“Jeffrey School it’s the place to be. A caring, connected community.” These proud and heartfelt lyrics to the Jeffrey School song reflect more than words on a song sheet. They embrace the true spirit of a student body striving to make their community a better place.
For the second consecutive year, Jeffrey School has partnered with Circle of Care to make a difference in the lives of young cancer patients. Circle of Care is a Connecticut based organization whose mission is to provide immediate and ongoing support to families of children with cancer. The organization was created by three moms who met while their own children were fighting pediatric cancer.
According to Principal Mona Goodman, this project is part of Jeffrey’s reading initiative to strengthen students’ reading skills and at the same time fulfill a need in the community. “It’s really a win-win situation that teaches about reading and giving.”
Principal Goodman praised the project for allowing Jeffrey students the ability to connect with other children in a philanthropic manner. She felt that because all of the children are so close in age the giving part of the project really hit home for the students.
As a part of the Jeffrey reading initiative, students took part in an author study by reading books by a specific writer. Authors included Mercer Mayer, Eve Bunting, and Dr. Suess, Doreen Cronin, and Rosemary Wells.
Students in various grades then joined together forming “families” to create tote bags based on each author to be distributed by Circle of Care to children battling cancer at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Stacey Ritsick’s 2nd grade and Tracey Soboleski’s 4th grade students both focused on author Eve Bunting’s book, “Trouble on the T-Ball Team” and as a family created items for their bag: baseball themed artwork, word searches and crossword puzzles, “Louisville Slugger” bookmarks, and a cd recording of the book along with a copy of it.
In addition, Jeffrey kindergartners created cover art for each student recorded cd.
Also included in each tote, are a selection of books by each author. Jeffrey School purchased the books using money earned by students completing chores at home. Teachers displayed their accomplishments on a “chore bucket” outside each classroom. The project will culminate at an assembly on April 29th where students will present a total of five themed tote bags to Circle of Care representatives.
Tina Garrity of Circle of Care spoke about the importance of taking part in this very special project with Jeffrey School. “The bags are given to children. So, it is children giving to children and I just think that is wonderful! It’s enjoyable for them to hear the voices of their peers reading to them.
As part of their mission, Jeffrey School prides itself in being a caring, respectful community of learners where it is expected that “all students exhibit values that can be demonstrated through social responsibility.” In fact, at the beginning of each day students are greeted with a morning announcement that promotes positive character building and making wise choices. It was evident as the children proudly worked together that these daily lessons were truly reflected in their enthusiasm towards the project and their handiwork for Circle of Care. When asked what she enjoyed most about participating, second grade student Lindsay Riordan said, “Making the baseball player artwork for the bags and making the kids happy who receive them.”
For more information about Circle of Care, please see their website at