The Buzz
School Community Newsletter
Issue #34
Friday, February 12, 2021
Today is Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. The New Year is the celebration of the beginning of a new year of the traditional Asian Culture. More about Chinese New Year in this week's International Program article.
Important Sports Event Information
In the interest of making the winter sports season as normal as possible and while staying within the required COVID guidelines, Gilbert is now able to allow one parent per athlete to enter the gym to watch a game. Only parents of Gilbert students will be allowed in the gym. Visiting team parents will not be able to attend games. While this is not ideal, it is an opportunity for parents of Gilbert athletes to support their child.

Each athlete has been given a ticket to bring home for one parent to use. The individual who uses the ticket for entry to the game must live in the same household as the student and must be an adult. Parents will present the ticket upon entry to the gym. Please note, the only entrance is the back entrance at the top of the ramp. 

We are able to allow one parent based on the current guidance and COVID levels. Please be aware that this could change if the COVID situation changes. For game schedules, visit the Gilbert website at Any questions contact the Athletic Director at

A Department of Public Health (DPH) approved mask must be worn at all times and social distancing must be adhered to. No gators, scarves, or unapproved masks will be allowed in the building.
Superintendent's Budget Recommendation
for School Year 2021-2022
Gilbert School Superintendent, Dr. Anthony Serio, has issued his budget recommendation for school year 2021-2022. The proposed budget is for $7,843,928, an $162,240 or 2.11 percent increase from school year 2020-2021. The proposed tuition for Winchester is $7,345,297, with International Program tuition at $347,306, and Hartland tuition at $17,375.

Schedule Monday, February 15 - Friday, February 19
Monday- Vacation Day
Tuesday - Vacation Day
Wednesday- Cohort A-Even Day
Thursday- Cohort B- Odd Day
Friday- Cohort B- Even Day
Improve How a Mask Protects You
Important COVID-19 Update
COVID Update from the Nurse’s Office

The State of Connecticut is anticipating that the state will be experiencing an increase in COVID cases that is the “new variant.” What does that mean for you and your family? The UK variant of COVID is thought to be more contagious. Whenever you or your child is on campus, it is more important than ever to make sure you are masked properly. For a mask to be effective, please make sure it provides a close fit to the face, covering both the nose and mouth. Social distancing of at least 6 feet from other people is another tool in managing COVID transmission.

When should your child stay home from school?

Your child should stay home from school when:

They are not feeling well. Even if they just have the sniffles.

Someone at home is not feeling well and you think they could have COVID.

They have been exposed to someone who has had COVID. Even if they aren’t sick.

Someone at home is doing a COVID test because they think they have COVID.

Questions? Call us!  

Contact Information for the school nurses

COVID-19 Protocols
COVID cases are increasing in the community. Symptoms can start out as being more subtle and can include: congestion, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, and headache. If your child is experiencing ANY symptom, even if it is mild, they should stay home, do remote learning, and contact the school nurses so they are aware. Additionally, if your child has been exposed to someone with COVID they should not come to school. School nurses are available by calling 860-379-8521,, or
TGS COVID Assessment Guide
Athlete of the Week
Dylan Crowley
On Monday, February 8, senior Dylan Crowley made Yellowjackets varsity basketball history when he tied a school record by scoring 54 points at an away game at Housatonic High School. It was the opening game for this year’s Berkshire League Basketball season, with the team winning against Housatonic by 82-51.

Dylan is now officially tied with graduate Hunter Smith, who scored 54 points at a game against Granby High School last year. "To me, when it comes to scoring, it’s all about getting the best shot possible,” Dylan said in an interview with The Buzz. “If I see a mismatch with a smaller guy on me, I use my height, my size, and I get layups. If I see someone who is bigger or slower, that I might be able to shoot over, I do a move to get by them.”
Dylan said that he has been playing basketball since he was a young child, learning from his father, Kevin Crowley, who coached several recreation league teams in Winsted. “My father taught me the basics, including dribbling, passing, and shooting,” Dylan said. “Later on he taught me to keep going, never quit and never give up.”

Dylan said that he looks forward to this new varsity basketball season. "I think we are going to do very well this year. I think we have some great role players to surround the other team. I think everyone works hard. We all just want to win which is why we'll have a good season.”

Dylan added that he is thankful for the coaches and his fellow players on the team. “My coaches always believe in me and they are pushing me to work hard,” Dylan said. “They're always there believing I can do what I can do. They've allowed me to have the night that I had. Without my teammates pushing me and working hard, I would not have had that special night. I am grateful to all of my teammates for that.”
Alumna of the Week
Elizabeth (Devanney)Otto
Class of 2002
Elizabeth (Devanney) Otto and her husband Jed, visiting the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. She is wearing an abaya with covering and Jed is wearing a kandora.
What have you done since you graduated?
"Since my graduation in 2002, I have had some amazing opportunities. I studied theater education and graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2006, and later received my elementary education certification from CCSU as well. In 2007, I took a trip to Tonga with fellow Gilbert alums of 2002, Jill Barberet and Lauren Jones to visit Sarah LaRosa. This is where my interest in travel started."

How does it feel to be working in a different country?
“Our journey aboard was inspired by my friend and classmate Sarah LaRosa (Class of 2002). In January of 2017, Sarah and her husband Andrew were teaching abroad in Morocco. Sarah had encouraged Jed and I to look into international teaching programs. We were surprised at all of the amazing international teaching opportunities there were. We met with schools all over the world to investigate. 

It was a big leap to move and work abroad. It has been an incredible opportunity to be able to teach in such a diverse school in Abu Dhabi. I currently have students in my class from over 10 different countries. Colleagues at our school are also diverse and we are introduced to new traditions, customs and foods often. While it is difficult to be so distant from family and friends, I have been able to better understand and develop an international mindedness, which helps to create rich lessons. My brother, Chris Devanney (Class of 1994) and his family visited us here, as well as Sarah LaRosa (Class of 2002) and Victoria Berger (Class of 2004).  

When we first told friends and family we would be moving abroad they were surprised and fearful. The Middle East is often portrayed as unsafe and scary in media stories. The biggest adjustment when we moved to Abu Dhabi was seeing Arabic writing everywhere. Muslim women wear a shayla or hijab which covers their hair and they often wear abayas over their clothing. Emirati men wear white kandoras. Each year on National Day, December 2, our school has a big celebration, much like the Fourth of July in the United States. Students participate in activities such as dance, eating traditional foods henna paint, riding camels, and even holding falcons. My husband and I have been able to appreciate the traditions and culture here.  

Working abroad has given my husband and I more opportunity to travel. We have been able to visit other emirates here in the UAE such as Dubai and Fujairah as well as travel to Italy and Sri Lanka. We have had to pause our traveling due to COVID-19."
One of Elizabeth's former classes on a display of learning day, showcasing the biography museum.
What do you remember from your time at Gilbert when you were a student?
"What I remember the most from my time at Gilbert are the great teachers and role models that I had. While I have had a great many teachers in my life, many of the best were from my time at Gilbert. I remember how excited I was to have teachers that had taught my older siblings. Teachers like Mr. Lanigan, Mr. Trout, and Mrs. Murray. These teachers didn't just teach, but they got to know their students. I looked forward to math with Mr. Tirrell and even walking past Mr. Higgins in the hall because he always had hilarious comments. Even the teachers I never had in class, but those that I knew like Mr. Macomber and Ms. Hahn would check in or say hi in the hallway. There was an incredible sense of community at TGS from the amazing lunch room staff (thanks Mrs. Wells and the amazing lunch ladies of that time) to the cleaning staff (always helpful and kind led by Mr. Wells at the time).  

What lessons from Gilbert did you apply to the real world?
I think the best lesson I learned while at Gilbert was to laugh at myself and not take everything so seriously.  
Sunset in the desert of Abu Dhabi.
What advice would you give current students?
"Gilbert is one part of your story. Be a risk taker. Include others, the quiet and the loud. You never know who might inspire your next adventure!"
Staff Member of the Week
Amie Kutz
Amie with her 15-month old son Colton
Seventh and Eighth Grade Guidance Counselor since 2012
What's your educational background?
"I earned my undergraduate degree in English Education at Providence College in Rhode Island. I earned my Master's Degree in School Counseling at Providence College as well."

What do you think about Gilbert?
"I love it here because it's such a great community. The teachers and staff and everybody come together for the kids. There's a lot of school spirit here."

Why is your position important?
"I think, pandemic aside, children go through a lot of changes in middle school. Obviously, math, science, and English are all very important, but if they are not feeling okay, mentally or emotionally, they need an outlet to come and talk to someone. I can support them in being successful in school. I help them find ways to manage certain situations that might be going on with peers or at home in order to feel better about themselves and learn how to work through things so that they can continue to be successful at school."

How would you describe Gilbert to a stranger?
"I would say that it's a small school that on the outside looks like it wouldn't be all that big for as much school spirit as we have. What we lack in numbers, we make up in enthusiasm. I appreciate all the hard work that my coworkers do daily to help support our students. It's just a great place to work because my coworkers are all about doing what's best for our Gilbert community. It's a great place to work because our kids are also amazing and resilient"
Student of the Week
Leslie DeSantii
Age: 18

Parents: Jenn Tanner and Raymond DeSanti

What are your favorite classes?
"English is fun because you can sit down and write cool essays about family and anything that you would want to write about."

What are your favorite extracurricular activities?
"Playing with my dog Cooper and hanging out with my family."

What do you think you will remember the most when it comes to your education at Gilbert?
"Sports, including getting my first goal in soccer during my senior year.""

What are your future plans?
"I'm going to Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted for Nursing."
Chinese Lunar New Year 2021
By Debra LaRoche Walls, Dean of Admissions
Friday, February 12, over a billion people in China and millions around the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year. The Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of Chinese holidays and is also celebrated by those from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and many other Asian countries. From late January until the middle of February, the national holiday will be celebrated. It is a time to honor deities, ancestors and to spend time with family. 

With a strong cultural and historic significance, this year also represents the year of the Ox. Since ancient times, Chinese people have been using the Chinese Zodiac animals to represent the years. Each lunar year is related to a zodiac animal, beginning at Chinese New Year. The Ox is a valued animal because of its role in agriculture and its positive characteristics of being hard working and honest. 

Those celebrating the New Year will enjoy traditional foods such as; fish, symbolizing prosperity, dumplings and spring rolls, symbolizing wealth, longevity noodles, symbolizing happiness and longevity, and good fortune fruit, for fullness and wealth. The celebration is also believed to be significant to ensure good fortune for the coming year and has many religious traditions and beliefs that hold value. 

The International Program of The Gilbert School has traditionally celebrated with students from the program coming from China, Vietnam and South Korea in a variety of ways. This year, a dinner of traditional foods will be prepared and shared with the international students at the Residency Hall. Residential Coordinator, Cristina Rutherford will prepare traditional food dishes such as hot pot, dumplings and fresh fruit. The cultural tradition will be celebrated for a happy, healthy year ahead.
Fall enrollment has begun for the international program of The Gilbert School. At this time, applications are being accepted from around the globe for the fall 2021 academic school year. 

We always encourage prospective students and parents to go to our website, which opens up with the most beautiful video of our campus that was produced in the fall of 2019. The five-minute video shows aerial views of Gilbert's campus, the Walker Soccer Field, classrooms, and highlighted areas of The Gilbert School. Our first student from Vietnam who joined us in 2019, Danielle Dao, is also featured. Danielle attended Gilbert for her senior year and is presently a freshman at Eastern Connecticut State University in Windham. She had an amazing year with us and shared that she wishes she joined in her junior year to have more experience with American schooling. She was a wonderful addition to the international program. 

This fall, we hope to add students from many new countries to our program. Since the international program began in 2013, we have welcomed students from France, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Vietnam, and China. It has been a wonderful culture learning opportunity for both the international students and the students of Gilbert. 
Coach's Corner
By Buckley Morgan, Athletic Director
Here we go sports fans! The winter contest season is in motion and the players could not be happier. The Boys and Girls Basketball teams played their first games this past Monday night including the boys Junior Varsity and Varsity that dominated Housatonic. Dylan Crowley shot for 54 points tieing a one-game record set last year by Hunter Smith, making him a clear choice for athlete of the week.

The girls fell short but played like winners the entire game. Overall, a great success was shared by all the teams. We had a few parents in attendance and I want to thank them for their constant adherence to social distancing and mask-wearing.

We also had Bill Richmond announcing our home game both on "The Hive" and on the streaming video. We can't thank Bill enough. His game-calling brings so much to our viewing experience. You can view the streamed games on the Gilbert website at All the Gilbert basketball games will be kept on that site in chronological order for future viewing. 

The links for live streaming are posted on social media and on the Gilbert website at I encourage you to watch our home games and our away games at your convenience. Most schools are keeping the past games available online. 

The Gilbert School is allowing one parent for each athlete to attend the home games. We ask that you do not arrive more than 10 minutes early. The Gilbert gym is very small and there is not enough room for everyone to watch both boy's games. Only JV parents should come to the JV game and only Varsity Parents should come to the Varsity game. We require that you leave immediately following the game to give time for our custodians to sanitize the bleacher area before we can allow the Varsity parents in. If your child plays on both teams please choose just one to watch. After we have a few home boy's games we may be able to adjust these rules based on how many parents come to the games. 
Coaches Openings
Immediate Openings at The Gilbert School

Boys Varsity Tennis Coach – Spring 2021

All inquiries should be made to: Buckley Morgan , Athletic Director at
Food Service Schedule Update
Pick up is between 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Pick up will be at the door entrance to the Cafeteria Kitchen. The door is by the dumpsters in the lower parking lot.

If for any reason you are unable to pick up meals during this time frame, please call the Food Service Director, Ms. Lynn Metcalf, directly at 860-738-9304. We will be happy to set up a time or day that is more convenient for you.

All children ages 18 or younger are eligible for one free breakfast and lunch daily.
Children do not need to be attending this school to receive meals. Gilbert is a food pick up site. We are located at:

The Gilbert School
200 Williams Avenue
Winsted, CT 06098

This program will end on June 30, 2021.

Meals are served Monday – Friday in school.

Pick up days are Monday and Wednesday between the hours of 11:00 am -12:00 pm.

Meals served are breakfast and lunch.

Monday meal pick up will consist of five breakfasts and five lunches for each child. (Being Cohort C or all student distance learning). Pick up for three days will consist of 3 breakfasts and 3 lunches for each child. (Being Cohorts A and B).

Please take advantage of this program while we have it. Whether your child is in school or at home, they are entitled to a breakfast and lunch for the days they are learning at home. If you have any questions about the program please call 860-738-9304.
The month of February and moving forward pick up times will be Mondays 11:00-4:00PM, and Wednesdays 11:00-4:00 PM. For anyone who cannot pick up on Monday or Wednesday you will be able to pick up food on Tuesday from 11:00-4:00 PM.

Just a reminder that all children 18 years of age or younger are eligible for FREE FOOD. 
If a child goes to school 4 days out of the week, they are eligible for 1 day of food pick up
If a child goes to school for 2 days they are eligible for 3 days of food pick up
If a child is at home doing virtual learning they are eligible for 5 days of food pick up.
Each child will receive 1 breakfast and 1 lunch per day.

You can pick up food on the days and times above in the lower parking lot at the door next to the dumpsters.

If other arrangements need to be made please contact Lynn Metcalf Director of Food Services at 860-738-9304 or email at
Last week's WHOZIT: Alyson Gunzinger identified this picture from 1982.
Google Classroom Cheat Sheet
Attention Gilbert Alumni
We Want to Stay in Contact With You!

The Gilbert School
200 WIlliams Avenue
Winsted, CT 06098