BOE to Hold Anticipated Executive Session and Regular Meeting - September 4, 2014

Attachments:

Air Quality Results/Update

Air Quality Results - August 29, 2014

Dear Parents and Staff,

As you will recall from the District’s communication on August 23, 2014, we were awaiting test result regarding the air quality in several of our buildings.

We are pleased to report that the test results indicate that no remediation action is necessary in any of the schools with the exception of one non-student area in the high school basement where some ventilation improvements will need to be addressed and where monitoring of moisture levels and sources of moisture is recommended.  We expect to have the remediation complete at the high school before the start of school.  We will proactively monitor this situation.  

Please be reassured that all of our schools are safe for students and staff members and we are resolving this one minor issue immediately. We will continue to be proactive in monitoring the conditions of our buildings and grounds and will continue to monitor air quality as appropriate.  

Sincerely,

John Goetz,
Interim Superintendent of Schools


Air Quality Update - August 23, 2014
Dear Parents and Staff,

Several weeks ago, leadership of the Katonah Lewisboro District Teachers Association (KLDTA) expressed concerns regarding air quality in certain areas within five of the district’s six school buildings.  District administration promptly responded to these concerns by visually re-examining the areas in question for evidence of infrastructure compromise or failure that would cause any mold or air quality issues.  No evidence supporting these concerns was discovered during these inspections, nor had any issues been discovered or documented in written reports of visual inspections and air quality testing for the past three years, copies of which were provided to KLDTA.  Because no evidence had been discovered, no subsequent action was taken.

Yesterday (August 22), the district received a special notification from the Department of Labor reporting that an anonymous complaint was made for indoor air quality and the possible presence of mold in the same five buildings referenced earlier. Therefore, the district architect and school district staff are again examining the physical infrastructure in the buildings to determine if there is any visible sign of either mold or HVAC failure that may cause air quality compromise. Additionally, as a precaution, the district has contracted with an environmental engineering firm to perform air quality tests.

The health and safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance to all of us. Inspections and air quality testing to date indicate that air quality has not been compromised in any of our schools.  We expect to receive the results of these additional tests next week, and we will follow up with communication to you in a prompt manner.   


Sincerely,

John Goetz,
Interim Superintendent of Schools

SPARC Inc. Summer Magic Program Comes to Katonah-Lewisboro

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The Katonah-Lewisboro Special Education PTA (SEPTA) is pleased to announce that nearly $3,500 was raised to go toward bringing Special Programs and Resource Connection (SPARC)’s Summer Magic Program to the district.

The parents and SEPTA saw a need for a specialized summer program to meet the needs of the special education students in the district. The Summer of Magic Program is a themed six-week summer camp-like program for children with special needs that find the typical day camp setting a challenge. It takes place three times per week after the campers’ Extended School Year Services.

SPARC already has two successful after school programs running at the district, thanks to After School Activities Coordinators and the districts’ Office of Special Services.

“The Katonah-Lewisboro Special Education PTA (SEPTA) was able to raise enough money to significantly offset the tuition for The Summer Magic program through a Field Day on May 31, generous private donations and local business contributions,” said SEPTA Co-President Rebecca Bourla. “It was truly a community effort.  SPARC made generous financial contributions to make this pilot program happen.  We are so grateful they never gave up on our district.”

SPARC is a 25-year-old organization based in Yorktown Heights and its programs provide more than 1,000 people with special needs at more than 75 programs throughout Westchester. It is a nonprofit agency that provides social, recreation and therapeutic services for youth and adults with developmental disabilities.  

“It was so rewarding to see the children bond at their own special summer mini-camp this summer,” Founder of SPARC Inc. Rose Rothe said. “While they were occupied with smiles, fun and laughter, we were just thrilled to see each one accomplish individual goals at the same time.”

Director of the Office of Special Services Connie Hayes said this opportunity is “truly an example of what can happen when we all work together to address the needs of children.

“We are looking forward to developing afterschool options for the 14-15 school year,” she added.

For more information on SPARC or KLSEPTA, please visit www.sparcinc.org and www.klsepta.org.

Bus Reminder

Please keep in mind that buses may be delayed during the first few weeks of the school year as students and parents become familiar with their bus stops and routes. We ask for your patience during this period. Thank you.

Board Appoints Superintendent Search Firm

At its August 21 meeting, the Katonah-Lewisboro School District Board of Education appointed Hazard, Young, Attea, and Associates to assist in the search for a permanent Superintendent of Schools. Mr. John Goetz, formerly Interim Principal at John Jay High School is currently serving as Interim Superintendent.

Hazard, Young, Attea, and Associates (HYA) is a subsidiary of the broader group, Educational Consultants & Research Associates, and supports school boards throughout the recruitment process. The organization focuses on five key phases including Planning Session and Criteria Development, Recruitment, Interview/Selection, Appointment/Post-Appointment, and Communication with the Board.

Over the next several weeks, representatives from HYA will be collaborating with the Board of Education, District Officials, and community members to assess and understand the specific needs of the District and identify the qualifications sought in the candidates that will be considered.

“We are pleased to have found a consultant team with deep experience in education, a nuanced understanding of high performing schools, and a successful track record placing superintendents in Westchester County. We are looking forward to finding a long-term, permanent Superintendent who will be a good fit for the District,” stated Board of Education President Marjorie Schiff. “Selecting HYA was a unifying experience for the Board—we all felt that HYA would provide valuable resources and guidance in this process. We will invite our consultant team to make a presentation at a Board of Education meeting early this fall and will keep the community apprised of any new developments.”

Lewisboro Garden Finds New Life at JJMS

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Students moving up from elementary school to middle school in Katonah-Lewisboro are used to an exciting transition: from having a locker for the first time to making new friends from all over the district, there are always plenty of new experiences.

This year, there’s a new surprise at John Jay Middle School—but one that will be familiar to most incoming sixth graders.

“When LES closed, many, many of the children really wanted to see the gardens go somewhere,” explained Denise Lupia, a Wellness and Sustainability consultant for the district and retired K-L teacher.

Through a truly collaborative effort—involving administrators, the John Jay Middle School PTO, Operations and Maintenance crews and a couple of green-thumbed students—the gardens were completely replanted and set up permanently at JJMS over the summer and now have a variety of healthy flowers and vegetables sprouting beautifully.

Principal Richard Leprine said he and the JJMS staff are looking for creative ways to integrate the gardens into curricula, as well as form an after-school club that will involve caring for the garden.

Sixth grader Ali Fergusson has been involved with the LES garden since its inception and was instrumental in having it moved to the Middle School.

“I enjoy it because I feel like I am really helping the environment and it’s fun to collect the vegetables and keep the plants healthy,” she shared.

Lupia noted that over the years it has become apparent that Ali Fergusson is a natural in the garden.

“She can probably run the garden herself,” said Lupia.

Fergusson and her twin brother Cole and other sixth graders including Arcadia Ohenemus and Joelle Sacks continue to be garden enthusiasts and enjoy everything from pulling weeds to guessing how big the carrots will grow each season.

“It makes me feel good to plant really good food,” said Cole Fergusson.

Q and U Tie the Knot at Lewisboro Elementary School

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Love was in the air at Lewisboro Elementary School. Letters Q and U chose to marry in mid-January, continuing the annual tradition that teaches kindergartners about the common pairing of these two letters. The affair was catered by generous kindergarten parents and the décor was designed by teachers, Lisa Burroughs and Colleen Walsh, along with assistant teachers Priscilla Luckow and Elizabeth Krissoff. Principal Cristy Harris and Assistant Principal Marie Calo officiated during the ceremony. The tuxedo-clad speech and language teacher, Terrilynn Wuensch, served as Maid of Honor. Q and U’s wedding has been a much anticipated event for many years at Lewisboro Elementary.

The bride “Q” looked beautiful in her lavender gown and the groom “U” was dashing in his black top hat. The couple appeared to be truly happy together. In fact, wedding guests claimed that they have been nearly inseparable since they first met.

The wedding shower was also held in the kindergarten classes. Each student was assigned one letter, which was affixed to a paper bag. The students’ task was to place an item that began with that specific letter into their bag, aka the wedding gift. During the shower, they provided their classmates with three clues in order to help identify the item.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom hosted a lovely reception. Formally dressed kindergarten guests danced to a variety of uplifting tunes, formed a conga line and participated in a limbo challenge. The tables were adorned with wedding themed place settings, nametags, wedding lollipops, bells and bubbles. The room was tastefully decorated with paper wedding bells, ribbons and streamers.

Students enjoyed participating in this event with the “happy couple,” which plans to honeymoon in QUeens.