District to Host Annual Panel Discussion for Parents

The Katonah-Lewisboro School District will host its annual Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About ‘Getting Ready’ for Kindergarten panel discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 8 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Katonah Elementary School cafeteria.

This year, the focus will be on full-day kindergarten, which is being offered in the district for the first time this fall.

KLSD pre-school and incoming kindergarten parents are invited to sit down with administrators and faculty from the Increase Miller Elementary School, Meadow Pond Elementary School and Katonah Elementary School to discuss the ins and outs of sending children to full-day school for the first time.

To register for the panel discussion, contact Debbie Winter, secretary to KES Principal Cristy Harris at 763-7702 or dwinter@klschools.org.

Six Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

John Jay High School is proud to announce that six seniors have been named semifinalists of the National Merit Scholarship Program. The school congratulates Amber Bauer, Samuel Blum, Cameron Leska-Kent, Anthony Andrew Mamo, Jordan Stepaniuk and Lindsey Weiss.

“We are extremely proud of our six National Merit Semifinalists,” said John Jay Principal Jessica Godin. “These academically talented students have worked studiously to achieve this tremendous recognition.”

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, for its 60th annual scholarship program, there are approximately 1,600 semifinalists across the country who will now be considered for selection as scholarship finalists. Finalists will be announced this spring.

“John Jay High School’s semifinalists represent a small cohort of students who are among the highest-scoring entrants in the state,” noted Godin. “We wish them well on their quest to becoming finalists.”

Smiles All Around at Welcome Back Picnics

Increase Miller, Katonah and Meadow Pond elementary schools feted students new and returning as the first week of school wrapped up with their respective Welcome Back Picnics.

Peers had a chance to play games and sports, try on fun accessories and eat ice cream while getting to know each other better. The picnics served as an exciting and fun start to the new year.

District’s First-Time Riders Learn About Bus Safety

Excited Katonah-Lewisboro kindergartners stepped carefully onto school buses before the start of the school year, but not before first viewing a bus safety video featuring Winnie-the-Pooh and some of his pals.

The video covered topics such as how to safely walk to the bus stop and board the bus, keeping all body parts inside of the bus and staying seated for the duration of the ride. The film also included catchy tunes all about bus safety, with lines including “Be like Pooh, think safety too” and “Safety is a must whenever you ride the bus.”

The video was followed by a 10-minute bus ride around town and lessons on how to properly cross the street.

“The number one important thing here is keeping everybody safe,” said Katonah-Elementary Principal Cristy Harris.



KES Celebrates Start of School

Katonah Elementary School students, decked out in purple T-shirts, ended the first week of school with a special assembly on Sept. 5.

The year’s first Sharing Assembly included a visit from Buddy the Bulldog, who entered to loud cheers of “Buddy! Buddy!”

The school also feted students and teachers with birthdays in September and called upon fifth-graders to embrace their roles as the “student leaders” of the building.

Students applauded enthusiastically to welcome the school’s new staff members and new principal, Cristy Harris, to KES.

Fifth-graders led the Pledge of Allegiance and all sang along to a rendition of “My Country ’Tis of Thee.”

Assistant Principal Terry Costin also recognized several groups of students. Buses 1, 3 and 8 were applauded for their impressive patience while waiting to board during Thursday’s dismissal, and four classes were celebrated for handing in all their paperwork on time.

The assembly concluded with the unveiling of a special banner commemorating the school’s 75th year, and the related word of the month, “celebrate,” was revealed.

A Message From The Health Office At John Jay High School

The High School has been informed that we have a confirmed case of Pertussis among our student population.  There is no cause for alarm, however our District Medical Director would like to remind you of the symptoms of Pertussis, and that you should have your children seen by their physician if any of the following symptoms occur;

Signs & Symptoms

Pertussis (whooping cough) usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. After 1 to 2 weeks, severe coughing can begin. Unlike the common cold, pertussis can become a series of coughing fits that continues for weeks.
Early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and usually include:

•    Runny nose
•    Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
•    Mild, occasional cough
•    Apnea — a pause in breathing (in infants)
In those who have been vaccinated:
•    In most cases, the cough won’t last as many days
•    Coughing fits, whooping, and vomiting after coughing fits occur less often
•    The percentage of children with apnea (long pause in breathing), cyanosis (blue/purplish skin coloration due to lack of oxygen) and vomiting is less

Infant children are at most risk to contacting the full disease pattern, and as such any student suspected of possible Pertussis should seek medical attention in order to prevent spread of the disease.

2014 Kindergarten Readiness Flyer


Friendships Old and New Flourish as Doors Open for New Year

Classmates reuniting after summer and new peers alike came together throughout the Katonah-Lewisboro schools Wednesday as the doors opened for another year of learning.

Administrators and teachers greeted students across the district as they arrived for the first day in buses, cars and on foot, all brimming with excitement and eager to settle into their new classrooms.

At each school, the youngest students were offered words of encouragement from faculty, who provided tours of the buildings and guided students as they navigated the hallways.

There are a number of exciting upgrades and changes across all campuses this school year, including new curriculum offerings, tuned-up facilities and full-day kindergarten for the first time.

The Katonah-Lewisboro School District’s administration, faculty and staff are looking forward to maintaining excellent programs and opportunities for all students this year.

KES Welcomes New Families to a New Year

Students and parents new to Katonah Elementary School were welcomed to the school during a special orientation the week before doors officially open for the start of the 2014-15 year.

Principal Cristy Harris and Assistant Principal Terry Costin introduced themselves to families in the library and shared their personal histories with the school. Mr. Costin revealed his own children attended KES, while Mrs. Harris shared that she herself had once been a student in the school.

“I have such fond memories,” she said.

The administrators assured parents that safety is paramount at Katonah Elementary School and noted there will be six total monitors assigned during lunch and recess, taking into consideration full-day kindergarten this year. Teaching assistants for the kindergarten classrooms, Mrs. Harris added, will also be present during children’s 50-minute lunch and recess time.

Other items discussed during the orientation were drop-off and dismissal procedures, healthy lunch options and ways for parents to stay informed about their children’s curriculum.

The orientation was followed by tours of the building, led by students and members of the PTO. New families peeked into their classrooms and had a chance to check out some of the unique offerings at KES, ranging from the Butterfly Garden to the Greenhouse.

Meet K-L’s New Assistant Superintendent

Debra Legato has hit the ground running as the Katonah-Lewisboro School District’s new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.
“In addition to hiring new staff, we have been planning an orientation day for our new teachers, as well as activities for staff development days,” she said. “I have also met with building and department leaders, which will help me define my goals for the year.”

Legato joins the district from the Yorktown Central School District, where she served as Director of Human Resources for six years. Prior to her role in Yorktown, she was the Director of Human Resources for the Irvington Union Free School District. She also held the same title in the Peekskill City School District.

Legato’s education background includes a Master’s of Science degree in School Administration and Supervision from Mercy College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Administration from SUNY Empire State College.

“My professional goal has always been to join the team of a high performing district,” said Legato. “The Katonah-Lewisboro Schools have a solid reputation in the region and I am truly honored that the Board and its administrative team selected me to serve them.”

School districts statewide have been tasked with complying with tax cap legislation and adhering to mandated assessments and various measures, all while continuing to offer the best learning environments for students. Legato is eager to tackle the challenges ahead with fellow district stakeholders.

“While change and the unknown can be daunting at times, the Board of Education, administrators, faculty and staff are committed to the students, their parents and this community,” Legato said. “There is a lot to be proud of here in KLSD.”

SPARC Inc. Summer Magic Program Comes to Katonah-Lewisboro

The Katonah-Lewisboro Special Education PTA (SEPTA) is pleased to announce that nearly $3,500 was raised to go toward bringing Special Programs and Resource Connection (SPARC)’s Summer Magic Program to the district.

The parents and SEPTA saw a need for a specialized summer program to meet the needs of the special education students in the district. The Summer of Magic Program is a themed six-week summer camp-like program for children with special needs that find the typical day camp setting a challenge. It takes place three times per week after the campers’ Extended School Year Services.

SPARC already has two successful after school programs running at the district, thanks to After School Activities Coordinators and the districts’ Office of Special Services.

“The Katonah-Lewisboro Special Education PTA (SEPTA) was able to raise enough money to significantly offset the tuition for The Summer Magic program through a Field Day on May 31, generous private donations and local business contributions,” said SEPTA Co-President Rebecca Bourla. “It was truly a community effort.  SPARC made generous financial contributions to make this pilot program happen.  We are so grateful they never gave up on our district.”

SPARC is a 25-year-old organization based in Yorktown Heights and its programs provide more than 1,000 people with special needs at more than 75 programs throughout Westchester. It is a nonprofit agency that provides social, recreation and therapeutic services for youth and adults with developmental disabilities.  

“It was so rewarding to see the children bond at their own special summer mini-camp this summer,” Founder of SPARC Inc. Rose Rothe said. “While they were occupied with smiles, fun and laughter, we were just thrilled to see each one accomplish individual goals at the same time.”

Director of the Office of Special Services Connie Hayes said this opportunity is “truly an example of what can happen when we all work together to address the needs of children.

“We are looking forward to developing afterschool options for the 14-15 school year,” she added.

For more information on SPARC or KLSEPTA, please visit www.sparcinc.org and www.klsepta.org.

Board Appoints Superintendent Search Firm

At its August 21 meeting, the Katonah-Lewisboro School District Board of Education appointed Hazard, Young, Attea, and Associates to assist in the search for a permanent Superintendent of Schools. Mr. John Goetz, formerly Interim Principal at John Jay High School is currently serving as Interim Superintendent.

Hazard, Young, Attea, and Associates (HYA) is a subsidiary of the broader group, Educational Consultants & Research Associates, and supports school boards throughout the recruitment process. The organization focuses on five key phases including Planning Session and Criteria Development, Recruitment, Interview/Selection, Appointment/Post-Appointment, and Communication with the Board.

Over the next several weeks, representatives from HYA will be collaborating with the Board of Education, District Officials, and community members to assess and understand the specific needs of the District and identify the qualifications sought in the candidates that will be considered.

“We are pleased to have found a consultant team with deep experience in education, a nuanced understanding of high performing schools, and a successful track record placing superintendents in Westchester County. We are looking forward to finding a long-term, permanent Superintendent who will be a good fit for the District,” stated Board of Education President Marjorie Schiff. “Selecting HYA was a unifying experience for the Board—we all felt that HYA would provide valuable resources and guidance in this process. We will invite our consultant team to make a presentation at a Board of Education meeting early this fall and will keep the community apprised of any new developments.”

Lewisboro Garden Finds New Life at JJMS

Students moving up from elementary school to middle school in Katonah-Lewisboro are used to an exciting transition: from having a locker for the first time to making new friends from all over the district, there are always plenty of new experiences.

This year, there’s a new surprise at John Jay Middle School—but one that will be familiar to most incoming sixth graders.

“When LES closed, many, many of the children really wanted to see the gardens go somewhere,” explained Denise Lupia, a Wellness and Sustainability consultant for the district and retired K-L teacher.

Through a truly collaborative effort—involving administrators, the John Jay Middle School PTO, Operations and Maintenance crews and a couple of green-thumbed students—the gardens were completely replanted and set up permanently at JJMS over the summer and now have a variety of healthy flowers and vegetables sprouting beautifully.

Principal Richard Leprine said he and the JJMS staff are looking for creative ways to integrate the gardens into curricula, as well as form an after-school club that will involve caring for the garden.

Sixth grader Ali Fergusson has been involved with the LES garden since its inception and was instrumental in having it moved to the Middle School.

“I enjoy it because I feel like I am really helping the environment and it’s fun to collect the vegetables and keep the plants healthy,” she shared.

Lupia noted that over the years it has become apparent that Ali Fergusson is a natural in the garden.

“She can probably run the garden herself,” said Lupia.

Fergusson and her twin brother Cole and other sixth graders including Arcadia Ohenemus and Joelle Sacks continue to be garden enthusiasts and enjoy everything from pulling weeds to guessing how big the carrots will grow each season.

“It makes me feel good to plant really good food,” said Cole Fergusson.