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JUNE 2020 ELEMENTARY SUMMER LETTER

June 26, 2020 

Dear Elementary Families, 

Your child’s progress report document is available for viewing in your Parent Portal account in Infinite Campus. 
Campus Parent can be found at:
 https://icampus.klschools.org/campus/portal/parents/katonah.jsp  

If you have any questions regarding the Parent Portal, please send an email to parentportal@klschools.org.

The progress report reflects your child’s progress from March through June, which was primarily through distance learning. It is different from past reports as there are no indicators, only comments from your child’s teacher. The comments are focused on your child’s personal and social growth, work and study habits, effort, and progress in academic areas.  

Katonah-Lewisboro values the on-going communications between home and school. Both teachers and families are partners in supporting our students’ growth. We will continue to help all children grow at their own level of ability and readiness when schools re-open. We remain committed to your child’s success and creating a positive elementary school experience. 

As part of a newly-revised system for the annual summer mailing process, we ask that when you log in to your Parent Portal account in Infinite Campus to view the Progress Report, you also review and update the demographic, household and family information that is stored in the system for your child(ren). The steps for doing so can be found in the attached document. Please note that the Family ID system will continue to be used to provide your summer mailing form preferences (Media Release, Unscheduled Closing, etc.) and for you to sign off on the annual agreements (RUP, Code of Conduct, etc.). Additional information will be sent from the District regarding this part of the process. 

Enjoy the relaxation that the summer months can bring and stay safe.  

Sincerely,                                                                                      
Elementary Principals
Carolann Castellano, MPES
Kerry Ford, IMES
Cristy Harris, KES

THE CHALLENGE BEFORE US from the PTO

Dear KES Community,

We are all gripped by recent events and are heartbroken by the racism, inequality and violence on display in our country. 

The mission of the KES PTO is to promote the welfare and enrichment of all the KES students. Creating a more tolerant, caring, empathetic and equal environment where differences are embraced and celebrated by all students is what we want. We have been given a chance to really refocus our thinking and efforts and hope the KES PTO can help make positive change.

Our board often has conversations about equity and inclusion amongst the members of our school population. We champion ways to support them and worry about continuing disenfranchisement. We believe that a healthy, strong, safe and successful community is only possible if every child in our community is given the same respect, consideration and opportunities as one another.  We care about the students at KES that are marginalized because of racial differences. We have a chance to do better and build a stronger and more tolerant community every day. 

What can we do going forward? 

Here is the beginning of a list of action items that are realistic goals and opportunities for the PTO to help coordinate and sponsor, and some of the things we are doing and will expand upon: 

  • This initiative was planned and approved before even going into quarantine, but it has turned out to be even more timely: the KES PTO is purchasing $2,000 worth of books on diversity for the KES library. We are thrilled to do so, and really hope it makes a difference.        
  • We want to work with our faculty and administration to sponsor speakers that can bring the topic of racial tolerance to elementary school students.     
  • For the past 2 years, the KES PTO has been providing books of the month to support the Character Ed program at KES. The books this year were focused on diversity of characters, authors and settings.
  • The PTO is proud to annually support PARP (Pick A Reading Partner month). This year the theme was "Mirrors and Windows"- books that reflect ourselves and books that provide perspective and insight into the lives of others.
  • John Jay High School has an amazing diversity group "AWOD" (A World of Difference) that comes to KES and works with the students every January. They came to our January GMM and gave a presentation on racial and cultural differences, which prompted a wonderful, personal discussion amongst the parents in attendance. Moving forward, we will suggest having the group come regularly to conduct workshops with the students.       
  • Differences Day is one of the most incredible and effective days of hands-on enlightenment KES students get to experience in 2nd and 5th grade. We will suggest working with SEPTO (Special Education PTO) to allow students this opportunity for growth more often than it is currently available.
  • 2020 was the inaugural event for Kindness Day. Its focus was wide reaching and included partnering with many local non-profits. Moving forward, we see this event as a great opportunity to include speakers and programs that focus on racial equality and education. 
  • The PTO is supportive of families that need financial assistance to pay for instrument rentals, Halloween Fair tickets, ASA/BSA classes, school supply packs, and field trips. Over time the number of families in need has grown, and the PTO’s student financial assistance line has grown with it. We are doubling that budget line for next year. The majority of our families who receive assistance are People of Color. Our philosophy behind giving assistance is that we want every student to have the same opportunity as everyone else to participate in school events and programs. Inclusion is the key to community. 
  • In the past two years, the PTO has tried to fill a gap with our english as a new language population. We realized that so many families were not aware of very basic information pertaining to school. In an effort to bridge this gap and bring more inclusion, the PTO, with the assistance of the KES administration, initiated a Buddy program for new families and for all ENL families.  We are very proud of this endeavor and believe it has made a difference. We hope this program is continued and grown going forward. 

We are fortunate to live in a very supportive learning community and look forward to starting this conversation and speaking more on this topic. We will continue to think about ways to support all of our students. Please email us and share your ideas. We are stronger together. 

Thank you for your ongoing support of the PTO.

Sincerely,

Samantha Holcman & Eileen Sullivan

PTO Co-Presidents