A Glimpse into Native American Life

Increase Miller Elementary School first-graders were treated to a hands-on visit from Greenwich-based Bruce Museum mobile educator Patrice Anibal on Nov. 14.

With just a short time until Thanksgiving, the visit focused on Native Americans who resided in environments not unlike Goldens Bridge. Students learned that Native Americans’ shelters in wooded areas are called wigwams.

“Everything had to be made from stone, wood or parts they got from animals,” Anibal told students.

The first-graders examined a model wigwam up close and commented on the materials and the hole in the roof that allowed for smoke to escape, not unlike chimneys.

“I learned how they make houses out of trees,” said student Charlie. “Some of the branches bended instead of breaking.”

Students also felt real animal pelts, including those of a deer and a rabbit, and brainstormed how the pelts may have been used.

“They had a lot of respect for animals because animals gave them life,” said Anibal, who also went into detail about Native American toys, including cornhusk dolls, and instruments – one of which included a mystery material she later revealed as deer toenails.

Student Megan said she was surprised by the use of the animal parts, adding, “It’s cool how they made music back then.”

KES Collects More Than 1,000 Pounds of Food

Katonah Elementary School families proved their generosity and holiday spirit by collectively donating 1,037 pounds of food as part of the school’s Holiday Share Food Drive this year.

Sponsored by the PTO and led by chairs Kim Moskowitz and Liz Hill, the food drive drop-off at the Community Center of Northern Westchester in Katonah on Nov. 14 was a huge success.

‘The Dining Room’ Comes to Life at HS

When A.R. Gurney’s “The Dining Room” opens at John Jay High School on Thursday, Nov. 20, audiences will be treated to a non-traditional play.

“It’s 18 scenes that are all unconnected — except they are all set in a dining room,” said Director William Friedman. “While it is daunting logistically, the quality of theatricality is something I really like.”

With no set changes and dozens of characters, every actor has about the same size role.

“It’s a real ensemble,” said Friedman.

Students were intrigued by “The Dining Room” from the start and learned quickly that it’s challenging to transition from one character to the next, from learning lines to portraying mannerisms, as the scenes progress.

“It’s really dynamic and interesting,” said senior Isabel, who plays the roles of Sally, Peggy, Kate and Ruth in the production.

Added Samuel Leo Blum, “I like that everyone gets a chance to play a lot of different parts. It’s challenging to see how I can relate to each one.” His characters are Charlie, Architect, Stuart, Jim and a Party Guest across five different dining room scenes. “The audience may be a little confused at first, but they may want to come see it again,” said the senior.

For Friedman, watching the actors adapt to the format has been inspiring.

“The actors are really smart,” he said. “The audience will never get bored.”

“The Dining Room” – Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 22 at 1 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Business Law Students See Justice Served Firsthand

John Jay High School Business Law teacher Michael Cohen offered his students the opportunity to witness the legal process.

“Part of my philosophy as a business teacher is to use our community as a classroom, and it happens that ‘The People's Court’ is taped in nearby Stamford,” said Cohen.

All 25 students in last year’s class, ranging from grades 10 to 12, expressed a desire to attend and after several calls, they secured tickets to appear in the audience.

“We were in the audience for seven cases, and I could see the students light up whenever they knew aspects of the law that were being applied,” Cohen said. “Upon our debrief, I learned many students reached the same decisions as the arbitrators.”

So far, two episodes featuring JJHS students in the audience have aired on FOX.

This year, Cohen is teaching an additional section of Business Law and hopes to repeat the trips to “The People’s Court.”

“The plan is to go once in the fall as the students are learning the foundations of the law and we can reflect on the cases we saw as we learn throughout the semester,” he said. “In the spring, we will go again, apply the law, keep a record of how each student would arbitrate each case and compare it with the arbitrator of the show.”

Episodes featuring John Jay students will continue to air on FOX on Nov. 25 and two to-be-determined dates in December at 3 p.m.

MS Hosts Luncheon for Senior Citizens

John Jay Middle School’s PTO hosted a luncheon for local senior citizens on Nov. 15 prior to the afternoon showing of the school’s fall drama.

About two dozen seniors were welcomed into the JJMS cafeteria, where they enjoyed good company and lunch before the show.

Help Stuff a 40-Foot Bus with Donated Food

For the past several years, the Katonah-Lewisboro School District’s Support Staff Association has celebrated School-Related Professionals Recognition Day (this year, Tuesday, Nov. 18) by donating to the Community Center of Northern Westchester.

Last year, staff filled a minibus with 186 pounds of clothing and 1,271 pounds of food. They have increased the goal this year to fill a 40-foot bus.

“This year, I wanted to get more community involved and have a full districtwide donation,” said KLSSA President Jeani Granelli. “I really didn’t want this year’s Recognition Day to focus on us employees, so I thought it would be nice to do something for our community instead.”

Working with each building and their respective PTAs and PTOs, the KLSSA has made available boxes for donations in each school.

“We need to double last year’s donations to fill a 40-foot bus,” said Granelli. “We are asking that we join together as a community and ‘stuff the bus.’”

JJHS Theater Workshop Presents 'The Dining Room'


Help 'Stuff the Bus' for the Community Center of Northern Westchester


Volleyball Team Heads to State Final Four

The John Jay High School varsity volleyball team’s post-season success continued with a regional title and — for the first time in the program’s history — a trip to the state’s Class A final four tournament Nov. 15 in Glen Falls.

Watch the video below for more on the varsity volleyball team’s post-season success.

Fifth-Graders Take Law into their Own Hands

Meadow Pond Elementary School fifth-graders took a firsthand look, and a seat, at the headquarters of lawmaking in Westchester County last month.

Students spent a couple of hours at the Westchester County Legislature in White Plains, where they learned how lawmaking takes place in their home county.

Once they were familiar with the process, students debated and voted from the representatives’ seats on mock issues.

District Celebrates Red Ribbon Week

Students across all grade levels in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District took part in alcohol and drug prevention activities as part of Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 27 – 31.

Thanks to the Beford-Lewisboro Pound Ridge Drug Abuse Prevention Council, students received red ribbons and stickers as part of the initiative.

For more resources, visit the Katonah-Lewisboro School District’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention page here.

KES Students Mix It Up at Lunch

Katonah Elementary School students took part in Mix It Up Day, a national initiative that encourages students to make new friends at lunchtime, on Oct. 28.

Student leaders prepared classes with a special announcement, asking their classmates: “Do you ever notice you choose the same bus seat, walk the same way to class and sit with the same people every day – even when it’s not a rule? Mix It Up Day is about breaking those barriers that keep us from meeting new people and keep others from meeting us.”

KES social worker Jessica Fulton led activities during the lunch periods. Staff members greeted students and offered puzzle pieces that they discovered matched up with pieces belonging to new lunch mates. Students also learned about their peers and decorated the cafeteria with Mix It Up Day posters.

Said Fulton, “The message was loud and clear: No one should be left out of our community.”

The student leaders told their classmates, “In the KES community, together we can make sure all students have a place at our table.”

Increase Miller Gets into the Halloween Spirit


Thanks to the Increase Miller Elementary School PTA, students enjoyed an exciting Halloween Fair during school on Oct. 31.

The gymnasium was transformed into an orange and black-themed affair with Halloween-themed games. Students excitedly threw hula hoops over pumpkins, worked on a life-sized skeleton puzzle, pinned the brain on Frankenstein and turned each other into mummies using toilet paper.

Each student received a bag of goodies and stamps for every activity they completed.


Volleyball Team Wins First Section Title Since 1986

In a match that again went to five sets, John Jay High School’s volleyball team took on defending section champion Yorktown in the Class A final on Nov. 1. But this year’s result was different: John Jay defeated its rival 25-18, 21-25, 23-25, 25-23 and a decisive 25-15 set, earning the school its first section title in volleyball since 1986.

“Going into sectional finals, all we could think of was how we lost to Yorktown last year and didn't want that feeling again,” said coach Thomas Rizzotti. “We made a lineup change right before the sectional semifinals against Panas that had been paying major dividends for us. Plus, there were so many times once again where the girls played from their hearts and refused to lose, plays where the rally probably should have ended but the girls pulled it out.”

According to Rizzotti, “The biggest factor I can think of about why this team has been so successful is that this team has an incredible amount of heart. I’ve lost count of the number of big plays they have made in important games because of their heart.”

As the underdogs in Wednesday’s regional semifinal against powerhouse Horseheads High School in Corning, the squad again showed its passion and pulled off a 3-1 victory.

The wins are especially emotional for Rizzotti, who has made six trips to the Section I finals in the past 11 years, but never took home a title.

“To get that monkey off my back was a huge relief, and the team was beyond pumped,” he said. “The team was very business-like at the regional semifinal on Wednesday. They were very focused and determined. It wasn’t until afterward that we realized how good of a team Horseheads really was and how impressive it was that we beat them.”

And tonight, the team has a chance to make John Jay history as they head to the regional final at SUNY Ulster against Section 9 champion Cornwall High School (the team that eventually defeated Yorktown last year).

“We are really excited for this chance and hopefully we play how we are capable of,” Rizzotti said. “Because I know when we do, we can beat anyone.”

View a photo gallery of the Section I Class A final on LoHud.com here.

Kickball Game Brings Faculty, Students Together

The Student Prevention Awareness Council at John Jay High School brought together faculty members and students in an informal environment this week for a fun kickball game.

“The goal is to give students and faculty members opportunities to feel more connected to school in a non-academic way,” explained high school social worker Kiri Ryan.

The game was just one of the ways the council offers high school students the opportunity to feel more comfortable on-campus.

“We have two or three students in each grade representing very different groups,” said Ryan. “We have athletes, people in theater, people who are musicians, artists…We have a wide variety of students who come together with myself and the principal once a month to talk about issues that they feel are of concern to students. It’s a great opportunity for students in all grade levels to get involved.”

There is a psychologist and social worker at each school in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District, in addition to guidance counselors at the middle school and high school.

“We have a lot of people who are able to help students with stress, depression, anxiety, friendship stuff, family stuff,” Ryan added. “In this district, we value the mental health piece of students’ lives. I think that’s really important.”

Teachers Engage in Collaborative Professional Development

While students had the day off, educators districtwide reported to school as usual on Nov. 4 for a Superintendent’s Conference Day and professional development workshops.

Teachers examined and improved curricula, underwent various technology trainings and worked together on common assessments in a number of subject areas.

John Jay Middle School used the day to unpack the framework of the new Common Core Standards for social studies, which were recently introduced by New York State.

“They are looking at the existing curriculum and seeing which modifications they will make to align with the Common Core,” said Principal Richard Leprine.

At John Jay High School, Principal Jessica Godin noted, “Teachers here engaged in a variety of activities, from Google Docs training to curriculum articulation and crafting formative assessments. New instructional leaders and liaisons worked diligently to plan for the benefit of their departments.”

Meadow Pond Gets Spooky


Meadow Pond Elementary School's hallways—and its students—were transformed on Oct. 24 in honor of Halloween. Browse through the photos to take a look at the spooky makeover!

Dietitians Encourage Healthy Choices at MS

“The food you eat is your gasoline.”

Northern Westchester Hospital dietitian Amy Rosenfeld, along with fellow dietitian Elisa Bremner, broke down the fundamentals of nutrition for John Jay Middle School seventh-graders on Tuesday, comparing students’ daily functioning to a car running on fuel.

With middle school students’ busy schedules, eating the rights foods and the right amount to stay energized throughout the day are important, the dietitians explained.

“There are ‘everyday foods’ and there are ‘sometimes foods,’” Rosenfeld shared. “We like to empower people to make healthy choices.”

Students in Melissa Brady’s home and careers class had a chance to test their knowledge of nutrition by engaging in a competitive game with the “Wheel of Nutrition” and answering questions like, “Which has more fiber — an orange or orange juice?”

Bremner and Rosenfeld also created healthy, energizing and delicious smoothies for students to sample, using ingredients like frozen mango, kale, coconut milk and oranges, and gave students smoothie recipe ideas to take home.

Students also asked questions about nutrition. Ashley, a soccer player, asked for some halftime snack suggestions that won’t cause athletes to cramp.

“Fruit has fiber and sugar and can be easily digested,” Rosenfeld suggested. “Something like a protein bar is harder for your body to digest.”

Other students asked about the ingredients in Muscle Milk, how protein helps the body, and why it’s important to eat everything in moderation.

“We want to encourage you to make the healthiest choices whenever possible so you can achieve your goals,” said Rosenfeld.

Congratulations to the John Jay 2014 Volleyball Team!

Congratulations to the John Jay 2014 Volleyball Team, which qualified for Sectional Finals after yesterday’s win against Walter Panas.

Sectional Finals
John Jay v. Yorktown
Croton-Harmon High School
Saturday, November 1st
12:00 noon.

The first 200 fans to arrive will receive a free, purple John Jay Bleacher Creature T-shirt, sponsored by the John Jay Booster Club, to wear in support.

Good Luck and Go Jay!

Local Firefighters Teach Golden Rules of Fire Safety

Students at Increase Miller Elementary School recently put aside their notebooks and pencils and instead took up hoses, nozzles and other firefighting apparatus. Local fire engines became their classrooms and members of the Golden’s Bridge Fire Department stepped in as guest teachers to give a very important lesson in fire safety and prevention.

Throughout the school day, students in grades K-3 headed to gleaming fire engines parked at the school’s front entrance, where the department’s volunteer firefighters provided interactive demonstrations and lessons in fire safety. Students were captivated by Fire Rescue Lt. Jordan Miller, whose demonstration of breathing apparatus while fully garbed in more than 100 pounds of protective gear made him look more like a space traveler than a firefighter.

The inquisitive students climbed into the engines, imagining what it would be like to be a firefighter. Midway through one session, students of a third-grade class got to witness the firefighters abruptly dash off in the engine in response to a real emergency call.

“Fire safety and prevention is serious business, which is why we spend time every year with students at Increase Miller Elementary School,” said Mike Melillo, president of the Golden’s Bridge FD. “Awareness and education are an important part of prevention and safety for adults and children. We encourage the students to discuss with their parents what they learned about fire safety.”
Second-grade teacher Lisa Alvord said both students and staff members look forward to Fire Safety Day at IMES. “When the children go outside, they are enamored with the fire trucks, equipment and gear,” she said. “By the end of the presentation, they have learned about the genuine significance of fire safety and the important role of the Golden's Bridge Fire Department in our community. The students return to their classrooms and discuss how vital fire safety is at school, and hopefully they continue the discussion at home with their families. We value what the fire department does and thank them for their dedication to the students and staff.”

IMES Assistant Principal Andrew Galotti said, “We feel that it is important to set aside time for our students to visit the firefighters and fire trucks. Although it is a fun activity for the students, they are also learning about fire safety.”

At the end of each session, members of the Golden’s Bridge FD provided students with activity books, rulers and other items to remind them of the importance of fire safety. Firefighters also left them with these tips:

* Talk to your parents about an escape plan.

* Get outside as quickly as possible.

* You will breathe less smoke by dropping to the floor, staying low and crawling to the exit.

* Have a meeting place – like a neighbor’s front porch or another nearby spot a safe distance from your house – so that emergency responders will know that everyone is safely out of the house.

* Once you’re outside, do not go back into the house for anything – even pets or a favorite toy; toys are replaceable and the firefighters may be able to help rescue pets that are still inside.

* If you can’t get out right away – for example, if fire or smoke is blocking an escape route – yell for help by an open window or call 911 if you have a phone with you.

* Never hide under a bed or in a closet because firefighters will have a hard time finding you.

Volunteers Create a ‘Golden Road’ at JJHS

John Jay High School students volunteered their time over the weekend to work alongside Lewisboro Garden Club members in planting more than 4,000 daffodils. Principal Jessica Godin and teachers Dr. Linda Burke and Paul Saloom also pitched in.

The flowers, planted at the entrance to the school campus, are anticipated to offer a vibrant welcome to the campus when they bloom this April.

“Thank you all so much for all your hard work,” said George Scott, chair of the Garden Club’s Golden Roads.

The JJHS activity is part of an effort to beautify the town and has resulted in almost 30,000 daffodils planted around Lewisboro to date.

Lyons Inducted into John Jay Hall of Fame

Ron Lyons was inducted into the John Jay High School Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime of the John Jay vs. Yorktown football game on Oct. 17.
Lyons’ career in education has spanned more than three decades. From 1962-1995, he worked at John Jay HS as a physical education teacher, driver’s education teacher, coach and director of athletics.

As a football coach, Lyons led his teams to 109 wins to just 20 defeats and a John Jay record of 35 consecutive wins, while capturing two bowl championships, 11 league titles and Coach of the Year honors. As a baseball coach, Lyons compiled 92 wins, secured two Sectional Crowns and was named Coach of the Year on three separate occasions. 

As the John Jay athletic director for 21 years, Lyons championed the institution of the women’s athletic program and served as the Section One Conference president for 11 years and as the Section One chairperson for football, basketball, lacrosse and wrestling.  After retiring in 1995, Lyons continued to serve Section One as the Conference One secretary until 2013.

Lyons is the founder of the John Jay Boosters Club, which continues to support our athletic programs today.

He was inducted into the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame and recognized as the New York State Athletic Administrator of the Year for Chapter One in 1990.

The John Jay Athletic Department thanks Lyons for touching so many students’ lives throughout his career, many of whom were in attendance for his induction. Congratulations to Ron Lyons on being inducted into the John Jay High School Athletic Hall of Fame!

IDF Soldiers Visit JJHS

Since 2006, Tzahal Shalom of Northern Westchester has invited active-duty combat officers from the Israel Defense Forces to stay with host families around the community for 10 days.

During their stay, the soldiers sightsee around the area and interact with community members of all ages and interests. As part of their visit this year, the soldiers visited John Jay High School’s Modern American Culture classes on Oct. 24.

“The students and soldiers exchanged cultural experiences around school, favorite pastimes, sights to see and, of course, food!” said JJHS Assistant Principal Kim Piccolino. “It was a wonderful experience for all.”

From the Nurses of KLSD Regarding the Enterovirus