Board of Education to Hold Special Meeting and Anticipated Executive Session - January 29, 2015


Three-Hour Delay Bus and Lunch Information:

In the event that weather conditions necessitate a three-hour delay please note the following:

* Buses will arrive to pick up students at their bus stops three hours later than the normally scheduled time.

* Lunch will be served but the menu for the day will be revised: lunch will consist of Hamburger on a whole wheat bun, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Corn, Fresh Apple, Orange Juice, and Milk.

MS Students Impress at Geography Bee

John Jay Middle School’s student body gathered in the new gymnasium to cheer on participants in the Geography Bee on Jan. 14.

“Seventh- and eighth-grade students took a preliminary exam last week,” said teacher Barbara Kessler, who has been overseeing the Bee for 15 years.

The 10 highest scorers - Annika Carlson, Matthew Collins, Orion Cummings, Ethan Falconer, Terence Kelly, Eliza Leddy, Conor Roberts, McQuaid Shin, Alex Stark and Ryan Wallick -were invited to the stage for the school-wide competition, with questions about United States and global geography provided by the National Geographic Society.

“All of the participants seemed to be really involved mentally,” Kessler said. “They all took it very seriously.”

After a competitive double-elimination round, Alex Stark was named JJMS’s Geography Bee winner, with Matthew Collins and Ethan Falconer taking second- and third-place honors, respectively. Stark will complete a qualifying test for a chance to advance to the state level of the competition, where the top 100 scorers for the entire state will compete to represent the state at the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. in the spring. The winner of that Bee receives a $50,000 college scholarship and a trip for four to the Galapagos Islands, among other prizes.

Congratulations to all participants!

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Nuclear Energy

John Jay High School’s environmental physics classes recently had the opportunity to see firsthand how nuclear energy is used locally.

James Panzer’s classes visited Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan on Jan. 14 and 15.

“They were given the opportunity to tour the plant’s maze of steam pipes, turbines and security checkpoints,” Panzer said. “The live fish return system into the Hudson River was a particularly fun aspect of the tour.”

Indian Point employees spoke with students about how the station generates electricity and thermal energy using nuclear fission.

“One highlight was watching prospective nuclear control room operators run through a series of tests in a realistic simulator, complete with sounds and lights that indicate events to which they must respond,” Panzer said. “Our JJHS students were given facts about the history of nuclear energy, how it works and current safeguards and regulations in place so as to form their own opinions.”

Night of Comedy Fundraiser for JJHS Treblemakers


Kindness Is Contagious at Meadow Pond

Meadow Pond Elementary School’s Kindness Club is all about giving back.

“Teacher Joanne Lewis and I work with students at Meadow Pond in grades three to five doing community services projects each year,” said teacher Jane Corace. “This year, the students in my class were able to help stuff the backpacks for Front of the Class.”

Bill McCormick, a KLSD parent and president of non-profit organization Front of the Class, partnered with his son Matt’s fourth-grade class to stuff backpacks this year.

“When he approached us to see if we were interested in helping, we jumped at the chance to lend a helping hand,” said Corace.

According to McCormick, the class’s efforts resulted in 100 backpacks filled with school supplies – all of which were donated to Boonville, New York’s Adirondack Central School District.

Adirondack High School Principal Heidi Smith said, “Even this late in the school year, there are kids without backpacks and school supplies.”

Tommy McCormick, a John Jay High School student, is also involved with Front of the Class as a board member.

“Front of the Class is great because it’s all about helping kids in need,” he said. “I hope to stay involved with the charity after graduation.”

Corace said her class was excited about giving back and Bill McCormick said the efforts were well-received.

“On behalf of Front of the Class, we want to thank Mrs. Corace’s class for volunteering to join our Backpack Brigade to stuff the backpacks,” he said. “The kids had so much fun. The Adirondack School District students are going to be thrilled to receive the backpacks and school supplies.”

Lewisboro Elementary School PTA Gives Back


Exploring Animals in Winter


Increase Miller Elementary School first-graders learned about – and had the opportunity to touch – a number of Westmoreland Sanctuary’s residents, ranging from cockroaches to ferrets.

Rachel Diersen, director of education, and Steve Ricker, director of conservation and wildlife management, spoke with students about how a number of animals adapt to life during the winter, from hibernation to finding food, shelter and water.

“A lot of insects hibernate,” Ricker said. “Some even hibernate in our homes and garages.”

Students had the opportunity to touch a Madagascar hissing cockroach as they learned about the differences between cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals.

“Some cold-blooded animals hibernate both in water and then on land,” Diersen said, as she introduced Teddy the toad.

Other guests included Buddy, the box turtle, Snappy, the snapping turtle, a king snake, doves and ferrets.

First-grader Patrick said he enjoyed learning about the ferrets most.

“It was nice because they were furry,” he said.

Nicoletta thought the dove and ferrets were equally interesting, and she wasn’t at all squeamish about touching anything.

“I really like animals,” she said.


KES Warms Up Wintertime

Katonah Elementary School’s generous spirit was showcased through a tremendously successful Mitten Tree collection and holiday gift drive in December. Families donated 131 pairs of gloves, 44 pairs of mittens, 65 hats and five scarves.

“The proceeds from the Mitten Tree were shipped to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota,” said Assistant Principal Terrance Costin. “It is one of the poorest communities in the country.”

The school also held a successful holiday gift drive. Volunteers helped wrap the hundreds of presents that were donated, and the gifts were distributed to families in the community.

“December’s word of the month was ‘generosity,’ so it was especially fitting,” said Costin.

JJHS Announces 1st Quarter Honor Roll


Snow Days Update


HS Spring Athletics Information


One Day Only: Egyptian Museum Opens at JJMS

Why take a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art when you can see a world-class exhibit right at John Jay Middle School?

Parents and students were treated to the exclusive one-day-only Egyptian Museum exhibit on Dec. 18, featuring works curated and also created by by Team Pride sixth-graders.

Amelie Ciarcia’s glassmaking display revealed an interesting ingredient used in the ancient practice. “I think it’s cool how they made glass,” she said. “They used animal dung; now we use damp sand.”

Each student’s station included written reports about their chosen topic, a visual display and a list of suggested questions. Parents and fellow sixth-graders browsed the stations asking about the topics.

Anton Kletner’s “Book of the Dead” exhibit delved into the afterlife belief system the Egyptians held. “The most interesting thing I learned is what happens when they go to another world,” he said.

Meadow Pond Emphasizes Sharing and Giving

Meadow Pond Elementary School students met on Dec. 1 for a schoolwide Town Meeting, during which they discussed important school issues and got into the holiday spirit.

Principal Carolann Castellano and Assistant Principal Dawn Pomeroy emphasized the day’s theme would be sharing and giving in honor of the holidays.

Through a PowerPoint presentation, administrators announced student ambassadors, an initiative to promote strong character in the school. Students also applauded bus ranger and safety patrol award winners and the Kindness Club, led by Joanne Lewis.

Other kindness initiatives recapped during the meeting included a reading related to the school’s Mitten Tree for the homeless and recent food and clothing drives.

During the meeting, Daniela Masi’s and Joanne Lewis’s classes performed songs as handbell choirs, directed by music teacher Melissa Richardson, who also concluded the day with four holiday songs.

John Jay’s Tobin Named Intel Semifinalist

Tess Tobin likes pheromones. “Pheromones are cool,” said the JJHS senior. “No one studies pheromones, and no one knows what they are, so I knew right off the bat I wanted to study them.”

Her interest and two years of science research paid off when she was named an Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist on Jan. 7.

“I was in a state of disbelief,” Tobin said. “I really didn’t expect to be chosen – I thought for sure there was a mistake, and it wasn’t really me.”

She is one of just 300 honorees nationwide selected as a semifinalist in the pre-college science competition who will receive a $1,000 award from the Intel Foundation. An additional $1,000 will be awarded to John Jay High School.

Tobin’s research focused on a pest well-known in New York and throughout the country – stinkbugs; specifically, the brown marmorated stinkbug.

With guidance from science research teachers Jodi Riordan and Anne Marie Lipinski, Tobin connected with Dr. George Hamilton of Rutgers University, whose research includes the examination of pesticides and pest management.

In his laboratory, Tobin tested whether a stinkbug sex pheromone and aggregation pheromone would attract the insects, as well as whether lemongrass and clove essential oils would successfully deter the stinkbugs.

“The results were very encouraging,” she said. “I found that the lemongrass oil was significantly repellent.”

Tobin hopes to expand her research using a larger sample size of stinkbugs and see if her findings can be applied to controlling the stinkbug population’s damaging effects on the nation’s crops.

The 40 Intel finalists will be named on Jan. 21.

Middle School Holds Holiday Food Drive

John Jay Middle School’s student council makes a point each year to encourage the student body to give back.

“The student council has organized a food drive for many years,” said eighth-grader Molly Siegel, the council’s president. “We believe it is a worthy cause, especially during the holiday season, because John Jay is able to provide those less fortunate with food, something we all take for granted.”

This year, the school collectively filled up about 10 boxes of food to donate to the Katonah Community Center, which were delivered on Dec. 23.

Winter Crafts Reinforce Academics at MPES

Building candy houses and snow globes are traditional and fun activities at Meadow Pond Elementary School, but also put into practice lessons learned in the classroom.

“What shape is this?” asked Jill Walsh, a second-grade teacher who has been hosting an annual Winter Wonderland day for her students as she held up different types of candy.

Students were quick to respond — “rectangular prism! cylinder! cube! sphere!” — as they examined the goodies they would use to build candy houses using milk cartons, graham crackers and frosting.

Walsh reminded students to incorporate symmetry into their designs.

At the snow globe station, students spoke about how buoyancy was involved in the craft.

Other Winter Wonderland activities included creating marshmallow men after hearing a story at one station, putting together picture frames and making unique snowflake designs.