The SchoolGram is the  award-winning  newsletter of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District. The SchoolGram is presented in e-newsletter format for the convenience of readers and easy access on computers and mobile devices. Sign up to receive the SchoolGram in your inbox or view past editions on the web at .

COVID-19 Closure Update:
May 26, 2020
Budget Vote & Board of Education Election
In accordance with NYS Executive Order 202.26, the annual Budget Vote and Board of Education Election will be delayed to Tuesday, June 9 with all voting by absentee ballot. With the assistance of the Board of Elections, we have been working very hard to deliver absentee ballots and postage-paid envelopes to all voters in the Ken-Ton School District, and voters should receive these in the U.S. mail by the end of this week (if you do not receive a ballot and you are a qualified voter, please contact the District Clerk at 874-8400 ext. 20342). Additional information about the budget/propositions will be sent in a separate mailing.

You can find detailed information on the proposed 2020-21 budget (including the complete budget book with line-by-line revenue/expenditure details), propositions, Board of Education candidates, and voting information on the district website at . The public budget hearing will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 2 via videoconferencing/livestream (access the livestream and find information on participating at ).

We are pleased to offer our community the opportunity to participate through absentee balloting, and we encourage all voters to take part in this important election. Completed ballots must be received no later than 5 p.m. June 9 to be counted, so voters are encouraged to mail their ballots by June 2 (voters will have the ability to drop off unmailed ballots by 5 p.m. the day of the vote on June 9).
Statewide Exchange: Share Your Thoughts
School district communities across New York State are looking to the future and considering what a return to school buildings might look like and how best to support students, families, and staff. The 37 Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in New York State are facilitating a statewide conversation using the platform ThoughtExchange. The exchange is anonymous, allowing parents/family members, staff, and other community members across New York State to share their own thoughts and rate the thoughts expressed by others.

All members of the Ken-Ton School District community are invited to take part in this exchange by clicking the link below. When prompted to identify your BOCES, please select the Erie 1 BOCES.

Not only will participants be able to share their own thoughts and opinions, but all participants will have the ability to see a sampling of each others' comments and then assign "star" ratings so that the most commonly shared thoughts and views can be identified. The exchange results will be shared with elected officials so that they may have a more global understanding of the thoughts and ideas of community members from around the state.
Other Updates & Information
Graduation & Senior Prom:
  • Because the original commencement ceremonies scheduled to take place at Kleinhans will not be able to be held, school staff and student leadership teams are refining plans for special celebrations to commemorate and honor the Class of 2020. The celebrations will take place on the original days that graduations were scheduled: Saturday, June 27 for the Kenmore East High School Class of 2020, and Sunday, June 28 for the Kenmore West High School Class of 2020. Times and details are expected to be communicated to families within the week. The Big Picture Program Class of 2020 celebration will take place Tuesday, June 16. 
  • Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related social distancing requirements, schools are not able to host a Senior Prom this academic year. Our student and teacher leadership teams are continuing to explore future options that may be available once the social distancing requirements are lifted.

Item Retrieval, Instrument/Device Return & Yearbook Updates:
  • All schools are in the process of finalizing plans for locker clean-out, item retrieval, and the return of musical instruments/technology devices, and expect to have this information communicated to families by the end of the week. Schools will also be communicating information about yearbook distribution.

Trauma-Informed Care Virtual Parent Sessions:
  • The Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (ITTIC) is partnering with the Ken-Ton School District to offer a series of three virtual support sessions open to any parent in the district. Topics include Navigating Worry, Stress, and Fear (May 27 and 28); Isolation (June 3 and 4); and Grief, Loss and Meaning Making (June 10 and 11). More information on the virtual sessions and how to participate can be found here:
  • ITTIC Virtual Session Information

4th Quarter Grading Information:
  • Kenmore East, Kenmore West and Big Picture Program parents, guardians and families can find updated information about fourth quarter/final course grading here:

Kindergarten & Universal Pre-K Registration:
  • The Ken-Ton School District encourages all parents, guardians, and families with children who will be eligible for Kindergarten (age 5 on or before December 1, 2020) or Universal Pre-Kindergarten (age 4 on or before December 1, 2020) to register for the 2020-21 school year which begins in September. Because of the high volume of new registrants who register each summer, families are encouraged to register for Kindergarten and UPK soon if they have not done so already. This assists the district and its schools in critical planning for the upcoming school year. Click here for more information:
  • Kindergarten/UPK Registration Reminder
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Student, Staff & Family Updates
Class of 2020 Graduating Senior Lawn Signs

Pictured here are the very special Kenmore East High School Class of 2020 lawn signs which were distributed to all Kenmore East seniors by the faculty, staff, and administrators.

Senior Advisors Laura Eisenhauer and Kim Schildwaster as well as Principal Patrick Heyden and Assistant Principal Joe Greco handed out the signs to faculty and staff who delivered them to students’ houses. Organizing and readying the signs were Ms. Bozek, Mr. Heyden and Mr. Sagurney and senior class officer Rheyne Orrell.

Both Kenmore East and Kenmore West faculty and staff surprised their graduating seniors with special lawn signs honoring the Class of 2020 earlier this month. The signs were delivered by a member of the faculty or staff while observing safe physical distancing procedures to ensure the safety of all involved. Support for this initiative was provided by the Kenmore East PTSA, Senior Class, and Booster Club, and the Kenmore West HSA, Alumni Association, Community Club, Join the Winners, Staff Senate, and Student Council.
Farmers to Families Produce Deliveries

The non-profit group Ken-Ton Cares , a rapid-response team which has been helping and supporting families facing food insecurity in the Ken-Ton community during the pandemic, partnered with the Ken-Ton School District to distribute fresh produce to families through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Program. Assisting with this effort were Food Service Director Kim Roll; the Ken-Ton School District Buildings & Grounds team, which made arrangements for the deliveries to the food service distribution sites; Karen Monaco, who coordinated volunteers; and volunteers Jennifer Szustakowski, Kevin Grosse, Amy Blake Colosanti, Denise Grandits, Barbara Pastor McArthur, and Janice Steinborn. Pictured here is the Holmes Elementary School distribution team consisting of Thomas Fitzgerald, Laurie Freiert, Barb McArthur, Chrissy Pino Zona, Jenn Szustakowski, and Brett Banker.
Kenmore East Band & Orchestra Virtual Performance

A total of 73 Kenmore East High School Band and Orchestra students came together under the direction of Band Director Phil Aguglia and Orchestra Director Laura Jay for an amazing virtual performance of "Nights in White Satin." This was a special arrangement by composer Rossano Galante which would have been performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. during the ensembles' scheduled trip, which had been cancelled due to the pandemic. This extraordinary performance, which represented their capstone project, was the product of weeks of remote work by the Band and Orchestra, debuting on Sunday, May 24. You can view it on YouTube here:

The following day, May 25, the Kenmore East High School Band would normally have marched in the Town of Tonawanda’s Memorial Day Parade, which would have begun at 11 a.m. Because the parade was cancelled, Mr. Aguglia encouraged his students to join him in performing Taps at 11 a.m. when the parade would normally have started.
Masks Donated for Ken-Ton School District Families

Last week, the Ken-Ton School District was grateful to receive a donation of protective masks which will be distributed to families through our food distribution network. The district would like to thank Andrew Fanelli, a Ken-Ton parent, from Northwood Asset Management Group and Credit Deployment Services for this generous donation.
Lights On at Adams Field to Celebrate Class of 2020

On Wednesday, May 20, the Athletics Department lit up Adams Field from 8 to 10 p.m. in order to recognize and honor all athletes from the Class of 2020 from both Kenmore East and Kenmore West. Parents and students were able to drive by and see a special message on the scoreboard, which was the Athletic Department’s way of saying, "Thank you, we love you, and best of luck."
Georgie Badiel Speaks to Edison Classes via Videoconferencing

Edison Elementary School classes were excited to speak with Georgie Badiel of the Georgie Badiel Foundation recently through Zoom. The Georgie Badiel Foundation is in the process of digging the water well in the African nation of Burkina Faso which is being funded by the $14,450 raised by the Edison Elementary School community last year with enough left over to repair several additional water wells in rural villages. Georgie Badiel connected with Edison Elementary classes to speak about her goal of bringing fresh clean water to the people of Burkina Faso and the importance of having clean water during the global pandemic. She also spoke to the students about her life as a young girl, who was the basis for the main character in the book “The Water Princess” by Susan Verde, which inspired the Edison Elementary effort. She also spoke about her career and the work of her foundation to improve the lives of children in the African country where grew up. The students were impressed by her genuine and kind attitude, while learning about the importance of giving back to their community.
Edison Elementary Secures Farm to School Institute Grant

Edison Elementary School was excited to learn that it will be receiving a $5,000 New York State Farm to School Institute Grant for the 2020-21 school year. The grant will provide the school with $5,000 to implement farm-to-school programs. Applying for the grant were Nicole Zugelder, Sue Hirsch, and Linda Sternin from Edison Elementary, and Ken-Ton School District Food Service Director Kim Roll.
Elyse Smith , meteorologist at WGRZ Channel 2, led a Zoom meeting with Amanda Eichinger’s first-grade students. Elyse conducted a live experiment and then answered students’ questions on a variety of topics. She sent this selfie shortly afterwards to thank the class for the opportunity.
Edison Elementary School second-grade teacher Katrina West created a video of her students' work as they started their Poetry unit using the SeeSaw app. You can check it out here:
James Hoca, a third-grade student of Hoover Elementary School co-teachers Melissa Feickert and Kimberly Reynolds, along with his sister Mariah, a second grader at Hoover Elementary, created these amazing volcanoes at home with the help of their father. They also made a video showing how the volcanoes reacted differently depending on what they put inside them. They had some fun with the “Flat Teacher” version of James’ teachers (inspired by the book “Flat Stanley”), though he reassured them that no “Flat Teachers” were harmed in the making their experiment.
Students in Ms. Chiavaroli's class have been using Class Dojo Portfolios to share work completed in Scholastic Learn at Home and Scholastic News. They meet each Friday through Zoom to review the video and read and discuss the issue for that week. Then, students respond in writing. Students are also using these digital Portfolios to share their own inspired projects, such as the at-home art show created by Evan and Nathan Rizzo, brothers from Ms. Chiavaroli and Mrs. McLean's second-grade classes. They also showed thanks for the breakfast/lunch meals provided by the district. Miss Hoch, Ms. Chiavaroli's student-teacher, along with ENL teacher Mrs. Mahoney, has also been posting read-aloud stories on Class Dojo Class Story, which can be accessed any time. Then, the students can respond in Portfolios. Pictured here are some examples of the work the students have shared.
Holmes Elementary School teacher Courtney Cefaratti was excited to learn that she had received a $1,000 grant through Keep Kids Learning and another $400 in bonus materials from another grant she applied for on Donors Choose. Thanks to her efforts, students will have a variety of activities to enjoy during the summer. Other items include a class set of jump ropes and playground balls, and additional books.
In lieu of students being able to enjoy Career Day at school, Holmes Elementary School social worker Kristine Pieczonka compiled short videos from some of their presenters into a fun Google Slides presentation. Every day last week, one of the slides was posted to the Holmes Elementary School Facebook page as they celebrate different types of career paths. You can find the presentation here:
Lindbergh Elementary School shared its sixth weekly message with students and families last week which included Dr. Seuss’ timeless quote: “The more that you read, the more things that you will know. The more that you know, the more places you'll go.” Find it here:
After Edison Elementary School second-grade teacher Risa Klee’s read-aloud last week, students in her and Karen Pritchard’s classes were challenged to write their own similes or simile stories.
Junior Achievement (JA) of WNY is a wonderful program that second-grade teachers at Hoover Elementary School have welcomed into their classrooms. Since the opportunity for an in-school field trip is not an option right now, the JA staff has provided classes with videos and follow-up activities for the children to engage in. The second-grade focus is on the community. Pictured here is Leo Burt from Mrs. Hillman’s class working on the follow-up activity for Lesson 1, “People in Our Community Work Together.”
Edison Elementary School second-grade co-teachers Ms. Fineis and Ms. West from Room 209 shared these photos reporting that the green beans, ladybug larvae, and caterpillars are all growing fabulously.
Students of Hoover Elementary School teacher Elizabeth Schechter pose with some of their recent work at home.
Jennifer MacDonald, science teacher at the Big Picture Program, has been engaging and motivating her students by incorporating silly themes and costumes into her regular teaching. Most recently, she encouraged them to “celebrate and have a good time" when it was announced that their last day of school is June 10. Other themes/costumes included the Wicked Witch of the West, a hat in the shape of a chicken drumstick (along with the message “Stop winging it”), and outdoor items to inspire them to get outside and enjoy the wonderful weather.
Edison Elementary second grade teacher Risa Klee has been conducting informal reading conferences and check-ins with students. She is pictured here with one of her students, Shea, while team teacher Karen Pritchard looks on.