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COVID-19 Closure Update:
April 20, 2020
Message from the Superintendent
This past week, we learned that Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be extending the closure of public schools through May 16. Many states have opted to cancel school for the remainder of the school year. At the present time, Gov. Cuomo is extending the closure in two-week increments. As a result, we do not know how long the closure will last, and we are considering the possibility that schools may be closed for the remainder of the year in all of our long-term planning. We will be prepared for all eventualities.

This past week would normally have been spring recess, a time for students and families to enjoy a much-deserved break and opportunities to spend quality time together. Many families would normally have traveled or enjoyed other activities that were no longer a possibility due to physical distancing and stay-at-home requirements. We all want to return to normalcy, but this has to be done in a safe and careful manner.

It is truly inspiring to see the creativity demonstrated by our staff in reaching out and engaging students in remote learning during the closure. It is also inspiring to see the extraordinary work and efforts of our students and families as they engage in learning at home. We know this has been a difficult time for families, and we know how important it is to be flexible. All families are encouraged to communicate with your children’s teachers and principals if assistance is needed. The entire staff is here to support you.

Steve Bovino,
Superintendent of Schools
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COVID-19 Closure Updates & Information
End-of-Year Events:
  • Long-term planning is taking place on options for end-of-year events, including graduation. These events are extremely important to the entire school district community. The options available to school districts will depend on state and national policies related to public gatherings and social distancing requirements. We do not know what these policies will be when these events are scheduled to take place. All school districts throughout New York State would normally be looking forward to these events and face the same constraints. The likelihood is that this will be a major consideration when state and national policies are established and articulated in the coming weeks, and we will keep our community informed as we learn more.

Scholastic Parent Q&A (Tuesday, April 28):
  • Scholastic F.I.R.S.T, Scholastic W.O.R.D, and Scholastic Literacy Pro are now part of the digital learning tools elementary school students are using at home. The Ken-Ton School District is excited to offer a virtual Question & Answer session to support parents with these tools. The session will take place on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Parents must register to attend the virtual session and are encouraged to submit questions prior to the meeting. Parents who register will receive a link to join the session via email. For more information and to register, visit www.ktufsd.org/Scholastic.

Home Learning Information:
  • All schools have transitioned to longer-term plans for remote learning, with new instruction and content now being introduced at all grade levels. Students are expected to participate in remote learning during the closure, and participation is being monitored by teachers daily. We encourage families to reach out to their children’s teachers and school principals if assistance is needed to optimize student engagement.

New Learning Officially Begins:
  • While in many cases, our students have already transitioned from review and reinforcement to new learning, as of today, all students will begin to receive instruction that will move their learning forward. While we understand that each student’s experience may be different, our priority remains the safety and well-being of our students and their families, and we will work with families to encourage our students to continue to progress. Teachers will be tracking and documenting student participation and submission of assigned work, and will be identifying which material was learned and what information will be delayed until we return to school. It is imperative that students engage in the activities and assignments developed by their teachers in order to minimize gaps in learning and prepare them for successful transitions in the future. 

Recommended Routine:
  • Secondary students should check their Google Classroom and school email each school day before noon. Elementary families are receiving communications using a variety of alternative options more appropriate for communicating with families. We recommend that students create a daily schedule that includes: distance learning experiences, independent reading and work on assignments, physical activity, and down time. Students may need family support in creating a flexible schedule that works for them.

Report Cards:
  • Please remember that middle school and high school third-quarter report cards are available for viewing on the Parent Portal. If you need any assistance with Parent Portal, please email icportal@ktufsd.org.

Communication with Families:
  • The safety and well-being of our students and families is our number one priority, so communication and staying connected is extremely important. We encourage all of our parents, guardians and families to regularly communicate with your children's teachers to let them know how you are doing, and also to let them know if assistance is needed. There are a variety of resources that can be leveraged to support families during the pandemic. The entire school district staff is here to support our families any way we can and to listen to their concerns, connect them with needed resources, and to be flexible with instructional concerns.
Student, Staff & Family Updates
With the help of his grandmother, Hoover Middle School seventh grader Dominic Burgiouses his FACS skills for a very worthy cause: making masks. Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Laura Sexton was very proud of Dominic for his work.
Students and families have been grateful for the efforts of the Food Service staff and school/district administrators who continue to provide breakfast and lunch meals at five different locations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays of each week during the closure. These are just some of the ways they have shown their appreciation.
Franklin Elementary School Support Specialist Larissa Gramza applied for a book grant through First Book. She won the grant, and First Book awarded the school $350 and shipped 430 hard- and soft-cover books for students including coloring and activity books, Star Wars, Beauty and the Beast, and How to Train Your Dragon.
Hoover Middle School sixth-grade student Cadence Pisa is a candidate for the National Junior Honor Society. She had already turned in her application, but since the beginning of the closure, she has completed additional work that reflects the qualities and traits of the NJHS. Cadence has worked hard making beautiful, unique, and uplifting cards for residents of the Beechwood Nursing Home. She has completed more than 50 cards so far.
During the COVID-19 closure, Kenmore West High School teacher Tim Knight was excited to hear from a former student of his, Nolan Sander, who is currently serving in the U.S. Army. Nolan sent Mr. Knight a kind message and a photograph of him in uniform with a fellow soldier. Nolan wanted to reach out to express his gratitude for Mr. Knight and other teachers like him. "… just wanted to let you know I’m doing great in the army and I’m very grateful you actually gave me a chance,” Nolan wrote. “… it’s for great teachers like you I’m here right now.”
On Thursday, April 9, Hoover Elementary School’s art teacher, Mrs. Lynch, led Hoover Elementary students in a guided egg coloring session on Zoom to create eggs for their “Egg-er-cise Hunt.” Students were invited to use a template or draw their own egg. Mrs. Sperrazza and Ms. DePointe joined in as well. Coloring is a great mindful activity to reduce stress. After the eggs were created and colored, students added an exercise to their picture and hung them in the window at their house. Hoover families were encouraged to get outside and go on an egg hunt. When they spotted an egg, they were asked to complete the exercise listed on it. The idea for the activity came from the physical education staff, in an effort to offer students an activity that would be in place of the egg hunt they do each year in the gym or the community.
This wonderful artwork was created by Brooklyn Coxs, a student at Lindbergh Elementary School. Lindbergh art teacher Lavinia Kirdani has used Facebook to connect with students and families during the closure, and one of her projects was a cardboard collage.
Even though these are difficult circumstances, students and teachers are working hard to continue growing and learning. Franklin Middle School’s art teacher, Mr. Glorioso, shared three detailed videos for students to watch. Students did a phenomenal job following along and working on their own masterpieces. Pictured here is the work of one of Mr. Glorioso’s students, Ellen Jetter.
Pictured here are Lindbergh Elementary School students Charlotte Lillis, a second-grader in Amy Grosofsy's class, and Cameron Lillis, who is in Korri Hall's kindergarten class, working at home.
Kenmore West High School physical education teacher Ayanna Tramont recently created a Youtube page for students and posted the first video entitled “Boxing 101.” Her students had been asking for a video like this which consists of at-home workouts that can be done in their living room. She plans to post additional videos in order to encourage students to stay active and moving. For this video, she was joined by Tommy Nuff, lead boxing coach at WNY MMA where Mr. Tramont also coaches kickboxing (earlier in the school year, Ms. Tramont was featured by the Buffalo News before making her nationally televised boxing debut). You can find the "Boxing 101" video here:
Every year, Mrs. Dettbarn’s science students at Hoover Middle School play “March Mammal Madness” (a simulated animal adaptation battle version of March Madness, all argued by scientists) along with 4,500 teachers and their students across the globe. When school closed, Team 7-3 students still wanted to meet online for the bracket battles three times a week. In late March, Mrs. Dettbarn’s students were excited to meet Dr. Katie Hinde from Arizona State University, an evolutionary biologist and creator of March Mammal Madness, who joined with them online. Dr. Hinde also invited the March Mammal Madness art and science team, and students had the opportunity to learn and ask questions about how the competition is created every year, how the art and design works, and the science behind the animals.
All the different ways that Hoover Elementary School physical education teachers are engaging students at home caught the attention of Spectrum News which featured the Hoover Elementary PE activities this past week. You can find the story here:
The Hoover Middle School seventh-grade science team has been meeting “face-to-face” at least weekly to continue to write curriculum, plan together, and share best practices, as well as catch up. They miss each other, but are embracing the opportunity to try new things with their students and connect with them in a different way.
After learning about portion sizes and healthy options following the USDA recommended MyPlate, Kenmore West eighth-grade students were challenged to make a healthy meal for their families. Becoming "Top Chefs for a Day" was an optional extension to a nutrition project in Mrs. Hodge's eighth-grade health classes. Many students participated and enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with their families.
Franklin Elementary School shared its weekly video for students and families. Special thanks went to Colleen Daddario for the idea. You can find it here:
A very special message was created by the Lindbergh Elementary School staff for students and families. They plan to send a new inspirational message each week. Click here to see it on Facebook .
In the left photo, Owen Ruot, a student of Lindbergh Elementary School teacher Tracy Candino, enjoys a pajama day while working on his April first-grade morning work pages. In the middle photo, Liam Phipps, another student of Mrs. Candino, decorates eggs. In the right photo, the entire class celebrates a classmate’s birthday via Zoom after making birthday cards for him at home.
A video submitted by an Edison Elementary School student was featured by WIVB Channel 4 for its daily Pledge of Allegiance segment:
Students of Hoover Elementary School first-grade teacher Karin Achenbach had the opportunity to enjoy a pajama party from home.
Students in Mr. Moore's and Ms. Donhauser's sixth-grade class and those in Mrs. Amy Bruce's sixth-grade class made homemade Rube Goldberg machines and shared videos of their masterpieces with their teachers and classmates. The elaborate creations required patience and skillful construction (and often required family collaboration as well).
This wonderful video was shared for students and families at Edison Elementary School:
Kenmore West High School shared a very special video which included heartfelt messages from the faculty and staff to their students. You can find it here:
Ms. Pariso, health teacher at Hoover Middle School and Franklin Middle School, led her sixth-grade students through lessons on the ways they can find joy in everyday activities instead of turning to drugs, alcohol, and vaping. Students were challenged to create anti-drug memes, public service announcements, "natural high" Flipgrid videos, S’more posters, and Padlets.
Hoover Middle School Team 5-4 wanted a way to reward and recognize students who are working hard and have adjusted to their "new normal" way of distance learning. In an effort to applaud these students, Adele Voskerichian created a KUDOS slideshow to send to students who have been working hard, whose work is all up-to-date, and have met or exceeded all expectations. A total of 16 students have met the criteria for “Team Awesome.”
Hoover Elementary School teacher Danielle Kessler has been using the SeeSaw app with her kindergarten class. The participation level has been great and the students love the activities. They can send pictures, recordings, or videos of their work.
Students of Wendy Cummins, a Gr. 5 ELA and social studies teacher at Hoover Middle School, shared a book project they had worked on during a Zoom conference. After reading a book at home, students were challenged to complete a book project of their choice. The students all did a phenomenal job on their projects. Pictured here is student Simon Reda with the diorama that he created.
This video features Hoover Elementary School special education teacher Michelle Phillips and teacher aides lip syncing to “Dance Monkey.” Michelle Phillips teaches a Gr. 2-3 class at Hoover Elementary School, and teacher aide Marla Labruna created the video to send to all of their students to say hello and put a smile on their face during the closure. You can find the video here:
Pictured here is Lindbergh Elementary School student Mickey Thaw, a student of ENL teacher Christina Brown, working on math at home.
Beginning the week before spring recess, the Food Service staff has begun offering families new options for meals which can be stored and easily reheated at home for future use.
Gr. 7 science classes have been busy creating models to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process (MS-ESS2-1). One component of this exploration included creating a pet rock. This project provided students with an opportunity to be creative and share their knowledge about sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. Pictured here is:

  • “Evelyn” by Ella Jones: “She is a metamorphic rock called Quartzite. I know this because the definition of a metamorphic rock is either an igneous or sedimentary rock changed by heat and pressure and her markings show that she is a fine grained rock that was changed over time. Her parent rocks are called Quartz Sandstone and she has a lot of Quartz in her. I found her at the Herkimer Diamond Mines in one of the pits while I was searching for Herkimer diamonds. She loves French Macarons like me.”
  • “Sandy” by Layla Dio: “She is a metamorphic rock. I believe she is quartzite. Quartzite is a rock that used to be quartz sandstone, which is a sedimentary rock. The ribbon like stripes helped me to determine that this rock is metamorphic. Sandy loves the beach. I found her on the shore of Lake Erie. Sandy wants to be a makeup artist when she’s older, that’s why she is wearing some makeup.”
Students in Ms. Shiesley and Mrs. Jetter's fifth-grade class at Franklin Middle School received an Easter basket hand-delivered by their teachers (who were all wearing their special face masks). Students were surprised by the sweet gesture. As a token of thanks, two of the students' mothers, who are nurses, received bouquets of flowers and a note of thanks for their work taking care of our community.
Pictured here is third-grade student Ben Bourgeault having fun following the directions to make his own rain gauge at home. It was one of the science activities sent out to the students by Mrs. Marzec.
Lindbergh Elementary School first-grade student Jayla D’Alimonte works on her math at home. She did all but the first problem in her head.
Food service continued providing breakfast and lunch meals during spring recess. Pictured here are the staff at Franklin Elementary School.