Botelle Elementary School — Norfolk, Connecticut

Savage Frieze

Botelle Elementary School serves students in pre-kindergarten through grade 6. All students are accepted, appreciated, nurtured and challenged in a safe, caring learning community. Warm relationships are the foundation on which learning is built. Students achieve at high levels in a multi-age environment and remain with the same teacher for two years. This allows our staff to know each child as a learner and person and tailor instruction to their needs and interests. The curriculum is based on the Connecticut Core Standards and students work on rigorous, real-life tasks.

As partners in the learning process, students develop the skills to be self-directed, engaged learners. They develop the knowledge, skills, strategies and desire needed for life-long learning, which supports the Norfolk Public School mission “…to educate all students to be competent, confident, thoughtful, responsible, and contributing members of society.”

The town acquired the current Botelle building in 1970 from the Augustinian Brothers who constructed the building and operated a seminary at the site from 1958 to 1970, and named it for Myrtle Botelle, longtime teacher at the Norfolk Center School. In 1996, an extensive renovation of the site modernized the facility for its current use. Students completing sixth grade at Botelle usually attend Northwestern Regional School in Winsted, which serves grades seven to 12 for students from Barkhamsted, Colebrook, New Hartford and Norfolk.


Eagles Celebrate Earth Day

In April, the Botelle Eagles are Celebrating All and Creating Community with a schoolwide Earth Day celebration. Students will learn about the importance of protecting our planet and ways they can make an impact. Morning announcements will feature information and tips. We are viewing the eclipse on April 8 and, on Monday, April 22, we will celebrate Earth Day with billions of other people around the world.

We have partnered with local organizations to make our Earth Day celebration an interactive community event. Great Mountain Forest will take students on a guided hike behind the school. Northwestern students and staff, along with the Norfolk Farmers Market, will teach students about gardening and help students plant seeds for a salsa garden. Ms. Eileen from the Norfolk Library will read aloud an Earth Day picture book and complete a craft with students. Our staff will lead other activities like recycled instrument making, kindness rock painting, a nature scavenger hunt and making a pinecone and peanut butter bird feeder.

Student Council, when planning Unity Day in October, wanted to plant a tree as a reminder of the importance of inclusion and acceptance, so, at 11:30 a.m., the Norfolk landscaping company, Consolini and Tonan, will help our students plant a Unity Tree. We are planting a black gum tree, a native species that has bright orange leaves in the fall. Consolini and Tonan are donating the tree and their services to bring Student Council’s plan to fruition. Thank you for your generosity!

Earth Day is another example of Botelle School’s commitment to Celebrating All and Creating Community.

—Lauren Valentino, Principal

Botelle Eagles SOAR By Achieving Their Goals!

During February and March, the Botelle Eagles will learn more about Growth Mindset and use it to achieve their goals. What’s Growth Mindset, you ask? Growth Mindset is the belief that with time, practice, and effort you can get better at something. When you have a Growth Mindset you 

  • believe intelligence can be developed over time
  • embrace challenges as opportunities for growth
  • see failures as temporary setbacks
  • are inspired by the success of others

 Our students refer to Growth Mindset as having a “Rainbow Brain.” When we have a rainbow brain, we say things like

  • I can do hard things.
  • Shoot for the stars!
  • Choose challenges.
  • I can’t do it—yet.

Here are some goals our students want to achieve:

  • “I want to get better at multiplication. I really like math.” Charlie
  • “I want to create a pop up book that plays music.” Fiona
  • “My goal is to write a fiction book, focusing on plot development.” Kallyn
  • “I want to learn more about decimals—adding and subtracting them.” Luke
  • “My goal is to finish my weather book about tornadoes and spell the words correctly.” Mason
  • “I want to get better at math by adding big numbers.” Jackie

With hard work and practice, under the tutelage of their outstanding educators and families, our students will  achieve those goals and SOAR to new heights. Use those rainbow brains. We believe in you!

—Lauren Valentino, Principal

Mental Health Awareness

January is Mental Health Awareness Month. One of the ways we support our students’ emotional well-being is by using the RULER approach. Emotions matter. They affect learning and behavior, and this idea is the foundation of the RULER approach. The RULER acronym reminds us of the skills needed to Recognize, Understand, Label, Express and Regulate our emotions. These skills increase emotional intelligence.

Our teachers and school-based mental health professionals teach students strategies to develop these skills. As students mature, they learn sophisticated words like “serene,” “disheartened,” “livid” and “ecstatic” to help them accurately identify their emotions. They also learn the RULER tools: the Charter, Mood Meter and Meta-Moment. These strategies, tools and vocabulary, taught throughout the grades, develop greater emotional intelligence. At Northwestern, the learning continues. They too use the RULER approach with their students.

Our School Charter was created collaboratively with our students, families and staff. It identifies the way we deserve to feel when we are at school. It reads, “At Botelle School we deserve to feel… Happy, Safe, Welcomed, Confident, Excited and Loved!” When you visit Botelle, you will see our Charter posted on signs throughout the building. Liam Carrigan, a graduate of Botelle and current Northwestern student, recently completed his capstone project. He made us a beautiful wooden plaque with our School Charter etched on it. It now hangs outside the main office.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, students are learning strategies to practice mindfulness. Being mindful can help us feel the emotions in our School Charter. Students are learning to take a Meta-Moment shen they have a strong emotion to help them respond instead of react. They learn to 

  1. Sense: Notice a change in the body or mind
  2. Pause: Wait. Breathe to think more clearly
  3. See Your Best Self: Imagine your best self in the situation
  4. Strategize & Act: Think of a strategy and try it

Students will also attend an assembly later this month, with Crystal from Be Well Community Yoga in North Canaan. Crystal will lead students and staff in an immersive, whole body listening meditation designed to nurture the mind and body. This meditation, called a sound bath, is used to teach and practice mindfulness using singing bowls, rain sticks, gongs, percussions and chimes. In February, they will return to do yoga lessons with each class. Another community member from neighboring Colebrook, Peg Nelligan, is visiting Botelle with her therapy dog, Bonnie. Peg is a retired Northwestern educator and our students are so fortunate she and Bonnie will be here weekly. Bonnie and Peg will definitely help our students and staff feel excited and loved!

 Our theme this year is Celebrating All – Creating Community. Let’s take a mindful moment to celebrate the community we are so fortunate to be a part of. Thank you for supporting our students in feeling Happy, Safe, Welcomed, Confident, Excited and Loved inside and outside of school. 

—Lauren Valentino, Principal

A Small School with a BIG Heart

This month, to Celebrate All and Create Community the Botelle Student Council launched the “Love Being Kind” campaign, for which students are performing random acts of kindness at school and at home. The Student Council also wanted to reach out into the community and decided to sponsor a food drive. 

Holly Alexson, a teacher at Botelle, made contact with Marie Christine Perry of the Norfolk Food Pantry. Ms. Perry visited Botelle on December first and, at an assembly, taught our students about the importance of the food pantry, what students can donate and why some families might need the pantry’s help. All students left the assembly with ideas of what they can donate—pasta, canned vegetables, evaporated milk, and macaroni and cheese were just a few ideas shared. The most important message was to donate non-perishable food you love—others will love it too! 

Student Council created boxes for each classroom to collect the donations and will keep track of how many items have been donated. Our goal is for each classroom to collect 50 food items. If we reach that goal we will send 200 food items to the pantry. Each week, we will update the food pantry on how many items have been donated. You can follow our progress on the food pantry’s FaceBook page

The Norfolk community can help too. The Hub has a donation bin and will accept donations of non-perishable food items. Food items and/or monetary donations can also be brought directly to the Norfolk Food Pantry or the church office. 

Botelle’s motto, “A small school with a big HEART” is more than words. We practice this in school and outside it. We are grateful to be part of a small TOWN with a big HEART too. Together we can stock the shelves of the Norfolk Food Pantry!

—Lauren Valentino, Principal

School Administrators Available to Chat

The administrators of Botelle School are expanding the opportunities for residents to chat with them about school issues. Superintendent Mary Beth Iacobelli and Principal Lauren Valentino will be at the Berkshire Country Store, 6 Station Place, at noon every second Tuesday of the month and at the school, 128 Greenwoods Road East, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on that same afternoon for “Hour with the Admins” sessions. This offers residents a chance to connect, share their thoughts and get updates on what’s happening in the school district. Whether you have questions, suggestions or just want to say hi, they’ll be there to listen.

Useful Links

Address: 128 Greenwoods Road East, Norfolk CT 06058
Phone: 860-542-5286
Fax: 860-542-5770
Main office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

School calendar
A simple listing, in month-by-month calendar form, of school events. It can also be viewed in weekly or Agenda (list) formats. A single-page calendar showing holidays, early dismissal days and the dates for winter and spring breaks is posted here.

Faculty and staff

Parent/Teachers organization
The goal of the Botelle PTO is to enhance the educational experience and support the students and teaching staff by providing additional equipment, services and special events. It works to foster a close working relationship between parents, teachers/staff and students, and believes that a strong PTO is evidence of parental interest and ensures a better school environment for our children. Meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. All are welcome to attend or to send input to

Board of Education
The Norfolk Board of Education is an elected body charged with maintaining the organizational and fiscal well-being of the town’s school. The Board meets at 6:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month to hear issues of importance to the school, its teachers and its families. All are welcome to attend. Budget information, minutes and agendas are posted on the school website’s BOE page and video recordings of the meetings can be viewed on YouTube.

Facebook and Instagram
See Botelle School Facebook and Instagram pages for photos, event notices and more.

Links to Botelle School’s weekly newsletters are posted on its home page. Read the most recently posted one here.