Region In Review

October 12th, 2018 | Shepaug Focus

'Taste of the Region' Fundraiser

A Community Comes Together

On the evening of Friday, September 14, 2018, the SVS PTO hosted their first annual “Taste of the Region” Community Get Together. The PTO designed the event to bring SVS parents, guardians, and educators together to celebrate the start of the 2018-2019 school year. The event featured a silent auction, food catered by local area chefs and restaurants, and live music performed by our own Tom Scarola. The event was organized by SVS parent volunteers Maggie Colangelo, Molly Leonard, Julie King, Michelle Manafy, and AnnMarie Sarbello with support from Frank Colangelo, Paula Conway, Michelle Frankland, Erin Metz, and Daphne Parker. Thanks to the generous support of our community, the PTO raised $4,700. Funds raised by the SVS PTO are used to enhance SVS student activities, clubs, and events.
Click Here - "Taste of the Region" Sponsors & Donors

The SVS PTO would like to thank the sponsors and donors for their support of this event! Click on the box above to view.

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Seventh and eighth grade students are delving into the science of plant and animal systems as an enrichment opportunity. Of note is their study of plant and animal sustainability as it relates to health and safety. Part of their curriculum involves daily health, safety and care of our guinea pigs. They not only take care of their health needs on a physical level, but learn the importance of care on a mental health level. In addition, agriscience students are practicing public speaking in preparation for explaining the plant and animal innovation project they are designing.

In the forthcoming months, we will add hydroponic plants, bearded dragons and axolotls to our classroom environment. The hydroponic/aeroponic system, obtained via an educational grant from Tower Gardens, will be built and implemented in the forthcoming months. A grant from Petco supplied us with the bearded dragon, complete with habitat. This provided students a hands-on opportunity for research and animal care. A gracious donation of axolotls (think salamanders that remain aquatic) was received from Stamford Regional Agriscience & Technology Center. As we continue to build our collegiate connections, students explore the important regeneration of human limbs research that is ongoing at Harvard University by studying axolotls regeneration capabilities.

2018 Homecoming at Shepaug


Shepaug Homecoming 2018 culminated on October 5th, and the Region 12 community came out to support the Spartans on a beautiful autumn afternoon and evening. The afternoon featured the Shepaug field hockey team earning a 1-0 win over Lewis Mills High School, followed by the boys and girls soccer teams battling the Mountaineers of Housatonic Valley in the evening "under the lights" in front of a large crowd.

In addition to the exciting play on the field, attendees were treated with food selections from the "Lucky Dog" food truck, owned and operated by Roxbury resident Mike Polumbo, as well as pizza made in the SpARTan Pizza Truck, run jointly by the Shepaug Art Club and the Washington Volunteer Fire Department. Additional items were available for sale from the SVS PTSO, the Shepaug Student Council, and the Spartan Armory School Store, as well as other groups.

Earlier in the week, Mother Nature prevented the field hockey team from playing under the lights on Tuesday, and forced Wednesday night's planned Flag Football Tournament under the lights to be changed to an indoor "Spikeball" Tournament. On Thursday night, the Senior Class hosted a Homecoming Dance in the Shepaug cafeteria, which was well-attended and enjoyed by many.

A special thanks goes out to the Shepaug Spartan Club for planning and setting up the event, as well as to Shepaug's maintenance and custodial staff for setting up the lights and helping during the entire afternoon and evening.

Thank you for all who attended and participated in this fun event. For future Shepaug athletic events, please visit our athletic schedules at:

Shepaug Valley High School Athletic Team Pages & Schedules

Shepaug Valley Middle School Athletic Team Pages & Schedules

Watch the video below to view more photos from Shepaug's Homecoming Pep Rally & Soccer Games!

The Shepaug Video Club’s film “Alone” was named an Official Selection of the All-American High School Film Festival.

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The Shepaug Valley Video Club’s film “Alone” was named an Official Selection of the All-American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF), the world's largest high school film festival. The event took place Columbus Day weekend in Times Square, New York City. All Official Selections were judged by a panel of qualified, experienced and diverse filmmaking professionals who represent various fields in the industry. Notable judges included: Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Matt Heineman, Ed Burns, Brittany Snow, John Oliver, John Legend, and more. All films were reviewed by multiple judges based on specific criteria ranging from originality of concept, depth of story and cinematic elements. Specific attention was given to the overall story concept and the emotional impact on the viewer. This year there were several thousand films submitted from all 50 states and more than 40 countries. The Shepaug Film “Alone” was one of 48 films selected for the Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy category, and will be screened at the AMC Theatres in Times Square, the busiest movie theater in America.

The 2018 AAHSFF began with an opening night party and concluded with the Teen Indie Awards Show in which the organization awarded more than $400,000 in prizes and scholarships. Not only did students see their film screened at the AMC Theatre during the festival, they also had the opportunity to learn from top industry professionals during multiple workshops and panels, connect with the latest technology at an interactive tech fair, and explore a myriad of higher education opportunities at the nation's largest film and media arts college fair.

At this event, students were able to meet with industry professionals and discuss their craft. They even scored an interview with Andrew Jenks, an award-winning American filmmaker, and founder of the festival.

FOX 61 Student News

The 2018-19 FOX 61 Student News 2.0 kicked off Friday, September 20th, with a workshop for teachers. This will be Shepaug's second consecutive year participating in the news program. Last year, Shepaug was nominated five times for top news stories, and four lucky students won scholarships worth up to $2,000. The Broadcast Journalism class also won a $500 award for submitting the most films of any school (16), 13 which were played on the air!

The FOX 61 Student News program empowers Connecticut students to explore the world of multi-media journalism by giving them the opportunity to capture, edit and publish original content for weekly newscasts. Students produce and host segments showcasing local stories or events, and select stories are featured on-air during Friday’s Morning News at 7:25 a.m., the 5 and 10 p.m. news, twice during the FOX61 Morning News on Saturday, and on Facebook and

National Merit Award Winners At Shepaug!

Allison Parker - Commended Scholar

Allison Parker has been named a Commended Student in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. Approximately 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional promise. Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of 1.6 million students who entered the 2019 competition by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Wilson King - Semifinalist

Wilson King has been named a semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. He is among the top 16,000 scorers of 1.6 million students who entered the 2019 competition by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Wilson has earned the right to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered in the spring.
Thank you, Allison and Wilson, for representing Shepaug with scholarly distinction!

AP Scholar Announcement

Shepaug Valley School Principal Kimberly Gallo is pleased and proud to announce the AP (Advanced Placement) Scholar Roster, 2018. According to the AP website, With the AP Scholar Awards, the AP Program recognizes high school students who have demonstrated outstanding college-level achievement through their performance on AP Exams.

AP Scholar status is granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. Shepaug students who earned this status are Madison Baker, Tierney Kovacs, Maxwell Krantz, Sofia Mancinone, Avery Serra, and Sierra Soletsky.

AP Scholar with Honor is awarded to the student or students who receive an average score of 3.25 or higher on all AP exams taken, and score 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. Shepaug student Wilson King earned this status.

AP Scholar with Distinction is awarded to the student or students who receive an average score of 3.5 or higher on all AP exams taken, and score 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. Shepaug students Alvin Hermans, Emma Krebs, and John Roush earned this status.

The Shepaug Valley School learning community celebrates the accomplishments of these outstanding students.

Shepaug...Then and Now

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Steve Pickett, longtime Washington resident, Shepaug 1975 graduate and two sport athlete, and current coach of Shepaug Middle School Boys Soccer, Freshman Boys Basketball, and Varsity Girls Softball is a Spartan through and through. Additionally, he has enthusiastically taken on a new role, Shepaug historian, as the agriscience program takes shape.

A few months ago, Mr. Pickett came to Shepaug with a golden shovel in his hand. The shovel, he explained, was the one used in the original groundbreaking ceremony. The gift was happily accepted and remains in the main office, awaiting the agriscience groundbreaking ceremony in November.

This week, as the Building Committee accepted bids for phase two of the agriscience project, Mr. Pickett was once again the bearer of institutional memory. This time, he brought articles chronicling the original construction of Shepaug Valley School. These articles, which are pictured, captured the sentiment of a community that was anticipating the opening of a new school. One newspaper description highlighted the excitement in this passage: ...the massive structure…..obviously is going to be somewhat more lively in appearance than typical school architecture in the area. Indeed, and judging from what is already done, the new school might well rival in appearance at least the famous Litchfield Junior High School.

A district report that was published in January of 1972, also provided by Mr. Pickett, featured comments about the school that was under construction from former Principal Dr. Darrell Lund: When the taxpayers of Shepaug Valley Regional School District No. 12 voted to assume additional tax burden to build the new Shepaug Middle-High School complex they opted for a fundamental change in the quality education afforded to the district’s youth….

The commitment of the professional staff must be to humanize the school and, through it, the society as a whole; and to maximize each student’s positive choices for living both in the present and the future. To attempt anything less is to have lost a rare opportunity.

How fortunate are we to find ourselves immersed in another rare opportunity nearly fifty years later. The challenge that presents itself to the Shepaug faculty is how to welcome new students to the Shepaug Experience, to create interdisciplinary opportunities that allow agriscience studies to enhance instruction throughout the curricula, and to create an agriscience program that prepares interested students for college and career.

Thank you Coach Pickett, for providing us with a glimpse of Shepaug way back when. The connections to where we are today showcase the vibrant spirit of the Shepaug Experience!

Michelle Gorra Earns CABE's 'Certificated Board of Education Member' Designation!

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Michelle Gorra, a member of the Region 12 Board of Education, recently achieved the level of Certificated Board of Education Member in the CABE Board Member Academy for the 2017-2018 school year.

Ms. Gorra was one of the 9 board members recognized for their achievement in participating in numerous hours of board-related professional development activities. A board member must accumulate at least 20 credits to become a Certificated Board of Education member. Areas of study are designed to strengthen leadership skills and give members a firm foundation in the essential governance skills needed to carry out their responsibilities. The areas of study are:

  • Board Relations with the superintendent, with the community, and with each other
  • Policy
  • Curriculum
  • School Finance
  • School Law
  • Labor Relations
  • Board Operations

“CABE is pleased to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of members of Boards of Education across Connecticut who have attained the Certificated Board of Education Member level,” said CABE President Robert Mitchell.

“These board members have rightfully placed an importance on their own professional development, focusing on a range of relevant topics including fiscal operations and positive school climate.”

New York Times Best Selling Author of "Refugee", Alan Gratz, Visits Shepaug

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Shepaug students enjoyed a day with "Refugee" author Alan Gratz on Tuesday, September 25. The New York Times bestselling author enthralled the entire student body with a "Choose Your Own Adventure" presentation in the Shepaug auditorium and also visited several classrooms, from seventh grade to AP Literature, for questions and answers in small group settings. Mr. Gratz spoke about his writing career, his 14 award-winning novels for young adults (as well as his unpublished works), the writing process and the research required to produce a culturally and historically accurate story. Shepaug students asked insightful questions ranging from, "What character was the hardest to write about?" to "Do you have any advice for writing an engaging college essay?" Mr. Gratz answered all inquiries with grace and charm and no doubt inspired our young writers to pursue their writing dreams.

Art Club at Washington Farmers Market

As part of the National Art Honor Society's community service project, SVS students are offering a kids' craft table at the Washington Farmers Market every Saturday throughout the Fall season.
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Fliers & Upcoming Community Events

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Click Here - Pie & Cookie Order Form

Support SVS Tech Clubs! Click above to view.

Region 12 Calendar

Oct 12th - SVS 7th & 8th Grade Dance, 7pm

Oct 15th - SVS Cross Country Teams Senior Day Party, 4:30pm

Oct 15th - SVS Parent Workshop/ Pupil Personnel Services, SVS Library, 6pm

Oct 15th - Building Committee Meeting, SVS Room A3

Oct 15th - Facilities Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 6pm

Oct 15th - Policies & Bylaws Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 6pm

Oct 15th - BOE Education Meeting, SVS Library, 7pm

Oct 16th-19th - WPS PTO Book Fair

Oct 17th-20th - Early Dismissal for Students

Oct 17th-20th - SVS Parent Teacher Conferences, 12:30pm

Oct 19th - BS Intramural Sports, 8:10am

Oct 20th - BS PTO Fall Festival 11am - 2pm

Oct 22nd - BOE Retreat

Oct 23rd - Agriscience Community Conversation w/ Megan Bennett, Burnham School, 6:30pm

Oct 25th - Agriscience Community Conversation w/ Megan Bennett, Roxbury Town Hall,


Oct 25th - BS School Picture Day

Oct 25th - BFS School Picture Day

Oct 26th - SVS Middle School Picture Day, 8am

Oct 26th - BS Intramural Sports, 8:10am

Oct 26th - Grade 5 Track Meet, SVS, 9am