The Katonah-Lewisboro Learning Commitment
In the KLSD, we will strive to create learning experiences for all students that are engaging, relevant, and take place in an active learning environment.
October 8, 2021
Dear KES Families,
We were happy to hear so many of you were able to join us for Curriculum Night (Zoom) Presentations to learn about our programs and practices. If you would like to read about each grade level’s curriculum, you may access our Curriculum Guides for the 21-22 school year on our school website under the Quick Links section. The description of the programs will provide you with a general understanding of the content and skills taught during the school year.
At this time, we would also like to share some school information about events and happenings at KES.
NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION WEEK IS OCTOBER 3-9
On Thursday, October 7, the Katonah Fire Department was at KES teaching our kindergarten students about fire prevention. The children went outside to see the fire trucks and firefighters and learn about fire safety at school and at home. We are thankful to our local fire department for their hard work and commitment to our school and the community. Look for pictures of this event on our website.
INTERNATIONAL WALK/BIKE TO SCHOOL is OCTOBER 22 (Rain Date October 29)
We hope all KES families consider joining us for a beautiful fall walk to school. There are three locations where groups will leave from and walk together to school. KES has partnered with members of the Bedford PD to join us at all three meeting places to ensure our safety. Upon arrival at school, students ONLY will make their way to the Lower Plaza.
Please make note of the meeting places and times below.
All students arriving to school (walkers, bus, and drop-offs) will enjoy being greeted by BUDDY and music playing by our very own D.J. Gelfer. This event is certain to be a truly PAWSome experience!
Halloween is quickly approaching. In school, on Friday, October 29. Staying with our KES tradition, kindergarten students will have an opportunity to parade (outdoors) in their costumes for the rest of the school to cheer and admire them. (Kindergarten classroom teachers will communicate more details soon.) Please encourage your child in grades 1-5 to wear orange and/or black. We have a few other fun Halloween “treats” planned for the students on this day as well.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL)
Supporting students’ social and emotional well-being is important every school but heightened this year by the challenge of transitioning from hybrid and remote models to a fully in-person learning experience. During these first months of school, our emphasis has been to create a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for all students, where all students feel emotionally and physically safe and have a sense of belonging.
Posted throughout our hallways are signs of is ‘ALL are WELCOME.’ Our school is a place where diversity and uniqueness are celebrated, and differences and similarities are explored to help connect us to each other and build caring and respectful relationships.
Teachers use a variety of approaches and resources for teaching and supporting social and emotional wellness both explicitly and as an integration of skill instruction and practice within the academic curriculum. So, what does this look, and sound like in the classrooms? Here are some ways our school supports our students’ social-emotional wellness:
Read Alouds of picture book, and videos with relatable characters, are used in class to initiate discussions on topics related to the SEL Core Competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making- CASEL) as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. Over the past several years we have been developing diverse classroom libraries to include text selections that mirror our students’ experiences and personal connections as well as books that are windows helping our students to see into the life or experience of someone else. Additionally, our teachers have access to a wide variety of online resources to supplement their SEL instructional materials.
Morning Meetings take place in our classrooms. Teachers greet their students each morning at the door, and then students formally greet each other, and t participate in a “share” activity. Students are asked to share thoughts, feelings, a story, or a memory. Sometimes, students are asked to bring in items from home to “show and share” their interests, talents, and family traditions. These activities help our students to develop important skills for learning such as active listening, focusing attention, and providing feedback. In addition, each student is given the opportunity to feel special, valued and appreciated.
Another example of an activity that may take place during Morning Meetings is Feelings Charades. Students act out emotions and classmates guess the feeling. This helps students to identify and correctly label emotions, leading to an understanding of how their emotions and behavior is related. This type of activity supports the development of self-awareness; and as these activities advance, students are learning how to regulate emotions as part of their self-management.
Class meetings take place in the classrooms and are used for brainstorming solutions to problems that may arise or simulated. Important skills for learning are taught and practiced, such as problem-solving using steps for making responsible decisions, practicing empathy, and looking through the lens of multiple perspectives to interpret situations leading to making good and healthy choices.
Classroom “promises” or “constitutions” are created at the beginning of each year as part of building a strong classroom community where all students feel safe- socially, emotionally, physically, and academically. Agreed upon norms for a respectful and safe learning environment are reflected in these collaboratively designed documents. The “Be Your Best” Code of Conduct provides students with the expectations of our schoolwide community. These “rules of engagement” tools are used to positively reinforce desired behaviors as well as provide students the opportunity to reflect and own their choices.
AUTHOR VIRTUAL VISIT
We are very excited to welcome Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of DEAR AMERICA: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, Young Readers’ Edition to speak to our 5th grade students live, via Zoom, on Thursday, October 20. Mr. Vargas presented in September to our high school colleagues and students as this was the selected Community Summer Read 2021. Vargas is a journalist, filmmaker, and recipient of prestigious awards and nominations. In 2019, they also named an elementary school after him in his hometown in California! We look forward to his virtual visit which will be moderated by our very own, Mrs. Patterson.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC (GRADE 4 AND 5)
We look forward to launching our Instrumental Music Program again! Mrs. Kirshenbaum and Mr. Oriani will continue to communicate information.
In the coming weeks, you will receive a Blackboard Connect message asking you to sign up for Parent/Teacher conferences with your children’s teachers. Currently, our plan is to host in-person conferences. Masks will be required for entry into the building and must be worn for the duration of the visit. Parents/guardians who prefer having a conference via Zoom will be accommodated.
*Mark Your Calendar!
Monday, October 11 Schools Closed/Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day
Monday, October 18 Photo Re-Takes
Wednesday, October 20 Author Virtual Visit with Jose Vargas, Grades 5
Thursday, October 21 5th Grade to BOCES Yorktown Challenge Course
Friday, October 22 International Walk/Bike to School Day (Rain Date: October 29)
Saturday, October 23 PTO Halloween Fair
October 25-29 Red Ribbon Week (more info will be forthcoming)
Friday, October 29 Kindergarten Halloween Parade/1-5 Black and Orange Day
Monday, November 1 PTO Food Drive Begins
Tuesday, November 2 Election Day/Schools Closed/ Superintendent’s Conference Day
Wednesday, November 3 Parent Portal Opens for Elementary Interim Reports
Thursday, November 4 12:15 pm. Dismissal/6 PM – 8 PM Parent/Teacher Conferences
November 6-9 PTO Scholastic Book Fair
Monday, November 8 12:15 p.m. Dismissal/1 PM – 3:45 PM Parent/Teacher Conferences
Tuesday, November 9 12:15 p.m. Dismissal/6 PM – 8 PM Parent/Teacher Conferences
Thursday, November 11 Veteran’s Day/Schools Closed
Monday, November 15 PTO Gift Drive Begins
Wednesday, November 17 PTO General Membership Meeting 7:30 PM
Friday, November 19 Poet Ted Scheu visits KES 2nd Graders
November 25 and 26 Thanksgiving/Schools Closed
Monday, November 29 PTO “Wrap (present) Night”
KES PTO Weekly ‘PAWS PRINTS’ will provide detailed information related to the listed events.
Thank you for your partnership.
Cristy Harris and Kweon Stambaugh