities in customs that we share with Ecuador.

A Note from the Library from Mrs. Gordon!

Happy 2022!

I hope everyone has a joyous and restful holiday break! As most everyone knows, students went home over break with fun incentives from the library. The kids were so excited about them I’ve decided to run another reading incentive for the New Year. Be on the lookout for a Library activity that students will have the option of completing for rewards and a chance at another super raffle!

We have some exciting events in store for 2022! Booth Free School students will partake in a Reading Olympics to celebrate the upcoming Winter Olympic. Once again, students will delve into books about diversity and create class unity statements. And, of course, we will continue to read new and exciting books!

What we are or will be Reading:

Grade 5 Finishing The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton lee Stewart and starting Indigo by Alice Hoffman

Grade 4 The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Grade 3 Winston Breen by Eric Berlin

Grade 2 Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

Grades 1 and Kindergarten- Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins, Stuck By Oliver Jeffers,Twinkle by Katherine Holabird and Sarah Warburton,A Perfectly Messed up Story by Patrick McDonnell, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems, What Would Danny Do, School Day by Ganit & Adir Levy , and There’s an Alligator Under my Bed by Mercer Mayer

Finally, as we begin a new year, I am checking our library inventory and I ask that families please take a moment to check their homes for any overdue library books. Thank you!

Until Next Month- Stay Warm!

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.

School Closing Reminders:

As the winter season progresses, schools may be impacted by inclement weather. In the event of a delayed opening or a school closure, a district phone call will be made through School Messenger by 5:30 AM to families. Announcements will also be posted on our district website, and with local news outlets.

Travel and Parking Safety

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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