Board of Education to hold Tenure Reception, Regular Meeting and Anticipated Executive Session

The Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District Board of Education will meet as follows:

Board of Education Regular Meeting and Anticipated Executive Session
Thursday, June 2, 2016
6:30 p.m. – Tenure Reception
6:55 p.m. – Anticipated Executive Session
7:00 p.m. – Public Session
John Jay High School, Library
60 North Salem Road
Cross River, NY 10518

Reception – 6:30 p.m.

A light reception will be held for tenure recipients in the John Jay High School.  

Anticipated Executive Session – 6:55 p.m.

It is anticipated that the Board of Education enters into Executive Session to discuss a special education matter.   This portion of the meeting will not be opened to the public.  

Public Session – 7:00 p.m.

The following item(s) will be presented and/or discussed during the Public Session of the
June 2, 2016 Board of Education Meeting:

•    Recognition and Granting of Tenure to Professional Staff Members
•    Presentation – Student Performance Metrics Committee  

The Agenda for the meeting can be found on the Board Docs website at  three (3) days prior to the meeting.

The Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District is a nationally recognized high performing school district serving approximately 3,200 students from the townships of Bedford, Lewisboro, North Salem, and Pound Ridge.


Katonah Elementary School’s second- through fifth-graders recently worked with international SOUL Singers as part of a three-day program.

Students worked with performers from Albania, Kenya and Malaysia during the program and learned songs and dances that they performed for the entire school, and the community.

The program was made possible through the support of the PTO and help of music teacher Michael Gelfer. At an assembly showcasing the students’ music, Assistant Principal Terrence Costin thanked the local families who hosted the singers and their manager during the program.

MS French Students Earn Gold

Several John Jay Middle School students earned recognition after volunteering to participate in the National French Contest in March.

The annual contest, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French, invites students of French in first through 12th grade in all 50 states to take a written test to compete against students with similar educational backgrounds for prizes.

Four seventh-grade students and 11 eighth-grade students participated in 2016 Secondary Contest. One seventh-grade student placed in the top 95 percentile nationally and earned a gold medal. Two eighth-graders also placed in the 95th percentile, four placed in the 90th percentile, earning silver medals, and four additional students won bronze medals by placing in the 85th percentile nationally. In addition, several students received honorable mention.

The rankings were based on 5,201 students who took the test at the seventh-grade level and 21,791 who competed at the eighth-grade level.

“This is a really great accomplishment for [the students] to see how they rank against other French students in the country,” said JJMS French teacher Christine Haddad.

Hale Inspires at Meadow Pond

Meadow Pond Elementary School students recently welcomed award-winning author Bruce Hale to their library. Hale inspired them to reach for their dreams and never give up. The students enjoyed his entertaining presentation, which culminated with the reading of their favorite book, “Big Bad Baby.” Hale was one of two authors to visit Meadow Pond this year. The author visits are generously sponsored by the Compact Team, the Meadow Pond Library and the PTA.

County Legislator Visits KES

Katonah Elementary School’s fifth-grade students continued their study of U.S. Government with a special visitor on April 28 – Westchester County Legislator Francis Corcoran.

Leg. Corcoran was elected to the legislature in November to fill an unexpired seat. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, a Bedford resident and a former Bedford Town Board member.

During his visit, Leg. Corcoran explained the unique election process he participated in and shared that he represents a district of about 50,000 residents.

“My job is to represent the interest of all of those 50,000 people,” he said. “I represent your voice in White Plains.”

Students learned that the county legislature chamber, where the 17 representatives meet to discuss Westchester laws, holds furniture that has been used since the 1930s. Leg. Corcoran explained that a tough, but important part of the legislators’ jobs is to keep taxes as low as possible, while making sure the county is able to provide the necessary services to residents. This is an important discussion that occurs each year as the budget is formed, he shared.

“First and most importantly, we have to consider the protection of citizens,” he said. “And taxes pay for all of the services we provide.”

While Leg. Corcoran said there are many differences between county government, state government and federal government, he likened Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino to the “president” of the county. He also said each legislator is a member of multiple committees that have to review bills before they become laws. Leg. Corcoran chairs the county’s Environment and Health Committee.

While government is an important entity that serves to protect its citizens, Leg. Corcoran said, he also underscored the importance of citizen participation.

“Don’t be afraid to express your opinion in a respectful way,” he advised students. “It is important to stand up for yourself and know that your voice is heard.”

Cutler Earns First at I-SWEEEP

John Jay High School senior Zury Cutler earned a gold medal in the Energy category at the 2016 International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project competition in Houston, Texas.

Cutler competed against science research students from around the country and world in the competition and was the only New York student to earn a gold medal in the Energy category. Fellow gold medalists hailed from South Korea, China, Switzerland, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Texas.

In addition, Cutler garnered two special awards at the competition – the Korean Science Service award and the Consumer Energy Alliance award.

Cutler’s three-year-long science research program project, “A Clear Path to a Brighter Future: Creation and Characterization of an Optically Transparent Hybrid Supercapacitor and Solar Concentrator,” involved the creation of a novel deice that generates electricity and stores energy while being completely transparent.

Cutler currently has a patent pending on his technology, which can be used where sunlight is available and complete transparency is needed, such as on cellphone screens, windows, vehicles and buildings.

Sixth-Graders Immersed in Study of Middle Ages


Sixth-grade students are immersed in a multi-discipline study of the Middle Ages after participating in a kickoff program with artists-in-residence John Bromka and Sondra Bromka of Bells & Motley.

The Bromkas introduced students to music and instruments from the Middle Ages and taught them a number of dances from various regions. The program also included lessons about art, culture and etiquette like proper bowing technique.

Following the residency program, “Students will be reading ‘Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village’ by Amy Schlitz in ELA class while studying that period of history in social studies class,” said sixth-grade humanities teacher Marcia Daley-Savo. “The unit will culminate with a field trip to Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts to participate in their program ‘A Day in the Middle Ages.’”

The artist-in-residence program was funded through the generosity of the John Jay Middle School PTO, the Katonah-Lewisboro Foundation and the BOCES Arts in Education program.

HS Writers Earn National Scholastic Awards

Two John Jay High School students have received national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards honors for their contributions in the 2016 competition.

Sophomore Kaley Mamo received a Gold Medal for her flash fiction piece, “Ponte Vecchio,” while junior Ellie Prusko received a Gold Key for her novel, “Wonderfully Tragic and Terribly Great.”

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, in existence for more than 90 years, is the nation’s largest and most prestigious recognition program for teen writers. Past honorees include Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates and Lena Dunham.

Mamo and Prusko were selected as winners from thousands of students who submitted work this year.

HS Students Impress at Science Symposium


John Jay High School students shared the progress of their work during the school’s annual Science Research Symposium on April 20.

The evening began with presentations by the program’s 15 seniors, who have been conducting their research for three years. Each student, or pair, shared PowerPoint presentations with their peers, parents and other visitors and took questions from the audience about their topics, methods, findings and scientific significance.

Among the evening’s presenters was Jack Brotmann, whose project “Hemoglobin Coated Nanoparticles: A Potential Model for Pro-Inflammatory Microparticles in Circulation,” earned him recognition earlier in the year in the Intel Science Talent Search competition as a semifinalist. Read more about Brotmann’s research here.

Attendees also heard from Zury Cutler, whose project “A Clear Path to a Brighter Future: Creation and Characterization of an Optically Transparent Hybrid Supercapacitor and Solar Concentrator,” has earned many awards – including first- and second-place awards at regional 2016 competitions and a coveted spot as a finalist in the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project competition, held in Houston, Texas, from April 26-May 1. Cutler currently has a patent pending on his technology, which can be used where sunlight is available and complete transparency is needed, such as on cellphone screens, windows, vehicles and buildings.

The evening culminated with poster presentations by all of the program participating sophomores, juniors and seniors in the cafeteria. Attendees enjoyed refreshments while browsing the posters and engaging with the students about the scope of their work.

The science research honors course is a three-year program providing John Jay High School students with the opportunity to participate in the scientific research community and engage in authentic science research of their own design.

Fifth-Graders Assume Roles as Elected Officials

Fifth-grade students at Katonah Elementary School used their knowledge of the U.S. government to take on roles as senators, representatives and even the president of the United States during a mock trial session.

Each student representative prepared a speech to share with his or her fellow delegates in favor or in opposition to a bill that would require uniforms for all public school students. They took into consideration the demographic of the state they represented in forming their argument.

“New York has a lot of crime, so [uniforms] will be a good thing,” Gerard Garofolo said in representing his state, also citing a study that showed school uniforms correlated with a decrease in assaults and vandalism.

Leo Duarte, of Washington, disagreed, stating, “School uniforms are very costly.” He also added that students’ freedom of expression can be hindered if they are unable to wear what they choose. In addition, “Ties come with most uniforms and can be very dangerous…a huge choking hazard,” he said.

The mock debate allowed students to practice their speaking and argument skills, as well as prepare for additional opportunities for hands-on learning about government; including a visit from a Westchester County legislator and a visit to the Westchester County Legislature in White Plains.

John Jay High School Principal Recommendation


HS Chamber Ensemble Performs at Farmers’ Market

Members of John Jay High School’s Chamber Ensemble performed for shoppers at the Chappaqua Farmers Market on April 16.

They collected donations during the performance to raise money for the upcoming American Cancer Society Relay for Life, as well as the school’s newly-formed Tri-M Music Honor Society. For two hours, the group played a wide range of pieces that included “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” by Mozart, “Concerto No. 5” by Bach and “Danse Macabre” by Saint-Saëns.

Students who participated in the concert include Nicholas Aoki (violin), Matthew Gomes (violin), Acadia Thielking (violin), DeeAnn Guo (viola) and Caroline Andrews (cello).

The Chamber Ensemble was well-received by both the vendors and patrons of the farmers market. The group plans to build upon its success by performing at other venues and raising money for charities in the near future.

Destination Imagination Team Competes at States

After earning a first-place finish at the regional level, John Jay Middle School’s Destination Imagination team earned a spot in the 2016 New York Destination Imagination Affiliate Tournament, held at SUNY Broome Community College on April 9.

“Our team represented JJMS well and won third place in their challenge category,” said team advisor Elizabeth Egan.

Team Ignite, comprised of Paul Esposito, Peter Gressler, Sophie Gou and Bian Suzuki-Wolf, competed in the middle level “Get A Clue” category, facing off against five other teams from across the state.

“These students did an outstanding job at the state tournament,” said Egan.

Cutler to Present Research at International Competition

John Jay High School senior Zury Cutler will represent the district at the 2016 International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project competition in Houston, Texas, from April 26 – May 1.

Cutler’s three-year-long science research program project, “A Clear Path to a Brighter Future: Creation and Characterization of an Optically Transparent Hybrid Supercapacitor and Solar Concentrator,” has earned many awards over the past three years:
• 2nd Place in Engineering at the 2016 Westchester Science and Engineering Fair
• ISWEEEP Finalist at 2016 WESEF
• 2nd Place in Physical Science at the 2016 Upstate Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
• 1st Place in Engineering at the 2016 Westchester-Rockland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
• 2015 Intel Science Talent Search competition research report badge and student initiative badge
• 4th Place in Engineering at the 2015 WESEF
• 2nd Place in Engineering II at the 2014 Westlake Science Symposium

He also received a 2016 scholarship from the American Chemical Society.

Cutler currently has a patent pending on his technology, which can be used where sunlight is available and complete transparency is needed, such as on cellphone screens, windows, vehicles and buildings.

HS Launches Digital Newspaper

John Jay High School has a new online publication – the John Jay Focus.

The digital newspaper was launched by students, after school newspaper staff members and journalism class students after attending a Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference at Columbia University in the fall.

“Several students were inspired to create an online presence for the student-run newspaper,” said school librarian Lauren Carrigan.

Teagan Cronin and Alyssa Lofreddo, the publication’s co- editors-in-chief, along with head layout editor Jessica Li, spearheaded the effort.

[Cronin, Li and Lofreddo] have worked very hard the last couple of months building the new site, rallying support and recruiting more writers, bloggers and photographers,” said Carrigan.

Visit the John Jay Focus at

Environmental Students Compete in Envirothon

Two teams represented John Jay High School at the Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon held at Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill on April 14.

The teams were each composed of five juniors and seniors in AP Environmental Science, coached by teachers Linda Rachele Burke and Matt Funnell. Team 1 included Nicholas Filannino, Matthew Gomes, Danielle Kulick, Sarahann Rozsa and Kaitlin Simonides; Team 2 included Sofia David, Ryan Dwyer, Cooper Klares, Rosie Sacco and Corneil Smith.

The teams competed in five different environmental categories: soils/land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife and a current environmental issue – this year, it was invasive species. The students also prepared a presentation to make offering a solution to an environmental problem – this year, it was the invasion of hydrilla in a New York State lake.
John Jay's Team 1 came in fourth place overall in the competition and took second place in Westchester County, only six points behind Ossining. Ryan Dwyer brought Team 2 to a first-place finish in wildlife and Nick Filannino led Team 1 to a third-place finish in forestry.
The teams would like to thank Chief of Police Frank Secret for coming to help them prepare for the wildlife event.

JJHS Spirit Soars at JayFest


John Jay High School celebrated its 19th annual JayFest spring event on April 15 and 16 with a lineup of home athletic contests that brought out school spirit all weekend long.

Friday’s events included the John Jay Spring Track Invitational and a varsity men’s tennis match. On Saturday, fans enjoyed junior varsity and varsity men’s and women’s lacrosse, junior varsity tennis, junior varsity and varsity baseball, and junior varsity and varsity softball matches throughout the day.

Tarshis Inspires Young Writers at IMES

Lauren Tarshis, author of the “I Survived” book series, inspired Increase Miller Elementary School third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students with her engaging personality and interesting tips during a special visit to the school on April 7.

“We invited a special guest here today,” said Principal Kerry Ford, who acknowledged the school’s PTA for funding the special event. “Lauren Tarshis is going to tell us all about the books she has published.”

Tarshis told students her 13 “I Survived” books, which narrate famous events such as the sinking of the Titanic, the Battle of Gettysburg and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, are classified as historical fiction.

“All of the facts are true and all the characters are made up,” she said. “I do tons and tons of research for my books.”

Tarshis described taking an ice bath and visiting the beach during the wintertime to research an accurate description of how people who jumped into the icy Atlantic Ocean waters as the Titanic sunk may have felt.

“It was horrible,” she said of the experiment. “It didn’t feel cold, it felt boiling hot and like I was being stabbed by thousands of needles” – a description that made it into her book.

Despite her success as an author now, Tarshis said she wasn’t able to finish reading a book until she was 14  and her first attempts at writing books didn’t turn out well. After landing a job with Scholastic after college, her love of books grew. It was an encounter with now world-famous “Harry Potter” series author J.K. Rowling that inspired her to keep trying to write.

“[Rowling said to me,] ‘Don’t you know? In order to write a good book, you have to write two terrible books first,’” Tarshis recalled.

She told students that she hasn’t forgotten that simple idea and reminded students that it is OK to not know right now what they are good at or what they want to do as adults.

Allergy Awareness

An IMPORTANT Notice from

On March 30, the Kellogg Company made a targeted announcement on the FARE website stating they would begin adding peanut flour to existing Keebler and Austin cracker brands – some of which were listed in this Guide – beginning in April.

The company did NOT make this announcement via press release, on their site, or on their social media properties, so the general public is unaware of this change.

On March 31 we removed all Keebler brand crackers from the Safe Snack Guide as THESE NOW PRESENT A DANGER FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH PEANUT ALLERGY.

We urge all parents, teachers, school nurses, aides, PTA leaders, coaches, camp counselors, scout leaders, and anyone else responsible for allergic children to PLEASE inform your family, friends, and colleagues of this change, as the introduction of a peanut ingredient in products previously assumed to be free of peanuts could have CATASTROPHIC consequences for individuals with peanut allergy.

Please note the following resources: Press Release:
Advisory regarding the change:
Petition to CEO of Kellogg’s:
Safe Snack Guide update notification:

Getting Excited About Science


John Jay Middle School students shared facts about microscopes, ecosystems, hurricanes, hoverboards and more during the school’s 33rd annual science fair on March 30.

Students displayed their poster boards and project equipment in the school library, where they presented to judges, parents, teachers and peers passing through.

Seventh-grade student Kaitlyn Machado shared that her project, “Activities and Asthma,” was inspired by her own experience with the condition.

“I measured the heartbeats of 30 friends before and after exercise,” said Machado, who used a pool of fellow students both with and without asthma. “I found that people with asthma had a higher heart rate before and after exercise.”

Eighth-grader Ashley Stagnari, who received an award for her project, “Salmon’s Big Hit,” is an enthusiastic advocate for animal rights. Her project explored the factors that cause wild salmon populations to decrease, including aquatic pollution and global warming.

Tejas Chimata studied “Ferrofluid” for his project, which he said is known for its use in fueling rockets. However, its magnetic quality, he shared, is being tested for possible use as a cancer treatment.

“It’s still in testing, but there is a possible application,” he said.

The afternoon concluded with an awards ceremony. All participating sixth-grade students received medals for their efforts and will have the option of taking part in the science fair in the next two years. Seventh- and eighth-grade students’ projects were judged by a panel – Eva Cisneros, Tammy Eliades, Lisa Frese, Hilda Gressler, Lauren Grizzoffi, Dawn Kamerman, Clark Landis, Ken Roban, Jeff Tepper and Lynn Tobin. Gift cards were provided for the winners by the PTO, as well as participation awards for students who have researched projects for all three years of middle school.

Science teachers Gregg Kastanis and Zach Miller said they hope the science fair will encourage students to continue exploring their interest in the sciences in high school and beyond.

JSA Attends Winter Congress

Members of John Jay High School’s Junior State of America chapter enjoyed another successful trip to the Washington metropolitan area, where they participated in the annual JSA Winter Congress at the DoubleTree Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, from Feb. 26-28.

Simulating Congress by writing, amending and resolving several pieces of legislation, delegates Akshay Amin, Meg Howes and Jackson Mingle brought home the “gavels” by winning Best Speaker Awards for their debates.

The opening ceremony’s keynote speaker, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, addressed the delegates. Afterward, the more than 750 students from schools throughout the Northeast dispersed into their committee sessions, where they had the opportunity to participate as “senators” and “representatives” in the lawmaking process. They advocated for causes they were passionate about and immersed themselves in the congressional experience. After a weekend of caucuses and full committee sessions, the delegates experienced the satisfaction of having one of their bills passed by both houses of Congress.

After the sessions, the students headed to Washington, D.C., where they toured the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court Building and participated in an evening monument excursion.

The Junior State of America is a unique organization in that, from its inception in 1934, it has been a student-run enterprise. Chapters elect their own presidents and students elect regional leaders and the national board of governors. Students cultivate democratic leadership skills, challenge one another to think critically, advocate their own opinions, develop respect for opposing views and learn to rise above self-interest to promote the public good. The JSA has a long list of alumni who have followed the path of civic life, including elected officials, cabinet members, and prominent members of media, business and academia. Over the years, the JSA has helped more than half a million students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be active, informed and responsible citizens, voters and leaders.

Seventh-Graders Create Sustainable Art

John Jay Middle School seventh-grade students used items from art teacher Holly Kellogg’s classroom that would have otherwise been trashed to create an origami flower garden that is now on display.

The project included used table-cover paper and leftover paint from previous undertakings and taught students that they can reduce, reuse and recycle even the most unlikely of objects to create something beautiful.

Embracing Colonial Life


Meadow Pond Elementary School’s fourth-grade students enjoyed a day of candle making, Dame School, stenciling, period music and dancing and more during the annual Colonial American Fair.

Students arrived in school wearing period-style clothing including tri-corn hats and aprons, and with the help of teachers and parent volunteers, rotated through a number of workshops that transported them back to the colonial era throughout the day.

In Dame School, students found that boys were given more difficult words to spell during a spelling bee and punishments for being wrong were much different than they are in today’s classroom; they ranged from wearing a dunce cap in the corner to holding up signs that read “Idle Boy” and “Bite-Finger Baby.”

Students got hands-on during a candle making workshop and learned about the types of toys they may have played with had they lived during the colonial era. The day concluded with music and dancing in the cafeteria for all to enjoy.

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