Star Tracks Newsletter

Booth Free School - April 2021

A Note From the Principal:

Although it is April, and spring is officially here, the challenges posed by this winter’s weather should be diminishing soon! The most recent warmer weather has allowed us to see our grass again and a few tips of crocus and daffodils beginning to peek through. With our opened windows the smell of spring air is indeed inviting. Keeping our students’ minds on the academics will be challenging as they too want to get outside and run around. The staff will use their wonderful creative talents to keep them focused on the tasks presented to them. With such dedicated and talented staff, I am certain that this challenge will be conquered.

Students are very excited about the new playground equipment that has been recently purchased for each cohort. Each group received a large sports bag filled with balls, bases, frisbees, wiffle bat and ball, etc. We are now allowing students within their cohort to share equipment. Safety measures are in place and students are adhering to procedures. All students must wash their hands before and after recess. Recess equipment must also be brought back to their own classrooms and no sharing beyond their cohort will be allowed. We have such happy active students!

Additionally, I am happy to report that our fifth graders are now in charge of our school flag, raising it and taking it down and morning announcements. Fifth graders are also selling ice cream one day a week to further support their Aloha celebration. An order form will be sent home monthly. All orders must be in by Wednesday of each week. Fifth graders will distribute the ice cream on Fridays. Our fifth graders have been looking forward to their new responsibilities and are beaming with pride.

Budget season is upon us. The budget for next year has been presented to the Board of Education and is available to the taxpayers. It can be located on the district’s website. The District Budget Hearing was held on Monday, March 29, 2021. The Annual District Meeting will be held on May 3, 2021, and the Budget Referendum is scheduled to take place on May 4, 2021.

Finally, as we move into warmer weather and longer hours of daylight, please continue to stress the importance of homework and time management. Homework continues throughout the year, and at times a child may need a bit more guidance in planning a busy afternoon or evening schedule. Your support is greatly appreciated.


Cathy Colella


Dates to remember for April

4/2 Good Friday, School Closed

4/5 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

4/12-16 Spring Recess, School Closed

4/21 PTO Meeting, 6:30 PM

4/26 Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 PM

4/28 Early Dismissal for Students, 12:45 PM

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Celebrating Booth Free School’s Administrative Professional, Laura Horrigan!

Mrs. Horrigan brightens each day with her warm, gentle and caring greetings. She helps to make our days safe and productive. Let's all wish Mrs. Horrigan a wonderful day on Wednesday, April 21st!

Thank you, Mrs. Horrigan, for all that you do for Booth Free School!

“Happy Administrative

Professionals Day”,

Mrs. Horrigan!

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Roxy's Rockstar Readers

March was an exciting month for the avid readers here at Booth Free! Beginning on March 1st, our school embarked on a four week long read-a-thon. Reading goals spanning from 40 - 80 minutes each week, depending on age, were set. To participate, students and their families were invited to gather sponsors and log their nightly reading. At the end of each week, students returned their logs and those who met their goal received a raffle ticket for prizes selected by our PTO. Our weekly lucky winners are as follows:

Week 1: Landon Casini & Brianna Johnson

Week 2: Ruby Liebman & Kiara Brew

Week 3: Madison Hazel & Alden May

Week 4: Micah Badger & Graydon Lonker

Thank you so much to all of our participants and donors. We hope that you have enjoyed this celebration of literacy as much as we have!

Grade 1 Goes on a Reading Adventure

“Reading gives us Someplace to go when we have to Stay where we are.”

In first grade this month, we have been going on a reading adventure. Our current unit is on meeting characters and learning lessons. Many students are beginning to read books in a series which allows them to learn more about the characters with each new adventure. Reading is our favorite time of day in first grade. During the read-a-thon this month, we even cozied up with a good book and a blanket while wearing our pajamas! First grade readers especially love the audiobooks that they have been finding on Epic. One of the strategies that we are learning in this unit is that readers change their voices to match the feelings of the characters. Listening to books provides students with an example of how they can do this when they are reading. The next part of our adventure is to discover the lessons that familiar stories can teach us. We can’t wait!

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Mrs. Russell's Third Grade Scientists

Invisible power! Invisible forces! Why does an object drop instead of floating off into space? Why doesn’t a piece of sandpaper glide down a 45° surface as quickly as a piece of weighted cardboard? Why do magnets stick to some surfaces and not others? Gravity, friction, and magnetism are all invisible forces being observed, tested, and evaluated in third grade. How can this knowledge be applied to our daily lives? Our third grade scientists are at work experimenting and exploring how these forces can be harnessed to help our daily lives.

Learning About Fractions in Grade 5!

Fifth grade has continued to have a great year and we have been working hard studying fractions. First we used visual models to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators and then we moved onward into making like units numerically. We appreciated how the visual models really showed us what was happening when adding and subtracting fractions with unlike units, and we liked how quickly we were able to add and subtract fractions when we made like units numerically. We were able to make a nice progression from working with examples represented concretely (using counters and other tangible objects), to being able to draw pictorial representations, to being able to use abstract methods to make like units.

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Student Council News!

As always, our Booth Free School Student Council is hard at work spreading positivity throughout our school and community! This month we constructed a “Random Acts of Kindness” bulletin board. The bulletin board includes notecards written by our 5th Gr. student council members. Each card names a Covid-19 friendly way to spread kindness. Students and staff are invited to take a card and carry out the kind act it describes.

As the number of cards deplete, student council members will replenish them with new ideas! The bulletin board perfectly compliments our year long commitment to the #BeKindChallenge. We are happy to report that our Kindness chain continues to grow as well!

This month the student council also planned a Spirit Week, beginning on March 15th and ending on March 19th. Each day, students and staff throughout the school dressed according to a different theme. These themes included pajamas, favorite colors, Saint Patrick’s Day, family heritages, and of course - Booth Free School colors/gear. The multitude of creative ensembles brought a smile to our faces!

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The Invention Convention

Our Booth Free inventors showcased many talents at our Annual Invention Convention. After eight weeks of problem-solving, experimenting, and working through the Engineering Design Process, students created unique and masterful inventions. During the week of March 15th sixteen students showcased their inventions and judging took place. It was a week full of ingenuity and innovation. After the difficult task of choosing three winners, the judges chose the following winners: Wilson Benner’s M.I.T, Teo Neithardt’s Ball Blaster, and Jade Santos’ Mask-R-Aid. All three are heading virtually to the final state competition.

We are so very proud of every inventor’s perseverance and creativity and know that next year will bring forth just as much, if not more excitement and inspiration!

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 April 21st.

Notes and News from the Nurse.....

With spring allergy season upon us your doctor may recommend using allergy medications to prevent or manage symptoms. Symptoms of allergies should respond to allergy medications. During COVID-19 differentiating between allergies and illness is a very important consideration. Of course children with seasonal allergies can still get sick. It is more likely the school nurse will request a call to the pediatrician with the related symptoms, especially those not responding to allergy medication.

Here are some suggestions to manage seasonal allergies at home:

  • If your child has experienced seasonal allergies in the past, discuss the option of giving your child prophylactic allergy medication with your doctor rather than waiting for symptoms to arise.

  • Have your child wear a hat and sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting into their eyes.

  • Have your child remove their clothes as soon as they come indoors and wash them to remove pollen.

  • Leave shoes at the door so your family doesn’t track allergens through your home.

  • Have your child wash their hands and face as soon as they come in from the outdoors.

It is important during this pandemic to be vigilant about any symptoms of illness in your child and communicating with your health care provider and school nurse. Here is a helpful CDC symptom comparison of Covid-19 vs.other issues: Symptom Comparison. Our vigilance will get us through this difficult time healthy and safe.

If you have any questions at any time you can email or call your school nurse for advice.

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.

PE with Mr. Morgan

All students have been actively participating in physical education during the month of March. When the weather allowed we enjoyed getting outside on the field. Our students took part in throwing activities with nerf footballs. Older students enjoyed ‘3 step football’ and ‘Qb Challenge’. Younger students who may not be ready for those games still had some fun shaking a large parachute with a little wind which made for a lot of laughs. Our wiffleball/baseball unit provided multiple opportunities to swing for the fences. I also love introducing students to activities that may be new to them, such as lacrosse. We were scooping, cradling, passing, and shooting. We also played some games that incorporated distance running as well. All lessons were modified for students depending on age/skill level. For example, one class may be talking about the awesome coach pitch game we played while other classes were still learning with the batting tees.

When the weather kept us indoors we took part in our ‘net games’ unit. Badminton and volleyball (using beach balls) kept students engaged and active. Our older students were able to participate in singles, doubles, and small team tournaments while our younger students spent a bit more time focusing on beginning skills.

Every class begins with a warm up utilizing the projector/large screen in the gym. Students head to their own personal space and take part in a variety of fun challenges. We can link the video to our remote learners so they are taking part in PE class at the same time. When looking for a silver lining in this COVID world , I have found a strong sense of community from PE teachers across the United States who are developing/ sharing terrific ideas via videos.

The Connecticut Physical Fitness Test was completed during this month of March third graders were introduced to the test for the first time while students in grade four gave their best efforts. Results will be coming home via backpack express prior to my departure towards the end of March. Across the State, students in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 take part in this testing every year.

I will be back one more time - specials in the month of June are dedicated to P.E. I'm thinking a whole lot of fun in the sun!

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Some Words from the Library with Mrs. Gordon!

March was such an exciting month for BFS readers! Our Read-a-Thon celebrating Read Across America and our discussions and quote creations about "Embracing our Differences" were wonderful successes. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the PTO sponsored Read-a-Thon and a special shout out to our lucky raffle winners! Keep Reading!

Our diversity book discussion and quote creation went wonderfully in all of the classes. Here's a look at what some grades created:

This coming up month we will be exploring poetry in all of our library classes in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Additionally, Grade 5 will continue reading Refugee by Alan Gratz, Grade 4, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton lee Stewart and Grade 3, The Potato Chip Puzzles, Winston Breen by Eric Berlin.

Happy Spring and Happy Reading!

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The 22nd Annual Elementary Celebration of the Arts

Booth Free School proudly recognized two fifth grade students at the virtual Connecticut Association of Schools Arts Celebration on March 30, 2021. Besides students, parents, administrator, our art teacher Mrs Manley and our music teacher, Mrs. Doiron were in attendance. This program recognizes students at the elementary level with outstanding ability in the performing or visual arts and who exhibit high levels of citizenship and cooperative skills in their school.

Congratulations to our recipients, Samantha Granger and Beckett Neithardt, for receiving this award and for their excellence achieved in the performing or visual arts.

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Spring door decorating

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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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