The SchoolGram is the newsletter of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda
Union Free School District. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the SchoolGram will be presented in  e-newsletter format to make it more convenient for readers and easier to access on computers and mobile devices.  Find past editions on the web at

June 7, 2016
Happy End of the School Year! This is an extremely rewarding, and bittersweet, time. As the school year winds down and we look forward to summer, there is so much for our district to be proud of! Please take advantage of all the end-of-year celebrations offered at each school to culminate another successful school year.

As our graduates walk the stage and receive their diplomas in a few short weeks, it marks a new beginning for our college and career ready students. Although we are always sad to see our students leave, we are proud of their accomplishments and know they are well prepared! For each and every student, from the moment they first entered Ken-Ton schools, everyone had a critical role to play - their parents, their classroom teachers, their peers, the community, school and District staff. It's a true team effort! Guiding each student to graduation is an extraordinary responsibility where all members of the community contribute. The graduation milestone is something the entire community can and should celebrate.... "It takes a village."

As a district, we had to confront many challenges this year including getting off the New York State Focus District list, implementing the April 2014 Scenario I Consolidation Plan, adjusting for the loss of revenue from the Huntley closure and other fiscal challenges, as well as fulfilling state and federal education requirements, just to name a few. It was certainly challenging, and we heard a great deal of feedback on the many things that had to change in such a short period of time. That feedback was vital because it helped to chart an updated course as we enter a new phase for our schools.

Ken-Ton is no longer a Focus District. State and federal education policy is evolving with more local control being given to school districts. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the community when they went to the polls on May 17, we have our first post-Huntley budget in place as we are entering the final stages of consolidation implementation.

Despite all the challenges, it was a great year. We saw our students excel in and out of the classroom. After four years, we achieved "Good Standing" status for the District and all of our schools. We also set the stage for an incredibly successful 2016-17 school year. Collaboration and continuous stakeholder engagement will be the focus as we work together to further cultivate a district-wide culture of trust, pride, excellence, and commitment to the success of all students.

Thank you to each member of the Ken-Ton School District community for your contributions and hard work this year supporting our students and community. Stay tuned for more highlights and updates during the summer months. I wish everyone a happy and healthy summer! Enjoy and cherish the time with family and friends!

Dawn F. Mirand, Superintendent of Schools
As the school year comes to a close, June is a time of beginnings as much as it is about endings.

In June we have a chance to attend our high school graduations and our employee retirement reception. It is an inspiring time filled with gratitude for what has been and an excitement for what will be. I would like to thank and recognize the work of two departing board members, Trustee Dana and Trustee Potter. Both have devoted time to our students during some of the largest changes our district has ever seen. Because of our retirement incentive and layoffs, we have a unique situation this year where many members of our loyal staff will be departing in ways outside of retirement. To all of you who have given your love, your life, your talent and your time to the children of Ken-Ton, thank you!

This month has brought the groundbreaking for our Phase II Capital Project. The community has shown us time and time again that they understand the value in investing in our public schools to ensure they are healthy, safe, environmentally sound and maintained to support high-quality education. Although many of the discussions regarding the project are usually centered around the externally visible improvements such as bus loops and turf fields, the Board's visitation team has had a chance to see how important the unseen work is to the infrastructure of our buildings. We are excited about the opportunity for repair and upgrade of our facilities! During our walkthroughs, you can sense the pride and commitment from our maintenance and cleaning staff - the Board has a high level of appreciation for what you do every day to keep our buildings clean and in good condition for our students and employees.

To you and yours, wishing you all a healthy, happy summer!

Dr. Jill O'Malley, Board of Education President
Important Reminder for All Families: As always, all parents are encouraged to use the 2016-17 School Locator found on the District website under the "Transition" tab to confirm their assigned school of residence for the 2016-17 school year. Students will attend their assigned school of residence in September except for those who fall into the special cases outlined here and who received notification. Open enrollment requests will be considered; however, they cannot be guaranteed. Visit the Consolidation Transition FAQ for the most up-to-date information. 

Athletics Update: Eighth-grade students who do not qualify to compete at the varsity or junior varsity level will have the opportunity to participate in modified sports. After-school buses will transport eighth-grade modified players to the middle schools to participate in modified sports. Additional athletic opportunities will also be introduced for middle school students in Grades 5-7, including intramurals and opportunities to compete with students from other schools and districts.

Incoming Eighth-Graders: Kenmore East and Kenmore West are excited to introduce Link Crew, a program new to Ken-Ton to welcome, orient and mentor newcomers at the high schools, especially incoming eighth-grade students. Click here for more information on Link Crew. Also, answers to many questions regarding eighth grade can be found on the Consolidation Transition FAQ and you can submit new questions through the website here.

Kenmore Middle School: In addition to some YMCA pre-kindergarten classes, the Kenmore Middle School building will also house the Big Picture Program and some additional District offices and functions. Click here to view a May 10, 2016 update on plans for Kenmore Middle School.

Schedules: The recommendations of the Elementary Schedule Committee can be found here. The committee was convened to explore ways to enhance the elementary school day including daily recess. The recommendations will be used to develop building schedules and parents will receive information from their child's principal over the summer. Click here to visit the committee page for meeting notes and more. The middle school scheduling framework is in the process of being finalized by a committee of principals and teachers. Parents of high school students (Grades 8-12) will receive their schedules toward the end of the summer as in previous years.

Transportation: Letters are scheduled to be mailed home to parents from the Transportation Department on or about Aug. 16 with student bus information. This will be in advance of what was typical in previous years to ensure the smoothest possible start to the 2016-17 school year for transportation.
Transitioning Students Receiving Warm Welcome

Students transitioning to new elementary and middle schools received a very warm welcome at their new schools during special visitation events in April and May. Also, the high schools are introducing a new program, Link Crew, to welcome, orient and mentor incoming eighth- and ninth-graders. Click here to read the story.
District Breaks Ground on Capital Project

During a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, June 6, the District marked the beginning of construction on the $50 million Phase 2 Capital Project, which will include work at all school buildings, middle school and high school auditoriums, and athletic fields. Click here to read the story.
Stakeholders Join to Celebrate Schools' Legacies

Current and former students, teachers, families, alumni and community members at Hamilton Elementary School, Roosevelt Elementary School, and Kenmore Middle School joined together to celebrate the history and legacies of the buildings at three different events in May. Click here to see photos from the events.
Summer Music Program: June 27 to July 28

The Ken-Ton Summer Music Program will take place from June 27 to July 28, providing students with the opportunity to participate in an ensemble during the summer with rehearsals taking place twice a week. Opportunities for summer beginner music lessons are also available.  Click here to read the story.
Kenmore East Names Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

The Class of 2016 includes Zack Ball (2008), Kris Boyes (2007), Jennifer Broderick (1997), Justin Craddock (2005), Jim Dunnigan (coach/administrator), Anthony Johnson (2008), Scott Karstedt (1994 graduate), Tim Metivier (2008), Sarah Nadrowski (2009), Patty Stokes (1963) and Gary Tocke (coach).  Click here for induction information.
Annual Athletic Hall of Fame Golf Tournament: July 20

The 21st annual Ken-Ton Schools Athletic Hall of Fame Golf Tournament will take place Wednesday, July 20 at Sheridan Golf Course with proceeds supporting scholarships for graduating seniors at Kenmore East High School and Kenmore West High School.  Click here for event information.
Schedule Committee Releases Recommendations

A committee of teachers, parents, principals and support staff convened during the month of May to explore enhancements to the elementary school day including daily recess as an option.  Click here to visit the committee's page, which includes meeting notes, membership, survey results, and the committee's recommendations.
7 Spring Teams Receive Scholar Athlete Team Awards

A total of seven spring varsity teams at Kenmore East and Kenmore West were distinguished with Scholar Athlete Team Awards from the New York State Public High School Athletics Association (NYSPHSAA) for maintaining a team-wide grade point average of at least 90 percent.  Click here to read the story.
Kindergarten Bus Orientation, Open House & Safety Event

Mark your calendars! The annual School Bus Orientation & Open House planned by the School Bus Safety Team of the Ken-Ton School District Transportation Department will take place on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Transportation Building, located at 1680 Military Road. Programs teaching school bus safety and "stranger danger" information will be provided for incoming kindergarten students. Please plan on attending!
Living Museum: Students in teacher Lisa Carver's fourth-grade class
at Edison Elementary School recently brought history to life at their "Living Museum." The event was held in the library with students showcasing a variety of historical figures and topics while dressing the part as well!

Instructional Tech Displayed at Holmes Elementary
At a special Technology Night hosted by Holmes Elementary, students and staff were proud to give guests a glimpse into all the ways instructional technology is being integrated into classrooms such as iPads and innovative learning tools and apps.  Click here to read the story.
KMS Students Help Beautify Village of Kenmore
A total of 19 students from the Kenmore Middle School National Junior Honor Society recently dedicated a Saturday to help further beautify the Village of Kenmore as part of the Big Kenmore Clean Up sponsored by the Kenmore Village Improvement Society. Click here to read the story.
Ken-West Student Wins Study Trip to Germany
Kenmore West student Lesley Rudin recently won a prestigious all-expenses-paid study trip to Germany. To earn the trip, she had to place in the top 90th percentile in an exam administered by the American Association of Teachers of German and undergo a screening process. Click here to read the story.
Students Celebrate Arabic-American Heritage Month
Students and staff at Franklin Middle School recently had the opportunity to take part in a special Arab-American Heritage Month celebration that included informational displays, sample foods, and discussions of culture, language, clothing, arts, and more.  Click here to read the story.
Roosevelt PTA Hosts Popular School Carnival
The Roosevelt Elementary School PTA recently held its final School Carnival, a popular school-wide event that included games of chance, elaborate face painting, food, and a chance for students and families to socialize.  Click here for pictures from the event.
Ken-West String Players Perform at Armed Forces Ball
A core group of 10 select Kenmore West High School string students led by orchestra director Karin Fryer continued a more than decade-long tradition of performing for approximately 500 honored guests at the WNY Armed Forces Ball.  Click here to read the story.
Children's Author Visits Lindbergh & Edison Elementary
Students at Lindbergh and Edison Elementary recently had the chance to meet Susan Stevens Crummel (author of numerous award-winning children's books including "Help Me Mr. Mutt") who engaged them in a variety of activities and discussions.  Click here to read the story.
Ken-East Raises $2,500 for Kids Escaping Drugs
Led by science teacher Bob O'Connor, students and staff at Kenmore East High School raised $2,500 for Kids Escaping Drugs and the Renaissance Campus through the school's "Join the Winners" initiative, which culminates each year in a fun school-wide dance and event.  Click here to read the story.
Lindbergh Students Take Part in Theater Celebration
Students who were part of Lindbergh Elementary's worldwide elementary school pilot of "James and the Giant Peach Jr." had the chance to showcase and develop their talents at the Junior Theater Celebration sponsored by Shea's, iTheatrics, and Musical Theater International.  Click here to read the story.
Students at Roosevelt Elementary School proudly present the special second-grade musical "The Lion King Kids"
23 spectacular student acts showcasing a wide range of talents were featured at Hoover Middle's "Hoover's Got Talent"
Students/staff at Franklin Elementary enjoy "Theater on the Go" program by teacher Jill Mattea's third-grade class
"In Jest" entertains at magical Holmes Elementary School  Grade  3-5 Literacy Night
Franklin Middle School's Girls on the Run leaders help classmates build self-esteem and confidence
Junior Achievement volunteers from Cannon Design host "JA in a Day" at Hoover Elementary

Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District