Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Last week science research senior Dan Fulop competed at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Dan was one of 15 finalists from Westchester County who won a spot to compete in Phoenix, Arizona. Over 1,300 projects qualified from around the world. Dan's research on using microRNA to reverse cirrhosis of the liver won first place in the cellular and molecular biology category and a US patent award. Congratulations to Dan on this wonderful achievement!
Katonah Elementary School Celebrates Family Day at Yankee Stadium
Approximately 200 Katonah Elementary School students and parents joined Principal Jessica Godin and Assistant Principal Terry Costin at Yankee Stadium on May 18, in celebration of Family Day. The group enjoyed spending time together and watching the Yankees vs. Blue Jays game!
Lewisboro Elementary School Planting Day
Lewisboro Elementary School students ranging from grades 2-5 who participate in the garden club recently joined members of the Lewisboro Sustainability Committee and the Lewisboro Lion’s Club to help plant the first ceremonial tree at Onatru Farm. This event, held on a Saturday, was followed by the school-wide annual Planting Day the following Monday, April 29!
Every LES class visited the school garden and planted lettuce seedlings grown by the garden clubs. The lettuce is harvested in June and a salad for five hundred people is prepared and served. One week after the harvest, students will plant new vegetables to be used in the autumn’s Harvest Soup.
Parent volunteer Cheryl Orifici offered brief lessons about vegetables and proceeded to demonstrate lettuce planting. In groups of two, each student used trowels to plant the young seedlings. In other troughs, garlic, daffodils, and carrots were already sprouting. Indoors, the tomatoes were flourishing.
Thanks to the generosity of resident Lisa Silver, the Lewisboro Sustainability Committee, Copia Nursery, and the Lewisboro Lion’s Club, students were also able to plant two wonderful pear trees.
Denise Lupia, second grade teacher and garden club member, helped to organize the pear tree activity. “There is an integration and merging of the KLSD and the sustainability initiative,” she stated. “This event provides an opportunity for us to pass the baton to the children in order to continue the heritage and commitment to edible landscapes.”
Meadow Pond Students Learn from Author Visit
Children’s author David A. Adler visited Meadow Pond Elementary School, thanks to the efforts of the Compact Team, which is supported by funds from our PTA. In preparation for this event, students read several of Mr. Adler’s non-fiction books including one about Jackie Robinson. Mr. Adler is also known for the Cam Jansen book series.
Fifth grade students interviewed Mr. Adler on the Meadow Pond Live morning news announcement show as an introduction. Mr. Adler then provided several presentations to different grade level groups with a focus on both non-fiction and fiction writing. Mr. Adler explained his writing process to the students, beginning with his first idea and ending with a finished product.
In addition to speaking with students, Mr. Adler met with teachers during lunch. He also signed books and bookmarks for students. David A. Adler received rave reviews from both students and teachers. Many thanks to the PTA for funding this exciting and worthwhile activity.
IMES Earth Adventure
The students at Increase Miller Elementary School were thrilled with their PTA-sponsored Planet Earth lesson on April 30. Guest presenter Emily Altholz, of Earth Adventure, taught lessons within a 20-foot inflatable globe consisting of a high resolution satellite image with true-to-life colors.
The balloon was constructed from 24 panels, one for every time zone, and one inch on the globe represents thirty miles. Using a green laser beam, Ms. Altholz pointed out many geographical locations within our planet. She altered her lessons to meet the needs of each grade level.
The content included specific objectives that matched geography education standards. Landforms, bodies of water, ecosystems, plate tectonics, and many other topics were discussed. According to Earth Adventure, the program builds knowledge of geography, earth and environmental science. It promotes map skill development and, because it is interactive, it is engaging.
Students couldn’t agree more! As the fifth grade class emerged from “Earth’s International Date Line,” they eagerly expressed how much fun they had and what they learned about. For more information, visit http://www.earthadventure.org
John Jay Middle School Students Compete in Tri-County Science Fair
The John Jay Middle School community congratulates five outstanding students on their exceptional participation at the 2013 Tri-County Science Fair! On Saturday, April 20, at White Plains High School, JJMS was proudly represented by eighth grader Daniel Gordon and by seventh graders Katie Ricca, Isabella Gibaldi, Evan Neu, and Stephen Marinucci. Three judges presided over the many elementary, middle, and high school participants.
Daniel’s project, entitled, “How to Kill an Oil Spill: The Search for a Solution,” addressed an extremely poignant predicament. In order to search for a more productive solution to combat the all too frequent challenges of oil spills, Daniel performed extensive research and experimented with a variety of products including dish soap, Styrofoam, baking soda, cotton balls, and a polymer called Envirobond 403. Using Marvel Mystery Oil, he concluded that the most commonly used substance, dish soap, tied with Styrofoam for the worst solution to the problem. Baking soda came in third best, cotton balls were second. Daniel was extremely cognizant of specific product interactions with marine life and the environment. The Environbond 403 polymer proved to be the superior product in a multitude of ways. The polymer “entangles” with the oil, allowing it to be picked up and safely removed with no harmful effects. Daniel placed second in the Environmental Science category. Besides science and the environment, Daniel’s other interests include soccer and reading.
Katie’s project dealt with another method of aiding individuals. Her “Drinking Straw Robotic Hand” was constructed out of household products, including a paper towel tube, straws, string, and other everyday items. Katie built a robotic hand capable of picking up objects! She hopes that her project could serve as a prototype for prosthetic limbs. The most difficult aspect of the design involved the creation of working joints. After several attempts, Katie achieved success. For her work, Katie was awarded third place in Technology and Engineering. She hopes to one day help to pioneer the field of robotic engineering. Katie’s other interest include, but are not limited to, soccer, swimming, reading, and sewing.
Isabella received the Honorable Mention award for her research on “Texting While Driving with Inexperienced Drivers.” She cleverly utilized a Grand Prix Simulator in order to test her hypothesis that texting would indeed impair the driver. Her hypothesis was more than proven to be correct. Isabella recorded students “driving” under regular conditions. This was her “control.” She carefully noted instances of poor driving, such as crashing or swerving. Next, she purposely sent text messages to the drivers. Many of these texts required consideration and responses. The subjects driving skills were photographed, as well. The results were startling. Isabella reported that participants themselves were “freaked out” by the difference between the control run and the texting run. “It was much more dramatic than I originally thought,” explained Isabella. There were over ten times more incidences. Drivers would dramatically change speed, crash or drive off the road. A poster with statistical data accompanied her project. It is Isabella’s hope that inexperienced drivers will learn from this firsthand experience. Isabella’s other interests include track, horseback riding, drawing, and the cello. She is a member of NYSMA and has always dreamed of becoming a pediatrician.
“Fungus Frigate” is the name of Evan’s contribution. Evan grew Pilobolus fungi “in order to see if they really shoot towards the light.” Pelobolus is a genus of fungi that commonly grows on herbivore excrement. The spores are consumed by these herbivores, enter their digestive systems, are excreted along with the plant matter and then release their spores into the surrounding environment. Evan tied for second place in the biology category. His other interests include piano and clarinet, and he is a NYSSMA member for both instruments.
Although Stephen Marinucci was unable to attend the competition, he was prepared to explain his submission, “What part of the arm is the most sensitive?” Stephen hypothesized that it would be on the back of the hand, and tested this theory on his mother. Two toothpicks were put in place at a certain distance from each other. Using this device, he gently pricked portions of the hand, the lower middle arm, the upper shoulder, and the tip of the shoulder. The subject (his mom) would indicate which toothpick she could feel. To Stephen’s surprise, it was the shoulder that was the most sensitive. Stephen conducted research on neurotransmitter and brain interaction. “The nervous system enables other senses. The brain is fascinating.” Stephen was awarded Honorable Mention. He has many additional interests including track, Tae Kwon Do, reading, keyboard, and piano.
JJMS Inter-Generational Day
May 3 marked this year’s much anticipated, annual John Jay Middle School Inter-Generational Day! Welcoming posters created by students flooded the hallways. With an emphasis on the World War II era, the entire school was granted the opportunity to interact with and learn from thirty inspirational, local seniors.
Principal Rich Leprine; Town of Lewisboro Senior Outreach Director Pam Veith; teachers, administrators and other staff members; and the PTO did a phenomenal job of organizing this event. Ms. Veith explained that the program originated years ago and Mr. Leprine has kept it alive. She added, “Kids love it and ask that we don't stop doing it.” The day was extremely well organized, entertaining and informative.
After the seniors were greeted by their sixth grade hosts, they enjoyed a group lunch. Students then escorted their visitors to their appointed classrooms where they conversed with the seventh graders. The sixth graders then guided their guests to either the theater lobby or to the specific areas where they were scheduled to speak. The eighth grade teams eagerly awaited the presentations.
Later that afternoon, the seniors congregated in the theater for a wonderful performance by the eighth grade jazz band followed by refreshments in the lobby.
The JJMS community extends its appreciation to the Senior Presenters who shared personal moments in their lives. These speakers included: Harry Maroncelli, Yvonne See, Don Taylor, Barry Singer, Al Vieira, Ulla Zoller, Trudy Reynolds, Peter Senatore, Bob Quentin, Barbara Quentin, Ingrid Mihailkovic, and Muriel De Lorio
JJMS students, staff, and administrators are also grateful for the participation of the following important individuals: Carol Lascari, Ramona Pfau, Donna Longo, Joe Longo, Marjorie Schiff, Lisa Curra, Betty Kemp, Edna Brugger, Laurel Cerciello, Evelyn Russell, Laurie Wiegand, Marion Senatore, Betty Pullman, Marie Williams, Madie Giloth, Linda Mead, and William Martin’s grandparents
Trudy Reynolds stated that she had “a wonderful day and a wonderful lunch! The students waited on us, hand and foot. They’re bright youngsters.” When asked if today’s classrooms differed than those of her childhood, Ms. Reynolds replied, “These classrooms are SO different from ours. They’re much more casual.”
Laurie Cerciello agreed. “I was also very impressed with the youngsters. They are highly intelligent!”
“It’s wonderful to see the students interacting with the seniors. The visitors were very complimentary!” noted Principal Rich Leprine.
Increase Miller Students Celebrate Arbor Day with New Pear Trees
In commemoration of Arbor Day, fruit trees are being planted at each of the elementary schools this spring season. Fifth grade students at Increase Miller Elementary School recently gathered around their brand new pear trees in a moving celebration.
The festivities began with a student-generated speech. “When you plant a tree, the tree will grow and you will grow with it. When you plant a tree you are helping the environment and yourself. The tree we are planting today…is a fruit-bearing tree. It will sustain fruit year after year for this school. Also, it will give us oxygen. We hope this encourages everyone to plant their own trees…”
Groups of students recited poems that corresponded with the occasion. This was followed by “wishes on pears.” Each student wrote a wish on a pear shaped piece of paper and ceremoniously dropped the wish into a basket. The notes will be displayed in the hallways of IMES and may later be placed in a time capsule.
The Almstead Tree Company generously donated the two trees. Mr. Jonathan Olsz, from the company, volunteered his time and expertise as he helped the children with the planting. Jon discussed compost and cross-pollination and provided each student with his/her choice of seeds or saplings to bring home. Every fifth grader had the opportunity to use the trowel and add soil.
Principal Kerry Ford explained, “We chose the fifth graders because, as with the trees, they soon will also have their own new beginning.” District parent, Liz Fryer helped to coordinate this event, along with the assistance of The Town of Lewisboro Sustainability Committee, the Lions Club and Onatru Farms.
Katonah-Lewisboro Schools Receive Earth Day Awards from Westchester County
Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino presented the Katonah-Lewisboro School District with an Earth Day Recognition Award for its composting and sustainability efforts. The District was acknowledged with this honor at the County’s Earth Day Fair held on April 21 at Kensico Dam in Valhalla. Katonah Elementary School Assistant Principal Terry Costin, who spearheaded the composting initiative, accepted five certificates – one for each elementary school and one for the District – on behalf of everyone involved.
In the 2011-12 school year, Katonah Elementary School’s Sustainability Committee piloted a composting program as a way to help the environment by reducing cafeteria waste. Indicative of the effort’s success, the school received a Green Award from the Town of Bedford and was also selected for a grant from the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse & Recycling Green Schools Grant program.
This year, Increase Miller Elementary School, Lewisboro Elementary School and Meadow Pond Elementary School implemented the composting program as well. It has already brought impressive results: Over 5,605 pounds of compostable materials were recycled throughout the four schools in the months of February and March alone.
The composting initiative is not only good for the earth; it teaches children at an early age about the importance of recycling and appreciating the environment. As the award certificates state, the recognition from the County was presented to the schools and District “for implementing innovative programs, inspiring students to practice and promote activities benefiting the environment.”
District to Recommend Administrative Appointments/Re-Appointments
The Katonah-Lewisboro School District is recommending to the Board of Education the appointment of Marisa Merlino to a probationary position as Director of Guidance and the re-appointment of John Goetz as Interim Principal at John Jay High School. During this current school year, Ms. Merlino has held the role of Interim Director of Guidance and Mr. Goetz has served as Interim John Jay High School Principal.
Ms. Merlino also came to Katonah-Lewisboro last summer after working in the Millbrook Central School District, where she served as Interim Assistant Principal at Millbrook High School. Her earlier roles in education include Director of Guidance, At-risk and Health Services in the Hyde Park Central School District, School Counselor at Van Wyck Junior High School in the Wappinger’s Central School District, and Student Support Services Coordinator at the Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center – Ulster BOCES.
“Ms. Merlino has been an excellent fit for our guidance department,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Kreutzer stated. “She has made valuable contributions to our students and staff during her time in the District this year, and we look forward to having her become a more permanent member of our administrative team.”
Mr. Goetz joined the District last summer after having served as an educational leader since 1985. He has held long-term principal positions at Orville H. Platt High School and Danbury High School in Connecticut and interim principal positions at Mamaroneck High School and Stamford High School. He has also served as Superintendent of Brookfield Public Schools in Connecticut and Interim Superintendent in Monroe Public Schools.
“The District’s recruitment process for a John Jay High School principal did not surface any candidates that we felt confident recommending to the Board,” stated Dr. Kreutzer. “With that in mind, we will redouble our efforts in the new school year with the expectation that a permanent principal will be appointed by September of 2014. We are grateful for Mr. Goetz' excellent work over the past year and very pleased that he will be able to assist us by staying on for an additional year – we are lucky to have Mr. Goetz at John Jay High School."
KES Donates Hundreds of Books to Community Center
Katonah Elementary School donated hundreds of gently-used children's books to the Community Center of Northern Westchester. Throughout the school's P.A.R.P (Parents As Reading Partners) month, they collected the donated reading materials. KES Reading Specialist Enid Linden kindly put out the call to local families who found many books to share. The Community Center was delighted to receive the books!
Increase Miller Elementary School Presents Alice in Wonderland
On March 19, under the superb direction of music teacher Jennifer Fraczek, the talented fifth graders at Increase Miller presented a lively musical rendition of Lewis Carroll's “Alice in Wonderland.” The student audience was mesmerized as Alice, portrayed by Julianna Duva, faced a trial for a crime she did not commit. The headstrong Queen of Hearts, played by Jessica Leff, officiated over the offbeat trial. A wildly amusing group of characters served as witnesses. In the end, the audience presented the verdict and Alice was set free.
The cast and stage crew consisted of all sixty of the fifth graders. They practiced for several months during music class and recess and their hard work paid off. The result was phenomenal! The audience cheered with delight when characters as strange as White Rabbit, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, Caterpillar, The Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and others sang famous tunes from the show. Other roles included the King, Jurors, Dodo, Birds, Rose, Rosebud, Flowers, Vowels, Dormouse, March Hare, and Cards. Liam O’Shea and Chris Rueda controlled the lighting and the stage manager was Brandon Blackburn. Mr. Michael Gelfer served as sound technician and Ms. Marijane Hamren designed the creative set, with the help of students in her class. Connie Labbe played the piano accompaniment and assisted with costume design. The magnificent costumes were also designed by Mrs. Nolan, Mrs. Stobin, Mrs. Duva, Mrs. Leff, Mrs Freeman, Mrs. Greenspan, Mrs. Celaj, Mrs. Mardirossian, and Mrs. Touzeau.
Gratitude was extended to the following: Mr. Crivelli, Ms. Cowen, Ms. Navarra, Connie Labbe, the Costume Moms, Mrs. Hamren, all the parents who lent their time and resources, Justin, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Cecere, Mr. Podraza, Ms. Turpenning, Mrs. Ghirardi, Mrs. Sapere, Mrs. Ford, and Mr. Galotti.
The students performed later that evening for parents and friends. The thunderous applause was well deserved!
John Jay Middle School Hosts 30th Annual Science Fair
On March 20, John Jay Middle School celebrated its 30th annual Science Fair. Public viewing was followed by a recognition ceremony in the theater.
Participants in grades 6-8 outdid themselves! Projects were innovative, well thought out, and impressive. The earnest efforts of these 36 motivated students were extremely evident. They were well versed in their chosen subjects and they displayed their findings in creative and informational venues. Sixth grade topics ranged from Isabel Davenport and Julia Healy’s “The Cheese and Toast Experiment” and Mikaela Marcotuillio and Paula Mici’s “How Background Noise Affects Concentration: Boys vs. Girls,” to Angela Huang’s “LEGO Robot.”
Isabel and Julia accurately measured the speed of light using a microwave oven and cheese on toast! They created a spreadsheet proving their hypothesis. “We were surprised at the accuracy. It worked out well!” said Isabel. “I saw a similar experiment on the Discovery Chanel. My partner and I attempted to replicate it.”
Mikaela and Paula conducted memory tests utilizing background noises. They found that the boys were far more affected by the sounds than were the girls. In some ways, the impact was of a positive nature, but more often, the boys were distracted and their scores reflected such. Report Mikaela and Paula, It would be cool to use this information in a busy classroom. It can be used at home, as well.”
Angela’s “Lizard” robot was able to detect the color of different marbles and, based on that color, react accordingly! Acknowledges Angela, “It wasn’t too hard. I was confused in the beginning, but (I stuck with it and) it became easier and easier.”
Other notable 6th grade exhibits included: “Fraternal Twins” by Lauren Brigden and Amanda Huang, “Lollypop Licks” by Mike Craig and Will Moreo, “Chromatography” by Becca Cohen, “In Between States of Matter” by Lauren Diack and Sydney Burlingame, “Robotic Bumper Car” by James Lucassen, “Rocket Away: Newton’s Third Law of Motion” by Jacob Tabs, and “Soap Test” by Sabrina Zapson and Marissa Pisera.
Seventh grade projects ranged from Stephen Marinucci’s “Skin Deep” and Mara Teich’s “Which Type of Taste is Dominant?” to Sarah Leavy’s “Mega Light Wheel.” Stephen learned, via experimentation, that the back of the hand and the shoulder are very sensitive areas whereas the upper arm is much less so. Apparently, there are more neurons present in the parts of the arm that are used most frequently.
Mara discerned that, based on experimentation and taste bud location, a savory taste is “stronger” than sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavors. Sarah demonstrated the way in which an electrical current can be transferred from a stationary device to a rotating device.
Other remarkable seventh grade projects included: “Stem Cells” by Jack Buckley, “The Feed Room” by Annie Downs, “Levitating Train” by Ethan Duffy, “Can You Judge a Geode by its Cover?” by Adam Ferman, “The Really Great Outdoors” by Jack Finney, “Texting While Driving with Inexperienced Drivers” by Isabella Gibaldi, “Solar Powered Car” by Jack Kelleher, “The Fungus Frigate” by Evan Neu, “I Paid That Much For What?” by Isabelle Pierce, “Drinking Straw Robot Hand” by Katie Ricca, “Parasites” by Isabel Schaus, “Earth Friendly Selection for Water Rejection” by Koby Weston, and “The Goldilocks Theory” by Grace Young.
The eighth graders continued to amaze! Their displays included: “Kinetics in Sports” by Hayden Cassone, “The Reasons for Seasons” by Adithya Chimata, “How to Kill an Oil Spill: A Search for a Solution” by Daniel Gordon, and “The Force of Fiction” by Mark Laubscher
The event concluded with an award ceremony, officiated by teachers Gregg Kastanis and Zach Miller. All sixth graders received a medal for their participation. Award recipients were as follows:
Honorable Mention Awards:
Isabelle Gibaldi, Stephen Marinucci
Evan Neu, Katie Ricca
Honorable Mention Awards
Hayden Cassone, Mark Laubscher
Daniel Gordon, Mark Laubscher
Special thanks are extended to the PTO and to the following individuals who served as judges, coordinators, and supporters: Maija Arbolino, Thomas Casper, Drew Hoffman, Lisa Krammer, Lucian Lipinsky, Erika Pierce, Leslie Root, Jack Scambos, Jeff Tepper, Carol Walsh, Ed Wickersham, Gregg Kastanis, Zach Miller, all members of the JJMS Science Department, Principal Rich Leprine, Gil Cass, Monica Mermiss, the Entire Custodial Staff, and all parents!