Board of Education to Hold Anticipated Executive Session & Special Meeting - October 15, 2015


Library Fair Encourages MS Reading

Thanks to the John Jay Middle School PTO, students have the chance to browse and purchase books every year during the annual Library Fair.

“[The PTO] uses a wonderful bookstore in White Plains called Main Street Books,” said JJMS librarian Clare Pomerleau. “The store provides quality fiction and nonfiction books that meet the interests and reading levels of our middle school students.”

Students are able to browse the books during their English language arts classes, which leads to animated discussions amongst themselves and with their teachers and the library staff.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to talk to each other about books,” said Pomerleau.

Garden to Table: Enjoying the Fall Bounty


Meadow Pond Elementary School students had an opportunity to see a delicious meal in every stage during the annual Harvest Day and Soup Day, Sept. 29 and 30.

The annual days allow students in every grade level to head outdoors to the school’s garden, which boasts a number of fresh vegetables and herbs. Students in each class were responsible for harvesting a specific item during their Harvest Day, followed by some preparation time in the classroom. With guidance from organizing teachers Jacqueline Kovatch and Keli Mazzoni, along with PTA volunteers, students learned how to wash and cut the vegetables into appropriate sizes for soup.

The following day, students were able to enjoy the fresh vegetables in homemade soups during lunchtime. They enthusiastically pointed out the vegetables in the soup that they had helped to prepare and eagerly asked for second helpings.


2015 Homecoming Schedule


HS Community Gives Back at Blood Drive

John Jay High School’s National Honor Society held its annual blood drive, benefiting the American Red Cross, on Sept. 25.

“The National Honor Society is all about community service, so this was an easy way to get involved,” said NHS President Ryan Kramer, who organized the drive. “We had a lot more students than usual donate. It was nice to see people step up to the plate.”

Kramer said even some students who were previously afraid of needles agreed to donate for a good cause. The drive yielded about 50 pints of blood in total.

“It went very, very smoothly,” said NHS advisor Dr. Linda Burke.

2015 Summer KaLeidoscope


Meet Georgia Grzywacz: Class of 2016 Valedictorian

Georgia Grzywacz, John Jay High School’s Class of 2016 valedictorian, recently warned a ninth-grade student on the soccer team that high school really does fly by.

“I remember a teammate telling me that when I was a freshman, and I thought to myself, ‘How can it? Four years in school is endless and I’ll want to get out as soon as I get in,’” she recalled. “But it’s just the opposite. I never thought four years could go as quickly as they have, but time flies when you’re having fun.”

And while she admits she would rather stay home and read a good book than attend a school football game, Grzywacz still has plenty of high school memories to look back on as she prepares to deliver her graduation speech and take her next steps in life.

“One of the things that stands out most to me at John Jay is the faculty and staff I’ve met and had the privilege to learn from over the years,” she said. “I remember my junior year, when I was having a particularly awful day, the teacher I lab assist for, Mrs. [Caroline] Weldon, brought me tea and cookies on her own accord. She’s one of the most wonderful women I’ve ever met, and I’m grateful I was her lab assistant for three years.”

In addition to assisting in the lab, Grzywacz is a dedicated soccer player, a member of the school’s Sustainability, Book and Relay for Life clubs, actively involved in Reach Out John Jay and a volunteer with the Appalachian Service Project. She also works part-time at a local business, babysits frequently and works in the nursery at her church.

While she is still deciding on a top college pick and major, Gryzwacz said she is considering environmental studies with a double major or minor in either classics, psychology or Spanish.

“To think that this is a year of lasts – last homecoming, last varsity soccer season, last spirit week – is hard to imagine,” she said. “Honestly, I don’t really believe it yet, especially for soccer. It’s weird to think that in a few months, we’ll be getting our diplomas and then going to college.”

Superintendent’s Coffee

Dear Katonah-Lewisboro Families,

One of my goals as Superintendent of Schools is to provide open communication between the Katonah-Lewisboro School District and the community we serve. To further this goal, I am scheduling some times when we can come together to engage in informal conversation. We are calling these gatherings “Superintendent’s Coffees.” I will begin each session with a short update on a timely topic, but will leave the rest of the time open for your questions.

Listed below are the dates and times of Coffees that have been scheduled throughout the 2015-2016 school year. Please note that it is not necessary for you to have a child attending the host school. The coffees are open to all, but we do ask that you limit your attendance to just one meeting, so that we have space and time for as many different people as possible. You do not need to RSVP.
We hope you will join us for some coffee and informal conversation.


Andrew Selesnick
Superintendent of Schools


Date Location Time
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Katonah Elementary 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, November 5, 2015 John Jay Middle School 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 Increase Miller Elementary 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 John Jay High School 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Monday, May 9, 2016 Meadow Pond Elementary 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.


Increase Miller Students Make Good Choices

Increase Miller Elementary School students recently participated in an assembly that encouraged them to make good choices. The assembly featured actor, singer and storyteller Lou Del Bianco, whose visit was sponsored by the school’s PTA. Del Bianco used his performance-style approach to encourage students to make good choices in an interactive manner.  

“The assembly connected to our theme of being kind, responsible and safe,” said Principal Kerry Ford.

Meet Ryan Kramer: Class of 2016 Salutatorian

Ryan Kramer remembers the first time he truly felt a part of the John Jay High School community: homecoming during his freshman year.

“After years of looking at the bleacher student section and all of the high schoolers going wild for our team, I was finally cheering alongside them,” the Class of 2016’s salutatorian said. “That was my first time ever experiencing homecoming as a high school student, so walking in and seeing everyone all dressed up and dancing was a total blast.”

Kramer’s participation in the school’s science research class also helped shape his high school experience and his interest in the sciences as a career. “That class really encouraged me to start pursuing my own intellectual interests,” he said.

He also hopes to continue studying French in college, thanks to Madame Henriette Kutscher’s teaching, whose class he took for three years. “She encouraged open seminar discussion on modern issues and helped me explore my own interests while continuing to learn French,” said Kramer.

In addition to his academic interests, Kramer is a member of the varsity swim team, participates in the Model United Nations club and writes for the student blog, Drawing Board.

Looking ahead, Kramer said he hopes to pursue a career as a physician, perhaps in the areas of oncology, neurology or auto-immunology — or maybe follow a different career path and go into politics. He advises freshmen to take advantage of all of John Jay High School’s extracurricular and academic offerings to help develop their interests.

“Join clubs, try out for sports and take classes you never thought you would,” he said. “It might be scary at first, but in the end, it’s so worth it. It really helps broaden your horizons and introduces you to people you probably wouldn’t meet otherwise.”

Letter regarding Health Exams from NYS Dept of Health


Tennis Complex Officially Opens


Tennis players ranging from young novices to experienced adults flooded the six new John Jay High School tennis courts on Friday afternoon after a ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication that officially opened the new community-funded complex.

Working in partnership with the district, the nonprofit Katonah-Lewisboro Community Tennis Association brought the courts from small idea to fruition over the course of three years. Superintendent of Schools Andrew Selesnick praised KLCTA President and John Jay High School varsity boys tennis coach Robert Labriola for his leadership in bringing the courts to life.

“Your dedication to this project is unbelievably clear,” said Selesnick. “On behalf of the district, it is my incredible opportunity to say thank you for this gift.”


Nutrition Projects Impress NWH Dietitians


Seventh-grade students in Melissa Brady’s home and careers class worked in groups to showcase healthy eating habits for a “Nutrition Challenge” contest judged by two dietitians from Northern Westchester Hospital.

Amy Rosenfeld and Elisa Bremner spoke with students last year about nutrition and the benefits of certain foods, and even demonstrated how easy and delicious homemade smoothies can be during an interactive lesson. The duo returned to John Jay Middle School on Sept. 11 to acknowledge the winners of the contest and present them with certificates of achievement.

“You all did a fabulous job, and it was really hard to choose [the winning projects],” said Rosenfeld.

Congratulations to the winners:

Most Unique — Sebastian Degenhardt, Christian Dinallo, Jason Lawrence and George Lombardi
Best at Conveying “Better in Balance” Message — Bella Bettencourt, Evan Calves, Maya Doyle, Paul Esposito and Julia Gold
Most Usable/Workshop-Friendly — Alexa Helburn, Jessica Hooper, Annie Kennedy and Eliza Leddy

The “Most Unique” group winners wrote lyrics for a rap song about nutrition, which they recorded and shared with the judges. The students recognized for conveying the “Better in Balance” message created a poster that depicted how to make a well-balanced wrap with ingredients from all of the food groups. The “Most Usable” group created poster- and placemat-sized sheets to help children understand how to build a healthy plate.

”You really showed all the components of what a healthy meal should look like,” Rosenfeld told the students.

SEPTA Launches Rising Stars Summer Fun

The Katonah-Lewisboro Special Education PTA (SEPTA) recently launched Rising Stars Summer Fun, a summer enrichment program that offers a camp-like experience to children in the community.

The parents and SEPTA saw an urgent need for a specialized summer program that could support the needs of special education students in the community. With the support of the district, SEPTA introduced Rising Stars Summer Fun, a six-week summer camp-like program for children with special needs who find the typical day camp setting a challenge. It was held three times a week this summer after the campers’ Extended School Year services.

The Katonah-Lewisboro School District provided space and musical instruments for the pilot over the summer.

Parent Susan Rooney was thrilled with the program. "Rising Stars Summer Fun was a wonderful experience for my daughter,” she said. “It was the perfect program to extend ESY, with a true camp feeling. [My daughter] loved seeing her friends in addition to making new friendships. The staff was wonderful and their enthusiasm completed the experience."   

SEPTA has organized successful after-school programs throughout the school year, thanks to after-school activity coordinators and the district’s Office of Special Services, and wanted to continue the momentum of support through the summer.

“The Katonah-Lewisboro Special Education PTA was able to work with several KLSD staff, along with professionals in the community, to offer fun components to Rising Stars Summer Fun such as cooking, sports and music,” SEPTA Co-president Dina DiGiacomo said. “Working with the district was essential for the success of the program.”

"Rising Stars Summer Fun was a tremendous success,” added program director Michele Jensen. “The children participated with such enthusiasm and enjoyment. Thank you to the students, parents, staff and SEPTA for making this program possible."

Connie Hayes, director of the Office of Special Services, said, “KL SEPTA continues to surpass its support for the children in the community each year. Rising Stars Summer Fun was able to provide a fun summer in a compassionate and structured environment.”

For more information on the Katonah-Lewisboro SEPTA, please visit

Max’s Little Free Library Builds Community

Meadow Pond Elementary School community members have become the proud stewards of Max’s Little Free Library. The little library is registered as number 21883. What is a little free library, you ask? It is a small outdoor structure filled with books to borrow and share.  The Little Free Library movement began in 2010 with the mission to promote literacy and the love of reading by providing free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community across generations.

At Meadow Pond, you can join in by donating gently used children’s books to Max’s Little Free Library by bringing them to school librarian Diane Moller. She will mark them with a special stamp and place them in the structure for people to borrow, read, and return or keep. Can anyone take a book?

“Yes, anyone may contribute or take books. The more the merrier! If you take a book (or two) from [Max’s Library], you do not need to return that exact book. However, in order to keep the Little Library full of good choices for the whole neighborhood, the next time you swing by [Max’s] Library, bring a few books to share. Little Library book exchanges function on the honor system; everyone contributes to ensure there are always quality books inside. This way, we all win!” (from the Little Free Library website) 

Meadow Pond is excited about the new library. Please help in the special effort to spread the love of reading throughout the Meadow Pond community.

Things to Remember
•    Books that are taken DO NOT have to be returned, but they may be.
•    Books that are donated will not be given back to their original owners.
•    Books that are put in Max’s Little Free Library are NOT regular Meadow Pond Library books. They are gently used donated books.
•    Please do not visit Max’s Little Free Library during school dismissal time, as it is a safety issue.
•    Max’s Little Free Library is only for children’s books.