School Bus
November 2021 E-Newsletter
Directors Note

Dear KTS Families,

Welcome to the 2021-22 school year! The cooler weather, changing leaves and shorter days are showing us Fall is in the air! It’s wonderful that nearly all our students are back to learning in-person and we continue to have no COVID-19 transmissions here at KTS. Thank you all for working together to maintain our health and safety protocols—we believe our commitment to our policies have helped to keep our community healthy and minimized the need to quarantine large student groups. As the pandemic situation continues to change, we have continued to update and revise our Health and Safety Plan. The most recent update was sent by email through our Blackbaud system at the end of November. Please reach out to the front office if you need an updated copy of the plan.

We are so appreciative of our Parent Association for hosting some very fun (and safe) events already this year. In September, they hosted the Fall Back to School Picnic at Bretton Woods Recreation Center. Students, families, and staff enjoyed an afternoon of fun with ziplining, archery, corn hole and hanging out with friends. It was a wonderful event! In November, they hosted the Fall Spooktacular here at the school. Students, families, and staff enjoyed an evening of trunk-or-treat, games, an outdoor movie and other fun activities in a safe and socially distanced way. Thank you to everyone who participated in these events!

With the upcoming fall holidays approaching, please pay close attention to our school calendar and any communication via Blackbaud regarding important school events. Also, please be on the lookout for communication from the Parent Association about upcoming community events. If you would like more information about the PA, please contact Ms. Jenny Vaswani or Ms. Erin DelMonte.

Thank you all for helping to keep our community safe and healthy by following our Health and Safety Plan. Together, we are KTS strong!

As always, we thank you for your support and collaboration.
Rhona Schwartz, Director,
High School Program
Nicole Abera, PhD,  
Director, Lower and Middle
School Programs
First KTS 8th Grade Graduating Class Reunites
at Clyde's Tower Oaks
With safety precautions in place and masks only removed briefly for pictures, KTS' first 8th grade graduating class met for a 21-year reunion! Organized by former students Tiffany, Cathleen and Matthew, this get-together was supposed to happen in 2020 for the official 20-year reunion, but Covid prevented that. Former KTS Teacher Donna Bailey and Social Worker Sally Neubeurger attended, along with TLC Executive Director Dr. Pat Ritter. A great time was had by all. Fun fact: the logo for KTS in 2000 was a dolphin!
KTS School Improvements
Over the summer, it was anything but lazy days at KTS! Thanks to the generosity of our community who supported the Raise the Roof campaign, we are still able to complete improvement projects so we can continue to meet the changing needs of our community. In addition to the building improvements, the support of our community has made it possible to purchase 140 new Chromebooks! A picture of our new modular classroom is on the right. Improvements included:

  • Several bathroom remodels
  • The HVAC unit serving the main gym was replaced
  • The modular classroom was installed
  • 12 additional cameras were added throughout the interior
  • All the doors were rekeyed to a new master key system
  • Lower school classroom/breakout rooms were repainted
A Friendly and Familiar Face at the KTS Lower/Middle School Front Desk: Wendy Epstein
If you have been to KTS, the first smile and greeting that has come your way right after walking through our doors was probably by Ms. Gigi, who for 30 years managed the front desk before retiring. Now, there is a familiar face at the front desk: KTS former physical education teacher Wendy Epstein! We asked Ms. Epstein some questions about her change in position, and this is what she had to say...

Tell us about the transition from PE Teacher to Front Desk.
"When Ms. Gigi retired after 30 years I thought 'I want that job' and I applied and finished out my last year of teaching while really enjoying it."
What is your favorite part of both of the jobs?
"The students - I feel lucky that I can still interact and get to know them as the front desk receptionist and med tech."
What do you look forward to each day?
"Greeting the staff and students. Not the Covid checklists!"
Is there anything that surprised you about working at the front desk?
"The pace is faster than I anticipated. On many occasions I have admired Ms. Gigi's ability to keep up with everything."
Is there anything you want students and staff to know?
"I am here to support you the best that I can and keep the building safe."
What is an observation being at the front desk that would surprise people?
1. The volume of traffic that comes to the front door. 
2. How vital every staff member is to the smooth functioning of the school.
Rockville Rotary Foundation Grant:
Open Court Reading Curriculum
The KTS Lower Middle School was awarded an Open Court Reading Curriculum grant through the the Rockville Rotary Foundation. Use of this comprehensive, research-based curriculum puts tools for reading, writing and language arts into the hands of our teachers. This new curriculum has engaging materials that focus on all five senses in the reading and writing process. It also has an online platform that promotes flexibility within the classroom, especially useful in light of the pandemic and virtual learning opportunities. We are grateful and excited to be able to utilize innovative, evidence-based programs to help our students!
Lower/Middle School Mirror of Positivity 
Tamar Lewkowitz, Teacher at KTS, created a creative, positive, and encouraging activity for students to do as they entered her class. Students took a minute to state some words of affirmation to themselves in a mirror. This simple act was very empowering!
High School Updates
All About Art Classes
This first semester in the high school studio arts classes, the students started their art experience with modified Molas from Panama (see the turtle picture here of this traditional textile craft style). We looked at Romare Bearden’s collage work and Jean Michel Basquiat’s collage-type work to create our own torn paper collages. Continuing the art journey we worked on our spatial placement of facial features, followed by portrait paintings. We renewed our skills in perspective drawing, creating wonderful landscapes in vivid colors. Adding to perspectives, we used our 3-d talents for lettering and finished them with bright colors on paper. Students have successfully created from scratch their own temporary print plate and printed a limited series print, signing them all. We have created 3-d paper sculpture, using paper folding, cutting, and bending manipulations on black board. Introductions were made into fiber arts using Bisa Bulter’s textiles and Gee’s Bend’s quilts as bodies of work to draw inspirations for our beautifully crafted weavings. We are currently investigating negative space in art. Students are learning the purpose of colors in creating negative space artwork. It’s been a wonderful time of artistic discovery!

In Digital Arts, students are using for amazing visuals with incredible stories fueled by their imaginations! They have acclimated quickly to the format as evidenced by their work from simple postcards and posters to other-worldly adventures, graphically. All students have achieved high marks for understanding work in this media. They have grown from creating a character, to developing, visually, a story for their character, including a family (complete with a back story), an environment for their character, and, finally, a world or universe, explaining their origins! It’s been a stellar journey with many more adventures to come!
Student Government Association News
High School elections were held the week of November 2nd. Students diligently campaigned around the school by creating posters, writing campaign speeches, and creating campaign videos to send out to their peers. This year students are able to run for the following positions: Class Representative (9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade), Media Manager, Communications Manager, Vice President, and President.

The objective of the KTHS Student Government Association is to allow opportunities for students to participate in leadership roles throughout the high school program. The SGA is “by the students for the students” to organize events that seek to raise school spirit, increase student-staff morale, and widen community outreach.

Students serve as leaders for the student body, sponsoring and organizing social activities (i.e. spirit weeks, fundraisers, and dances) and community service projects. They also serve as role models and guides to their peers and the surrounding communities by representing the pillars of KTHS: Kind, Timely, Honorable, and Self-Advocate. We are looking forward to a dynamic SGA and many exciting activities and events this school year!
The Katherine Thomas School |301.738.9691 | Email KTS |
School Bus