Katonah-Lewisboro School District Board of Education Seeks Committee Members
Candidate Submissions for Audit, Finance, Student Performance Metrics and Sustainability Committees due August 11
The Board of Education of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District is inviting community members to serve on four sub-committees: the Audit Committee, Finance Committee, Student Performance Metrics Committee and Sustainability Committee. Those interested in participating must send a letter of interest and resume to the District Clerk by Monday, August 11, 2014. Information on each of these committees is listed as follows:
The role of the Audit Committee, which oversees fiduciary auditing functions at the District, is to advise the Board on issues relating to the District’s external, internal and claims audit functions. Ultimate responsibility for review and action on audit reports remains with the Board. The committee typically assists the Board in internal and external audit functions, including the appointment of the auditors. The committee will oversee competitive Requests for Proposals, which are bids for the District’s annual external audit; will review the scope, plan and coordination of the external audit; and will review corrective action plans and necessary improvements based on audit findings and recommendations received from external and internal auditors. The committee provides a communication link between external and internal auditors and the Board.
Candidates for the committee should have expertise and experience in accounting, auditing, financial reporting and ideally, school district finances. They must understand technical and complex financial reporting, ideally in a school setting, and be able to communicate with and offer advice and assistance to public finance officers and auditors. They should be trained as CPAs or the equivalent and should demonstrate an understanding of concerns raised by independent external auditors and the District’s internal and claims auditors. In addition, they must be knowledgeable about internal controls, financial statement audits and management/operational audits.
The purpose of the Finance Committee is to assist the District Governance Team in the analysis of various financial aspects of the operations of the District in an effort to provide the best educational experience for students in the most fiscally responsible manner. The committee serves at the pleasure of the Board and generally is charged with assisting in the review of the financial affairs of the District. Subject to the Board’s charge, the committee can be expected to be involved in such tasks as the ongoing review of the District’s overall business practices and financial planning and investing, periodic budget reviews, and the budget process.
Candidates for the committee should be willing to survey other districts, analyze, interpret and synthesize information, and assist in the preparation of reports necessary to inform the Board of Education. The Board of Education is interested in securing the services of candidates that represent all aspects of the school community. Committee members will be asked to commit to a two-year term of service and attend meetings held at least four times per year which usually take place at 7:30 p.m. at the District Office.
Student Performance Metrics Committee:
The charge of the Student Performance Metrics Committee is to identify, analyze, prioritize and publish key student performance indicators. It shall update its findings each year, and, where practicable, compare those finding with other similar school districts.
The Student Performance Metrics Committee is comprised of up to three members of the Board of Education, up to three members of the Administration, and three community members. In addition, the Committee shall solicit input from multiple stakeholders including, but not limited to, administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, students, parents, alumni, and community and business leaders.
The Committee will not be involved in creating or executing interventions. Curriculum and programmatic changes will be the responsibility of the Superintendent and his staff. The committee will meet twice a month; flexibility in being able to attend meetings held both during the day and in the evening will be important.
The Sustainability Committee promotes sustainable District operations in the areas of energy, transportation, land use, water resources, waste reduction, recycling and green products in a manner that is consistent with Westchester County’s Sustainability Action Plan. The committee works to balance economic benefits and impacts with sound ecological principles.
The committee is concentrating on achieving the District’s goal of a 20% reduction in its contribution to global warming by 2015, by focusing on: long-term capital improvements, collecting GHG emissions data, developing an action plan, pursuing funding opportunities, and investigating and reporting on energy management programs and/or performance contracting.
Community members interested in participating in any of the above committees must submit a letter of interest and resume by Monday, August 11, 2014
to District Clerk Kimberly A. Monzon, email@example.com
or by mail to Ms. Monzon, Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District, P.O. Box 387, Katonah, New York 10536.
Letter from John Goetz, Interim Superintendent of Schools
Congratulations John Jay High School Graduates
On Tuesday evening, the 24th of June, John Jay High School held its 58th Commencement ceremony on the beautiful grounds of Caramoor. As “Pomp and Circumstance” filled the large white tent and spilled into the adjacent fields, pairs of graduating students paraded down the aisle and onto the stage. Proud family members cheered as students took their seats.
James Pardo, Campus Congress Officer, led the salute to the flag, which was followed by the National Anthem, sung by the talented Rolling Tones and Notables. The commencement was officially underway.
Michael Jumper, Acting Superintendent, welcomed all and offered both humorous and inspirational words. He stressed the importance of perseverance and encouraged students to push through challenging situations. “Yes, high school has offered up challenges that have provided you with an inkling of what it means to persevere,” he stated. “But it has only just begun. College, work, family and many other life transitions will begin to layer themselves upon you to the point where you will recognize how critical it is, to your core, to stay the course. So persevere. Be resilient. Relentless. Above all, don’t quit.” Before offering thanks and congratulations, he closed with an excerpt from the infamous poem, “Don’t Quit.”
Charles Day, representing the Board of Education, was next to speak. He stated, “Your job is to make lifetime friends and contacts, acquire a broad base of knowledge, find your passion and see where it leads you and to thine own self be true.”
Carly Kilgore and Rachel Yasgur, Co-Presidents of the class of 2014, addressed their peers. Before passing down the official key to representatives of the class of 2015, they offered words of thanks and encouragement. “John Jay has shaped us into the people we are today. It offered us stability and laid the building blocks for what lay ahead.” With the words, “Time flies by,” Carly and Rachel presented the key to Karen Beaty and Emma Jansen, Co-Presidents of the class of 2015. While accepting the key, Karen and Emma responded to the graduating class, “We couldn’t have asked for better role models.”
Salutatorian Jeremy Morowitz, was next at the podium. “Every person has something to offer in one form or another,” he stated. “We all bring something to the table, and it might not be obvious, or even easy to see when looking closely, but we all contribute in unique ways by simply being ourselves as individuals. But in order for this to work we need to establish our individuality first.” The Noteables then returned with a wonderful rendition of “Never Stop This Train,” by John Mayer.
Seth Feder, Valedictorian, spoke to those assembled. Very cleverly, he had reached out to other infamous past valedictorians for inspiration. He shared that the title “valedictorian” stems from the Latin words “vale,” meaning “farewell” and “dict” meaning “say.” Thus, he surmised, “all valedictorians must say farewell.” Seth continued, “The future is random, and we don't know what's going to happen. Sometimes the best course of action is just to surrender to the flow, dealing with events both probable and improbable as they happen. I learned that both the probable and improbable can lead to unsettling changes, but also amazing and joyous ones as well. I learned that we should fear the future, but fear it optimistically.”
The Rolling Tones proceeded to entertain the admiring crowd with “God Only Knows,” by the Beach Boys, followed by the Keynote Address, delivered by Social Studies Teacher Marc McAlley. Mr. McAlley advised the class to “Find out who you really are, be comfortable with who you are, and be who you are every day of your life.” He shared memorable advice he once heard, which was, “Stay out of trouble, look people in the eye, say please and thank you, live every day as if it were the only day, don’t forget where you came from, and never be afraid of being who you are.”
James Pardo offered the senior class address. He spoke about his physics teacher, David Gewanter, who expressed to the class the importance of “love.” “Love leads to true happiness and satisfaction,” explained James, “I beseech you to leave with the love of passions, peers, colleagues, home and family. Love what challenges you to be something you never were before.” The Treblemakers rounded out the evening with Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten.”
Principal John Goetz commended the class and offered words of advice. “Assert your independence in a positive way…(You have a) collective group of supporters and advocates. Try to be happy. The future needs happy people with balance in their lives. Be kind and supportive to others. Let them know you care. I wish you health and happiness.” Mr. Goetz and Mr. Day presented the diplomas to the John Jay High School graduating class of 2014.
JJMS Gallery Created By and For Student Artists
Within the John Jay Middle School hallway, located next to the dining room, a gallery displays the impressive works of talented student artists. Nom de la Gallery is a student-run art gallery overseen by seventh-grade art students Antonia ten Holder and Abba Wilson, along with several volunteers.
The gallery was unveiled with the intention of becoming a year-round, revolving exhibition. Budding artist are encouraged submit their best art pieces, providing the work was not a school project or made specifically for the gallery.
The student Gallery coordinators, advised by teacher Spencer Eldridge, run their enterprise from the seventh-grade art room. They curate (collect, clean, matt and hang) the artwork themselves, including text cards that note each artist’s name, title and medium.
Next spring Antonia, Abba, and their small staff will begin to train a new group of art students who may continue Nom de la Gallery’s mission of providing a student-curated, public art space at JJMS. For more information, or if you are a student interested in participating, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Increase Kindness” at Increase Miller
“Be your Best” is a motto at Increase Miller Elementary School. This theme was conveyed in many ways as students and staff participated in a number of exciting events and activities.
In late May, students were treated to an upbeat video created by John Jay High School students and parents. The four mascots are seen enjoying each others’ company and assisting one another on the bus, in the cafeteria, on the field, etc. The mascot video is intended to prepare students for the impending closure of Lewisboro Elementary School and the related upcoming transitions. The video’s underlying message is that all four mascots are working together, just as all principals, teachers, parents and students are working together despite being from different buildings. The strong sense of community within the Katonah-Lewisboro School District will remain strong throughout the transition process. “Eddie the Eagle,” “Buddy the Bulldog,” “Max the Moose” and “Les the Leopard” represent all students. “Les the Leopard,” Lewisboro Elementary School’s mascot, has been selected to represent the Town of Lewisboro.
After reviewing the mascot video, Principal Kerry Ford addressed all of the IMES students assembled in the cafeteria/auditorium. She helped to alleviate their apprehensions about the changes and reaffirmed the importance of kindness.
Teacher Andrew Galotti also spoke about “Increasing Kindness” and proceeded to recognize a particular group of students who have demonstrated this positive behavior. Fourteen fifth-graders participated in the Homework Helpers Club, volunteering their time after school to help younger students work on their reading, writing, and math skills. Teacher Sandra Costin relayed that her students enjoyed learning and playing with their older peers, sharing a quote from Pablo Picasso: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” She thanked the fifth-graders for sharing their “gifts.”
An additional display of kindness was exhibited by five middle school girl scouts. Under the direction of Troop Leader Debby Knowlton, and with the assistance of Mrs. Knowlton’s son, Cadette Troop 1036 created and donated a beautiful painting. The inspirational work of art, which displays the phrase, “Increase Kindness. Pass it On” will hang in the cafeteria.
Another artistic gift was presented in the form of tile collages. Art and kindergarten teacher Marijane Hamren assisted JJMS students Sarah Siegel and Sophia Peris as they placed tiles decorated by IMES students on school walls and in the courtyard. The tiles were fashioned in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Increase Miller Elementary School.
It has been a meaningful month for IMES, with kindness and “being your best” both seen and heard!
Increase Miller Elementary School Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Constructed in 1964, Increase Miller Elementary School happily celebrates its 50th anniversary this year! Multiple events were held in honor of the major milestone. In May, IMES students viewed the Mascot video, received praise for acts of kindness, were presented with a painting from Girl Scout Cadet troupe 1036, and marveled at the 400 IMES student-created tiles that were artistically assembled by teacher Marijane Hamren and JJMS students Sarah Siegel and Sophia Peris. In addition, a bulletin board in the main hallway displayed wonderful school photos from the earlier years.
The celebrations culminated in a wonderful tree planting ceremony thanks to a gift from the fifth grade students. A “tree hugger plaque,” engraved with an acknowledgment of the 50th anniversary, is affixed to the tree and will grow along with it.
Ken Almstead, father of IMES student Jake Almstead, is an arborist who generously helped to select the tree. Chosen was a Weeping Cherry Tree (Prunus subhirtella pendula), which is a good fit for the space, both aesthetically and functionally. It replaces a previous tree that was unfortunately destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
The ceremony began with welcoming words by Principal, Kerry Ford. The fifth-graders were introduced and they shared their creative poetry. Jonathan Monti, a fifth grade parent and IMES graduate, spoke about the history of the school and about its namesake. He explained
why Increase Miller was associated with schools in the area. Mr. Monti proceeded to unveil the 50th Anniversary banner, which was signed by all IMES students. According to Mr. Monti, the moment was a “snapshot in time of our 50th year of service.”
As the commemoration continued, Ms. Ford introduced the Girl Scout 50th Anniversary Project and the tree was officially dedicated. In unison, all those assembled sang “Reach for the Stars” and gratitude was expressed to everyone who made the day possible. This included the Girl Scouts, the IMES PTA for donating time and funds, Jonathan Monti, the fifth grade students and parents, and Ken Almstead for all of his expertise, guidance, and assistance with the planting.
Happy Anniversary, Increase Miller Elementary School!
The “Message from Justin” Reaches John Jay High School
Mr. Jeffrey Veatch recently led a somber yet inspirational assembly at John Jay High School. The students seated in the auditorium could not help but be moved as Mr. Veatch, father of the late Justin Veatch, spoke lovingly about his son, who made one fatal mistake. Mr. Veatch visited JJHS with the hope of saving others from making poor decisions. His story could be anyone’s story.
After a brief introduction, Mr. Veatch addressed those assembled. His presentation included videos and still photos of his beloved son. Justin was a talented musician and athlete; the bright Yorktown High School student played the trumpet, piano and guitar and created sound recordings. He was a passionate 17-year-old who, according to his father, “knew what he wanted and was good at it.” Justin was creative, talented and friendly, but he suffered from anxiety and depression and tried to self-medicate. Approximately five years ago he died in his bed, a victim of acute drug intoxication.
Mr. Veatch seemed to truly connect with his young audience. He spoke in a non-judgmental, honest and open manner that the students could relate to as he shared important messages. “Take care of yourself and be vigilant for your friends,” he encouraged.
Mr. Veatch revealed startling statistics concerning young people and drugs and recommended that friends speak up and start a conversation if they notice any troubling changes in a peer’s behavior. Warning signs could be unusual moodiness, preoccupation and a change in the individual
The Veatch family made a choice not to sit in the dark but rather to do something positive in Jason’s name. They established a scholarship and introduced programs for teens. Mr. Veatch has been spreading Justin’s message to schools everywhere and has even made television appearances.
With the help of donations, music workshops have been established in the young man’s memory. Justin was working on an album entitled, “Permagrin” and one of his favorite musicians was Owen (Mike Kinsella). Polyvinyl Records has since produced the album and Owen has recorded Justin’s songs. The proceeds go to the Justin Veatch Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to college-bound students pursuing music education. In fact, a JJHS student will be receiving the scholarship this June.
Quoting a proverb, Mr. Veatch said, “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” He added, “We are trying to do for other young people what we couldn’t do for Justin.” The Veatch family is truly honoring and celebrating Justin’s legacy while having a meaningful and positive impact on others.
Lewisboro Elementary School Students Explore the Rainforest
Third graders at Lewisboro Elementary School were treated to an exciting and informative presentation led by Rachel Wade, from the BOCES Center for Environmental Education. Ms. Wade spoke in each classroom and the students were impressed by the information she shared.
“Seventy-five percent of human DNA is the same as the DNA in a banana. We share 97% of the same DNA as a chimp,” Ms. Wade explained. This was one of the many unusual facts that were presented. The classroom was divided into four stations, each featuring objects for the students to explore. Included were the skin of a reticulated python, a jaguar skin, musical instruments native to people living in the rainforest, a variety of spices, Amazon coffee beans, and utensils.
The students enjoyed visiting the various stations and learning about the different worlds that exist within rainforests.
IMES and KES Celebrate Colonial Times
In order to bring to life the study of Colonial Times, fourth grade classes at both Increase Miller Elementary School and Katonah Elementary School held Colonial Day activities in early May. At IMES, students arrived to school dressed in black and white, and at KES, girls donned long skirts and bonnets while boys sported vests and three-cornered hats. Teachers and parent volunteers led various theme-appropriate activities.
At IMES, cooking was a group favorite! Students learned to churn butter and prepare Johnny Cakes and Liberty Tea Punch. The “Minute Man” class was as exciting as it was informative. Students viewed a short video and then participated in an exhilarating exercise. They were told that the enemy was approaching and they had one minute to wake up from their simulated slumber, dress in the appropriate garb, and line up for inspection. The clothing was distributed on the perimeter of the room. When the alarm was sounded, the young “minute men” dashed to the clothing, hurriedly dressed, and formed a line. It took a few attempts, but each group finally succeeded in being prepared within a minute’s notice.
Also at IMES, students bowled and raced with hoops in the games class. Although they worked many hours, colonial children did have time for play. Finally, students enjoyed learning different types of colonial dance and music. The Virginia Reel was very popular among both the girls and boys. In the afternoon, guest performer Karen DeMauro, from The Acting Center in Manhattan, shared stories. “I try to teach history from a kid’s point of view,” she explained. “I create a simulation of Boston in 1773, during Tea Party time. Children are apprentices. The streets are muddy and occupied by redcoats. We recreate the experiences and pass through the same experiences as did the colonists. The best way to teach the students is to have them experience it. They learn about fairness, freedom and loyalty.”
The KES event was coordinated as a Colonial American Fair. Instructors from the Adventure Game, a non-profit organization that creates arts-based educational experiences for students, visited the school. Children rotated among eight different classroom stations featuring various colonial activities.
The KES students enjoyed participating in candle-making, attending dame school, learning the arts of tinsmithing and stenciling, exploring textiles, cooking, playing with colonial toys and games, listening to colonial music and practicing colonial dance. Students expressed that the day was informative and fun!
John Jay Middle School Celebrates Intergenerational Exchange Day
John Jay Middle School recently welcomed 36 senior citizens from neighboring centers and invited them to share their day at school. Colorful, handmade signs displayed in the hallways welcomed the guests, who were greeted by their sixth-grade chaperones.
After enjoying lunch together, the students and seniors attended an information session during which participating adults spoke to groups of eighth-graders on the topic of World War II. The presentations lasted 30 minutes and were memorable, informative, and very well received. The sixth-graders then escorted the seniors to the seventh-grade classrooms, where teachers continued to conduct their classes and were happy to include the guests of honor. “Students” of all ages mingled within the math, science, English, social studies, science, art, and technology classrooms.
The eighth-grade choir ensemble, conducted by teacher Elena Gambulos-Cody with piano accompaniment provided by Jonathan Faiman, was a highlight of the afternoon. During an intergenerational sing-along, choir students descended the stage and joined their audience for a variety of well-known songs popular with both generations. The afternoon culminated with a reception held in the theater lobby. The guests enjoyed refreshments and received souvenir JJMS mugs.
“I loved every minute of it!” said visitor Edna Brugger. “The kids are the nicest. They make you want to cry!” Student Christopher Mardirossian, who escorted Frank McMahon, shared, “It was a fun experience. I learned where he was from. We learned a lot about each other’s lifestyles.”
This successful day was coordinated through the collaboration of Lewisboro Community Center Director Pam Veith, JJMS Principal Rich Leprine and his secretary Margie Lieto, and many others. Thanks to the support of parents, staff, teachers, administrators, and the PTO, the Intergenerational Exchange Day provided a wonderful opportunity for learning, understanding and sharing.
Lewisboro Elementary School Kindergarteners Celebrate Moms
The kindergarten classrooms at Lewisboro Elementary School were decorated for a pre-Mothers Day event. Students sat in a row, eagerly awaiting their mothers’ arrival. One by one, moms were escorted into the room by their proud sons and daughters. Each was presented with a colorful, hand-made bouquet of flowers. The celebration was underway.
In unison, the students sang two songs dedicated to the mothers. This was followed by a story about the most beautiful mother in the world. Each student stood by the podium and read a personal tribute to his/her most beautiful mother in the world.
After another special song, students offered a gift to their moms and served them refreshments that were generously provided by parents.
“It’s wonderful, so lovely and quite a treat!” said Ozzy Andrews’ mother, Brooke. When asked what he loves most about his mother, Ozzy responded, “She loves me!” Kindergarten teachers and assistants did a beautiful job. Each mother left with a smile.
Q and U Tie the Knot at Lewisboro Elementary School
Love was in the air at Lewisboro Elementary School. Letters Q and U chose to marry in mid-January, continuing the annual tradition that teaches kindergartners about the common pairing of these two letters. The affair was catered by generous kindergarten parents and the décor was designed by teachers, Lisa Burroughs and Colleen Walsh, along with assistant teachers Priscilla Luckow and Elizabeth Krissoff. Principal Cristy Harris and Assistant Principal Marie Calo officiated during the ceremony. The tuxedo-clad speech and language teacher, Terrilynn Wuensch, served as Maid of Honor. Q and U’s wedding has been a much anticipated event for many years at Lewisboro Elementary.
The bride “Q” looked beautiful in her lavender gown and the groom “U” was dashing in his black top hat. The couple appeared to be truly happy together. In fact, wedding guests claimed that they have been nearly inseparable since they first met.
The wedding shower was also held in the kindergarten classes. Each student was assigned one letter, which was affixed to a paper bag. The students’ task was to place an item that began with that specific letter into their bag, aka the wedding gift. During the shower, they provided their classmates with three clues in order to help identify the item.
After the ceremony, the bride and groom hosted a lovely reception. Formally dressed kindergarten guests danced to a variety of uplifting tunes, formed a conga line and participated in a limbo challenge. The tables were adorned with wedding themed place settings, nametags, wedding lollipops, bells and bubbles. The room was tastefully decorated with paper wedding bells, ribbons and streamers.
Students enjoyed participating in this event with the “happy couple,” which plans to honeymoon in QUeens.