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COVID-19 Closure Update:
April 5, 2020
Message from the Superintendent
There are a number of things we wish to update you on as we begin this fourth week of the COVID-19 closure. You can find these updates below, along with a variety of highlights from the past week. We are proud of our entire school district community as we continue to see our students, families, and staff rising to this unprecedented challenge.

We do not know how long the closure will last. We all share the same desire for things to go back to normal, but this will not happen until the virus is under control. In this, we must all play a part. It is vital for all of us to follow the local, state, and federal guidelines for physical distancing and to take these measures extremely seriously.

This past week, the Ken-Ton School District was asked to remove the rims from the district’s basketball courts, because these facilities were being used by groups of people despite the necessity for physical distancing. Under normal circumstances, we would have welcomed community use of our facilities such as this, but these are not normal circumstances. It is the district’s obligation to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent situations where the virus can spread from person to person, and social gatherings will not be permitted on district property.

Our focus remains supporting and connecting all of our students, families, and staff and providing our students with remote learning opportunities to the greatest extent possible. We are continuing to do the best we can. Flexibility is key. This is new for all of us, and we continue to adapt and learn as we go and make improvements and refinements to our policies and procedures.

I hope all of our Ken-Ton School District families are staying healthy and safe, and we appreciate all of your cooperation and support during this unprecedented time.

Steve Bovino,
Superintendent of Schools
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COVID-19 Closure Updates & Information
Physical Distancing Guidelines:
  • It is the district's obligation to take whatever steps it can to minimize opportunities for social gatherings and activities where the virus can spread from person to person. This past week, the district was asked to remove the rims from the district’s outdoor basketball courts because there were reports of large groups of people using these facilities. It is very important that everyone follows the local, state, and federal guidelines for physical distancing to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

Spring Recess:
  • New York State is requiring that school district activities during the COVID-19 closure, such as continuity of learning, food service, and emergency childcare operations, are to continue during spring recess (April 13-17).
  • Supporting our families and their kids is a priority for our district and its employees. Given the national, state, county and town states of emergency, we are committed to supporting our Continuity of Learning Plan, meals for students, and child care for essential workers through our Spring Break. In compliance with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.1 and 202.2, we will continue to remain in remote contact with our students and families providing the support they may need.
  • Breakfast/lunch services will continue to operate as scheduled during spring recess (April 13-17). Please note that breakfast/lunch will not be served on Friday, April 10. Instead, families will receive their meals for this day when they pick up their meals on Wednesday, April 8.

Duration of Closure:
  • As previously communicated, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ordering school buildings across New York State to close in two-week intervals, and the latest order closes school buildings in New York State until April 15, 2020. At the present time, there have been no determinations made on whether this closure will be extended by an additional two weeks beyond April 15. School and district personnel are continuing to plan for all eventualities so that we are prepared to meet the needs of students and families no matter what that determination might be.

Regents Exams/Class of 2020 Information:
  • The State Education Department is continuing to explore questions and issues related to the Regents Exams and graduating seniors. Determinations and guidance are expected soon in these areas. The Ken-Ton School District will continue to follow these developments closely and will keep families informed of any new developments.

April 7, 2020 Board of Education Meeting:
  • As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Education meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, 2020 will take place through videoconferencing, and the public will be able to watch a livestream of the meeting via YouTube. Access to the livestream will be available shortly before the meeting at You will also be able to access this link from the district homepage at
  • As with all Board of Education meetings, all meeting documents and the agenda will be available on the Ken-Ton School District Board Docs page, and a video recording will be posted in the days following the meeting as well as a transcript. The Board Docs page can be found here:

Food Service:
  • Breakfast/lunch will continue to be served through the April 13-17 spring recess at all five locations (Franklin Elementary, Holmes Elementary, Hoover Elementary, Northtowns Boys & Girls Club, and Sheridan Parkside Youth Center). Breakfast/lunch will not be served on Friday, April 10. Instead, families will be provided breakfast/lunch meals for this day when they pick up their meals on Wednesday, April 8. Click here for more information about the breakfast/lunch program:

Device Distribution:
  • Through the coordination of the Technology Services Department, the Ken-Ton School District successfully distributed more than 1,300 devices to enable students to effectively engage in remote learning opportunities during the COVID-19 closure. Students in elementary schools received iPads, and students in middle and high schools received Chromebooks. Each device was equipped with a variety of instructional apps and programs. If you need technical assistance with devices, click here: Technical Support During Closure

Budget & Board of Education Election Information:
  • As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State will delay the annual school district Budget Vote and Board of Education Election originally scheduled to take place May 19, 2020. New York State will also delay various deadlines associated with the budget development and Board of Education candidate process. Additional information will be provided once revised dates are established by New York State.
  • At the present time, school districts have been unable to finalize their proposed 2020-21 school year budgets due to uncertainty regarding anticipated state aid allocations and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the New York State Budget. Normally, the Board of Education would have adopted the proposed budget at its April 7, 2020 meeting. More information on the Ken-Ton School District’s proposed 2020-21 school year budget will be provided soon, and all information related to the budget will be posted at

Gr. 5-12 Report Cards:
  • Middle school and high school third-quarter report cards will be available viewing on Parent Portal according to the following schedule:
  • Wednesday, April 8: Middle School (Gr. 5-7) report cards posted for parent viewing on the Parent Portal
  • Thursday, April 9: High School (Gr. 8-12) report cards posted for parent viewing on the Parent Portal
  • If you need assistance with Parent Portal, please email

Online Library Resources:
  • Gr. K-12 online library resources are available during the COVID-19 closure, including free access to ebooks and audio books, social-emotional support, and educational podcasts. To access these resources, go to:

Non-Public School Transportation Requests: 
  • New York State has advanced the deadline for Non-Public School Transportation Requests for the 2020-21 school year to April 15. This form must be filled out annually for students who will attend non-public schools, such as private, parochial, and charter schools, and wish to request transportation (this form does not need to be filled out for students attending the nine public schools of the Ken-Ton School District). You can return the form by mail to Ken-Ton UFSD Transportation Department, 1680 Military Road, Buffalo, NY 14217. You can also return it by email to or via fax at 716-874-8618. The form can be found on the transportation forms webpage:
Student, Staff & Family Updates
Teachers Donate Personal Protective Equipment to Kenmore Mercy

Last week, teachers in the Ken-Ton School District donated a much-needed shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Kenmore Mercy Hospital which included supplies such as masks and gloves to assist doctors and hospital staff who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kenmore Teachers Association coordinated the effort which included Kenmore West social studies teacher Bill Conrad , Kenmore East PE teacher/coach Jim Badgely , and Ken-Ton instructional specialist for science Lisa Davidson gathering supplies from science classrooms at Kenmore East and Kenmore West to deliver to the hospital. Family and Consumer Science teacher Carol Glor has also been hard at work sewing additional face masks which were provided as well.

“Ken-Ton schools really stepped up to help us keep our front line staff safe with needed personal protective equipment," said hospital public relations manager Dawn Cwierley. "We can’t thank them enough.” Great job to everyone involved in this effort, and a special thanks to everyone at Kenmore Mercy Hospital for all of your heroic efforts to safeguard our community.
'Ken-Ton Cares' Volunteers Work to Address Food Insecurity

Amidst the economic and societal turmoil brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of people in the Ken-Ton community have come together to form a community-driven rapid response team, called Ken-Ton Cares, to help those struggling with food insecurity. It began as a group on social media and over the past three weeks has evolved into an army of dedicated volunteers confronting the unprecedented challenges brought about by coronavirus.

The Facebook page was created at the very beginning of the COVID-19 closures. Its organizers anticipated the adverse impact it would have on so many children and families in the Ken-Ton community, and they took to Facebook to try and make a difference. Since then, this Facebook group has grown to include more than 1,800 members, including many Ken-Ton School District parents and staff. They have banded together to collect donations of food supplies and secure volunteers. They have pieced together a fabric of support for people struggling in the Ken-Ton community. They have begun distributing food to families in need.

The number of people in need continues to climb as the consequences of the shutdown continue to be realized. The organization will continue to collect donations of food, money, and supplies on a daily basis to continue to support the needs of children and families in the Ken-Ton community, home to more than 70,000 people.

For more information or to connect with Ken-Ton Cares, the group can be found on Facebook at and on the Ken-Ton Closet’s website at . Monetary donations may be made via Paypal at or to the Ken-Ton Closet, PO Box 343, Buffalo, NY 14223. Kenmore or Town of Tonawanda residents in need of assistance may visit the website at . There, they can find resources in the community that may be able to assist and people who can help during this time of need.
Universal Pre-K Program Launches Virtual Classrooms

The Ken-Ton School District Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program operated by the Ken-Ton YMCA will provide access to virtual classrooms through Zoom. Each teacher will teach virtually for one hour per week and families are welcome to join as many classes as they would like. Zoom can be used on a tablet, smartphone, or laptop. Simply click the link to enter the classroom, which will open at its corresponding time. A regular weekly schedule of virtual classes will begin Monday, April 6 which will focus on academic engagement and skill building. The schedule along with web links for individual virtual classes and contact information for UPK teachers can be found here on the district website .
Two seniors at Kenmore West High School, Krish Patel and Gerald (Jerry) Rott, have set out to help high school students across Western New York by launching JK Education, a comprehensive online tutoring and academic support resource, at . Read the story here .
The Kenmore East High School Counseling Department shared a collage of photos of their personal workspaces at home with the Kenmore East High School staff as well as tips for working from home.
The food service staff led by Food Service Director Kim Roll and school/district administrators , who are serving breakfast/lunch at five locations during the COVID-19 closure, have earned the appreciation of countless students and families, including this thank you card shared by students Emma and Juliana Miller.
In a unanimous vote, the NYS Athletic Administrators Association (NYSAAA) Executive Board extended the presidency of Ken-Ton UFSD Athletic Director Brett Banker for another year. Banker, who also oversees district health, physical education and recreation programs, will be just the second person in association history to serve as president in multiple years. Click here to read more about Banker’s role with NYSAAA .
#StrikeOutCovid: Check out this video shared by the Kenmore West High School Softball Team:
During the COVID-19 closure, Ken-Ton School District school nurses continue to focus on others in order to make a difference. Individually and organizationally, the nurses are supporting the community through various efforts both large and small including:
  • Volunteering at neighborhood health clinics
  • Making fabric face masks for healthcare providers and others in need
  • Creating headbands for medical professionals, which protect their ears from skin irritation which arises from wearing a mask through 12-hour shifts
  • Staying connected with teachers, students and families through ClassDojo and participating in classroom Zoom meetings
  • Completing Continuing Education for School Health through webinars from the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), New York State Center for School Health Learning Management System, and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).
  • Participating in a Ken-Ton Staff Development online chat on the topic of Infinite Campus for the health office and standardization in charting, lists, and documents
  • Keeping up-to-date on daily briefings and revisions in guidelines related to COVID-19 in order to help answer questions from friends, family, neighbors, and community members
  • Offering to assist with meal distribution in Ken-Ton Schools
  • Donating blood
  • Providing a home through fostering and adoption of rescue pets
  • Making their neighborhoods a more calming place for families and children who are out walking by writing chalk messages of encouragement and hope along their sidewalks
Hoover Elementary School teacher Cathy Jones shared photos of her students, Joseph Kfoury and Myla Rychlik, working on Google Classroom assignments at home. She also inspired classmates and parents to share happy birthday wishes for one of her students through Class Dojo.
A Braille reader was delivered to a student of Alicia Koerber-Schwock , teacher of the visually impaired, so the student can continue her instruction during the COVID-19 closure.
One of Amy Bruce’s Franklin Middle School students, Kassie Sonerson, did a great job building her own Rube Goldberg machine, a class project they were going to begin in class when schools were closed. She used Mrs. Bruce’s instructions and built one at home on her own.
Hoover Elementary School teacher Dawn Hawthorn has been engaging students in class read-aloud videos and asking the students to complete tasks to help them with their comprehension during each read-aloud session. The book she is reading is “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate. After the third read-aloud episode, she asked the students to draw the characters and their domain. Ethan Warham and Wyatt Umhauer shared drawings each of them had made of characters from “The One and Only Ivan,” and Ethan and Kristin Warham sent a thank you card to Mrs. Hawthorn.
Students at Franklin Elementary School have been challenged to engage in a wide variety of fun and exciting science activities by science teacher Hannah Dean while home during the COVID-19 closure:
  • Kindergarteners went on a nature walk. They were asked to find things in nature that matched the colors of the rainbow, and made some great discoveries. "I couldn't find anything blue,” said student Elliot Reimer, “but I was looking for a Blue Jay!"
  • First graders conducted an experiment about illumination. Using a plastic bag, some markers, and their imagination, they created their own underwater scene illuminated by a “flashlight.”
  • Second graders were asked to put on an old pair of socks and go for a walk in a garden or out in nature. They were then asked to look at the bottom of their socks, look for any seeds they may have picked up along the way, and then plant their socks to see what grows.
  • Fourth graders are reviewing their knowledge of open and closed circuits at home. Students were challenged to make a lightbulb light using a potato, and then to try and make a copper wire move around a battery.
See some of the videos their parents have shared here:
The parents of Franklin Elementary students Alithia and Max Gerikh shared this photo/video slideshow showcasing some of their work over the past couple of weeks. “The teachers have been doing an amazing job staying connected,” they shared with the school.
Seventh-grade Franklin Middle School student Alex Schuler led a Zoom lesson on the “lost art of letter writing” during his 9 a.m. Zoom ELA class and again during the 10 a.m. class. He shared his presentation with his classmates and assigned them the task of writing a friendly letter. His lesson was such a hit that other students have now requested to guest teach a mini ELA lesson occasionally during the week.
Hoover Elementary School kindergarten teacher Samantha Page has been enjoying staying connected with her students during the COVID-19 closure. In the first photo is student Hunter Watson speaking with Mrs. Page over the phone. In the second photo, student Blake Wells has been staying structured with their morning calendar and wearing their famous “weather watcher” glasses. In the third photo, student Sawyer Sullivan has been having fun creating their school mascot, Hootie.
Maranella Lis sent a very kind message to her first-grade teacher at Lindbergh Elementary, Lisa Mitchell .
Fourth-grade students in Mr. Foote's class at Lindbergh Elementary collaborated in Zoom and then submitted videos of their own homemade Rube Goldberg projects. You can find some of the videos here:
Two of Mrs. Waggoner's first-grade students at Lindbergh Elementary: Lincoln Toukatly doing some work in the sunshine, and Artie writing to Pete the Cat after Mrs. Waggoner shared an address that the students send hand-written letters to Pete.
Students in Mrs. Grosofsky’s second-grade students at Lindbergh Elementary were challenged to retell the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. Pictured here is “Tiny Tortoise and the Chubby Cheetah” by student Aislinn Reed. Below is “Tortoise and the Hare” submitted by student Charlotte Lillis:

"One day after lunch in the forest. Hare was confident and speedy. Tortoise was slow and calm. Hare brags he is so fast. The tortoise thinks he is so wrong. Tortoise thinks he will win. The hare accepts the challenge. The animals begin the race. Fox yells ready, set, go. Hare leaves tortoise left behind in the dust. Hare thinks not to tire himself. So Hare takes a nap on a rock. Tortoise continues the race. Hare wakes up and stretches. The race is finished. Tortoise is the winner. Slow and steady wins the race. Moral: Fast and lazy doesn’t win the race."
Ken-Ton School District food service workers at Franklin Elementary School were featured in the Friday, March 27 edition of the Twin Cities Sun. F or subscription information, visit .