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 published monthly and 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 The budget edition of the SchoolGram will still be delivered to households  by mail in late April or early May.

January 29, 2016
Happy New Year! I do hope this SchoolGram message finds you enjoying winter and keeping all of your resolutions! It has been busy with much information to share with you:
● Great News! "Business First" released Aspirational Performance Measure (APM) data from the New York State Education Department (% of students who graduate with at least a 75 in ELA Regents and 80 in Math Regents). Ken-Ton's APM, which is a measure of college and career readiness, as well as Ken-Ton's ranking among school districts in Erie County are both on the rise! Congratulations to our students, staff, administrators and parents! It is a team effort to support our students' success.
 The budget process will begin with a budget workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Ken-East cafeteria. Please participate and learn about all the factors impacting the 2016-17 budget planning!
 Budget variables include a perfect storm of challenges: a proposed continuation of the Gap Elimination Adjustment at a cost of $1.3 million, only a 0.5% proposed increase in Foundation Aid, the property tax cap, increases in fixed costs, new fund balance limitations, and the consequences of the Huntley closure, following years of budget reductions. This could be an especially challenging year. Learn more about these issues here.  
 Consolidation planning continues with the release of student start and end times expected in February.
  Attention parents who wish to participate on a stakeholder committee that will explore opportunities to reuse/repurpose the District's vacant school buildings and other facilities housing Ken-Ton programs, as you will read in the consolidation transition update below, applications will be accepted between Feb. 1 and Feb. 12.
You can stay informed on these and other topics by visiting  and joining the new Superintendent Update mailing list. This will include regular updates on district and education-related topics. If there is a topic you would like to know more about, let us know at ! Thank you for being a part of our community and sharing your children with us each day!

Dawn F. Mirand, Superintendent of Schools
On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like to wish you a very happy New Year! We have been working on goals for the upcoming year and as you may know, hearing from our community is very important to us. We understand that each school faces its own set of triumphs and challenges; often times it is difficult for parents to make it to our regular meetings to let us know what is happening in their neighborhood. Because we value your feedback, we are reaching out to you.

One of our goals beginning 2016 is to regularly attend PTO meetings in Ken-Ton. We feel this will give us a unique perspective on the things that are important to your school community. Each Board member will sign up for a particular school; however, feel free to invite any other Board member you would like to have at your meetings. We have asked Board members to sign up for each meeting on a first-come, first-served basis in order to prevent a quorum (three or more members) at any of your meetings. Board members may rotate to ensure they have a chance to visit the different schools within our district. Board member attendance at your meetings may vary depending upon other Board obligations such as regular/special Board meetings, workshops, training and other required commitments.

Attending members will provide a meeting summary to the rest of the Board to enable us to hear the exciting things that are happening in your schools. These are excellent opportunities for the Board to listen to the members of your school community. Please note that Board members in attendance will not speak on behalf of the Board on any District matters; if questions arise, our Board members will bring them back to the whole Board for information/discussion or assist you with directing inquiries to the appropriate person.

As this process unfolds, I welcome your suggestions and feedback about our attendance at your meetings ( We look forward to working with you !

Dr. Jill O'Malley, Board of Education President
* For children who will be changing schools next year as part of the Scenario I consolidation transition, principals will soon send letters announcing orientation and visitation opportunities for students and parents. Visitation dates will be posted to

* The District is in the process of finalizing bell times for the 2016-17 school year with the goal of standardizing start and end times so that high schools will start first, then middle schools, then elementary schools.

* From Feb. 1 to Feb. 12, the District will be accepting applications from parents who wish to join a stakeholder committee that will explore options and opportunities for the future use of its four vacant school buildings, as well as other facilities housing Ken-Ton programs and services. The application will be posted to from Feb. 1 to Feb. 12.

* Be sure to visit to view a comprehensive FAQ and use the 2016-17 School Locator to confirm your assigned school of residence.
Ken-Ton Teacher/Hockey Coach Honored by Buffalo Sabres
On Jan. 5, the Buffalo Sabres honored Kyle Pray, a teacher at Hoover Middle School and the Kenmore East High School Varsity Boys Hockey coach, with the J. Michael Duffett Award for his invaluable contributions to youth hockey in Western New York. Click here to read the story.
Lost Roosevelt Elementary Time Capsule Rediscovered

For years, many wondered what happened to a time capsule that had been buried at Roosevelt Elementary in 1976. It was quickly lost after it had been dug up approximately 15 years ago during construction work. On Jan. 28, maintenance workers rediscovered the time capsule while clearing out a boiler room. Click here to read the story.
Ken-Ton Schools' SleepOut to Take Place Friday, Feb. 5

The 29th annual Jerry Starr Ken-Ton Schools' SleepOut will take place Friday, Feb. 5 at Hoover Middle. All are invited to take part in the program beginning at 8 p.m. including those who will not be sleeping outside. Money and other donations will be gratefully accepted to help families in need in the community. Click here to read the story.
Community Ed Programs Tied for Best in WNY

For the second year, the Ken-Ton School District's diverse array of community and continuing education programs won the top spot in a regional poll conducted by the magazine "Forever Young," a division of "Buffalo Spree" that is geared toward readers age 50 and up. Click here to read the story.
Prospective School Board Member Workshop
On Saturday, April 2, the Erie County Association of School Boards will provide a free workshop for those interested in becoming a school board member in any district. The workshop will take place in Conference Room B1 at the Erie 1 BOCES campus located at 355 Harlem Road in West Seneca. Topics such as the legal and human resources issues addressed by school boards will be covered from the perspectives of a school district attorney, veteran board member, recent school board candidate, and school superintendent. A light continental breakfast will be provided. Registration will take place from 8:15 to 8:30 a.m. and the program will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 821-7297 or email to register.
Franklin Middle to Perform 'Beauty and the Beast Jr.'
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4 and at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, students at Franklin Middle School will perform "Beauty and the Beast Jr." based on the timeless Disney movie and Broadway hit. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children. Click here to read the story.
Franklin Elementary PTA to Host Basket Raffle/Chicken Dinner
On Saturday, Feb. 27, the Franklin Elementary School PTA will host its fifth annual Basket Raffle and Chicken Dinner. The basket raffle will take place in the gymnasium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and winning numbers will be drawn at 4:30 p.m., though guests need not be present to win. The Chiavetta's chicken dinner will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until orders are sold out. Dinners are $10 per person and include potato salad, slaw, and a roll. Beverages and desserts are also available for purchase. All proceeds from the event will benefit the PTA.
Ken-East to Celebrate Winter With 9th Annual Wingding Classic
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, Kenmore East High School will celebrate hockey, winter and Western New York with the ninth annual Mid-Winter Wingding Classic. This popular student event will feature a street hockey tournament with more than 20 teams competing, as well as Western New York food and winter-inspired activities such as snow castle building. Click here to read the story.
Art Project Features Unique 'Social Justice Action Figures'
Students at Kenmore Middle School played the part of toy makers and marketers as part of a unique project in art teacher Rich Tomasello's class. For the project, they had to create a unique action figure that conveyed a message of their choice. They also had to create and design the packaging while writing enthusiastic and compelling catch phrases and descriptions to market their product. Click here to read the story.
Students Sharpen Skills at Cup Stacking Play Date
Students were recently able to sharpen their agility, balance, reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and many other skills through the fun sport of cup stacking. The activity took place during an after-school Play Date at Roosevelt Elementary School coordinated by physical education teachers. Cup stacking requires students to rapidly stack and unstack 12 plastic cups in specific sequences. Click here to read the story.
Hoover Elementary School Honors All-Star Reader
Hoover Elementary third grader Shyun Aung was honored for reaching the 750th step through a new elementary school reading framework that cultivates a love for reading in students. There are incentives for completing specific numbers of steps and each step equals 15 minutes of reading at home or in school. This means Shyun has read for nearly 200 hours so far this school year to reach the 750th step. Click here to read the story.
Lindbergh Elementary Theme Tray Auction is Feb. 26
The Lindbergh Elementary School PTA  will host its annual Theme Tray Auction on Friday, Feb. 26. Tickets will be on sale from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. the evening of the event just outside the cafeteria and winning tickets will be drawn at 7:45 p.m. This year's prizes include four tickets for Disney World. Donations are still being accepted for this event.
Staff vs. Student Basketball Game Supports SPCA
Sixth-grade staff and students at Hoover Middle School recently joined forces to support the SPCA through a staff vs. student basketball game. Many different items and materials were collected that are needed to care for the animals at the SPCA. Click here to read the story.
Various Edison Elementary Donation Drives Help Those in Need in the Community
Students and staff at Edison Elementary School collected 53 hats and 66 pairs of gloves through the school's annual giving tree. The school also filled an entire locker room with non-perishable food and personal care items. The donation drive featured a competition between the classes with second-grade teacher Karen Pritchard's class winning first place. Donations went to the Brighton Community Church food pantry as well as local families in need in the local community through the annual Edison Elves effort. Staff donated toys for local children in need as well.

Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District