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Bethel Music Center to Present Bethel Schools With “Best Community for Music Education” NAMM Foundation Award

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Bethel Music Center to Present Bethel Schools With “Best Community for Music Education” NAMM Foundation Award
Mr. Damon Coachman takes a bow after a Bethel High School band concert last spring. Photo credit: Wendy Mitchell
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – EVENT NOTICE 

BETHEL PUBLIC SCHOOLS NAMED A BEST COMMUNITY FOR MUSIC EDUCATION IN AMERICA

–Bethel Music Center To Present Bethel Schools With The Award– 

What: 

Bethel Public Schools will receive their award as a “Best Community for Music Education.” The NAMM Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to advancing participation in music, named the district one of the “Best Communities for Music Education in America.” Bethel Music Center has provided support in the form of music and instruments for this program, which was one of only 176 districts in the entire country to be recognized for its commitment to music education. Districts were judged based on their music curriculum and program, as well as public support. 

The Web-based survey used to evaluate each district included questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for the music program. 

Where: 

Municipal Center – 1 School Street, Bethel CT 

When: 

Thursday, June 21st at 7PM 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The NAMM Foundation: 176 Programs Earn Distinction As ‘A Best Community for Music Education’
-166 School Districts and 10 Schools Achieve Prestigious National Designation-

CARLSBAD, Calif.  —The NAMM Foundation today announced the results of its 13th annual Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) survey, which acknowledges schools and districts across the U.S. for their commitment and support for music education as part of the core curriculum. In all, 176 communities out of 237 that submitted surveys were recognized, including 166 school districts and 10 schools. The announcement comes in anticipation of NAMM’s National Wanna Play Music Week, (May 7-13) a weeklong promotion designed to encourage people of all ages and skill levels to experience the proven benefits and fun of playing music.

Established in 1999, The BCME survey is a nationwide search for communities who provide access to music education as an essential part of a complete education and exemplify commitment and support for music education. The BCME survey is designed and implemented in collaboration with The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service (www.ku.edu/~ierps/cgi-bin<http://www.ku.edu/~ierps/cgi-bin>) of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

The announcement of the 2012 Best Communities for Music Education campaign comes during a crucial time as school districts nationwide finalize budgets.  The “Best Communities” designation is a distinction worthy of pride, but is also a call to action for local music education advocates to help preserve and potentially expand access to their current music education programs.

Past designees have reported that making the Best Communities list had a positive effect on their ability to advance recognition and support for music programs.  NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen encourages communities to use the designation as a cornerstone of vigorous advocacy for music education programs.

“We know that communities are struggling to maintain funding for many education programs and we applaud these communities that remain committed to a complete and quality education that must include music and the arts,” said Luehrsen.  “We urge communities to celebrate the designation as a national recognition for their commitment to children and most of all, to keep the music playing in their schools for years to come.”

Each school receiving the “Best Communities” designation scored in the 80th percentile or higher in the survey’s grading process. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and other relevant factors in their communities’ music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials and advisory organizations reviewed the data.

A copy of the survey can be downloaded for review at www.nammfoundation.org<http://www.nammfoundation.org>.

In conducting the annual survey, the NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education: Americans for the Arts (www.americansforthearts.org<http://www.americansforthearts.org>), League of American Orchestras (www.americanorchestras.org<http://www.americanorchestras.org>), The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (www.mhopus.org<http://www.mhopus.org>), Music for All (www.musicforall.org<http://www.musicforall.org>), Music Teachers National Association (www.mtna.org<http://www.mtna.org>), National Guild For Community Arts Education (www.nationalguild.org<http://www.nationalguild.org>), Yamaha Corporation of America (www.yamaha.com<http://www.yamaha.com>), Young Audiences (http://www.youngaudiences.org/) and VH1 Save The Music Foundation (www.vh1savethemusic.com<http://www.vh1savethemusic.com>).

The complete Best Communities for Music Education roster can be viewed at www.nammfoundation.org<http://www.nammfoundation.org>.
About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.

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Summer School Bus Routes

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Summer School Bus Routes

From the Superintendent–

The Bethel Public Schools offer limited bus service for students taking summer programs. There are three busses that service the entire town (bus A, bus B, and bus C). Summer bus stops are not the same as the school year bus stops. These bus routes can not be changed. If you have signed up for the bus and paid the ten dollar bus fee, please find the nearest stop to your house. If you have a question about which stop your child should be on, please call First Student Bus Company at 203-748-8091.

Summer School Bus A
Start: 7:30
Greenwood @ High Street AMOnly
227Greenwood Ave. PM
18½ Elgin Ave.
MansfieldStreet @ Benson Road
FleetwoodAve. @ Hudson Street
29Highview Terrace
HighviewTerrace @ Grassy Plain St.
GrassyPlain St. @ Drummers Lane
ResevoirSt. @ Glenwood Dr.
23Granite Dr.
15Rotella Dr.
Bethpage@ Sharon Court
CherryLane @ Tremont
88Grassy Plain St.
65Wooster Street
Juniper@ Kingswood
20Wooster St.
MainSt. @ Golden Hill
PlumtreesCondos
MapleAve Ext. @ Grandview

Summer School Bus B 
Start: 7:30

36 Nashville Rd
Chestnut Street Condos
74 Chestnut Street
Greenwood @ Topstone Drive
53 Hoyt’s Hill Road
Hoyt’s Hill @ Fawn Rd
4 Highland Ave.
Milwaukee @ Midway Dr.
121 Milwaukee Ave.
Wolfpits Road @ Buckboard
93 Hoyt’s Hill Road
13 Pell Mell Drive
Rockwell @ Galloping HillRoad
29 Old  Hawleyville Rd.

Summer School Bus C
Start: 7:30
Lexington Blvd
Payne Road @ Meckauer Circle
42 Payne Road
Payne Rd @ Castle Hill
34 Chimney (Between N Hearthstone and  Benedict)
4 Sky Edge   (Between Hearthstone and Chimney, Target side)
14 Chimney Dr   ( between Sky edge and N Hearthstone)
51 Redwood Dr
199 Old Hawleyville Rd  .(Then turn around at Toby)
232 Old Hawleyville Road
Vail Road @ Long Hill Road
Bee U Learning Center
Old Hawleyville @ Sunny Acres
104 Walnut Hill Road  (Righton Rockwell on the left before Pondview)
4 Far Horizons Dr  (FarHorizons @ Quaker Ridge)
26 Far Horizons Dr (Benedict @ Far Horizons side)
34 Green Pasture Rd  (Quaker ridge @ Green Pasture)
14 Oakridge Road  (Rightout of McLaughlin it’s across the street)
36 Ridgedale Road  (rightoff of Hilldale 36 is in the right)
Walnut Hill Rd @ Pondview Dr
48 Benedict Road  (rightfrom intersection of Ridgedale on the right towards the school)

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Bethel High Graduates 270 Seniors

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Bethel High Graduates 270 Seniors

Students with caps decorated with the colleges they plan to attend, line up to receive their diplomas during Wednesday evening’s Bethel High School graduation at Western Connecticut State University’s O’Neil Center in Danbury.

Photo credit: Dave Buchholz

Two hundred and seventy seniors donned their maroons and white caps and gowns Wednesday evening at Western Connecticut State University’s Westside campus for Bethel High School’s Class of 2012 graduation.

Class president Abdullah Hassan spoke to his peers and commended principal on a job well done Patricia Cosentino who is leaving this year for another position after 11 years with Bethel Public Schools. Despite a broken collarbone, Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker was in attendance and reminded students to exercise their right to vote. Class valedictorian Brian Michalka encouraged students to follow their passion in life.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kevin Smith, shared that the scholarship totals received were over $3.1 million, making this year’s class one of the best.

Cosentino handed out diplomas, as graduates put strings of maroon and white beads around her neck. Cosentino also received a diploma from her two associate principals so she would forever be a part of the Bethel High School Class of 2012.

Photo gallery: Dave Buchholz

Bethel Education Foundation’s 2nd Annual Summer Kickoff Jam Packed With FUN!

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Bethel Education Foundation’s 2nd Annual Summer Kickoff Jame Packed With FUN!

From the Bethel Education Foundation–

Join us for our 2nd Annual Family Summer Kickoff event. It will be held on the last day of school — Thursday, June 14th from 2PM-6PM on the Bethel Middle School Grounds (rain or shine). Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and the whole family! Games for children of all ages, sports games and activities, bounce house, dunk tank, music, food and much more! Cost: $5/person or $20/family in advance. At the door cost: $7/person or $25/family. Ticket order forms will be distributed in elementary schools or you can download the form. Food will be available for purchase including hamburgers, hotdogs, pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, chips, and beverages.

Interested in sponsorship or donating a raffle item? Please email  bethelctedfoundation@yahoo.com  We’d love to hear from you.

We have volunteer opportunities for any adult or student who is interested. Please send us an email to bethelctedfoundation@yahoo.com to sign up.

Bethel Education Foundation Plans 6th Annual Barnum Ball

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Bethel Education Foundation Plan 6th Annual Barnum Ball

The Bethel Education Foundation (BEF) is busy planning their 6th Annual Barnum Ball,  “A Toast to Bethel.” The ball will take place on Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 7pm-Midnight at the Ethan Allen Hotel in Danbury. The evening will includes an open bar from 7pm-9pm, dinner, dancing, and a silent and live auction.

The Barnum Ball is the BEF’s largest fundraiser of the year for the non-profit organization whose mission is to “promote innovation, creativity and excellence in learning for our children and our community,” according to their website.

Founded in 2004, the BEF is an all-volunteer foundation that raises funds for projects that support Bethel’s public and private schools and preschools.

Some of the projects and items the BEF has funded include Smartboards, sound systems, laptops, cameras and special programs for drug and bullying awareness. Rockwell School received the latest grant from the BEF for the “Integrating the Apple iPad2 into Elementary Small Group Instruction project.” This was submitted by 3rd grade teachers Mr. Pierce, Mrs. Drake, Miss Hefferan, Mr. Walsh and Miss Bibb.

They also awarded grants for the new STEM Education program at Bethel Middle School, iPod touches and a docking station for art teacher Mrs. McCue at Johnson School, and a Senteo system for Social Studies teachers Mrs. Lateef and Mrs. Burns at Bethel Middle School. The BEF also approved a $5,000 gift towards the architectural plans for the Community Pool.

Tickets for the 6th Annual Barnum Ball will go on sale on sale January 1, 2012 and cost $70 per person or $650 for table of 10. The Ethan Allen is offering a hotel special for the event, a $99 special rate that includes breakfast for two the following morning.

The BEF is seeking items for donations for the Barnum Ball, as well as ads for their event book. Please email bethelctedfoundation@yahoo.com for more information.

Bee U Learning Center Offers Children Creative Lessons & Unique Learning Experiences

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Bee U Learning Center Offers Children Creative Lessons & Unique Learning Experience

There’s a new hive in town for Bethel’s littlest bees, Bee U Learning Center. Located in the Berkshire Corporate Park in the former location of Bright Horizons, Bethel’s newest childcare facility offers children creative opportunities to express themselves in a loving nurturing environment.

Director Nancy Paglinco, an Easton resident, has been in the childcare business in Bethel for 28 years and said she chose the name “Bee U” because “We give children the opportunity to be themself. Each child is unique and we want to encourage their individuality.”

Paglinco chose the name because she wants each child to “be themselves” and “be who they want to be.” The Director and staff believe in: “Fostering a positive self-image in each individual child and proving a supportive environment, a lifelong love of learning and discovery will also be instilled.

The center officially opened on August 31 and provides experiences that stimulate children’s physical, intellectual, and aesthetic development. Learning centers encourage individual exploration as well as group play experiences. Educational toys and manipulatives are provided in order to encourage the child’s natural curiosity.

Bee U’s expert staff has between 10-20 years of teaching experience and creates exciting and educational lessons for children of all ages. All teachers and assistants attend regular training and workshops on child development to stay up to date on the latest safety standards and benchmarks for students.

The year-round program includes special events, field trips, activities and summer camp in July and August. Children enjoy outdoor playtime on the spacious playground in a park-like setting. Daily activities range from arts and crafts to learning games and family events.

Bee U cares for kids from 3 months to 12-years-old. The after school program provides a safe and comfortable environment for grade schoolers each afternoon and on snow days and holidays.

Students participate in community service oriented events as well. On Halloween the children walked next door to Bethel Health Care to visit with patients and brighten their day. The patients made special treats for the children. During the fall children and families are collecting non-perishable food items to donate to the local food pantry.

Creative arts and crafts are provides and adorn the walls and ceilings of the classrooms to go along with the monthly themes. Children are encouraged to be themselves in their work and teachers foster a sense of pride in their accomplishments.

Bee U Learning Center offers emotional and educational support. Nurturing teachers give children the love and care they need to thrive in a home-away-from-home environment. The  year-round program runs from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information about their program or to book a tour please call the center at 203-798-0015. Visit their website by clicking here. Please “Like” their Facebook page by clicking here. For more information email beeulc@gmail.com.

Bee U Learning Center is located at 15 Parklawn Drive in Bethel in the Berkshire Corporate Park.

Bethel Public Schools Are Open Thursday On A 2-Hour Delay

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From the Bethel Board of Education–

The Bethel Public Schools will reopen tomorrow, November 3rd, on a 2-hour delay schedule.  Schools are open as a service to parents.  No child will be penalized for failure to attend classes on Thursday or Friday.  As with all school days, parents should determine if they will send their child to school. Power has been restored to all schools.  Breakfast and lunch will be available for those who need it.

Bus routes have been checked.  The buses will not completely travel the following roads: Shelly Road, Glenwood Road, Reservoir Road, Bethpage Road, Sharon Court, Hoyt’s Hill between Rt 58 and Governor’s, Redwood Drive, Deepwood Drive. The bus will stop at the nearest safe intersection. Again schools will be open as a service to parents.

Note: No students will be penalized for not attending school Thursday and Friday.

BHS Marching Band & Color Guard Take Home Another First Place Win

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BHS Marching Band & Color Guard Take Home Another First Place Win

There have been five marching band competitions so far this year and the BHS Marching Band & Color Guard have taken home five first place wins. The season kicked off on September 10th with a US Scholastic Band Association competition at Danbury High School. They scored 65.975 in the Class II competition.

The following week the BHS Marching Band & Color Guard competed in the Musical Arts Conference (M.A.C.) competition at Brookfield High School. Again, they took home first place in Class II.  On September 24th they kept their winning streak going with another award-winning performance at another M.A.C. competition at Naugatuck High School.

Kicking off the month of October at Trumbull High School in M.A.C. competition, they took home their fourth first place win in Class II. Last weekend  they won first place at Shelton High School in Class II taking home their fifth win of the season. Click here for video.

Under the direction of Damon Coachman, the BHS Marching Band pushes limits and breaks boundaries, going beyond their comfort zone to perform with excellence. Their marching formations and in-synch movements show how well they work together as a team. The drum line has even added a little bit of dancing to their performance, getting loose on the field.

On October 29th the band and color guard will compete in M.A.C. competition at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, CT. The USSBA New England Championships is in Bridgeport on Sat. Nov. 5th. Bethel will compete, along with 38 other bands. Gate time 10 a.m. and the BHS performance time has not yet been posted. The “Early Release Schedule” is posted 16 days prior to the event and the “Final Schedule” is posted 9 days prior to event. Click here for details.

This year they brought back their successful fundraiser of their  Bethel merchant discount cards. For more information on the fundraiser parenthelp@bethelband.com. For more information about the BHS Marching Band and Color Guard, click here.

High School Students! Live Green & WIN Green!

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High School Students! Live Green & WIN Green!

The following is information from CL&P’s website about a contest for high school students–

How “Green” is Your School?

2011-2012 “Live Green – Win Green” contest coming soon!

Click here to view 2010-2011 “Live Green – Win Green” student entries!

image

High school students throughout the CL&P service area will be competing for $35,000 in prize money that they can apply to the green project they envision for their school. The grand prize winner will recieve a $20,000 grant and 3 runners-up will each be awarded $5,000 grants. It’s a simple as putting together a two-minute video and an essay telling us how your school is going green, and how the prize money can help you achieve your goals.

Thanks to all the schools that entered in the 2010-2011 Connecticut Light & Power “Live Green – Win Green” contest! We certainly hope you will be back for this year’s contest.

Contest Information

What?

Green thinking has become one of the most important and necessary lifestyle changes in the 21st century. The Live Green – Win Green competition has been put in place to build green awareness with Connecticut high school students and to reward the schools who support students making their school a greener place. Connecticut Light & Power is challenging students to tell us why and how we should help you help your school become more “green.”

Who?

Live Green – Win Green is sponsored by Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P). CL&P is Connecticut’s largest utility company, supplying more than 1.2 million Connecticut residents and businesses with electricity. CL&P plays a major role in the growth and vitality of Connecticut’s economy and quality of life. They are dedicated to educating future generations about using energy more wisely and being more environmentally conscious.

How?

Each entrant (either group or individual) must submit a video and a short essay. Each entry must be made by a school administrator or faculty advisor on behalf of the students who develop the submission.

Video – Students must produce a two minute video showcasing the changes you and your fellow students are making to conserve energy and make your school environmentally friendly. Creativity counts so make sure these videos are fun and exciting. Each video must be uploaded to http://www.clpenvironments.com/LiveGreenWinGreen.php by the date specified below.

Essay – Write an essay (maximum 1000 words) telling us about other environmental and energy efficiency changes you would like to see implemented at your school, but currently lack the financial resources to accomplish. We’re looking for real commitment to effective changes that are creative and sustainable.

When?

Entries will be accepted online at http://www.clpenvironments.com/LiveGreenWinGreen.php between February 13 and February 29, 2012. Winners will be announced in April, 2012.

Where can I learn more and see last year’s entrants? Please visit http://www.clpenvironments.com and click Live Green Win Green for more info and to see all of last year’s great entrants.

BHS Marching Band & Color Guard Showcase Talent at Band Camp

POSTED BY  ⋅ AUGUST 29, 2011 ⋅ LEAVE A COMMENT

BHS Marching Band & Color Guard Showcase Talent at Band Camp

~By Wendy Mitchell

The Bethel High School Marching Band and Color Guard kicked off their 2011-2012 season with a 7-day band camp, held over the last 2 weeks at the high school,  under the direction of Damon Coachman. The band is making excellent progress as they ready for their first competition at Danbury High School on  Saturday, September 10.

This year’s band camp was especially challenging due to the extreme heat. Students coped by drinking plenty of water and taking breaks after lots of hard work. The BHS Band recently hired new instructors for each section including the color guard.

This year the BHS Marching Band will play  musical pieces composed by Karl Jenkins. Click here for a video of some of the music they performed. The music showcases students’ musical abilities by challenging them to play in many different time signatures. Mr. Coachman is known to push students beyond their limits in order to reach their full potential.

Band Camp ended  last Friday with a special banquet as a reward for all the hard work students put in.

Bethel High School’s Marching Band’s home show, Quest for the Best, is scheduled for Saturday, October 8, at Bethel High School. This is an event music lovers don’t want to miss. Talented marching bands from all over the state compete for awards and trophies. This U.S Scholastic Band Association competition also features some amazing color guards from all across Connecticut. Click here for a current schedule.

Mental Prep For Back-to-School

POSTED BY  ⋅ AUGUST 13, 2011 ⋅ LEAVE A COMMENT
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Mental Prep For Back-to-School ~ By Wendy Mitchell

In less than three weeks Bethel students all across town will be begin their ten month journey in the next grade at school.  Here are some tips to make sure you and your child are both ready, physically and mentally.

With each new year at school comes a new challenge.  Preparing your child for what’s to come from an early age will help them adjust and make for less painful good-byes and less crying at the classroom door or bus stop.

Preschool Panic

When my daughter began preschool at the age of three we went through a very long battle at the classroom door that was emotionally draining on us both. Commonly called “Separation Anxiety,” my daughter would begin to cry and would not let me leave the classroom.  Many times her teacher would have to “pry” her off of me which was tough on us both.

After months of this painful routine I told my husband that he was going to have to take her to school because we didn’t know what else to do.  Sure enough the crying and clinging stopped after a few days and we were back to normal.

I have heard other parents’ experiences this same behavior at the bus stop.  Leaving your child while they are crying is hard on parents and leaves them with an uneasy feeling all day, not knowing if their child is okay.  Establishing open lines of communication with the teachers and preparing your child will help them to overcome their fears.

Preparation is Key

Prepare your child by talking with them beforehand about what to expect. Tell them what they will do throughout the day, such as outside time, walking to the cafeteria to eat lunch, and school rules.  Some children may not be used to sitting still for a story for ten minutes or staying at the table when eating lunch or snack.  Let them know what the teachers will expect of them and the consequences if they don’t listen. Sometimes it’s scary if they hear other children crying when saying good-bye so prepare them for that as well.

Communicate With the Teacher

Experienced teachers can offer insight on how a child is adjusting as well as creating different strategies on overcoming Separation Anxiety if it continues. Drop-off and pick up time is not the time to talk to teachers, however, as this is the busiest time of the day for them.  Schedule a time for a telephone conference when you both won’t be distracted and interrupted by your child or others.

Creating open lines of communication is beneficial to all parties and will allow you to help you and your child to adjust.

Bye Bye Love

As hard as it may be to say good-bye, especially for new parents, prolonging good-byes only pro-longs the agony. Keep it short and sweet.  Establishing a ritual like blowing kisses or a secret special handshake is a great way to help them adjust.  Always tell your child that you are leaving, do not “sneak away” as this will cause mistrust and only create a deeper fear of separation and a bigger problem to solve.

Tell your child when you will come back to pick them up.  Find out the classroom schedule, such as lunch, story, nap, craft, dismissal and tell them when they are done with their craft time you will be there shortly to get them.  Young kids are still grasping the concept of time and won’t understand if you tell them you will be back in three hours.

As challenging as Separation Anxiety can be, “this too shall pass.”

Here are some books that can help ease the pain of Separation Anxiety.

 Owl Babies (Candlewick Press, 1996) by Martin Waddell

The Kissing Hand (Child & Family Press, 1993) by Audrey Penn

School-Age, Tweens & Teens Turmoil

Have a conversation (or two) with your child about bullying.  This is such a common occurrence in schools that starts at a very early age and can have devastating effects on a child or teen.

Stop Bullying Now is a great website that offers tips for talking to your child about bullying, cyber bullying and various resources on the topic.  It also lists laws on bullying by state.

Shopping Tips

Shopping for back-to-school basics can be very exciting for a young child but sometimes a parent can go overboard when in the midst of those big sale signs, pushy salespeople, and the overwhelming amount of marketing tools to get you to buy more than you really need. Check with your local Bethel merchants first to see what they have in stock before shopping big box merchants.

Before You Go

Prepare a budget with your child. Use this opportunity to talk to them about the importance of saving money by shopping sales and using coupons. Learning to manage their money is a valuable tool that will benefit them for years to come.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Use the required supply list the teacher will send home or check your school’s website for recommendations.  Take inventory in your child’s bureau and closet to determine what they will need for the fall and winter.  Go over your list with your child and decide between wants and needs.

From my own experience, always buy winter boots early as stores seem to run out by October. Many times we have had to order online through L.L. Bean or Land’s End because we waited too long.  Buying these early will also allow you to use your store coupons which online ordering doesn’t always accept.

Shop Sales & Clip Coupons

Some discount office supply stores offer free shipping on online orders. Local health departments in some areas offer free basic school supplies to parents who bring their children in for immunizations. Hang on to flyers and ads that advertise supplies at a particular price. If the store where you’re shopping charges more, ask the sales clerks to match its competitor. Some stores that don’t offer price matching will still do it.

Quality Counts

Cheap pens that leak will ruin clothes and end up costing you money to replace them.  Shop name brand for items your kids will use daily.  Crayola, Elmer’s, and Paper Mate are our family’s favorites.

Help Your Community

If your school participates in a points program with your local grocery store or other merchants, shop for supplies from those vendors who will donate a percentage to your school.  Bethel Social Services desperately needs Target and Payless gift cards to help the less fortunate in our community get what they need for back to school.

With the proper tools and good preparation you and your child are sure to have a happy and productive school year.

Little Friends Pre-School Celebrates 22 Years in Bethel

POSTED BY  ⋅ JULY 26, 2011 ⋅ 1 COMMENT

Little Friends Pre-School, LLC (LFPS) opened its doors in September  of 1989.  This September they will celebrate 22 years in business in Bethel. The school has been accredited through the National Association of the Education for Young Children (NAEYC) since 1992. Owner Nancy Galiano fulfilled a lifetime dream when she opened the preschool and is passionate about her work. By providing an experience that is both interactive and exciting, children ages 3-5-years-old enjoy a hands-on approach to learning.

Learning through play with intentional teaching is the philosophy of their program.  The children have ample opportunities each day to choose their own centers and to participate in groups of 4-6 children in the various teacher selected activities. Galiano said, “Children entering kindergarten are expected to know so much more today than in previous years.  We provide a stimulating curriculum that addresses all 77 benchmarks devised by the State Department of Education.  Our goal is to excite the children to become life long learners.”

Little Friends provides parents with a Weekly Activity plan so parents always know what skills and concepts their children are being introduced to. They provide several options for the parents to choose for their individual child.  Offering the traditional 2 ½ hour sessions, as well as extended days for both the 3’s and the 4’s, allows parents the opportunity to choose which programs works best for their family.

In keeping with the current trend in exposing children to multicultural programs, Little Friends
offers a program called ‘Around the World’ where children travel from Australia to Zimbabwe with songs, stories, architectural landmarks and foods of each country.

The square footage of Little Friends allows for 39 children at one time, however they limit the class size to 18-20 children with 3 or 4 full-time teachers.  ”Quality verses quantity has always been a top priority,” Galiano said.

“Small class sizes allow the teachers to really get to know and understand the needs, strengths, and uniqueness of each individual child which is crucial in the early years of growth and development,” Galiano said.

The school calendar at Little Friends runs from September through mid-June.  Keeping in mind parent’s busy work schedules, the school tries to limit  school closings to  National holidays, winter break and spring break.  Teachers receive required professional development training in the evening, on weekends and online. Comparing Little Friends’ current school year calendar with area pre-school programs, Galiano said, reveals an additional 12 sessions for each class, or approximately 4-5 weeks of additional school time experiences.

The staff at Little Friends is highly qualified with the Head Teachers holding Masters Degrees in the field of Early Childhood.  The supporting staff holds college degrees in Early Childhood Education as well as Child Development Associate credentials.  Nancy Galiano has recently earned and been awarded the Connecticut Director’s Credential at the Master level.  This credential involved voluntarily completing 15 college level credits in administration, finance, personnel, supervision, and family relationships.

Parents continue to choose Little Friends Pre-School because of their outstanding reputation and their commitment to excellence.  The school just finished paving their driveway which has ample parking for parents and caregivers.  The playground includes a slide, ride on dinosaurs, a musical bells station and old-fashioned car that all encourage imaginative play.

Currently Little Friends has a promotional offer to receive one month’s tuition rebate to any parent who refers another family to the school for enrollment this school year.  Little Friends also always give out a free school T-shirt with the paid registration.

Little Friends Pre-School is located at 109 Wooster Street, Bethel, CT. For more information contact Little Friends by calling or clicking hereto be redirected to their website.

Bethel’s Graduation Brings Cheers & Tears

POSTED BY  ⋅ JUNE 21, 2011 ⋅ LEAVE A COMMENT

Bethel’s Graduation Brings Cheers & Tears ~ By Wendy Mitchell

It has been a week of cheers and tears for Bethel’s 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 12th grade students and their parents. Tears from the parents as they ask themselves, “Where does the time go?” or “It seems like just yesterday I was dropping you off on your first day of Kindergarten and now you’re graduating!” And cheers from the students as they sigh a huge sigh of relief to “finally be done with high school forever!”

As Bethel’s students embrace the future with open arms, their parents reluctantly let them fly out of their nests, ready to take on the challenges ahead.

Bethel High School’s Class of 2011 graduated 244 students at the O’Neil center on Wesconn’s west-side campus Tuesday evening. All decked out in their maroon and white graduation robes and mortar boards, students listened to commencement speakers Robert Owen, Dr. Gary Chesley, First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker, Principal Patricia Cosentino and valedictorian Nicola Gallagher encourage them to work hard, be grateful for what they have and take chances.

The Bethel High School Class of 2011 was proud to have earned $3.1 million in scholarships. They also served their community in various ways with  over 12,000 hours of community service.

Johnson School’s earned many community service hours this year as well.  Johnson’s 5th graders participated in their moving up ceremony Tuesday at the Bethel Middle School auditorium. The event included award presentations and a slide show. (See below for Bethel Buzz’s photos) Students toured the middle school after the awards ceremony with their new administrators to familiarize themselves with their new school.

The 3rd and 8th grade classes had their moving up ceremonies this week as well.  The 8th graders’ dance was held on Monday and students were dressed to the nines in beautiful gowns and dress clothes. Parents with students in multiple schools were busy between attending and bringing students to ceremonies, dances and end of the year field trips and class parties.

One common thread was apparent during all of the commencement ceremonies this week, Bethel is proud of its students. Earning many scholarships awards, students going to top schools and showing they care about their communities, administrators were proud to have taught these fine groups of students during the past year.

The Bethel Education Foundation welcomes families to come celebrate the end of the school year by joining them at the Family Summer kickoff party Wednesday from 4-8:00p.m. at Rockwell School. The cost is $7 at the door with a  $25 max per family.  There will be plenty of food, games, a teachers’ dunk tank, fortune telling with Dr. Janice Jordan, a live band and much more!

Safe Route To School Program Coming To Bethel

POSTED BY  ⋅ JUNE 20, 2011 ⋅ LEAVE A COMMENT

Safe Route To School Program Coming To Bethel ~ By Wendy Mitchell

Residents driving on Plumtrees and Maple Avenues may have noticed some new markings along the side of the street. The brightly colored spray paint signals a new project coming soon to Bethel called Safe Routes To School.

Safe Routes To School is a national initiative to provide safe sidewalks and walking paths to school children, allowing safe travels while walking or biking to school. The mission of the organization is to “build relationships and infrastructure,” according to their website. The goal is to bring together families, neighbors, school officials and community leaders together.

Bethel’s Public Works Director Andrew Morosky first heard of the program in 2007 when he began his position.

“ I’m always looking for ways to improve the infrastructure in town and when I heard about the grants for sidewalk construction I thought it was a great program,” Morosky said.

He presented the idea to the Board of Education and worked with getting Dr. Chesley and the board involved with proceeding. According to Morosky, the state Department of Transportation handles dispersing the federal money based on the merits, scope of work and what they can afford to do.

“We presented a good case, we included comments and ideas from residents we collected at informational town meetings and the state concurred that it was a good use of funds,” Morosky stated.

First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker was on the Board of Education at the time the idea was presented and said, “I thought it was a great idea. Andrew [Morosky] really spearheaded the effort and pushed it forward. It takes time to do these things.”

In 2007 the Town of Bethel received the grant money for the Safe Route To School project along Plumtrees and Greenwood Avenue. Four years later the project is starting to take shape. The stretch of road will receive new sidewalks that will connect a walking or biking path from Maple Avenue to Plumtrees to Whittlessey.

Opening bids go out this month on June 29. The review process will take place toward the end of July and most of work will be done from August through September.

“We will see what the bid is, it may be have to be supplemented with a town project to finish it,” he said.

Bethel’s new Safe Route To School will provide the community with resources to build sidewalks, bicycle paths and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure reduce speeds in school zones and neighborhoods address distracted driving among drivers of all ages and educate generations on pedestrian and bicycle safety.

For more information about the Safe Routes To School program, go to their website.

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