Katonah Elementary School

106 Huntville Road, Katonah, NY 10536

Ms. Cristy Harris

Assistant Principal:
Mr. Terry Costin


Fax: 914-763-7789



October Principal's Letter

Dear KES Families,

Each month, we come together as a learning community for a Sharing Assembly at which time we participate in a variety of long standing KES traditions. We introduce new students and staff and give them a warm KES welcome. Buddy the Bulldog, our school mascot, makes an appearance which is always a crowd thriller. We sing KES' special Happy Birthday song in recognition of those celebrating birthdays during the month. Often, a student or two are acknowledged for going ‘above and beyond’ as contributing members of our learning community. And, we engage in some activities related to our school-wide theme.

This year, the members of the Character Education committee at KES, chose "I Think... I Can!" as our school-wide theme. I believe most of you are familiar with the story of The Little Engine That Could and how the engine tried and tried again to climb up the mountain to bring toys to the boys and girls on the other side. It was not until the engine believed in itself and repeated, "I think I can...I think I can..." that it finally succeeded. The author of this classic was well beyond his years in understanding the psychology of how the power of believing in oneself and perseverance can lead to achieving greatness. Today, there is a tremendous amount of research on the brain that substantiates the ideas we have always known instinctively about the role the psyche plays in our ability to learn and grow.   

Last year, the staff and parents at KES were introduced to Stanford Professor, Carol Dweck's, Growth Mindset. The PTO sponsored a workshop for the teachers and parents to learn about what Carol Dweck has coined “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. Her extensive research of the effect on the brain of children who are praised for their hard work and effort rather than for being smart is compelling. (There is a link to a video clip included in the Curriculum Night 2015 Power Point attached.)

In addition to praising effort, Carol Dweck suggests teaching children about how the brain works is critical to developing a Growth Mindset. The Pixar film “Inside Out,” which was in the theaters this past summer, is one entertaining way that you and your children can learn more about how the brain works. This Pixar film brings you inside the brain of a child named Riley. There you find her emotions personified at the control center in her HEAD-quarters. You witness the drama of Riley's emotions, her ‘Train of Thought,’ and the creation of core memories. Riley grows up and experiences her first major crisis at age 11 when she moves from her hometown in the Midwest to San Francisco for her father's new job.

My own two children thought the movie was fun, and my husband and I thought it was brilliant. At one point during the movie, my daughter was laughing and I was crying. She looked up at me and said, "I think that was supposed to be funny, mommy." Despite our different perspectives of the movie, it gave us a common language to talk about emotions. The next day when I told my 7 year old son, Ben, had five more minutes of iPad time when there was 8 more minutes left to the show he was watching, and when my daughter, Sammie, was told she was not allowed to have dessert before dinner, we talked about their angry feelings. We identified, named and validated the anger. We imagined what Anger (one of the main characters in the movie) would look like in that moment, ready to explode, and it actually made us laugh. Rather than my usual strategy of coaxing them to understand and not be angry, I coached them to talk about their real feelings.

The movie has been described as, “a goldmine for teaching social and emotional learning and how the brain works.” It resonated with me as a parent but also as a scholar of the Growth Mindset. If a student’s emotional well-being is linked to their ability to think and to learn, then schools and teachers are responsible for providing a safe environment and an atmosphere of trust. Students need to be able to communicate their feelings, which may allow them to clear their minds of distractions taking them away from fully accessing their learning. Students should feel comfortable to take risks and try new things without fear of ridicule or criticism but rather encouragement and support. And, students should understand how their brain works and the control they have over their learning by embracing a Growth Mindset and growing their intelligence.

With the requirements and rigor of the CCLS and assessments, it is more important than ever that we bridge academics and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The Standards Math Practices (SMP) stresses the relevance and importance of persevering in solving a problem and learning from mistakes. Additionally, the SMPs focus on using multiple processes and procedures for solving problems and on students being able to share their various ways of solving problems. In offering a variety of instructional strategies and activities, Growth Mindset teachers maximize opportunities for multiple interactions with mathematics. Research shows students who actively discover, interpret, analyze, process, practice and communicate have the potential to move information from working memory into long-term memory, ultimately expanding brainpower and mathematics intelligence.

At KES, we have made the commitment to developing a Growth Mindset school culture and teaching with the ‘brain in mind.’ The right school and classroom environment is essential for success and mindsets matter in getting this right. The school-wide yearlong theme, "I Think... I Can!" is one way that we will foster the Growth Mindset each month. The teachers will continue creating positive and engaging learning experiences for their students in order to optimize their growth. I am inviting you to join us in teaching our children about the brain and how to keep it healthy, praising effort, celebrating mistakes and instilling the importance of perseverance.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the PTO for all that has already been done to support KES this year. The School Supplies, Welcome Back Picnic, Picture Day, Book Fair and Directory are all significant contributions to enhance the KES experience. There is a lot of excitement building for the upcoming Annual Halloween Fair!!! I hope to see many of you at KES on Saturday, October 24th from 11:00-3:30 PM.

Cristy Harris


2015 Curriculum Nights

Click here for more information


Parent Teacher Conferences:

Click here for Step-by-Step Directions

Please note that making a reservation is a two-step process.

-First, you must choose your child's teacher and fill out the required information including your email address.
-Second, you must check your email Inbox for an email from @ptcfast.com.  When you click on the link inside that email, you will be taken directly to the teacher's conference schedule to choose a conference date and time.  If you do not receive this email within 5 minutes, check your Spam folder.  

Note: if you have a Hotmail.com email address, Hotmail users have reported the return email gets blocked as spam.  Therefore, it would be better for you to enter a non-Hotmail email address.  If, however, you only have a Hotmail email address, then add the following email address <do-not-reply@ptcfast.com>, to your Hotmail address book to lessen the chance of the return email being blocked.

Only one parent in each household should make a parent teacher conference reservation.

Click here to be taken to Parent Teacher Conference online reservation site.



Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About 'Getting Ready' for Kindergarten

Click here to view the flyer

September Principal's Letter

Dear KES Families,

Once again, welcome to the new school year!  It was lovely to see many of you at the Back to School Picnic- thank you, PTO!!! The first week of school at KES was a great success!  In the classrooms, both teachers and students were engaged in getting-to-know-you activities, establishing routines and becoming a community of learners.  Teachers were reading their favorite read alouds and the students wrote about their summer vacations. We had our first Sharing Assembly and welcomed our children back, introduced new faces, celebrated September birthdays and a few of our 5th graders helped to highlight our elementary Code of Conduct, “Be Your Best.” The “Be Your Best” booklet was backpacked home, so please review it with your child and return the signed acknowledgement form, which can be found on page 1 of the book, by Friday, September 11th.   

New York Law under Project SAVE regulations requires that we conduct specific drills throughout the year. These drills include: fire/evacuation, lock-down, lock-out, shelter-in-place, off-site sheltering and severe weather. Last week we practiced our first fire drill; the kindergartners watched the rest of the building evacuate in an orderly fashion so that they will know exactly what to do at our next fire drill. This week, we will practice a lock-down drill. The teachers will prepare the students in advance. The entire drill should last no longer than 5 minutes.

On Friday, October 9th the district will conduct an Emergency Dismissal and K-12 students will be dismissed 15 minutes early from school. You will be contacted via the Connect Ed automated notification system regarding the drill prior to the event. Please be sure to keep your contact information up to date with Debbie Winter in the main office. Additionally, please review your family’s safety plan with your child so they are aware of what to do when we must dismiss in an emergency.  

The staff and I are looking forward to seeing you at the upcoming Curriculum Nights. I will be presenting in the Gymnasium from 7:00-7:30 PM. My presentation will be the same each night, so plan accordingly if you will be at tending more than one Curriculum Night. Classroom presentations will begin at 7:30 PM at which time your child’s teacher will share information about the grade level academic program, routines and activities.  There are no “first come, first served” sign ups (chaperones are selected through lottery and Parent/Teacher conferences are online starting October 2nd), so there is no need to come early. We respectfully request that you wait until 7:30 PM to visit the classrooms. 

The Curriculum Nights are scheduled as follows:

Thursday, September 10
Grades K & 1
Wednesday, September 16
Grades 2 & 3
Thursday, September 24
Grades 4 & 5

Cristy Harris and Terry Costin


Summer Reading and Math Activities

July 2015

Dear Katonah-Lewisboro Families,

We hope you are enjoying the beginning of the summer. Attached please find information related to summer reading and math activities as we are recommending that our students take time to keep their skills sharp.

Please consider completing the reading log and math calendar with your child and have them return it to his or her classroom teacher in September.

We look forward to welcoming our students back to school in September. Enjoy the summer!

The Elementary Principals



KES Celebrates 75 Years

THANK YOU to the Katonah Community
for the wonderful opportunity to celebrate!

KES Students Win Camp Scholarships

Three Katonah Elementary School students have been selected by the Katonah Village Improvement Society as recipients of the John Jay Homestead Adventure Days History Camp Scholarship.

Fourth-graders Megan Condon, Scott Esposito and Aidan McCarthy each wrote award-winning essays about the Civil War, citing information they have learned about the North vs. South.

Congratulations to the three winners!

Seasonal Reminder:

Please be sure your child comes to school in clothing that is appropriate for outdoor play. Open toe shoes and flip-flops are inappropriate shoe attire for our playground area; students may be asked to refrain from certain activities.(Family Handbook, pg. 12)

Common Core Mathematics Guides

Typing Pal Online


IXL Math