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Principal's Message: 9/27/19

September 27, 2019

Dear Burr Families,

Fairfield's writing curriculum is organized into a series of units of study. Each unit is an immersion into a different type (genre) of writing, and each unit lasts anywhere from 4-8 weeks. The goal is to help students be proficient in three areas of writing - narrative, informational, and opinion/argument based writing. Students learn to write as a process - which includes brainstorming, drafting, revision, editing, and publishing. They also learn how to write "on demand" in a 45 minute pocket of time. This type of writing supports the types of testing that students will encounter as they get older and serves as a benchmark for growth during any unit. Students usually begin the year reacquainting themselves with writer's workshop. This includes the routines and expectations of their writing class as well as building their engagement in order to feel like writers. (More about that in the weeks ahead.) For September, here is the unit that your child has been studying in writer's workshop.

K- Launching the Writing Workshop

1- Small Moments: Writing Narratives with Focus, Details, and Dialogue

2 - Narrative Writing

3 - Crafting True Stories - Narrative Writing

4 - The Arc of the Story: Narrative Writing

5 - Narrative Craft

While there are similarities in topic (narrative writing), the sophistication and application skills increase year to year. Narrative writing is highly engaging to students and is also a great way to teach skills like detail and word choice.

As a way to connect our work to your home, I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you to invite your children to tell stories, and to tell stories to your children. Many times parents ask, “What is the most important thing I can do to help my child as a writer at home?” And I often respond by saying, “Tell stories! Tell stories to your child.”

Your children start off the year writing stories. We usually teach them to start with small, true stories from their lives. This is a great way for new communities of teachers and children to get to know one another. Your child works hard at generating many personal stories. Some of these stories will become published pieces.

At home, the number one thing that you can do to support this process is to practice storytelling with your child. First, pick a few of your own favorite stories about your childhood. Tell stories about when you were the same age as your child. Tell them to your child as a ‘bedtime story.’ Tell stories that are joyful, or scary, or about times when you were nervous or proud. Show your child how your life, like theirs, is filled with significant moments.

Tell family stories as well - ones that your child took part in. You and your child can recollect special moments you’ve spent together. Look back at photos or other mementos and artifacts of special times. Together, you and your child can compose stories out loud where you each take on part of the story to tell.

Stories don’t always have to be about a special birthday, a trip, or an accident. They can be about a time you baked cookies together, or when the baby woke up the whole house, or when you walked home from school and got soaked in the rain.

Happy storytelling to you! I can’t wait to hear all the stories that your children bring to school.


Writing Books in grade 2! Important reading conferring work Students set goals 




Below is a link to our Behavior handbook. For the month of September, please focus on the following pages with your child:

  • Page 1. This is an introduction to the handbook and frames the mindset that we hope you and your child approach behavior at Burr.
  • Page 4. This page (in chart form) defines what our three keys words - understanding, respect, and responsibility - should look and sound like if practiced appropriately throughout school. I would ask that you review this page with your children.

Behavior Handbook 2019-2020 


Every year, UNICEF holds a fundraising program called Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, where kids all over the United States go door to door on Halloween collecting not only their candy, but also small donations for UNICEF. The Fairfield Ludlowe UNICEF club is looking forward to implementing this in Fairfield again this year. A few days before Halloween, a small, orange box will be given to each student, which we request they bring with them while trick-or-treating to ask for donation. We then ask that they please bring the boxes back to school to be collected. UNICEF originally started this program during World War II to support kids affected by the conflict, and since 1950 they have raise almost $177 million dollars. UNICEF donations improve the lives of children in 190 countries, helping fund immunizations, education, emergency relief, nutrition, clean water, and much more with your support! 100% of the donations made this Halloween will be given directly to UNICEF. We hope that we will be able to raise a lot of money this year for children all over the world. After all, this amazing program perfectly exemplifies UNICEF’s motto of kids helping kids! 


I wanted to share some important reminders about morning drop off in the circle in the front of the building. These are all critical to the safety of students, staff, and parents.

  • Please do not pass cars that are dropping off students in the circle.
  • Please do not drop students off in the parking lot. They must wait until they reach Burr staff in the circle. This will actually make the process go faster.
  • Please do not back up your car or try to turn around. After dropping your child off in the circle, follow the line of cars around the circle in order to exit. 


The following links take you to my Open House presentations. If you are interested in one of the books I mentioned, here is where you can find them.

Kindergarten Open House Presentation

Grades 1-5 Open House Presentation 


Parent teacher conferences are coming. As we have done in the past, we will be using Sign Up Genius to schedule conferences. Your child's homeroom teacher will be sending you a link on Friday afternoon. Please use this link to sign up for a conference. 


Fairfield is in the process of transitioning to the implementation of national science standards. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are an exciting turn on how we teach science at school. As the writers of the standards express in their position statement: “Science education traditionally focused on large volumes of content, primarily basic facts and vocabulary, while falling short on the deeper understanding of key scientific concepts and application of these concepts to daily life." The goal of these standards is to improve college preparedness, STEM career readiness, and improve the ability of all citizens of our country to make better and more informed decisions. Below is a chart that summarizes what this change will ultimately look like. I invite you to learn more about the standards at the following links. 


I am excited to offer a special parent night presentation with Coach Dana Cavalea on Monday night October 7th at 7:00PM at Burr. Coach Cavalea is a strength and life coach who has spent the majority of his career as the Director of Performance for the New York Yankees. In addition to working with high level athletes, coaches, CEOs and Executives, he is an international speaker and consultant. He will be speaking to Burr students on October 8th during the school day. Please join us for this special night. Below are links to purchase either his book for adults/teens and/or his newly released picture book. You can add a book to your cart and pay with a credit card. Where it says DISCOUNT CODE, please type FAIRFIELD to receive a discount.

Link for Picture Book:

Link for Adult Habits Book: 


Monday, September 30 - Rosh Hashanah - No School

Monday, October 7 - Coach Dana Cavalea presentation to parents, 7:00 PM in Burr library

Wednesday, October 9 - Yom Kippur - No school

Thursday, October 10 (Day), Tuesday, October 15 (Evening), and Wednesday, October 16 (Day) - Parent/Teacher Conferences - Early Dismissal for students at 1:40