Dear KES Families,
February is turning out to be a very busy and exciting month!
We’ve had String, Band and Chorus Concerts, which were all fabulous performances. Awesome job fourth and fifth graders, and a big shout out to our amazing and talented Music Teachers: Ms. Ouellette, Mrs. Kirshenbaum and Ms. Lindon.
The fourth-grade students presented their original poems and art at the Katonah Museum of Art, which were inspiring and memorable. We are so proud of our fourth graders, and very much appreciate the hard work of the Grade Level Team in collaboration with Mrs. Eckler, KES Art Teacher, and Pam Hart, Artist in Residence.
Third graders and their family’s celebrated International Day. After a wonderful performance of songs (shout out to Mr. Gelfer and Ms. Lindon!), the students presented their beautiful ‘crests’ which they worked hard on in class with their teachers. This was a wonderful opportunity for students to share their research with the many visitors who circulated through the cafeteria.
Second graders captivated an audience of parents and special guests at Special Persons’ Day. With an emotionally moving grade level presentation of songs and individual oral presentations, every person in attendance was made to feel special! Thank you to the Second Grade Team, and of course, Mr. Gelfer and Ms. Lindon.
First grade students experienced the ‘Star Lab’ from Impact Education. Students entered a 20-foot-wide inflated planetarium dome set up in the KES gymnasium to view the night-time sky. Stars, constellations, and storytelling combined for an entertaining and enlightening program. Great choice First Grade Team!
Administration, the Kindergarten Team, PTO Co-Presidents (Eileen Sullivan and Samantha Holcman) and SEPTO Representative (Teryn Kendall) welcomed the parents’ of 2020 incoming kindergarteners at an evening orientation. Mrs. Egan, Ms. McGrath, Mrs. Carini and Mr. Hughes shared information from their collective years of experience teaching kindergarten in a warm and engaging manner. We had a great turn out of guests, which included Superintendent, Andrew Selesnick.
In addition to everything mentioned, we also had a visit from one of the players from the Basketball Team, The Harlem Wizards (sponsored by the KLSD Booster Club). And the month isn’t over yet! Still to come is Dental Awareness in Kindergarten, ‘Abe Lincoln’ will visit the second grade, and the highly anticipated Science Fair!
During the last two weeks of February, Jeanne Hand, KES Librarian will be explicitly preparing our students for March’s ‘Pick A Reading Partner’ (PARP) theme… “Books are Mirrors and Windows.” This is a conceptual framework conceived by Emily Styles as part of the National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity). Mirrors are stories that reflect your culture/reality and help you understand yourself. Windows are books (movies, art, etc.) that offer you a view into someone else’s experience. We have been using this inclusive metaphor in conversations in the classrooms throughout the year, to help students develop a strong and positive identity as well as increasingly empathic global citizens. During PARP, “Books as Mirrors and Windows” will be further explored and celebrated.
From Jeanne Hand, KES Librarian:
When reading literature, readers may make text-to-self connections and see themselves reflected in the story. It is self-affirming when you read about characters who live similar lives, share similar experiences and feelings. Sometimes, books can be windows into the lives of characters who are seemingly very different. This opens our eyes to experiences, cultures, and places that are new and unfamiliar. Sometimes, however, books can do both.
According to Rudine Sims Bishop, Multicultural Education Scholar and Professor Emerita of Education at Ohio State University specializing in African American children’s literature, “When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection, we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience.” Bishop famously promoted literature as a tool of self-affirmation for all children.
When children read books that are windows to new and unfamiliar experiences, but still see themselves reflected, they learn we all have more in common than it may appear. During PARP, we will encourage children to read and think about stories that celebrate diversity, develop empathy, and reflect their lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience that we all share.
During a week at the end of February, I will be reading some of the ‘Sweet 16’ PARP books and lead the classes in discussions about how the books reflect their own experiences and how the books may offer a window into experiences that are not their own. In the youngest classes, we will create a display where the students can respond on cut outs of windows and mirrors. Older students will share their reflections in the Seesaw app. Both will be focusing on the similarities and differences they share with the characters.
Information about this year’s PARP and Starry Story Night events (taking place in March) will be forthcoming from Enid Linden, KES Reading Specialist and Chairperson of the KES PARP COMMITTEE.
Important Dates: for you to know include:
Monday, February 17 Presidents’ Day- school closed
Tuesday, February 18 Superintendent’s Conference Day- school closed for students
Monday, February 24 5:30-7:30 pm Science Fair (snow date: February 25)
Thursday, February 27 BOE Meeting: Budget Overview
Friday, February 28 *‘Pick A Reading Partner’ (PARP) Kick-Off School-Wide
Assembly/JJHS Students Perform their favorite children’s books
Saturday, February 29 BOE Budget Review
Wednesday, March 4 6:15 Gym Doors Open; 6:30-7:30 pm *Starry Story Night
(snow date: March 11)
Friday, March 6 Parent Portal Opens for Second Trimester Student Progress Reports
Future Dates of Importance:
March 25 and 26 NYS ELA ASSESSMENT
April 6-10 Spring Recess
April 21 and 22 NYS Math ASSESSMENT
Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, and a lovely holiday weekend. We look forward to seeing the children back at KES on Wednesday, February 19.
Take good care,
Cristy Harris, Principal and Kweon Stambaugh, Assistant Principal