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Principal's Message: 10/4/19

Dear Burr Families,

In Fairfield (and in many towns, cities, and states throughout the country and world), we teach writing through a writing workshop structure. Writing workshop is like any type of workshop in the working world. That is, it is built on a culture of experimentation and doing. Just like an artist creates within a workshop or an engineer works within a workshop culture, we learn to write better by writing - not by listening to someone talk about writing. Instruction during a writing workshop involves everything from teacher's conferring/coaching individual or small groups of student writers to short, targeted whole class instruction called mini lessons. The central premise, however, at the core of writing workshop is that students write and write a lot. Through our work with Teacher's College, I wanted to share a short video that both explains writer's workshop and gives you suggestions on how to facilitate and celebrate writing outside of school.

Writing Workshop

Last week, students at Burr participated in our first go around with Burr Buddies. Burr Buddies are bi-monthly, cross grade meetings where students get to work together on one aspect of social / emotional learning. Students are divided throughout the school in grade K-5 groups and placed with two adults (not necessarily their classroom teacher.) Last week we worked together on empathy by reading the book A Normal Pig by K Fai Steele. It's a wonderful book about being yourself and understanding others. Groups also made up a team name (Respectful Rockstars for example) and created a hand signal that members of each group could use when they saw their buddy throughout the school. It was a great opportunity to build connections and community among students and staff.

Have a great weekend.


Principal Message October 4, 2019


Below is a link to our Behavior handbook. For the month of October, 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.
  • Last Page. This page has a list of books that can be used to teach positive behavior. I would encourage you to read multiple books from this list. They have great messages which could lead to great conversations about how to apply these skills in your child's everyday life.

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.


Parent teacher conferences are coming. Please remember to sign up through Sign Up Genius. (Your child's homeroom teacher should have already sent a link.) Some things to keep in mind about conferences:

  • They are collaborative - which means they should be a combination of the teacher sharing information with you about your child and you asking questions.
  • They are short. Fifteen minutes is not a long time. Thus, if you have questions, I would suggest a focus. Teachers typically organize conferences around strengths your child is demonstrating at school and areas of growth or next steps. (What they need to work on.)
  • They are based on multiple data points. I would suggest not letting one data point (like STAR) define your child's experience at school. Look at their work with the teacher (writing samples, running record, math assessments, etc) to get a more robust look at your child's progress. Context also matters, so ask for clarification if there is something you don't understand. For example, if your child is reading at a level J, where is that in relation to where they should be?


Due to a scheduling issue, Coach Dana has had to cancel his presentation with parents for Monday, October 7th at 7:00 PM. If we are able to reschedule it for later in the year, I will let you know. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.


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

Fall Book Fair, Monday October 14, Tuesday, October 15, Wednesday, October 16, Thursday, October 17